Tag Archives: termination

Liiight buullbb…

It hit me the other day why I would have dreamt about De recently: we terminated on July 1st (4 years ago), and she left for her new job. 

That makes sense now…

:(… last session with TM

Said goodbye to TM today… It was a good session, but I didn’t really say any of what I had hoped to tell her.

We colored and did pictures. It was good. I’ve spent the rest of the day feverishly sorting and packing… and I may or may not have utilized alcohol as a coping skill as well.

I can’t believe the move is in 2 weeks. I have exactly 14 days to get my shit together. It’ll happen, but I may panic a few more times along the way.

I keep wishing I had said more to TM today. I keep trying to find the right words so I could at least leave her a message, but I don’t have the words. I mentioned as much to her today; that I don’t know how to say thank you and convey the totality of what that means… and I didn’t ask her for a hug, though I really wanted to. I again couldn’t find the words. She had all this stuff in her hands, and I had stuff in mine and… well, I didn’t ask. She even asked if there was anything else, and I just said “no”. We had already gone a few over, and I didn’t want to keep her longer in the hallway as I struggled to form the question.

I did ask if it would be ok to call and update her though, and she said that she would like that.

Sometimes I really hate the finite nature of a therapeutic relationship. I’m also aware though, that it wouldn’t be as safe without the boundaries in place. It just sucks at times like these…


thoughts on today’s therapy

It was my second-to-last session with TM today. It ended up really good.

I remembered her wanting to get the assessments out-of-the-way (TSI-II & BDI2), so after the greeting, I mentioned them. She had them waiting next to my chair, along with some journal entries and my timeline to give back to me. I was glad she remembered.

We joked a bit, and kinda chatted while I did the assessments. She busied herself looking up some more quotes for an activity she wanted to do together either today or next session. As I handed the assessments in, I told her that some questions were answered with caveats, but then I suddenly forgot any of the examples (Now I remember that the question around feeling punished on the BDI2 I answered scoring low because it’s not so much that I feel I am punished, more so that I “should” be punished simply because it’s “right”… There was also a question on violence on the TSI-II that I answered high because it was vague, and I acknowledge responding violently towards myself… That one we kinda talked about and she knew why I responded like I did. I answered the suicide/death questions honestly: that I always think about dying, but don’t always have a plan or intent)… I told her I’d be interested in comparing the scores from the first time and now. I know I have a really skewed self-assessment much of the time so I wouldn’t mind seeing it on paper… that & I’m a huge dork around this kind of stuff, so it also holds great academic interest.

I think at about this point TM told me something that blew me away… She reminded me of one of our first sessions, where I refused the descriptor of “therapist” when she had mentioned it. She said she understood where I was coming from (because I never did finish my MA or internship), but that I seemed more insightful, compassionate, and understanding of the therapeutic process than a lot of therapists she has known… ???!!!!???? I think I was in shock and trying to digest that for a good 5 minutes afterwards. I have no idea what topic we moved on to, because I was still reeling (in a good way) from that huge compliment. I was actually so shocked, I didn’t even deny what she was saying… Maybe I could then go back at some point and be a real clinician? That could be cool… It might have been just before she said this that we talked a bit more about my last hospitalization at IOL. She had mentioned the PDoc incident where he threw a stapler or hole puncher at me, and how that was something she never expected to hear happening in a hospital. I brought up that yeah, while it sucked, I’ve had time to process it more. He may have been triggered, or feeling really helpless, or scared, or frustrated (or all of the above) when he did that. It certainly does not excuse his actions, but it would make them understandable. After all, G behaved much the same way: always angry, yelling, violent, abusive… For a lot of years, I had no clue why he was so awful. Then one day we had a more in-depth conversation. He revealed some of his own abuses and traumas. He also said he did not recall being as abusive and horrible as we remember him being… It didn;t excuse his behavior, but it brought an understanding of his motivations. I could empathize. While I am trying my hardest to break that cycle, he was just repeating what he knew…

Anyway… Oh, another thing that I was kinda blown away by from TM was her opinion that I do not fit a bpd diagnosis. She started out asking me why I had self-reported that dx when I first started therapy with her. I honestly don’t know. She is the first therapist I’ve ever volunteered that dx to. Others have either come to it on their own, or been told by a referring therapist and then decided it did not fit. Part of my reasoning was that it had been relatively soon after I had read through my disability records. Most of those had bpd as one of the diagnoses (of course, they also said I was hopeless & bound to live in residential care for the rest of my life unless of course I killed myself first. One PDoc went so far as to say I he did not expect me to survive the next 6 months… and that was oh… 5 years ago now? So I guess I have to take all of that with a grain of salt. TM reminded me that hospital records reflect the worst of my recent history. She also reminded me that they will often pad dx so that insurance companies will continue to pay (I’ve been witness to some “creative billing” in my professional experiences). I’m not sure why I was surprised that TM would say she disagrees with the bpd diagnosis, but I was. She said the “cornerstone” of a bpd dx is unstable relationships (and according to what she read to me from the DSM-V, this is accurate to their wording), which neither of us see in my life. Yes, there’s a fear of losing people, but only because I actually have lost a lot of important and close people in my life. It’s not so much a fear anymore as an expectation… It’s also something I was overtly taught while growing up. And sometimes the people closest to you will hurt you the most, so a difficulty with trust is understandable… She reminded me that while I may be able to check off some of the bpd traits, it makes a lot of sense given my history… Maybe now I can hold on to that longer. I know Dr. C is of the opinion that I do not fit a bpd diagnosis. We had talked about it a long time ago because of my experience with LKB and her insistence that I was bpd & just needed to learn to accept that fact. Aside of Dr C though, no one else had openly and pointedly spoken to me about bpd vs. trauma. I know even D eventually saddled me with that diagnosis. I’m not sure De agreed, though I never asked her. TL and I never spoke about diagnoses either. It was kinda nice to get confirmation from TM as well that my resistance to the bpd label has merit… Personally, I think the whole disorder should be removed completely. I’ve yet to meet someone with a bpd dx who does not also have a trauma history. Bpd comes with SUCH a stigma (which can also lead to an excuse for not working to change the thoughts & behaviors both on the therapist’s end and the clients… think of how you would feel if even the professionals felt you were hopeless) that it’s more a detriment to any person with the dx. I don’t see how it helps the understanding of behavior or attitudes, it simply labels them. I would much rather have an understanding and hope than a mere label… Kinda like labeling someone an alcoholic without taking into account what it’s used to cope with.

Ok, sorry, went off on a soap-box tangent there. So, yeah. Session with TM was good. We laughed and also talked about heavy stuff… Part of me wonders if TM has found me online somewhere. She sometimes brings up things that I have only ever mentioned online either here or in one of the support forums I use. I might have to ask her that next week. At this point, I don’t think I would care since I won’t be seeing her after next week anyway, but if I had found out something like that sooner, I would be censoring more. I already catch myself being careful what I post if I know someone in real life will see it. This blog is written with sensitivity to my wife and my mom having access… There’s something to be said for anonymity and honesty. I’m very careful in what I reveal to others because I have had it twisted and used against me. I’m careful what I write both online and in a physical, paper journal… I actually no longer keep a paper journal because too many have gotten their hands on them and read them without permission… But whatever. I would be interested in how TM thinks to bring some of the stuff up that she does if she hasn’t found me online. Maybe I talk around it enough, or I mention it without realizing it? It’s too much of a coincidence with a lot of the stuff in timing and wording for her to just come up with it out of the blue. Maybe I’m leaving her more messages than I realize? I know a few times I had thought of leaving her a message, but don’t recall doing it, then she mentions the next session that she got my message(s)… Hmm.

I had meant to ask her today if it would be ok if I call once I am settled after the move. It feels less needed now that I know I will be seeing Dr. C again, but I rarely get the chance to update a therapist on how something went after a termination. I get the boundaries of the relationship. I know it won’t go beyond this termination, but I’m hoping to be able to let her know that things went well, and my idea that I will do better back up north and away from the constant triggers is one founded in reality… I know I would love updates on some of my past clients, though that is me. I’m not sure if she would want one… Dunno though unless I ask.

the safety of a doorknob disclosure

With the end looming for my therapy, I find myself wanting to spill all sorts of info to TM. I’m not sure why. I suddenly have questions and thoughts and I want to ask her a whole bunch of stuff about my abuse and ptsd and self-harm… why can I only muster this resolve when I’m moving on to someone else? It’s like it only feels safe enough to bring all this up when the threat of having to see the person again is over. I am suddenly realizing I trusted her enough to express this stuff, but I kept freezing and getting scared before. I always worried she would hate me or use what I told her against me in some way. I didn’t think she would actually do those things, but I feared she might… Now I want to get as much support from her as possible, only it’s too late because there isn’t enough time.

These are the ultimate doorknob disclosures. They are all the big things I was scared to address, but now I desperately want to find support around… :sigh: Will I ever learn to do this while there’s still time to talk?


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.



5 am, we meet again.

It’s 5 am. I’ve been awake since 3:30 after having fallen asleep around midnight… this has been a trend for about 3 weeks now, interrupted only by me remembering to take benadryl a few nights here and there (when I don’t have to function at all the following day). This insomnia is certainly not helping my depression or functioning.

If we weren’t in the process of referring out and termination, I probably would have reached out to TM about the increasing lack of sleep. Now? I dunno. I can’t get over feeling like there’s a boundary there I need to keep to. We are ending. Reaching out for anything other than scheduling feels like a big “no-no”…

I keep coming back to frustrations around a lack of support. I’m guessing the IOP will not work out due to finances. I don’t want to ask TM to extend our sessions until I leave merely for support. She’s got limited availability as is, I don’t want to keep wasting her time… that leaves me with trying to muddle through on my own.

