I return to therapy shortly, after a break of almost six weeks. During the last few weeks I have wondered, countless times, what that first session back will be like. My feelings about it have changed, many times. During the first couple of weeks of the break, when I started to see how much things had changed since this time last year, and the ‘progress’ I had made; when I was feeling overwhelmed by that progress, and even scared and resentful of it – I felt a like this:
Cats know how to show you when they have a bone to pick with you – perhaps because you have left them alone for too long, or have not let them sleep on your bed – and sitting with their backs to you can be effective sign of displeasure! I have managed to stay feeling connected to my therapist during this break, and I have continued to believe in her caring. In an email to me she also noted the contrast with this time last year, when part of me had seen her as the ‘bad therapist’ who had abandoned me and had ceased to think of me. Nevertheless, as a large part of and contributor to that progress that I have been making, I did ‘blame’ her to some degree for how that made me feel. I was hugely grateful to her, and still am, for everything that we have achieved – but she wasn’t there to help me to deal with my fear of change, and in as much as she was clearly helping me, she was also leading me to a place which ultimately involved being without her. And part of me resented her for that.
As the weeks wore on and I started to cling onto the idea of her even more strongly, I allowed myself to feel more confidence and excitement about seeing her again; being close to her; exploring my ‘surroundings’ with her.
But the closer the end of the break came, the more my anxieties started to manifest in my dreams.
Dreams about not being wanted and being frozen out. Dreams about missing the start of sessions and turning up late. Dreams about running out of time or running out of space. Dreams of being in a room with her but feeling very far away; of being with her but then losing her and running through corridors in great distress, calling out her name and trying to find her again. Dreams about inclement weather – torrential rain, tornados, snow. Dreams about trying desperately to hold onto something.
And over the last few days, with less than a week to go, I feel very alone. I’m trying not to, because nothing’s changed.
She’s still there, and I know that she still cares. But it feels somehow harder to hold onto that – perhaps because I know I will have confirmation of her presence very soon. Or perhaps because at the start of the break I almost felt as if my survival depended on ‘keeping her alive’, but now that she’s within arm’s reach, I know that she will catch me if (or rather when) I stumble. On the one hand I feel ‘boxed in’ by life – helpless and powerless. At the same time I feel surrounded by empty space – and just hope that it doesn’t feel that way when we are finally face to face in a matter of hours.
[As you might have guessed, and despite the last photo, I am definitely a ‘cat person’!]