Monday, 19 December 2011

Reflections of reflections

So my session with T last week was on.... Tuesday? I think Tuesday. She wasn't being defensive this time round, thank goodness. She started off the session by saying that I had left with a lot to digest after the last session. I agreed and she said "I'm aware of that" in a closed kind of way. I inwardly laughed to myself at this short but sweet summary of her desire for me not to talk to her about how I am feeling about her leaving. She moved on to say that she hasn't found somebody to replace her yet, but that she was working on it. Should I be worried? I'm kind of not. She will get it sorted. She had better. It has only just occurred to me this moment that she might not actually have it sorted out. One thing I won't cope with is a big break after she leaves. I'm going to need more support, not less.

T talked a bit about what the expectations of seeing someone else might be. She said, I wouldn't likely pick up where I left off with her because so much of the work we have been doing relies on feeling safe enough to tolerate emotions that come up when talking about the issues I have. She said that the new person won't know the detail although they may read it in my file (doesn't that mean they will know the detail?). She said, because it is a time limited period, that it wouldn't be about getting them up to speed so that they could continue with me from where I am at the moment but rather it would be for monitoring how I am and having space to just talk about whatever I want to talk about.

I reflected that I agreed with this but that I wasn't sure if other parts would be happy just to put a hold on things, because I do feel an internal pressure to deal with the big stuff. I get frustrated if I feel like I am just talking about everyday life. But perhaps it would be a better focus for that time and maybe what I will need as well. But I don't know if all parts would feel happy with it.

T responded that it wasn't for her to say how things should be and that it is my choice if I want things to move forward. I agreed though that it probably isn't realistic to expect that I will be able to move forward with the big things when it has taken me so long to get to this stage with her. T talked about if there is a way I can internally discuss how we can come to an agreement that the pause button would be put on things and deal with the frustration parts may feel about that. She also said that she was conscious of how her leaving would affect Ebony and Little Ebony and what could be done to care for them in the mean time. She suggested that we have some round table discussions about what the view regarding the news is.

I lamented then that I still feel so separate from the parts (you may remember that this separateness started in the summer of this year) and that I feel I have lost the ability to communicate with them.

We discussed a few things that I felt would be important. I expressed that if the sessions didn't have a focus and I was left to do all of the talking, it would be harder for me and I'd be more likely to dissociate because in the long silences, the parts get louder and the chaos stirs in my head. I expressed that I find it easier with her than with the old psychologist because she often had a focus and a plan in mind of what we would talk about and didn't allow really long silences all of the time. She said that it was important information and would make a note of it.

She asked me then, how often the sessions should be. I asked her what she thought and she said that it would be up to me and new person to discuss but that it may not be realistic to continue weekly sessions (WHAT?!) and even if it was, it could be more demanding on me. If anything, I think it would be easier seeing someone I don't know more frequently, because at least then the horrible anxiety in between sessions would be less and the overall time taken to getting used to someone new would be less. I didn't say that but I did say that if my reaction last time when M left was anything to go by, I was not going to be doing well and would need regular support. T asked if by support I meant regular sessions. I said "Well, I don't have any other support that I can put in place so that's the only thing I had in mind, but if you have any other suggestions..." (like a six month sedative perhaps?)

I dithered a bit about whether I was being naive in hoping I'd be OK when she goes or whether I actually would and I went back and forward for a bit saying I didn't want to assume that things would be OK and then be shocked. T let me go on for a bit and then said: "I think we should consider that it is going to be difficult. We should prepare for the worst and hope for the best." She said that it should be different this time though because she would be coming back and quickly followed it up with: “But that's not what we're talking about.” This was the only hint of defensiveness I noticed in the session. I explained that there is part of me that doesn't think she will though and she acknowledged what I said and let it sit to my relief. I was expecting a lecture but she just reminded me again that she doesn't have a crystal ball. She then said:

“But we go on the basis that yesterday I got up and got dressed and got out and today I got up and got dressed and got out so the chances are that I'm going to do it tomorrow and the next day...”
I started to wonder at this point if she had read my last post because she said: "otherwise we couldn't cope with life because it would feel like chaos and we couldn't tolerate the uncertainty. If things were more uncertain than they are, we couldn't tolerate it... which I think you have had experience of... uncertainty... and unpredictability and you know the stress of it. And I think this is probably what is being evoked."