I’ve thought about reaching out to friends and family for support, but I feel like a huge bother. There were a few times I wanted to talk about stuff with L, but she’s got so much on her end, it’s not fair to bug her with it (and I’m not totally sure how to talk about it). I had tried to process Wednesday’s appointment with TM, but she quickly switched back to talking about whatever was going on for her that day. I didn’t attempt to revisit. I know, my fault. I should be more assertive in wanting to talk, but I feel so defeated and overwhelmed, I’m not going to beg anyone to sit through my struggle to articulate things; not TM, not L, not anyone. It’s just all pointless.

Part of me wants to call insurance today to see what can be done in terms of accessing additional support, but I really don’t like asking for favors. I don’t want the hospital program to do anything out of the norm for me. I don’t want to bother TM with anything. I don’t want to ask for more. I’ve taken plenty already, I should be good with all this… only I’m not. I’m coping on the outside and crumbling on the inside. My internal resources are running dry again. Bed is looking more and more inviting 24/7/365… there’s other things that are yet more inviting, but they are not an option despite being on my mind all the time…

I just have to get through this move, then I can worry about what to do up there again. I gotta get through this move…

Treatment up in the air

TM and I talked about treatment options again today. I was able to be honest with her about not knowing if my depression would get bad again, or if I could handle things till the move.
I also told her I wasn’t sure what would be the best course of action for my current supports… we tossed around ideas, and ended on me attending the iop intake next week. Hopefully I will get a better picture of both the program structure and whether or not it would make sense for me to go. She’s ok offering me at least 2 more sessions at the moment.
There’s so much wrapped up in this move, I’m not totally confident I won’t crash, but I also don’t want to make a crash happen by expecting one…
I also have to figure out treatment for after the move. Dr C has not returned my calls, so I’m not counting on her to be able to see me. I put out feelers to a few other people in the mean time… I really don’t want to have to go through all this again in a few months after I get up there.

TM and I also covered a bit of the details I gave her to read last week. I’m not sure I got anything out of what we talked about. Maybe I need to ask her to let me read it out loud next week… it would cause a lot of anxiety and triggers, but it also helps in the long run… I dunno. We might not have time though.

Might still want to cover that homework I had given her maybe 2 months ago. We never did anything with it, and it feels unfinished. If I’m admitting all that, I need a bit more closure on it with her, but what we covered today was triggering and unsatisfying. It didn’t bring the closure I had hoped, partially because my walls are up. She felt like a stranger today instead of someone I trusted. I’m not sure how I can go from feeling safe with her until the moment we talk about termination, then she’s suddenly someone I have no connection to… it’s frustrating. :/

Goodbyes suck

They really do.
That is all…


jewlery-making as distraction

grounding braceletsI made a handful of grounding bracelets today… I started making one for TM, then made another for her and couldn’t decide which I want to give. Then I just kept going. Made 6 in total, and a necklace. I would have made more, but I am out of toggle clasps. Listed everything on etsy except the two choices for TM.

Now that the distractions are up, all I want to do is cry.

Made some progress on the move front yesterday by reserving a pod (so we don’t have to worry about towing our stuff. in the long run, it ends up costing about the same). We have no place to move to, but hopefully the apartment L applied for will be approved with all 3 dogs. If not, we will keep looking… The hope provided by the apartment possibility is wearing off now. The depression is looming huge and dark. I’m so tired of this.

Add to all that now saying goodbye to TM 2 weeks before we had planned and I’m a puddle. I go through the motions. I function (barely), but I’m not feeling anything but heaviness. I guess tomorrow I will call at least one of the three referrals she gave me yesterday. TL might still work there. If she does, and it would be ok, maybe I could see her again till I leave. It would help going back to someone I know even if it’s a different organization.

There’s so much stuff I know I need to do asap around the house, but I just can’t… The little dog is starting to grow dreads. He desperately needs a bath and haircut. I just don’t have the energy. The reptile room also needs spot-cleaning, but again, no energy.

How do you treat depression symptoms that neither meds nor behavioral therapy can touch anymore? I am still adamantly against ECT, so that will never be an option. What’s left?

(not so) brief update

I met with TM today. I had dragged myself out to an art journal class last night, so I was feeling a bit better when I met with her. We processed Thursday’s session a bit, and came up with a relatively solid plan for an ending. We will have 2 more sessions. I was able to express how much I really need a proper goodbye, then we commiserated on our mutual dislike of endings. We both have homework for next session: to write about/express what this ending means to us… That will be hard. I started mine, but it will be a process over the next few days.

We also chatted a bit more on a professional level about the therapy process and what’s been helpful or not. I asked her if my gut feeling around the gravity of Thursday’s appointment was accurate. She clarified that, while safety concerns were on her mind, she wasn’t having the conversation with the intention of forcing any action. We then had a short conversation around the added trauma caused by involuntary commitment. I joked that it also makes for a mountain of paperwork. I’m glad we are on the same page on the subject. We spoke about trust briefly…

She gently called me out on something that drives me nuts when it happens to me, and I was doing it to her (though that was not my intention). She was expressing concern over something, and I simply said “no” and shook my head. While I meant it in the sense of “you shouldn’t be wasting energy on me like that, I don’t deserve/warrant it”, she took it as a denial of the validity of her expression. She looked at me and said something along the lines of: “I’m telling you how I’m feeling. You don’t get to invalidate that”… and how right she is. It drives me nuts when I hear one of my parents say “no, you don’t feel that way; you feel this way.” Who are they to know how I feel?! Maybe they would not feel the same, or they don’t want me to feel like that, but the reality is that I do. Same with TM today. While I didn’t want her to be concerned, she was. I didn’t have either the knowledge or the right to tell her otherwise… I’m really gonna miss her. :/

Overall, a good session today. I’m really sad there’s only 2 left. There is still so much I want to tackle, but there isn’t time. She did ask how I wanted to work on the ending, and I reminded her I sucked at them, and had no real concrete ideas on the spot. I told her there were a few things I wanted to wrap up, but I wasn’t sure we could finish it. I definitely want to cover that one bit of homework I had given her several weeks ago, but we didn’t really address. I also want to wrap up some of the other csa stuff I had started to talk about but again couldn’t finish… There won’t be enough time though. It sucks.

The anxiety about the building being so reminiscent of a locked unit is slowly going down. More and more decor is showing up, and it’s looking friendlier. The obnoxious buzzer is still startling though.

I really clicked with TM. Yeah, I tried hard not to let myself get too attached, but that failed. Now I find myself missing her before we are finished. I laughingly told her that I would appreciate her making this termination easier by becoming a bitch so I could hate her… It won’t happen.

UGH! I hate endings. You would think after 18+ therapists in as many years I would have this figured out, but it’s still all a learning process. All I know is that proper endings are really important. I might go cry over this again now 😦

So… yeah.

Getting referred out because TM can’t provide the added support I need right now. Can’t keep seeing her because it would be a “duplication of services”…

I know I need it. I know I was probably going to bring it up again if she hadn’t, but I didn’t want to have to say goodbye quite yet. We only had 4 more sessions left (or maybe now it would have been 3?)…

It still sucks.

Not quite sure how to process all this. As long as I was still able to make it just seeing her weekly, I could talk myself out of my own hopelessness a bit. Now? I can’t turn off the tape that says she believes I’m as hopeless as I think I am. I can’t pull away from thinking that things will never get better because I always pathetically fall back to this.

I used to be functional. I used to have a life and a career and some friends… it all feels fake and so far away. The move that is supposed to happen at the end of next month feels impossible. There’s nothing that works to make any of this better.

It’s too much effort, so I melt into this really pathetic, useless, fucked-up up puddle.

an end date…

There was so much I wanted to talk to TM about today, but none of it made it to my lips…

We did talk a bit about last week’s confession around how shitty I’m feeling. We also tried to brainstorm some stuff to give me structure. Well, ok, TM tried to brainstorm. I was having trouble focusing. They moved to the new office over the weekend. I guess today was their first day open at the new location. Nothing was ready. I almost wish TM would have just rescheduled me either to later in the day, or another day. It would have sucked, and I would have felt like shit, but it would have been more productive than today. I guess we were productive for stuff on her end, but not on mine. I kept paying attention to all the noises elsewhere in the office. And the room we were in reminded me very much of a hospital… I hope next week it will be more settled.

She kept trying to tell me it was ok to ask for more support. She talked a bit about the various therapeutic programs and how they took a while to get into. She mentioned some volunteering. I just couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying.  We determined that our last session would be June 23rd…

I kept wanting to wheel myself out of the room (we were both in rolling desk chairs). It looked and felt too much like a locked unit. I kept worrying that I wouldn’t be allowed to leave. Rationally, I know that wouldn’t have happened, but it triggered the fear in me. I wasn’t able to put together that I was triggered till long after I left her. I just knew that in the office, I kept pushing myself and my chair as far back as possible, and I was scared of TM. I wanted to reach beside me and open the door, but I kept thinking it was locked. It felt like TM was matching my discomfort because her chair was all the way back against her wall also. I’m not totally sure if she realized that, or if it happened by accident. I kept waiting for the conversation to turn to me needing a higher level of care, and then being hospitalized. It didn’t happen, but part of me was surprised to have walked out at the end of session. It’s not even like I mentioned safety concerns to her, we actually talked about how much better I have been handling this than in the past. It was just that the room looked so much like a locked mental health unit, I couldn’t pull out of the fear…

I think we may have talked about other things too, but I’m not sure what. Maybe those things took up the whole session time. I know I wanted to tell her some of the stuff flying around in my head. I wasn’t sure how to get them past my lips. I wanted to hand her some of the stuff I had been meaning to give her for the past 2 weeks. I wanted to talk a bit about the support forum. I wanted to talk to her about my experience talking to a friend about some of the stuff TM and I have been covering. None of it squeaked out. None of it made it through the panic.

