When I returned to therapy last month after a short one week break, it was with a sense of excitement to be able to talk to my therapist about how things had been, and a sense of safety and relief at being ‘home’ again. I’m returning to therapy in a couple of days, after my therapist’s four week summer break, and it’s with the knowledge that this has been the worst break for a while. I’m nervous, afraid, in need of reassurance, low and sad – in that sense, we will be picking up from how things were for several weeks leading up to the break. It was a tough summer of sessions, with a horrendous ‘muddle’ (as my therapist called it – rupture, in other words) back in June. I muddled through after that, but I don’t think I fully recovered. And my big worry, of course, is that in some sense, perhaps neither did she, or our relationship.
In these last few days before I go back, I’ve been trying hard to ‘give myself a talking to’, to clear my head of all the scare-mongering, worrying, and self-critical thinking, and to remind myself of the good sessions that we had in the run up to the break, and the close moments; but much more than that, of the fact that this is a four year relationship with a history and a solid basis , with deep trust and genuine caring, that doesn’t just get wiped out or set back by a few difficult months, or the seemingly real fears in my head. It’s what I should have been doing for the last four weeks, not just the last four days. But I didn’t. And I was in a bad place. And I can put part of the blame on lots of things, some of them external, and others also external but more within my control. But I did not exercise control – over what I read, or allowed to influence my thoughts. I made poor choices, or no choices. I didn’t feel very much, because I was completely overwhelmed by feeling too much – too much filthy, contaminating, miring, all-consuming unhappiness and hopelessness; unhappiness that covered so much ground it ate up everything else. Unhappiness born of being unreconciled – to myself, and to my past, present, and future.
‘There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life, every one of them sufficient’ – this was by far the most challenging thing I read during the break. There were many more that were far more depressing, but even this challenge, rather than becoming an inspiration, turned into a self-judgment – a pinnacle I couldn’t scale, a personal quality I was too flawed to possess. In a book full of challenging passages on humility, forgiveness, vulnerability – this was the one that hit me hardest at the time. There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life; yet during the last four weeks only one of them seemed sufficient – my children.
I think what I have learned during the last four weeks, from a range of different sources, is that it’s hard to be reconciled – to yourself, to others, and to your circumstances – when you are under judgment – your own, and the perceived judgment of others. If you pray – as autumn approaches, pray for me that like the trees, I will be able to let things go. I don’t want to be or to feel under judgment. I want to be reconciled – I want to feel at home.
[Quote is from ‘Gilead’, by Marilynne Robinson, the first book in a trilogy, with the other two being ‘Home’ and ‘Lila’.]
September 17, 2017 at 4:46 am
Hear hear….my week too….and the only thing i live for is my children too. Soon, i feel will be the end. My therapist can’t help either because i ruin things with her. Feeling sad….but feeling hopeful that death will be victory.
September 17, 2017 at 10:13 pm
Suzuki, it may be the only thing, but it IS sufficient. Please hold on, and please please talk to someone. You would not be around for your ‘victory’ and it would not be a victory for your children. I am not trying to make you feel guilty for any decision contemplated or made – just asking you to think again, hold on, and talk this through with someone, whether someone you know or someone at an organisation like the Samaritans. I know you have expressed similar thoughts on other blogs, and I hope you are receiving similar encouragement there, and that you can see we want you stick around. Please take care x
September 17, 2017 at 9:39 am
I’m sorry you’ve been having such a difficult time. Do you and your therapist ever use CBT, DBT or any of those other therapeutic tools?
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September 17, 2017 at 10:08 pm
Thank you xx Not explicitly, but I think she does mix a few things in. She’s a psychoanalytic psychotherapist…..
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September 19, 2017 at 11:20 am
As your comment to Suzuki stated, finding one reason is sufficient. Others are likely to follow and, as you’ve suggested, your relationship with your therapist wasn’t built in a day and won’t likely collapse in a day. I’m hoping things are getting better.
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