Just to remind you of what I said in my last post:

"And she's one person who is consistent. 
She's the kind of person who gets up every morning and makes herself presentable and goes to work and eats lunch in the middle of the day and at the end of the day, goes home and does the same the next day. That is so important to me. I struggle with all of those things. Consistency has been foreign to me in my haphazard strewn together life. I have loved having a consistent, safe person in my life. It hasn't just been about the hour or so a week; it's all of the moments in between when I feel so changeable and unreal and I'm in my chaotic, unstable, morphing mind, hanging on by my fingertips to my 'normal' life and I think about my T and I remember how consistent she is and it helps me to remember what kind of life I want. Solidity, structure, boundaries, safety, energy, positivity, certainty."

I reworded my thoughts on this to T and she responded: "A therapist can act as a sort of symbolic anchor for the client, to stop them from drifting off somewhere, which provides them with a space to bob around in the water and feel secure, so that they can let go and look around them a little bit." (I am paraphrasing, I don't have that great a memory but you get the gist). This comment by T got me wondering even more if she had read my last post because to quote, I wrote:  
It's just that, T is like my anchor. I trust her... not completely, but more than I've ever really trusted anyone..."
I am sure she hasn't been reading my blog. T has better things to do with her time, especially at the moment. And I don't think she would read it unless I sent her something specific to read. I think that would be one of her principles. I think she has strong... not morals (well, she may do, but that's not the word we're looking for) but strong ideas of boundaries and what is respectful. I think, even though I've told her she can read my blog if she wants, I think she never would. It's good in a way. It helps me to trust her.

I told T about how seeing her as a consistent person helps me to feel secure in my own life, as a reminder of what 'normal' is. I explained that it is reassuring to think about her and that she is a 'real' person who also helps me to realise that I am real and my life is real and that this is important. T said that it would be important for me to develop that sense of realness and consistency in the next person. T also then talked about how you 'get to know' your therapist based on their interactions with you and their consistency of speech, accent, mannerisms and way of talking so that it's easier to bring up an idea of them when you think about them and this is consistent and reassuring. This is something else that took me aback because I again quote from my last post:
"You know their name; you can probably take a guess at what decade they were born in and you can make a few assumptions based on their accent, dress sense or body language... but at the end of the day, you don't know them. You know nothing more than what you create in your mind based on their interactions with you. So, why then do you end up in pieces when they go on holiday, or God forbid: leave you for good?"
How fucking weird is this? But kinda great that we are thinking the same way and that she understands how it is. The difficult thing is, it won't matter if she understands or not because in a few weeks she won't be here. It will then matter that new person understands. 

Later on in the session we got to talking about suicide, which was difficult... but that's for another day methinks. I've been looking forward to taking this Friday off to get my house etc sorted out before Christmas. I am having a family do (Adam's family) here on Christmas eve. But it just occurred to me that I still have my full work load (which is already too big) to fit into the four days instead of five so I need to at least try to get to sleep at decent hours (easier said than done) this week. I've got a lot of clinical work, as well as two talks to prepare and deliver this week. That's beside the list as long as my leg (which is long) of other work that I should have gotten finished ages ago. Do I use brackets too much? In my head it's like another part chipping in with their sarcastic comments to everything I say.


Ruth said...

Hope your Christmas is awesome. Brackets are a great way to indicate another voice chiming in. I have always wished that someone would create a sarcasm font that would work the same way. Changing temporarily could give you some time to regroup and reconnect with where you are at right now. I put things on hold for several months after my counselor moved. Now I am moving forward again and the progress seems to be faster. Take care an keep writing.

NormalWasNotMyGoal said...

Keep talking about this with her Candycan, it's hard, but I'm confident it will help.

ellen said...

It is amazing that you and your T are so much on the same page.

Maybe this is like a bend in the road - you don't really want to take it, but who knows what lies ahead?

I think it's vital you have someone to talk to also, whether this T or a new T...and hopefully blogging can help. It does help me.

Sometimes I wish for a six month sedative too. :-)
take care