I kept apologizing for being a pain in the ass. She asked again what made me think I was being annoying. I tried to convey that I had answers, but couldn’t find them in the moment, and that is what I thought would annoy her. I couldn’t get past the internal panic though… I kept giving her “I don’t know” because I couldn’t access the answers in my own head. I couldn’t “act as if”. I couldn’t function… I tried to think whether or not I would be annoyed at a client if they presented like I did. I landed on “no”, but I also could not then translate that to apply to myself. I tried to tell her my self-esteem and lack of self-worth didn’t allow me to move out of that head-space, but it all sounded like jargon to me. I imagined her thinking how annoying I was, how frustrating and resistant and willful I was being, and that if I could just stop being that way, we could get somewhere. I tried again to gain an outside perspective, but I still couldn’t apply my own patience with others to myself. Who am I to warrant any compassion? (At the time, a combination of speaking with a DBT clinician and multiple hospital experiences were crowding my head. I remembered being blamed for not trying hard enough, for not being able to use my skills, for being resistant and willful and deliberately sabotaging my recovery because I was stubborn. I couldn’t separate it from the experience of speaking with TM in the present. I couldn’t look at her, and in my head she looked like the DBT clinician L)…

I did manage to tell her about the line of thinking that allowed me to see some smidge of self-worth last week, and how I kept going back to it to try to get through the weekend. Even as the words left my mouth though, they felt stupid and contrived. I was suddenly reacting to her like I would have G. I was afraid that if I said the wrong thing in the wrong way, or because I wasn’t calling her the most intelligent and worthwhile person on the planet, I was being disrespectful. I didn’t attribute all of my change in thinking to her though. I told her of the success and quietly waited for her to blow up at me… Again, the full realization that I was triggered and responding to the past rather than TM or the moment only hit me long after I left.

We set up a time to check in on Thursday. I protested about being bothersome, so she was going to leave it up to me to call if I needed, but I was able to tell her that I would prefer having something scheduled. I told her I would probably agonize over calling her then end up not deeming anything worthy of bothering her for. She said we would schedule it and she would call Thursday… She left an invitation open for me to call tomorrow too if I feel I need it. I instantly shook my head. That would be too much of an imposition to be able to agree to. Though thinking about it now, I may leave her a message hoping it lessens the anxiety. I would like to be able to let her in on what went on for me today without wasting too much session time.

Even writing about it all is triggering a lot of anxiety and fear. I really hope next week feels different. It will be more than a week for settling in (because of the holiday next week), so I really hope they get things decorated and set up better. And I really hope TM’s office doesn’t feel as triggering as the random room we were in today. When I speak with her on Thursday, I should remember to ask if it would be ok for me to leave her a message over the weekend to help get through it. I know she won’t be there or anything, and I wouldn’t expect a return call. It just sometimes helps to leave her messages.


thoughts on who has the control in therapy

A comment from Patricia on my previous entry mentioned that having the control around when she attended therapy gave her a sense of ease around building the relationship. That got me thinking. I don’t think I’ve ever felt in control in therapy. It’s not given me a sense of having any power in the relationship lately until this termination with TL. The first ever official therapist I saw (not counting my guidance counselor in high school) was 1) a requirement of the work-study program at school, 2) was assigned to me, and 3) refered me to another therapist in the program by the 2nd session because of countertransference. 18 therapists later and I’ve only voluntarily initiated termination with 2. All others were either time-limited by school terms (internship guidelines), or I was terminated for “liability”… Oh, and one was ill for an extended period so I saw someone else in the interim. When the original therapist returned, I took the option to stick with the one I had been seeing while she was out… so really only felt in control of major decisions a small handful of times. I guess you could also count the two therapists I never got past the intake with. One was atrocious in first five minutes of the first session, and the other took 3 sessions to cement that we were not going to click (neither handled self-harm or suicidal thinking well).

Aside of not feeling in control of the relationship all that often, I rarely feel like I dictate the path of the sessions (though in reality I do that almost every session. I wonder what keeps me feeling not in control of it?). I constantly defer to the clinician’s focus after an initial overview of what’s bothering me. If they narrow in on something that I don’t necessarily think is more pressing than something else, I don’t often try too hard to change the focus back to what I consider important. Yes, there are times I will insist on addressing something, but it usually takes a huge amount of effort and time to attempt to assert myself. I don’t feel like I am the expert in my life. It’s weird…

On the flip side, I have never felt the need to dictate where a client’s session should go or what they should address. In my professional role, I had aways believed the client was the expert in what needs addressing, and what direction therapy should take. They are paying me to be a sounding board and to offer support through difficult times, but what we addressed was always totally up to the client. Also, aside of scheduling logistics, the frequency of contact was pretty much up to the client. They controlled when and how often they showed up for appointments, and would have controlled when they terminated (for the most part… until I fell apart and ran away. Then they were S.O.L… and I still feel pretty shitty about that).

How can I hold those both true? How can I as client feel the therapist has all the control, and as therapist always feel the client has the control? Maybe it has been my experiencing of the therapeutic relationship early on. Maybe being indoctrinated into having no real control over choice in therapist or choice in termination time perpetuates my inability to feel in control over it all. As a clinician, I could not and would not force my clients to see me. As a client, I could not dictate the end of therapy until relatively recently. Things with JG didn’t click well, so I was ok with my then-wife insisting I stop therapy. I hadn’t become attached to JG, so walking away was easy. I simply did not reschedule one time after having to cancel because of weather… With Dr. C, I was moving across the country so I was the one to say I’m leaving. The termination with TL did not start out in my control (because I had not planned on switching therapists again so soon if I wasn’t moving again), but I ultimately took control. I know it was her intent to have me feeling like I had a choice in it, like it wasn’t a forced and sudden termination happening on her time-line. At the start of therapy with her, I had talked about how difficult it had been to terminate with De. I had also brought up that D before her had sprung immediate termination on me about a month earlier than planned. TL had the flexibility, so she did her best to allow me to set the pace of our termination… It’s been the easiest ending to a therapy relationship in a long time. It certainly has not been easy, but it has also not been as devastating as the others have been of late. I’ll have to remember to mention that to the new therapist, so they can get a message to TL to say “thanks”…

There’s definitely something to be said for feeling in control of your therapy. I keep trying to remind myself that I hire a therapist, so in that respect, I am more of a “boss”. My client self has only recently remembered that I can hire them or fire them as I see fit. It’s not necessarily that simple, but I need to remind myself I have more control than I think. When you grow up with others always in control (and no safe way for you to gain any), you forget that it is even a possibility. (attachment can also make it feel like there’s no control, but that will be a topic for another post some day…)

Anyway, that’s not exactly where I wanted to go with this post, but I have lost my original direction… Maybe I need to start creating outlines like I used to do for major papers in school. That way, when I go off on a tangent, I have something to refer back to in order to keep on track. Who knew my h.s. writing courses would come in so handy later in life?

Oh, I know. I meant to touch on having trust issues, which makes it difficult to open up in therapy. Lately, by the time I acknowledge trusting the person I am talking to, they are headed out the door for new adventures. I never really pictured opening up to someone because I could choose to never see then again if I wanted to. I know that there’s a measure of safety in speaking with someone you don’t see daily (their judgements won’t impact your life as strongly as those of the people around you day in and out), but I never realized I could walk away from therapy. Aside of feeling that the clinician is in control, my desperate need to have a safe person/place for all the ugliness keeps me feeling a slave to it. There’s something very validating and comforting in knowing someone is professionally required to be accepting and trust-worthy…

:gulp: I did it…

All my defenses were up and I had my opening lines rehearsed going into session today.

Before we even sat down, I told TL that all my defenses were up and asked if we could please not poke any holes in them today. After some clarification and checking, she agreed. We talked a bit about my trip up north and how I had been doing recently. We talked some about future plans and the possibility of me volunteering. I totally forgot to ask her for the number that she had mentioned the session before… Then I think she noticed me keep glancing at the clock. She asked what the papers were that I had stashed under my leg, and suddenly they felt stupid. I told her so, then looked at the clock one more time and blurted out that I needed today to be our last session. She looked sad; a bit like she might cry. I really hoped she wouldn’t because I would not have been able to keep it together at that point. She recovered quickly and asked why I thought it would be good to end. I was able to tell her it was mostly the transference stuff, and how it brough up really negative feelings between sessions. I also mentioned that the bi-weekly thing wasn’t working for me (which she acknowledged and said that she had planned to address it today had I not asked for it to be the last session. She agreed that my walls went up enough between weekly sessions, and that every other week seemed to really wear on me). I tried to explain the transference piece to her (what part felt bad, and how I didn’t think it was fair to her because she was nice and I wanted to not feel scared of her), but I didn’t really explain it well. We joked a bit about it and the ending. Then we talked about what would be helpful in my next therapist, and what I thought had worked; what positives I was taking from therapy with her. Ok, we tried to talk about it, but I went blank (this wasn’t something I had rehearsed talking about so the anxiety took over). I tried to explain how the dissociation had been different, and how I wasn’t sure exactly why it was, but there was something about working with her that allowed me to be more aware of the present even when I checked out on her. It often felt like I was still there sitting next to another part of myself that was doing the emotional experiencing, but I was able to translate some of it to her and be honest in the moment even when I was dissociating. It was difficult to explain even with my clinical knowledge, and she agreed that there wasn’t much vocabulary out there for what I was trying to convey. I think she ended up understanding what I meant though… She asked her routine questions checking in around the safety piece. Then time was up.

