Category Archives: Dear Therapist (I want to tell you but I don’t know how)

Dear De

Dear De,

I dreamt about you last night. You were happy in your new job, and your life. I can’t remember much else about the dream, but we connected again in it. I caught you up on everything since we ended, and you let me in on some basics about how you were doing. 

It was nice to reconnect, even if it was just a dream… 

Peace, 

Sam

It’s weird. I don’t often dream about my therapists, but De seems to pop up in them more than most. I think it’s because I feel like I helped break her. I know it was a combination of the job, a lack of appropriate supervision/professional supports, and a lack of effective self-care while she worked in such a stressful position, but I was part of the job… so, yeah. I helped break her. 

I still feel guilty around it. 

What if I hadn’t been so open about my struggles? What if I tried harder at the techniques she presented? What if I’d made more of an effort to keep myself together? What if I’d have not given her access to my journals? What if I’d have been a better, less demanding client? What if…?

Ultimately, I know it was her responsibility to keep herself balanced and supported. I know that quitting work at the sexual assault counseling center was part of her self-care. I know it was her choice, rather than something she was forced into… yet I feel guilty. 

I think my guilt partially stems from my own experiences of burn-out in the field. I let my own experiences build up so much that they broke my defenses. I definitely feel guilty about the way I left my clients at the domestic violence counseling center. They had no notice, no termination, no chance to either say goodbye or run from the experience. I took their choice away. I took my choice away. I let myself fall apart too much before I finally was forced to pull away… I left because I landed in the hospital again (and again, and again). I could no longer function in the basics of my life, forget about in an intense and emotion-filled work environment…

De never got to that point before she realized she needed out. I’m grateful for that. 

I guess I dream about her more often because I worry about her more than other therapist’s I’ve had. I need to convince myself that she’s happy and thriving, even if I don’t know that for sure…



weirdest flashback yet (TRIGGER for talk of suicide)

ok, so I’m calling it a flashback because it came in super-intense, lasted a few seconds (though felt like forever), then completely faded leaving a hollow echo…

so yeah, had my weirdest flashback yet; I was suddenly overwhelmed with the thought/urge/almost action to kill myself. Specifically, it very much echoed my first (and most serious deliberate) attempt.

I am not currently suicidal. I have not felt that way in quite a while, except for around 5:20pm tonight. It came out of nowhere, hit hard, and dissolved into nothingness. I was aware of it as something that “didn’t fit” with the rest of my current reality. I had a quick dialogue with myself in the background of the overwhelming feelings. I was aware that I was having a dialogue and that this other overwhelmingness was playing over that.

It took me a while to label it as a flashback though.

I knew it was “wrong” in intensity for my general mood lately. I knew it came on very hard and seemingly un-provoked, but I didn’t identify it as that first attempt until finally talking it through with a crisis chat (everyone else I would have contacted or tried to contact to talk it through was unavailable). In the back of my head, I’ve been wondering if today was the true anniversary of that first attempt because I saw a fb “memory” that hinted at it. The time of day would have been about right for that attempt. The line of thinking that was intruding would have also been accurate for that attempt… and it completely left as fast as it came on, so I’m gonna call it a flashback.

That was super-disturbing. I wonder what part of me was scared so much by something to throw that out at me for the first time in a long time? And I kinda wonder if all those times I was dealing with “impulsiveness” was really just a flashback that I couldn’t label as one yet. I did manage to traumatize myself pretty badly (and many others) with that attempt. I distinctly remember being terrified of doing it, but also feeling like I had no choice anymore because I had made the decision within myself, and needed to honor that decision… I kinda bullied myself into it right before; I was both the abuser and the one being abused…

Anyway, so… yeah. Weirdest flashback yet, but really glad I was able to identify it as one. Now, back to the general “meh” feeling of having my emotions jumbled due to hormonal fluctuations.


another Dear TM…

Dear TM,

All that panic I talked about during that call (and felt even this morning) is being over-shadowed by the excitement of seeing L again in a few short hours. I’m beaming inside. I really want to leave you a message to that effect, so you aren’t left with the impression that I’m such a mess all the time…

Thank you for reminding me to power through, for reminding me that things will be getting better and lighter, for being there when all I could see was this wall of panic and darkness. Thank you for helping me turn on that light

I really wish I could bring you with me to Dr. C to help me catch her up on things (and maybe to hold on to you a bit longer)… but it would require a bit of travel on your part, to a place that really isn’t interesting at all, lol.

