Therapy last week. Ugh. It was hard. Monday sucked. I didn’t want to go, I didn’t want to talk through my long letter. When I got there, I talked about Kat, and hubby, and tried to avoid talking about real things. Bea wasn’t going to let that happen, though. She looked at the clock, in an obvious way, then looking at me, said, “We really need to talk about your letter, and I want to make sure we have time for that. I should get it out now.”
I looked at her, and it was the teen that responded, flippantly “So, we’re doing this now?”
Bea nodded yes, and I covered my face, but found I didn’t need to hide. I’d walked in numb, and was only growing more and more numb and gone now that we were going to talk about real things.
I honestly don’t remember much of what we talked about. I remember her telling me that the amount of food I’d written down— really, I’d been freaking out over how badly I had been binging– wasn’t surprising to her, because she was sure she has at times eaten 53 French fries, or 17 mini Reese’s eggs. I couldn’t really let that sink in, but I think some of the shame around my eating was lessened, at least in terms of Bea.
I remember her going through where she had been, what was going on, each time she responded to my emails. She shared that she enjoys hearing from me, even while on vacation, but that she should have written a disclaimer that she wasn’t as available as usual (like emotionally available). I remember feeling sort of hurt during this conversation, and telling her that I am aware that if she is on vacation, her responses my be shorter, or not as there, or whatever. I’m aware of that, and I get it, and it’s usually– has almost always been– fine. Except this time. This time was different because of Kay, and Rory was on vacation, too, and hubby is, well, hubby. I told her this, and she said, “I know. And I remember thinking that I hoped you weren’t as alone as you sounded, but also that you really were all alone right then. That made me so sad for you. You’ve been alone long enough. But there was nothing I could really do to help right then.”
I nodded. “So you sent me strategy, and ideas, and tried to….well…it was shrinky.” She nodded agreement, maybe said something. I’m not sure. It seemed like sometime had passed when I said, “I wish you would have just written that you could feel how alone I was right then. That would have been better, it would have felt better than what you wrote.”
“It would have validated your feelings, and the situation. It would have been honest. I didn’t write that because it didn’t seem helpful, and I did want to help.”
“You could have reminded me that you would be back, and so would Rory, that this alone-ness wouldn’t be forever. That it’s not the same as my past.” I told her. And she agreed. She said she should have, and she was sorry, and that in the future she would just be honest.
She talked about how everything happening made sense to her, after Kay shut me out, and my other two supports ‘left’. She said it was okay. We talked about my craziness, the way I over think and freak myself out. I remember she said that is why some therapists won’t email, because things get lost in the written word with no facial expressions or body language to cue is into the meaning behind the words.
“No….that’s not it. I do it all the time, email, talking face to face, texting. It doesn’t matter. I overthink and freak out, but I hide it.” I remember really wanting to make it clear to her that it wasn’t just an email thing. Even though I hadn’t wanted to send an email recently, I was very afraid she was about to set a boundary telling me no more emails.
Bea surprised me, though. “I think email can be helpful for some people between sessions. So often, with this kind of work, it’s the days after therapy that things come up, that you process what we talked about. And if you can email it, and work through it a little bit instead of having to wait, because so much is always coming up, then it’s a good thing. And it doesn’t bother me one bit. I have time to be available. My kids aren’t at home anymore, and I work for myself. So I have much more availability than a lot of therapists, and I like hearing how you are, and what is coming up. I don’t have many people who need to email, and no one takes advantage of it, so I’m fine with emailing.” I breathed a sigh of relief at her words.
I remember she talked about control, and how I feel about not being in control. I don’t remember the specific, though. That was a tough conversation, and I was really far away. She asked a few times if I was here, and each time Miss Perfect snapped to attention, smiling and saying I was okay, I was present enough. Finally, Bea stopped asking, and simply said, “You aren’t here.” She offered up some grounding suggestions, and I rejected every last one of them.
“What’s happening right now? Where is your focus, where are you shining the flashlight?” She asked.
“I don’t know. I want….. I don’t really want to be more here. I just…..I want to not feel. I don’t want to focus on the present.” I finally said, completely honest.
I think we talked a bit more. But I’m not sure. As I was leaving, Bea gave me homework: to try to pay attention to where I was shining the flashlight. And then, I left, sad and not as connected as I had wanted to feel.