Before session (we had taken the elevator up together, which was a first), I had mentioned having something for her in my car that I wanted to give her, but that I left it in my car because the varnish fumes were very strong. After session, she walked down with me and I gave her the painting. She seemed really touched (mentioned that I was going to make her cry and she wasn’t supposed to cry… later I thought that I could have used one of her lines on her; that crying would be “modeling healthy expression” since I had earlier mentioned that I was ashamed to cry in front of others, but I didn’t think of that in time), and I got all flustered. I managed to thank her for working with me, and I kinda explained some of the painting to her. I told her I was bad at goodbyes, but that they were really important to me. She offered up that I could contact her again (via telephone tag at the agency) if the referral didn’t work out, or if I needed to touch base before the referral went through. Then she gave me a hug. I kinda freaked out a bit at that. I was afraid I’d contaminate her and cringed involuntarily when she hugged me. I think she kinda misinterpreted that though, because it ended up being a super short half-hug thing… Then we got in our cars and went our separate ways. Well, she pulled out and I sat in the parking lot for a moment…

I really hate goodbyes, and I really kinda wish she had asked if I was sure I wanted to end after today (though I also kinda set it up for her not to ask when I asked that she not poke holes in my defenses and not push me on stuff today. Maybe I should have been clearer about being ok talking more in-depth about why I wanted out)… I’m a bit intimidated with the prospect of having no additional support for the next month or so. I was a wreck with the bi-weekly thing, what really makes me think a month will be any easier (especially a month of uncertainty combined with the holidays)? But I really needed to wrap things up. I really needed to halt some of the intense neediness and the uncomfortable transference-related stuff… Honestly, I really wish I could have just followed her to the other agency, but it would be pointless since she is planning on leaving there too (and I’d have to figure out how to pay out-of-pocket at ten times my current session rate). :(…

I took a detour to the beach on the way home (seems to be an after-termination-session tradition lately)… I walked about a mile, and did a bunch of sitting watching the birds and the water. I even waded in the water (though not until after a few false-starts with getting my feet wet. Water in December is cold – not for the tourists, but for us “natives” it is… some kids playing in the water laughed as I jumped backwards when my toes first hit the waves). Also, do not tempt mother nature (I should know this by now from L’s adventures with her). I was sitting at the edge of the dry sand watching the waves come up to my feet. No sooner had I completed my thought about moving higher up before the next wave hits my butt than the water washed up around me… Now, not only was my bottom chilly, but I looked like I peed myself :/ Oops… Don’t tempt mother nature because she finds shit like this hilarious 😉



Ellie Goulding love & some ramblings

Recently got my hands on 2 Ellie Goulding albums and I must say I am in love with Halcyon Days!!! I think there are about 7 or so tracks that I absolutely can’t stop listening to. At the moment, I’m loving on Explosions. “on the day you wake up/Needing somebody and you’ve learned/It’s okay to be afraid/But it will never be the same/It will never be the same//You left my soul bleeding in the dark/…/And I’ve lost my faith in everything”… the tone of it matches my mood today (though I am interpreting it to be about her leaving due to domestic violence now that I read the lyrics. eh, whatever. the way she sings it still very much fits my mood right now)…

I’m also really loving Dead in the Water (apparently from the Divergent soundtrack)


and How Long Will I Love You

I see TL tomorrow. Still thinking I want it to be our last session… I’m finding I’m obsessing way too much about it/her so best to just walk away. I do that when I’m about to lose someone out of my life, I need a stranglehold on them before they slip away, and it’s never been a healthy thing. So I’ll take the painting (which today I am concluding it stupid and I hate it, though I may feel different tomorrow about it) and give it to her and tell her it needs to be the last session, and can we talk about whether or not I will be seeing someone at the agency (and hopefully not have to switch again) after her. I know she had said that was the plan, but it doesn’t feel like it right now. And I’m not sure I want to go through this again (I know, I say this every time). It just sucks to learn to trust someone only to know that you have to figure it out again with someone else down the line. Also, I had visited with Dr. C for a bit while up north. She will be retiring in the coming year, so unless I get back up there soon, I will be looking for yet another new therapist. It’s an exhausting process. I just don’t want to keep doing it… (though at the same time, know the neediness is worse when I don’t have that support)… I don’t know. I wonder what the point of it all is sometimes. Why bother trying to trust someone with the heaviness if I never do get around to talking about the really heavy stuff before I have to switch again and start it all over again. I’m tired. I’m spent on building trust and trying to figure things out every few months. I’m tired of finally getting to a comfort point of being able to bring up the ickier stuff only to find out that the person is leaving and all that vulnerability was for nothing…



You trembled like you’d seen a ghost/And I gave in/I lacked the things you need the most,/You said where have you been?//You wasted all that sweetness to run and hide/I wonder why/I remind you of the days you poured your heart into/But you never tried//I’ve fallen from grace/Took a blow to my face/I’ve loved and I’ve lost/I’ve loved and I’ve lost//Explosions…on the day you wake up/Needing somebody and you’ve learned/It’s okay to be afraid/But it will never be the same/It will never be the same//You left my soul bleeding in the dark/So you could be king/The rules you set are still untold to me/And I’ve lost my faith in everything//The nights you could cope,/Your intentions were gold/But the mountains will shake/I need to know I can still make//Explosions…on the day you wake up/Needing somebody and you’ve learned/It’s okay to be afraid/But it will never be the same//And as the floods move in/And your body starts to sink/I was the last thing on your mind/I know you better than you think/’Cause it’s simple darling, I gave you warning/Now everything you own is falling from the sky in pieces/So watch them fall with you, in slow motion/I pray that you’ll find peace of mind/And I’ll find you another time/I’ll love you, another time//Explosions…on the day you wake up/Needing somebody and you’ve learned/It’s okay to be afraid/But it will never be the same.

Just breathe

I had tried to leave a message for TL, but I don’t think she received it. She’s normally pretty good about at least calling back even if she doesn’t have time. I really was hoping to have a session this week, and having it be the last one. It’s a crazy rollercoaster with what this arrangement triggers in me. I want it over with.

I was also hoping to figure out what happens next for me at the agency. Something tells me that they want me elsewhere. I’m not quite sure where I’m reading that, but I think it’s a combination of briefly speaking with the clinical director, some of TL’s word choices, their 12 week “reassessment” policy, and TL’s responses to my questions around it (she seemed evasive)… there’s a chance I’m reading into all of it, but there are times my “gut suspicions” are accurate…

I’m emotionally wiped. I’m really excited about this weekend, but I’m also apprehensive. We have so much planned, but I fear we will just both be depressed lumps. I’m still on the verge of tears every other minute… as L said though, at least we’d be depressed together instead of 1500 miles apart.

I think mother nature is trying to get me ready for the drop in temp up north. We are having January weather here in early December. I boxed up the more mobile tropical plants and took them into the garage. It’s already in the low 40’s out there, and it’s supposed to get close to freezing overnight. I have to catch the two outdoor cats and bring them inside. They are used to 50’s, not freezing…

Anyway. I guess I won’t see TL before my trip. That means more time sitting with this triggered anxiety. Whatever. Maybe it’s time I learn to deal with it without therapeutic supports. I used to cope without additional support. Time I learned again.


Woke up crying again today, but it’s not as debilitating as it was Saturday. There’s just this underlying current of sad permeating everything, but I’m more able to function. There’s stuff I know I need to do today, and want to do it, but when it comes down to actually heading out, I lose the motivation (eg: I need to purchase a new bra. I want it, but the thought of going to the mall to check pricing and confirm size is daunting. If I could simply walk into that one store, it might be easier, but the thought of having to navigate the mall (even if it were not crowded) is frustrating. It involves too much process, too many steps (both in terms of walking and in terms of what has to be done) to achieve my goal… it’s overwhelming. I’m trying to think of it as simply going to Frederick’s and looking at prices in the store (looked online, and the bra is on sale online, but would have to order two to get free shipping. Shipping for one is nearly as expensive as getting two bras, which is just too costly right now. The store doesn’t always have the same sales as online…). My problem comes when I break down the steps involved in getting to the store. First, I have to get presentable. Then I have to get in my car and drive to the mall. I have to try to remember where in the mall the store is so I can park close. Then I have to get into the mall and find my way to the store. Then I have to chat with the sales lady. Then I have to politely decline her sales pitch if its more expensive in the store. Then I have to make my way back to the car and back home. I already became exhausted at the concept of getting presentable, forget the rest…

I hate having to be “on.” I hate having to hold this mask of “I’m fine. Everything’s peachy.” It’s so exhausting… TL and I talked about it last week in terms of the upcoming trip (pretty much social interaction for 56 hours straight. Exhausting to any introvert even without the added depression). She asked what it would be like to drop the mask, to not be “on” for the whole trip. The problem with that is the expectation from others to keep pretending no matter what… no one wants to see the reality. No one wants to have to be faced with the discomfort that comes from knowing everything is not “just peachy”… so I have to pretend. :heavy sigh: it would be so much easier to just hide. 😦

I asked mom to go with to the mall. Hopefully having company and someone else driving will make it easier… and I’m hoping the bra is on sale there too. Don’t want to expend the effort for nought…

Some days I wish there was a pill that actually worked to make this all better. I wish the struggle wasn’t so much of a struggle…

the rollercoaster continues

Yesterday was horrid, today was better. Hung out with a friend. Though I was pretty distracted, I managed to make some headway on holiday cards.

The whole time I was swinging from ok to really sad and distant. I felt bad because my friend picked up on it. She asked me a few times what I was stuck on… There’s only so many times you can say “I’m not quite sure where to go with this”. I landed on “I’m just tired”. She took it at face value. I was ok with it. I didn’t feel like explaining it all.

The sadness hit again pretty fast after I left her house. It made it hard to concentrate on driving home. I intended to stop at the grocery store, but found myself at walmart for some reason. I know I wanted cookies, but I also know walmart doesn’t have the yummy cookies I was hoping for. I went in, walked around, and it took me several minutes to realize I was at the wrong store. I wasn’t dissociating, because I knew which store I was in, but I didn’t seem to register that it wasn’t the store at which I had intended to stop. I left and headed to the grocery store (and proceeded to spend way more money on comfort food than I care to admit).

