Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The final session

Today was my last (ever?) session with my psychologist, T. I have been dreading this day now for a year and found myself not wanting to go to bed last night because you know how when you fall asleep it's suddenly the next day? Well, I had some kind of theory that if I stayed awake, tomorrow wouldn't be allowed to arrive. I think I had trouble letting go of the theory because even though I fell asleep by about 2am, I sort of felt awake all night.

I spent the day yesterday trying to do as much housework as I could manage. I felt pretty exhausted all day. One of those days where my heart is constantly doing palpitations, my eyes have constant black blotches in front of them and all of my joints ache. I thought I'd better try to get as much done as I could though because I feared that after seeing T for the last time I might be rendered incapable of functioning on any level. So; slow, lethargic, laboured, dragging movements with frequent sit downs was my day yesterday. I managed to get a lot of underwear sorted out and put in drawers, most of the clean clothes off the floor and into cupboards, two toilets cleaned, my bedroom partially tidied and the bedding changed as well as several goes at trying to get the seemingly dead washing machine door opened.

I also managed to get my toenails cut. This was well overdue and I have been hobbling around for weeks telling myself I need to do it. I think I partially avoid doing these self maintenance things on purpose. I intentionally neglect myself. I think it's an extremely passive form of self harm. The only reason I actually did it yesterday was because while tidying my bedroom I found a list I had written called 'How to be alive' and the first point on the list was 'Cut your toenails.' I then subsequently found my nail clippers under the bed and well, I thought, if this is not the right time then it never will be and frankly, I was having trouble getting my slippers to fit. The housework I did was for me monumental in terms of recent activity and thinking about it now I feel kind of proud of myself. The problem with doing housework is that once I start doing it, I start becoming aware of how much there is that still needs to be done.

So anyway: today... T... Last session... we talked about the meltdown and email I had sent her on Friday. Well, I talked, T asked the questions. She wanted to know what had caused it and what had happened afterwards. I told her about calling Lifeline etc. She didn't give much feedback except to say that maybe crying isn't such a bad thing and perhaps I needed it? I know they say a good cry can help but I feel like when I cry it just brings to mind and heart a lot of the things I spend my life avoiding thinking about. "Candy, you're not exactly thriving with your current avoidance tactics", I hear you say. Hmph!

Well, maybe you're right. But it's not like I feel like crying and don't let myself. Most of the time I don't feel like crying. I think the avoidance is more unconscious. I do shed the odd tear. I felt my eyes well up in the supermarket on Christmas eve when I saw an old man looking at the ready meals and I felt so sad that someone might be alone and eating a microwave dinner on Christmas day. (I do have a heart!) I have cried in therapy sessions but it always feels more detached. It's more like a physical shedding of tears without the understanding about why and certainly not the intensity of the sobbing of last Friday. I don't think it would be easy for anyone to sit and watch me if I was crying the way I did then in a therapy session. Anyway, I still feel bad about ringing Lifeline. I feel like it's not for people like me. I should not need to ask for help from a stranger. And maybe I shouldn't have. I don't know. I don't want to think about it just now. T didn't say anything about it either and I wondered if she thought I shouldn't have either. I feel like enough of a drain on society as it is.

We talked about a few other things and rounded things up with some general chat. T suggested that I might be feeling abandoned and annoyed with her for leaving. I was surprised that she said this given that I felt before like she didn't want to talk about the feelings about her departure. I honestly don't think I am angry with her. My old psychologist often used to say that I might be angry with him. Do I look angry? I know I have a very serious face and sometimes an unintentional glare (I have inherited that from my dad although with him it was often a sign that he was about to let rip at me) but I honestly don't feel angry with her and didn't with old psychologist either. Maybe I am just completely in denial of anger? Well, if I am angry and don't know it, then doesn't that mean I'm not angry?