Ok, gonna try to concentrate on maybe packing or something to help pass the time. I almost want to just go chill at the airport for the next 2.5 hours because I can’t seem to pay attention to anything right now. I’m way too excited to finally be seeing her again

Thanks again for all your help and support. I know I’m not the easiest nut to crack, but we were getting there. Sorry I fell apart on you towards the end. Stress and I don’t mix well (though I have to admit I did WAY better this time around than I have in the past. Dr. C would be able to attest to that)…

:happydance:

pieces,
s.j.


Dear TM…

Dear TM,

Now you are seeing the hopeless mess that I can become. I don’t like that you will remember me this way. I don’t like that we are ending on this note. I’d prefer you to think of me as someone who can figure shit out and make it in life (coz someone needs to believe that about me. I certainly don’t)…

I’ve put up walls b/c I need you to be a stranger right now. I need to be able to leave without feeling completely crushed about all the losses. It’s not just you I have walls up around. It’s the house, and the state, and mom, and the dog and cats, and art time with my friend, & everything… I’m only going to allow myself to miss the beach. That is all. Everything else is too raw and too painful.

I still want to ask if it would be ok if I called you once I’m settled again… I was going to ask if I could call you on the anniversary day, but it will end up being the day we leave. I will need to concentrate on driving and hanging with the wife… I hope she knows she will have to do the first leg of the journey, the one that gets us out of the driveway and away from this neighborhood. I’m not sure how to say goodbye to all this…

Maybe the IOP will work out? I’m not getting my hopes up, because I don’t have faith in them billing for copays, but at least I can go to the intake without having to pay anything that day. Then we can go from there. The little kid in me wants to keep seeing you as much as I can before I go, but the other part of me sees the heaviness of the depression and knows I would be better off with more support…

I really have no idea what I’m doing, but I know I will come out the other side. I always do.

Please don’t actually hate me, just maybe let me think you do for the moment.

Pieces,

sj


Dear TM (things I doubt I can tell you)

Dear TM,

I want to spend the day in bed again and just cry my eyes out. I know I need to ride the depression out because there is nothing that will fix it, but it’s so difficult.

I haven’t cried again yet, though I have wanted to every day for the past week. I keep thinking if I can let go and cry in front of you, maybe it will feel more useful than simply sobbing into my pillow, but… I can’t let anyone see me cry. I can barely cry when I’m by myself.

I’m still afraid Tuesday will be a conversation around how I’m in need of more services than you can provide, how you need to refer me out. And I will want to get up and walk away and never return or even finish the conversation, but I won’t be able to move because tears will finally spill out of my eyes (though I won’t admit to crying) and I can’t walk out through the building looking like that (and I doubt my legs would carry me very far at that point. I’ll want to crumple up and melt into the floor. It hurts so much because my safe places and people always disappear. I will want to disappear myself, but won’t want to leave your office because I’ll want to get as much you time in as possible before I never see you again).

I’m so so so scared I won’t be able to keep seeing you the next few weeks before the move. I’m scared that I’m falling apart too much to continue seeing you, and your supervisor and you will determine I need to move on… I really don’t want to lose you right now because I actually trust you enough to feel safe with you. Please, please, please don’t kick me out before I leave. It’s just 5 weeks max… (again, a huge change that lands right before that huge anniversary). I know I’m going “back”, but my supports will not be available (L will be busy working and I don’t even think I have the others anymore) so it will feel lonelier than here. Why is it that everyone leaves around July? K, De, N, D, you, the house, everything and everyone…

So much for leaving the panic around possible termination for after Tuesday…

Pieces,

sj


Dear TM

Dear TM,

I apologize in advance for the mountain of writing I will be taking in tomorrow.

I know it’s way too much to cover in one hour, but… parts of all of it kinda relate to each other, and it’s all stuff I need to address.

Sorry 😦

~SJ