The sadness keeps coming in waves. I’m ok, then I’m drowning in sadness, then I’m ok, then I’m drowning again… I caved and left a message for TL. When I left the message (or tried to), the receptionist was confused. I had to explain that TL was still seeing me through the end of the year, and that in the past either the clinical director, the office manager, or the receptionist had gotten a message to her for me. His confusion underscored to me how uncomfortable I am with this arrangement. Either way, next time I see her, I need to talk to her about this. I need to not be her only client there anymore. It makes me so uncomfortable to be different. I really like TL. I don’t want to lose her as a therapist, but if she’s not there anymore for anyone but me, I don’t want to be the reason she’s coming back. I don’t like considerations. I don’t like feeling “special”. I don’t like anything that makes me stick out. I want to blend in. I want to be the same as everyone else. I don’t want to be seen, or have the chance to be seen… I really need to talk to her about this. I think I want the next session to be our last… It’s that uncomfortable.

That realization is making me more sad. I think I need to tell her over the phone that the next session needs to be the last… 😦 No matter how bad the depression gets, I can’t handle this being the support structure. I’ll deal through the end of the year. I’ll figure shit out, and if I have to find support elsewhere, I will. I can’t do this though. It triggers too much. I already have strong emotional reactions to her because something about her reminds me of the past. This just complicates things… 😦

Happy Tofurkey Day!

1897012_10152868130329892_2569156459545851216_nHappy Thanksgiving to all my US readers. Happy Thursday to everyone else 😉

I’m trying to not break down in tears. I pushed myself to hang with friends this morning for “Friendsgiving”, which was good. I was able to laugh and be social. I was very ready to head home after about 3 hours however… The best part though (aside of hanging with friends), was that they set out colored pencils with a paper table-cloth so we could doodle. They are big into the Wicked Queen from Snow White, so I drew them an apple… I figured it went with the theme of the day, and with their decor.

Now mom and I made some of our own dinner, so there’s take 2 on food for the day (I swear this is more food than I eat in a week, all crammed into 1 day. Gotta love the tradition of gluttony with the excuse of it being a holiday). Just have to wait for the last of it to be cooked and I sit down for another round of stuffing myself…


It’s just after 9pm, and I find myself cruising Netflix and hulu+ for movies that might trigger tears. The feeling of needing to cry has not left, and now I just want to get it over with. I want the tears to flow and the relief to come. I know even with the growing depression, at least some pressure would be released by crying, but it’s not happening. I can’t seem to let my defenses down long enough or fully enough to let the tears escape (though they threaten at every turn). I really need the relief. I need the break in the intensity of the emotion.

I suddenly don’t know how to cope with all this. I don’t know how to lessen the emotional experiencing right now. The more I think about the implications of some of the BPD diagnosis, the scarier it gets. I keep being reminded that individuals with BPD experience things much more intensely. I keep being reminded that it’s never a matter of lessening the emotional impact of things, but more so learning to deal with it. The prospect of that is terrifying. If I have to keep going through life feeling things this intensely, I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to just learn to ride the crazy waves of emotion. I want to lessen the whole experience.

I’m not sure I can explain the intensity of the emotion. It’s more than just really sad, it’s debilitating. When anger hits hard, it’s more than just anger, it’s blow-out rage. When it’s really happy, it’s really incredibly happy. Yes, there are times when it’s not incredibly intense, but when it crosses that line, it leaps over the line and the next 10 lines after that. It’s like the difference between getting a paper cut and eviscerating yourself… Strong emotions for me are on the self-evisceration end of the spectrum, only I have no idea how to anesthetize myself for it. I know how to turn off the emotions completely, to block feeling them. I know how to put up walls and keep them at bay, but if they start to gush, I have no idea how to lessen the hurt. I have the theories and the intellectual skills, but it doesn’t help the emotions. All the learning in the world makes no sense to my emotional brain, the one that feels every emotion with the intensity of a burn victim. I know DBT and CBT are supposed to help with it all, but it doesn’t translate to the emotional side. It also doesn’t translate well to the kid inside who interprets everything as not doing good enough, not being good enough.

I’ve noticed the old “failure” tape has gotten louder and more insistent of late. It screams over everything. I’ve noticed that I need to apologize to TL when I write to her. I need to find a way to make up for being “less than”. I’ve noticed that I cannot bring myself to easily tell her that I need the weekly appointments even though I really feel like I need them. I feel this need to “be good” and muddle through the two weeks between sessions. I need to do this because I don’t want to disappoint TL. I need to manage within her boundaries, even if they are just my interpretations of her boundaries. I’m aware that a lot of this is a reflection of the transference I feel around her, only I’m not sure if I can or should try to talk to her about it. We have only about 3 sessions left at this point. If I wasn’t about to terminate with her, I might consider addressing all this, but I’m confused about the value of it if we are ending. I guess there would be value in talking about it at least in so much that then I could more easily talk to the new therapist about it (or it may be more easy to spot if I tell her about it? and easier to help navigate it?). I don’t know. I guess I should talk to TL about this. It’s really difficult though. It’s the battle between the old learning (the child inside) and the new learning. I struggle to quiet the child and make her feel safe so I can implement the new learning. It’s most certainly a struggle.

I’m realizing again that TL managed to afford me a measure of balance that I hadn’t found before. I can’t seem to allow myself to attribute the balance to any changes within myself, so I have to call it something with our interactions or how she relates to me… I don’t have enough faith in myself to believe I could accomplish something like that myself, it has to be the other person…

distractions, gifts, and still not allowing myself to talk about what I need to

I have been throwing myself into my art lately because the holidays suck and because TL and I will be terminating soon (by the end of the year). I had hoped to have TL’s piece finished for her by today, but I screwed up part of it and had to re-do it (still waiting on parts of that to dry before I can move ahead with completion). When I went in, I showed her pics of the 2 big pieces I had been working on without telling her that one was for her. Unprompted, she actually said she liked hers a lot and wanted to buy it once I finished it… I told her it wasn’t for sale and she kinda frowned a bit but then went with asking if it was just a piece for myself. I caved and told her it was a gift for her, that’s why it wasn’t for sale (I was going to avoid telling her about it in case she was going to say she can’t accept gifts)… I’m still kinda blown away that she likes it. I mean, I’m glad she likes it because it would suck if I made it for her and she didn’t, but the thought that anyone would want my art hanging in their place is kinda shocking to me… I dunno…

We also spent a bunch of time talking about what it looks like before I crash so I can step in and do something about it. I was trying to explain to her that I’m getting better at figuring out when things are headed south, but I don’t always know what to do about it. She seemed confident that me knowing the signs and then forcing myself to reach out will help soften the blow. I think it would help more if I knew what I was asking for when reaching out…

I don’t see her next week because of the holiday (though she did tell me to call by Thanksgiving if I wanted to schedule something for the day before or the day after). She’s taking that opportunity to drop us to bi-weekly sessions. That gives us 3 more sessions together. I had meant to spend more time today talking about “what’s next” after we terminate, but identifying signs of a crash, and talking about the value of reaching out took up most of our time. Maybe next session I’ll be able to get around to really talking about it. I don’t want to not have therapy at this point, so it would be great if I could switch to someone else in the agency or if she could help me find someone else, but we never manage to talk about that till the very end when we no longer have time. L pointed out that the tapering-off might be as much for her as it is for me (especially with the holidays coming up). :sigh: I dunno. I want to be good and not be too needy, but at the same time I am starting to feel the impending losses (I’m also going to acknowledge that going up north for only a weekend will suck royally. I’m ok not missing L as intensely when we just talk on the phone. I know seeing her in person will ramp that up again. Walls and denial are easier when the emotions you are trying to deny are not thrown in your face. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t miss this trip for the world, but it’s gonna suck a lot when I have to get on the plane to come back without her)… so yeah, next month will be a fun barrage of missing people… I hate that I get so attached to a therapist. I hate that I can’t bring myself to be ok talking to friends and family when stuff is bugging me. and I hate that emotions always feel so overwhelming…

I was really hoping to avoid more loss before the move, but the universe has other plans apparently. 😦

Interesting session yesterday

After last week’s termination conversation, my anxiety was through the roof about yesterday’s session. I don’t do well with the loss of significant people, and TL has become a significant person in my life. She kinda brought it into perspective a bit yesterday though (and it made me feel a bit better about it). She asked why I wouldn’t expect to miss someone I’ve seen weekly for 4 months, and been relatively emotionally intimate with… I don’t think I explained the magnitude of the emotions I feel around this loss, but I guess I feel a bit better about the thought of missing her.
She still didn’t give me a definite time frame for the ending, but she explained the process a bit better. She said she wants me to have more control over the situation, and that she’s not on any specific restriction on ending at the agency, so I really do have more control over it than I would if she were simply ending her hours. I guess she’s slowly transitioning to another job that offers more hours from one agency (instead of her current multiple jobs), but it’s not forcing her to leave completely. It sounds like she will be offering a few of her clients more flexibility around ending.