Anyway, moving on. For it being the last session, it went quite well. I wasn't sure what to expect and I had visions of one of the kids taking over and me clinging onto her leg crying and refusing to leave. I said we would all miss her and she said she would be thinking of us and felt confident that we would be cared for while she was away. I didn't feel that expected sinking feeling as I walked out the door and I didn't get to my car and plunge into despair. I got home and changed into my pyjamas, half expecting that at any moment I would be struck down with the despair and physical heaviness of sorrow. I sat on my bed for a bit quietly, wanting to let things wash over me before Adam realised I was home. I became aware that he was boiling the kettle, which could only mean he knew I was here because he doesn't drink tea, so I made my way downstairs and saw him just as I was coming down. He came out of the kitchen and I could see him looking at me expectantly, waiting and trying to assess how bad things were. I could see the surprise on his face when I opened my mouth and a chirpy sounding child said: "Hello!" in a friendly way. No one was more surprised than me. That was at lunchtime.

I have been feeling in limbo all day since. I feel really surprised and pleased that I haven't felt bad at all. In fact, I have felt surprisingly good. At the same time, I'm nervous that at any moment it is going to hit me that she is gone and I will crash. I am treading very carefully, because maybe if I can avoid anything triggering, I might be able to prevent the crash from happening. I have warned Adam that he should be nice to me. I have a suspicion that another fight with him could seal my fate. I'm not counting my chickens; we'll just have to play it by ear. But I will say, it has been really great to not feel bad today. It has felt lovely to enjoy being off work instead of lying in my bed crying as I had expected to be. My feelings about T just now are that she is still real, she still exists and she will come back and it's only six months. It's not forever. I know I might not be able to maintain this view and maybe I am just one part who is helping today, but for now, it's a good thing.


Pandora said...

God, I wish I had something useful to say.

It's great that so far you're handling it well...I really hope that continues to be the case. The limbo thing is horrid, but it is better than a full meltdown.

Having been through the end of therapy twice - once in especially traumatic circumstances - I'd say be prepared for some shit to hit some fans. But on the other hand, in the end my experience was that ultimately, I was surprisingly OK. So vigilance is important - but so is hope.

You are strong, dignified and brave. It may not be easy, but somehow you'll get through this.

Sending lots of hugs

Pan xxx

Ruth said...

Wish I could sit down with you for a nice chat. I am relieved that you are doing better than you expected. That constant feeling that the "other shoe is about to drop" can really drain the energy right out of you. Perhaps you counselors have the same definition as my counselor. He told me that depression is anger without enthusiasm and perhaps the crying you already experienced was the thing that released the tension you were feeling over the change. Your writing seems really coherent and you expressed how you felt in a way I could understand. My deepest sympathy to you as you go through the change of temporarily working with another counselor. Have you met the new counselor?

ellen said...

I just want to say again that you totally did the right thing phoning the lifeline and emailing your T the other night. You were trying to keep yourself safe - what better reason could there be to call? Distress lines are not just for when you're about to jump or whatever. I had a T once who told me I could call them anytime I felt down. She thought I should try calling when i wasn't too distressed, and see how they talked to me about some problem, so I could evaluate if they'd be helpful under more distressing circumstances. And you have DID - you could call them every single day and be totally within your rights. You are not a drain on society - you are a taxpayer, trying to keep yourself healthy.

End of rant.

Here listening to you as you go through this change. Glad you are seeing the new person next week.

Candycan said...

Pandora, your comments are always useful. And even just knowing that people read this helps me to feel less alone. I'm still bracing myself for the shit.

Ruth, if you are ever passing through N.Ireland I would love to sit down for a chat! Lol. I would like to think that my meltdown might have been an expression of the pain i feel about T leaving and that maybe that will help me now to feel more OK about it. I spoke with my new psychologist briefly on the phone and am meeting her next week. It was purely a practical conversation but she sounded human which pleased me a lot!

Ellen, thanks for the rant! It is helpful to hear that you think I did the right thing in calling lifeline and emailing. I think there were a lot worse things I could have done I suppose. I am reading your blog and hoping that things will settle down for you soon. Have you got any plans for new year that wont put more stress on you? It is ok to say your christmas wasnt good. If people can't deal with honesty, it's not your problem. Take care.


Ruth said...

Glad to hear new psychologists made a good first impression. I hope it continues in this vain. If I ever make it to N. Ireland I will let you know I am coming and look forward to talking to you in person. :)