We also talked about how I was taking things. I was able to admit that I threw up huge walls, and that I wasn’t sure what the point was in trying to tackle other stuff in therapy if I had to end soon anyway. I know part of my trouble with endings lately comes from the association I have with talking about some of the stuff from the past, and never getting beyond a certain point in dealing with it. I think the walls I put up helped me be able to admit so much to TL yesterday. Had I not had so many defenses up, I think I would have gotten lost in the overwhelming emotion around the topics we covered… it’s interesting how sometimes shutting off the emotions is actually more freeing than letting them out (at least it can be if you don’t know how to keep them in check)…

I did forget to point out to her that I don’t think she got my messages though. I had left her one specifically asking her to shred the journal entries I had given her to read last week. She clearly didn’t get it (or chose to ignore it) because she brought them out to go over later in the session. I don’t really mind because part of me had hoped she’d ignore my request. It really is all stuff I need to talk about, I’m just hesitant to talk about it with someone that’s not going to be able to follow up on it again later… Anyway, we kinda addressed it, but I was also really adept at getting her off onto a related tangent so I didn’t need to confirm exactly what we were talking about (I had left it vague in the journals, though I think she may have pieced things together)… we ended up talking shop for a good portion of the session (I swear, it really did connect to the journal stuff. We were trying to figure out what prompted the change in self-harm association and we were trying to narrow it down in time. It happened to change right around the time I went back for my masters, so we talked about that a bit)… Anyway, I didn’t end up having to tell her too much about the shameful parts of the journal… there was also a point when we were talking about something unrelated to much else, but I was hit with a very intense body memory. I couldn’t talk about it though beyond acknowledging that I was very uncomfortable.  I kinda feel bad because I think I startled her. We were talking and suddenly I jumped in my chair because it felt like someone was caressing my side. When she asked what happened, it felt really wrong to talk about it, so I didn’t say anything. I also really just wanted the feeling to stop…  we moved on to other things. I did call her and leave a message on my way home though. I hoped that saying out loud what happened and why I couldn’t talk about it in the moment would lessen the impact of it for the rest of the week. We’ll see if it actually helps (so far the feeling has only come back a few times in the last 18 hours)…

I’m again torn between really wanting to address this stuff in therapy, and wondering what the point of it all is if I’ll only get to talk about it once before moving on to a new therapist. I really wish I had the money to switch agencies (TL mentioned the name of the agency she is moving to, and I might be able to follow her if only I could afford the rates they charge – 10 times what I pay monthly now). I wish I could afford a therapist that I could stick with until I move :/ maybe I’ll ask TL if I could follow her to the new agency, and then figure out how to pay for it all. She totally deserves to get paid for her work, and I really don’t want to switch clinicians again…

falling into the stereotypes (some of my internal processing)

I’m trying to figure something out, sorry if this post doesn’t make much sense…

Since TL mentioned termination last week, I’ve gone back and forth between putting up huge walls, and desperately wanting to talk to her again. As tomorrow’s appointment gets closer, I find myself having that regular anticipation of talking to her and happy to be seeing her because she represents a safe place and has been a relatively safe person to talk to until now. At the same time though, I’m wondering if tomorrow should be the last session because termination sucks and I don’t want to draw it out. Then I’m again bouncing back to ignoring that she brought up termination at all.

I’m confusing myself and not explaining that well… I think I’m stuck between pushing her away and denial of the termination conversation… :/

I want to go see her because she represents a safer person. I want to talk about what this all brought up, but at the same time I feel like trust has been lost and it’s no longer ok to look to her for support with anything beyond logistics of possibly being hooked up with a new therapist. I don’t know how to straighten that out in my head. Not sure how to proceed… I think my hesitation with looking to her for more support comes from knowing that it’s opening myself up again to that horrid feeling of loss and being lost. I don’t like it, I don’t want it. It’s overwhelming and (again) way out of proportion for the relationship. I have so much trouble with changes like this. I really don’t know how to handle it, and I have not been able to address it in therapy yet with any meaningful results (even after so many therapists and so many attempts at tackling all the issues)…

TL wasn’t clear on what exactly the time-frame is. She refused to answer when I asked how long she had left, and she again asked me how long I thought therapy should take… I don’t know for sure if she meant she was leaving next month, or within the next six months. I’m assuming she meant the next month because she had given one month as a reference point twice when asking how much longer I thought therapy should take.

I have a LOT of trouble with loss. She knows this, so I don’t know if she’s trying to ease into the termination conversation, or if we are just trying to tackle the loss issue. The thing is, my thinking went immediately to “f-this. she’s leaving so why bother dragging it out. no more talking, no more trusting. I’m done”. I know this is a cognitive leap, and that I’m throwing up walls without really knowing exactly what’s going on. Sometimes I can recognize this and think more rationally about it. Other times the emotions take over and I’m totally lost. I think that’s playing a huge role in the back-and-forth I have about wanting to talk to her about this more, and wanting to run away. I’m recognizing the diagnoses and history this all plays into/off-of.

I just can’t consistently figure it all out though. I don’t know how to be ok with it. I am not sure I want to take down any of the walls to open myself up to talking about this just to find out that I am right and she is leaving next month. My head goes SO dark if I try to let myself feel anything more or not take this total detachment right now. I don’t want to land back in the hospital. I don’t want to be the stereotype of my diagnoses, but at the same time, I’m finding I’m nothing but that stereotype…

Years ago, my records indicated I was hopeless and will struggle with this forever. As much as I hate the thought of that, I’m afraid they may be right. I think I live in a fantasy world that I can move out of this behavior when this stuff isn’t actively triggering me, but as soon as it’s triggered, I don’t know how else to react. I’m ashamed by it and frustrated beyond belief that I can’t seem to figure this out once and for all. I wish I could find a therapist that I could stick with, and that was consistent with the “you’re not hopeless” stance so they could remind me once in a while, but the way I fall back into all this every time loss comes up I doubt that will ever happen. It’s really crappy. I don’t want to be hopeless, but I think they are right. I think I really am. If I can’t learn to navigate losses, how the hell can I learn anything else? I think some things are just too broken to fix…

Another transition on the horizon

So, TL reminded me that she was leaving the agency eventually. She asked how long I thought therapy should take with one therapist. I didn’t have an answer for her. She reminded me that the agency generally worked with people for 3 months then reassessed, and that I had been there longer than 3 months. She again asked how long I generally expected to stay with one therapist. She seemed to be thinking a month more, as she gave that as a reference point before asking if I thought I would need longer or shorter.

My initial interpretation was that she will be leaving the agency by the new year. A friend suggested that it may just be supervisor pressure to switch up her caseload because of a waiting list they likely have.

I’m not good with change or loss. Granted I expected to only be seeing TL for about 6 weeks before I planned to move, but I didn’t want to have to change again before the move (something I had specifically mentioned both before and during the intake). Now though, that move looks like it is postponed indefinitely…

I had a bit of liquid courage and was able to leave TL a message. I told her I had hoped to find someone that could see me through till I moved, but I understood that, since it was now an open-ended time frame, she would likely not be the person to see me through that. I reminded her trust is really difficult for me, and I asked if she could help me find someone who could provide more consistent support until I finally moved… I also may have admitted that the only reason I was telling her that was because I was tipsy (file that under things you probably should leave out of a voicemail to your therapist…).

Anyway. I again asked her to shred the reading material I had given her before I left. There’s no sense in getting started with it (or revealing any of that to her) if I will not be continuing to work with her. Too vulnerable… I’m also contemplating simply not returning to therapy at all anymore. Financially, I can’t afford a more consistent therapist (aka: not a student), and emotionally I can’t keep switching, so I should just give up till I can get back to Dr C… it’s not the smartest move with all the rampant triggers here, but it may just be the only self-preserving move I can make.

I was very tempted to cancel on TL when I left her the messages. It’s too raw. But I also know I would regret not at least saying goodbye in person, so I guess I’ll just go next week with the intention of not returning anymore after that. I know I asked TL to help me get hooked up with a more consistent source of support, but I don’t want to have to open myself up to that again. Losses are way too hard…

It’s weird, I was just thinking yesterday that so far this thing with TL was going ok, and maybe she proved my theory wrong of people letting you down just as soon as you got around to trusting them (be it leaving, or a betrayal of trust, or whatever). Guess I jinxed it right then…

There’s really been only a handful of people that hadn’t fallen into the “let me down” category (L being one)… To the rest, thanks for proving my need for distance and walls correct.

a safe space for shame

I really miss De sometimes. I miss having someone I trust to talk to (even if it was frustrating at times).  I miss feeling safe with her, knowing that even the really shameful stuff hadn’t changed her opinion of me (she said it hadn’t and I believed her despite what my head was saying at the time).  I miss having a safe space to let out the shameful stuff, because so much is surrounded in shame… I miss being able to write about what was bothering me, and know that she would read it.  We would address stuff as needed, but I was able to communicate in ways other than simply speaking (where I often get tripped-up).  I think I can bring myself to ask for that with TL, but not sure she can accommodate it…

De & I had gotten past the awkward “getting to know you” stage.  We actually did some work.  She heard, read, and held stuff that I had not ever told anyone else.  I felt safe enough with her to take an honest look at what I was getting out of the crisis cycle I tend to fall into. I felt safe enough not only to write it out, but to share it with her.  I learned something from all that shameful sharing… and I got some measure of relief from it.  There’s some weakness with secrets that saps their power when they are shared.

Stuff definitely came up that we didn’t get a chance to cover, or that I didn’t feel finished with, but at least it was safe enough to start on it.  I’m not sure how long it will take to get to a similar point with TL.  I wish I could say that all that shameful and difficult stuff could be set aside until after the move, but it still haunts me.  It’s itching to be addressed. It floats through my head, and comes back as incredibly strong tidal waves of emotion. I don’t know what to do with it at first. It catches me off-guard, and I don’t know what it is while it’s happening.  I’m getting better at identifying it in hindsight though.  Sadly, that doesn’t help in the moment. I still get bowled over and sent flailing when it happens (case in point, last night with TL).

So yeah, I miss De a lot. I wonder how she is doing, and if she likes her new job, or if she regrets her change in focus. I wonder if I’ll ever bump into her before I leave the state (doubtful, since I don’t often go downtown). I wonder if she’s happy to not have to deal with me anymore.  I feel like such a bother so much of the time.  I’m sure there’s a measure of relief for her.

It’s weird, because I have never really missed a therapist this much.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt this type of transference, and to this degree… well, scrap that, maybe with JJ & JF way back in the day… but that was easily 15 years ago.  I haven’t felt this way about a therapist in a long, long time.  J (couple’s therapist) was different. There was a very definite sexual attraction (on both L & I’s ends) because she’s a really attractive, confident, and personable woman.  I know that even L’s therapist had said that most people were attracted to J not only for her looks but her personality.  She has this air about her that draws people in, and they want to spend time with her.  So yeah, the transference with J was very different.  The stuff with De was more parental, then changed to younger sibling.  I went from her feeling like a safe care-taker, to feeling like a safe person I wanted to take care of. And it has not faded yet. I’m desperately searching for that safe base again. I wish it was easier to find.  I wish the places I looked for it didn’t trigger me so heavily… ugh! it’s all so frustrating.

I really want to be ok trusting TL.  I want her to turn out to be someone I can work with while I’m still here. I’m tired of simply biding my time.  I hate the flashbacks and the anxiety and the depression. I hate the struggles with the urges to self-destruct.  I need to get over them.  I’m sure it won’t happen completely in the time I have with her (it hadn’t happened in all these years of therapy, why would now be different?), but I need to try.  I think opening the door on some of that stuff with De increased the urgency I feel in needing to address it.  I was looking through my entries to De, and I think there’s a more recent one that I really want to share with TL because it explains so much of what’s going on right now for me (or at least the motivations behind all of this).  I just hope I can gather the courage to not only go back, but to also read it to her.  It’s a giant package of embarrassment wrapped in shame and padded with guilt.  If I can get past all the defenses around it, I think it would be really good to attend to it.  I just need to find the courage to face it with TL (again, that urgency to talk about all this stuff.  I don’t know if it comes from the deadline to our work together, or from knowing that I have carried it for so long). I really need to share it and look at it for a change.  I had shared it with De, but we didn’t exactly do anything with it other than me answer a few of the questions she had… and then we got into some details about where the roots of those feelings might lay, and it morphed into dealing with the memories and feelings admitting all that stuff brought up, instead of addressing what was written).

I feel like if I could find the courage to tell TL that stuff also, we could look at it, and maybe help me break out of this really self-defeating spiral I tend to get caught in.  I’m a believer in the idea that stuff comes up when you are finally ready to deal with it (well, at least when it comes to insight into behaviors).  I think I’m ready to deal with this, but I need to do it now, immediately, or I will lose the motivation.  At least, that’s the way it feels.  And I really need to know I can share it with another human being, talk about it openly, and not be overtly judged for it.  I know even the best clinicians have initial judgements, but it’s what they do with them, and how they deal with them that allows for a feeling of safety.  I know I jump to conclusions and judgements about others, but I am able to talk myself into a point of greater understanding and empathy after that impulse thought… would be great if I could put that to work for myself also.  Someone recently reminded me that we can be our worst enemies much of the time.  I know I certainly am one of my biggest critics at this point, and I judge myself infinitely harder that I would any other person on this planet.  It’s not because I have to be held to higher standers out of any inkling of “betterness”, but because I am so far below every other being on the planet that I must have higher standards if I am ever to even remotely get close to “normal, deserving human being” status… it’s something I hope to one day be able to work on successfully in therapy.  I know there have been times in the past that I was not this hard on myself, but those are hard to come by.  My default always seems to be self-deprecation and worthlessness to an intense degree.  De had pointed it out to me one session. She reminded me that I tend to get to a point of such all-encompassing worthlessness when I hit bumps in the road, it will take a lot of work to leave it behind.  She’s right.  I get there hard and fast at the slightest sign of stress.  I’m sure it hinders therapy often…

Anyway, I totally got side-tracked here.  My brain is slowly turning to mush at the moment, so I need to sign off.  I’m wholly impressed if you made it through all that.  I may have to come up with an award for that accomplishment. Maybe the “I can follow SJ’s rambling and tiresome posts” award… hmm…

That went by way too fast

She said some things and I wanted to ask what she meant by them, but I couldn’t. And I wasn’t able to really say what I wanted to… shit. This sucks. And now we are done. And that’s it. So this is weird. And I don’t know if I can drive right now, so I’m just sitting in the parking lot. I needed to cry, but I didn’t let myself, and now I can’t because I don’t have tissues in the car, and I need to see if I want to be able to drive… shit. Yeah. This sucks… that went by way too fast.


I ended up going to the beach down the road from her office. It took me a while to settle on actually getting out of the car, but I’m glad I did. I sat for a while and watched the water. I was also able to write out some of what I had wanted to say to her and post it on the blog I had for her. I left a message asking her to read it. Having been able to say more than what I had in session really helped lift the weight. It gave me the goodbye I desperately wanted to be able to express, and it brought closure on my end. I still wish it wasn’t goodbye, but at least it doesn’t feel as awful as it has when I left her office earlier. I’m sure I’ll cry about it again, and it won’t be all sunshine and rainbows, but at least this loss had closure.
I know why most therapists will not become friends with clients after termination, but I think I would have liked to hang out with De on that level. J would have been a fun friend also. I know I’m capable of that shift in relationship because I’ve done it before (actually still friends with my first therapist from high school, and we have a balanced friendship), but I also know that this one would have been awkward. I would feel the need to protect her from anything that could ever go wrong. I think today the transference switched from parental to sibling… maybe I’ll bump into her again before I move, maybe not, but I hope she does well in life.

It’s so heavy

It’s unrelenting and crushing. The only break I get is maybe an hour after I wake up, but that is only if I have peaceful sleep (rare these days). The more I’m awake, the worse it gets.

I need to get through these next 2.5 weeks so I can properly say goodbye to De. Then I need a new plan…

Therapy today

I saw De this afternoon,  and it was a good session. I was able to talk about some stuff (well, acknowledge some stuff, we didn’t talk in-depth about too much). I was able to tell her that I was having trouble with writing my story as hers, and that I thought I needed to talk more about my story. She confirmed that it wasn’t the same story. She was really gentle about it, and I’m really glad she didn’t make me feel like an ass for admitting that I felt like I burnt her out. She talked about the turn-over rate at the agency, and how long she had been there. She reassured me I was not the reason she was leaving, but that the cumulative effect of working there for the last handful of years has taken its toll. We compared notes on burn-out rates for various concentrations in the field. I noticed again the weight was gone from her. I told her I thought it would be a good idea for me to find another therapist for the gap between our termination and my move. She agreed. We brainstormed a few ideas, and she asked how likely I was to be able to make some calls between today and Friday. We agreed that proactive is good, and that what I’m looking for is pretty restrictive in terms of choices (someone who either can take my useless state insurance, or someone who has a sliding scale; someone without a huge waiting list; someone who can be consistent through the time I move; someone with more availability than once a week). She brought up the idea of a php again, which I would totally be open to,  but I don’t qualify for either of the two that take my insurance. We even contemplated me lying about taking meds just so I could get the support I need.  She said she will think more about it, but that maybe we can create a “php-type” structure that involved frequent contact with a professional, but also gave me some structure. I hope we can come up with something. I know that type of stuff helps me a lot.
The session was over before I knew it. There’s still a lot weighing on me, but at least this one felt productive on more than one front. I see her again on Friday.  On the way home,  I placed the two requests for information she had asked me to make. Now it’s just a matter of hearing back from them… I would feel better knowing I’m not totally on my own when we are done.
Changes are hard.  Goodbyes are really hard, and loss feels like an enormous black hole in my heart…  I wish I knew how to work through it.  I guess that’ll be a topic for another therapist…

What’s more pressing today?

I have an appointment with De later today. We were supposed to tackle some Duckboy stuff, but I’m not sure if I need to process what’s been plaguing me all weekend first, or if I should take about the Duckboy stuff.  I think, if I want to get some relief from my head, I need to start with all of this mess.  I can worry about the Duckboy stuff Friday or next week.  I don’t think I’d at all be useful in tackling that stuff right now with everything else in my head… this termination brought up so much other stuff on top of the normal loss that comes up for me.

moving through

I’m still in a fog, and not quite sure what to do about it.  I can finally talk about ending therapy with De without bursting into tears immediately.  Remembering that it’s the emotions from more than one loss is helpful.  It doesn’t make it all better, but the mantra tones it down some.  I’m trying to reign in the feelings that equate this to a death.  I know where those stem from, and I’m reminding myself of that every moment…

I’m trying not to write my experience over hers.  I’m trying not to create a story around why she is leaving without knowing the full details.  But my head has other ideas.  It’s playing my story over her’s. It’s making me feel guilty, which amplifies my feelings of abandonment, which makes me feel more guilty, which intensifies the loss… and it’s an ever-faster circle of thoughts of which I’m trying to rationalize my way out. I can hear De saying this is a train of thought I need to get off.  The problem is, I’m having trouble catching my breath long enough to talk my way out of it.  I worry that this is how I made my clients feel (or I made them feel worse, which would really, really suck) when I disappeared on them without warning.  At the beginning of my crash in 2010 (which lasted through 2011), I was still seeing individual clients at the domestic violence shelter.  One week (with no notice), I simply did not show up for them.  I had landed myself in the hospital for self harm or severe depression, or something like that, and had my wife call me out of work (or maybe I called myself out from the emergency room, I don’t quite remember).  My supervisor was only told that I was at the emergency room, and not expected back for at least a week, but I would let them know.  It must have been me that called out, because I had to give them my list of appointments for the week so that they could cancel them.  I don’t think I went back right away upon discharge, but maybe I did.  I did not see any clients though, because they had been cancelled pending my return to be able to re-schedule them.  I lasted maybe a day and a half before I walked into my clinical director’s office for spontaneous supervision (I think I scared her because I remember being quite blank and subdued, much different from my presentation prior to my spiral).  I admitted to her I was overwhelmed and highly triggered by one client in particular, but also the whole concept of working in domestic violence.  We agreed that my clients would get transferred to another clinician, and I would concentrate on office work.  I left messages for my clients with instructions to call my supervisor for their new contacts. I did not tell them my real reasons for transferring them, but I did not offer a termination session either.  I feel like I cheated them out of closure (something I value very highly), but I would not have been effective even for that last session.  So the guilt weighs heavy on me.  In the moment, I know how shitty it feels with appropriate termination, it must have felt much worse without it (actually, I know it feels much worse without it.  I didn’t have that opportunity with D and with some other therapists in the past).

The more I sit with it, the more things I can pinpoint as playing a part in my reaction this time around.  I feel guilt at my failures as a provider and support for my clients.  I feel the loss of closure-less endings from both the side of a clinician and a client.  I’m feeling the shock of a sudden loss.  I’m reminded of all the other losses from the past (deaths, endings to relationships, moves, loss of sentimental objects, my failure as a human being… Yeah, I know that last one seems like a huge leap, and it likely is, but my head goes there.  I fail at finances, at life, at caring for people and animals, at all my dreams. I have not found anything that I enjoy but am also good at.  The critical part of me denies even “being” anything at all).  I have trouble pulling out of this right now.  I know I’m being harsh, but it’s the only thing that is keeping me from crumbling under the weight of all this compiled loss.  I can handle criticism.  I know what to do with it.  I can’t handle the loss, so I take the lesser of the two evils.

My fear of sobbing in front of De yesterday brought up the memory of being as disproportionately crushed by the sudden death of a classmate in high school.  He actually no longer attended my school at the time of his death during sophomore year, but we were a small incoming class the year before (maybe 100 students in the whole freshman class) and had all grown at least familiar with each other. The news of his death hit our class hard.  It hit me harder because I had lost my aunt a few months ago at the start of the summer. I wailed at his memorial service. I made everyone uncomfortable, but I couldn’t will my legs to move when my teacher suggested my friend accompany me to the bathroom or guidance office.  I just shook my head and cried uncontrollably.  I didn’t think I could have walked without collapsing to the floor.  I heard my classmates comment and disapprove.  I saw my teacher’s reaction, but I could do nothing except cry hysterically in my seat.  I think that experience plays loudly into my shame at crying right now, at my overly intense reaction to De’s departure… Crying is bad enough when Skeletor threatens death if you don’t stop; add to it humiliation and disapproval of everyone around you and it cements that experience into your soul…

Anyway, yeah, I’m trying to gain more insight around all this in an effort to move through it.  I’m trying to decide how much of this I should try to process with De, and how much I need to just deal with myself.  I’m at once trying to balance pulling away so I can convince myself I will be fine after she is gone (to keep the hurt a step removed), and processing what I can so I am not left hypothesizing.  I want to know that (maybe) I’m just reading too much into all this, and maybe her story is not as close to mine as I think (I hope it’s not as close to mine as I think, because it means someone else is hurting like this)…

Ok, time to take a breath and step away from this for now because it’s getting overwhelming again. Need to keep moving through this without getting trapped…

Loss in any form is difficult, especially when you have not dealt with the past ones yet.

So I’ve had a few hours to sit with the concept of De leaving the agency.  I had cried about it (yup, actual tears spilling down my face. Not just tearing up, but real crying complete with gross boogers).  I was somewhat able to “talk” to L about it.  I have thought about it, and processed it, and moved past the anger (it was fleeting).  I’m in a weird flat place right now. If I think too hard or too long about it, I will cry again (have I mentioned I hate crying?).  So I’m concentrating on little things.  I’m concentrating on typing my words correctly (I’m sure there will be many mistakes, and I suck at proof-reading, always have).  I’m concentrating on keeping the dogs from going nuts because they are tired and want to get to bed.  I am taking breaks to take them outside one by one so I can finally put the boys to sleep.  I was concentrating on listening to my mom as she talked about how we may go about fixing the fridge.  I’m concentrating on the decision-making process of whether or not to start into Game of Thrones again tonight, or go with something easier, like Orange is the New Black, or Grey’s Anatomy or Dexter.  I’m concentrating on wanting to find a way to express myself either through art or writing, but certainly no more crying.

I’ve been able to formulate and articulate to L that this overwhelming loss I feel at the termination with De is really the compilation of losses that I have yet to deal with.  It goes back decades.  It’s disproportionate to the relationship because it is so much more than just this one relationship. It’s the loss of friends and family and memories and innocence.  It’s the loss of supports and home-bases.  It’s the loss of a sense of security.  And it’s the premature loss of someone I had expected to lose, but managed to trust anyway.  I am not good with loss.  I never have been.  Sure I can smile through changes, but the tears always glisten in my eyes.  This time they broke free.  I don’t know if was because of how worn-down I feel lately, the creeping depression, or the fact that De was the first (only) person to hear some really heavy stuff. I was prepared to walk away from this relationship at the time of my move.  I was expecting it to help keep me balanced as my stress rose.  Just last week I had asked her for more support.  This week it’s all going away much faster than I had thought.  It’s pointless to try to find another therapist for those last 6 weeks, so I guess I will have to just figure it out on my own (though I am toying with the idea of trying to get a referral to someone for those 6 weeks)… I know it will be ok, because it always is in the end, but right now it feels really shitty.

When she first told me, I couldn’t exactly speak. I was too busy trying to hold back the tears and the sobbing because I knew it was disproportionate to the situation.  My tears didn’t listen to my insistence.  They spilled down my cheeks anyway.  When she asked me to articulate what was going through my head at the moment, all I could muster was a half-whispered “whatever” through clenched teeth.  I was afraid that if I opened my mouth more than that to speak, I would either sob uncontrollably and loudly, or I would speak out of my fear-driven (and old) anger.  She challenged my “whatever” by saying that she knew this was hard for me, and she knew it wasn’t “whatever”.  All I could do was shake my head as more tears streamed down my face.  I couldn’t look at her, so I looked everywhere else in the office and just repeated “whatever” one more time.  We sat in silence for a bit longer as I looked everywhere but where she was sitting.  More rogue tears.  She asked if I could tell her what I was thinking, if self-harm urges came up.  I realised then that my head was frantically backpedaling in an attempt to halt all thought (much like pedaling backward on a BMX bike to brake).  There was a forced-stillness in my head.  Conscious thoughts had stopped.  All efforts were being diverted to stave off any melt-down beyond what had happened.  It struck me as odd that there were no self-harm thoughts or suicidal thoughts.  There just were no thoughts.  She eased into a verbal safety contract, and was able to joke around it, which helped pull me back into the room and back to functioning. When I stumbled over concepts as I tried to agree to what she was asking, she helped out by saying “Whatever you need to agree to to get back here in one piece next week is what we are going to agree to”.  In the past, she had always wanted specifics, but I don’t think I could have given those to her in the moment.  I think I recognized a bit of freedom in that change (and I think I just now recognized how the weight was off her this session.  It was familiar in that I had felt it after I had given notice at the group home, but still had to deal with the kids for 2 more weeks. I no longer cared about the strict rules of etiquette because I was leaving soon. I was able to be more genuine, and the girls had picked up on it with me.  I think that’s what I felt from De today.  It was a freedom from the pressure to be “perfect” in the role… It’s funny how some guidelines are in place to help us do our jobs better, but in the end we are burdened with the pressure to stay within the boundaries – we lose our genuineness…) but I digress.  We chatted about other things for the remainder of the session. She had asked something about letting “us” know if I ever figured out a way to apply my knowledge-base in psych to myself.  I think she was going to go somewhere else with that, but she stopped herself.  I talked about my complete inability to have access to both my emotional and intellectual sides at the same moment.  We talked about this blog, and how it had been born of the idea of being able to look at all of it over time (the more professional side of me when I am in a more emotional space, and the more emotional side of me when I am locked in professional mode).  I told her about an early entry on the concept of  “attention-seeking” and how it is not always as sinister-ly manipulative as the field makes it out to be…  I kept a close eye on the clock because I had brought my Wreck This Journal with me to show her.  With about 5 minutes left, I changed the topic to that.  She always seems genuinely interested in what I bring in, but this time there was something else again.  I showed her the piece with the prompt to “make a paper chain“.  She seemed excited about it.  It was weird because the excitement was different… I’m not sure how to describe it.  She said something along the lines of wishing she could show it to other people because it conveyed so much more than just words could. The way she said it made me feel like she was trying to make a point to someone.  I had wanted to tell her she could (I may have imagined it, but it looked like she was ready to get up and walk out of her office with the book. She scootched forward in her chair as she had said that about showing it to others), but I was caught off guard.  The words “you could” spun around in circles in my brain, but never made it to my tongue… We moved on to scheduling after she looked a bit more at my book.  She pondered the best way to fit in the second appointment.  I put my vote in for Tuesday & Friday citing my “OCD-ish tendencies” for wanting to space out the days a bit more. She actually laughed and said she prefered that for the same reason (more genuine-ness).  So I will be seeing her twice a week for the next few weeks until she leaves.  We will be figuring out the content of our sessions as we go.  She checked-in about the possibility of doing more Duckboy work on Tuesday, and would I be ok if she sprung it on me that day.  I told her I was open to whatever, but that I needed her to lead if it was the Duckboy stuff because I feel totally lost on what to do with it.  I think she was still deciding on how to approach Tuesday.  There are a lot of days between now and Tuesday, so my opinion may change, but for now I’m ok with pushing the assault topics.  I guess it depends on how far I get with this internal processing of her leaving instead of me leaving.  I may decide by Tuesday tha I really need to talk to her about some of this stuff and whatever else it will bring up.