Indecision is not something that I tend to struggle with, except for in one aspect of my life: therapy. You all saw that coming, right? The therapeutic relationship and therapy is something I second guess myself about ALL THE TIME! I have a running internal monologue when I think (obsess) about therapy: Should I say this? What would happen if I do that? What will she think if I…? If I ask her for ‘x’ will she ‘y’? Do I need a new therapist? How can I get past this? Why is this so difficult? Does she care? Blah blah blah.
After a week where I have done a great deal of mental to-ing and fro-ing about what I was going to speak about in tomorrow’s session and struggling to get down to writing some prompts to help me talk about what I need to (we’re still not anywhere close to over the rupture from a few weeks ago) it turns out that most of the angst and ache has been completely unnecessary because I can’t now go to session tomorrow.
My house has been like some kind of vomit factory this weekend #thejoyofkids and I’ve spent a significant amount of time clearing up sick off the bathroom floor and disinfecting everything x100. Fortunately I’ve only been sick a couple of times but am now very reluctant to put anything in my mouth for fear of throwing it back up again.
There’s a bit of an irony there, because at the end of my last post I was wittering on about what my next session might be like. There was the teen acting up wanting to cancel through sheer frustration but also the acknowledgement that the young attach parts needed to go:
It’s unlikely to be anything near to what I need (holding, proximity, emotional attunement and containment) because I won’t tell my therapist what I need because my inner child is so scared right now since the rupture that it’s gone into hiding and I have quickly entered a dissociated state once I’m there… and so there’s a part of me that feels like cancelling….but another part that won’t because there’s that tiny flicker of hope that that 50 minute session will help turn off some of the plugs just for moment and help me recharge my batteries.
As much as I have been anxious about what tomorrow’s session might be like there was also a part of me that desperately wanted to go. The last session we had was difficult (again) I had started with migraine symptoms midway through (having had one earlier in the week). My therapist had asked me if I would like her to try something with her moving her fingers slowly up and down – apparently vertical eye movements can help alleviate symptoms (who knew?!).
She moved from her chair onto a stool which was about half the usual distance from where she usually is. I always feel like she is a million miles away, even though it’s probably less than two metres between our chairs and so her moving closer to me felt massive and my body had a huge response to it.
Part of me loved having her within touching distance and part of me knew that whilst she might be ‘within touching distance’ I still couldn’t touch her. The child parts basically fell apart inside. The desire for physical proximity and holding was so strong that I started crying. I felt so sad. When she’d finished doing the eye thing she moved back to her regular chair and then I went completely numb. I felt like I had been abandoned.
Who would’ve imagined that something as small as moving a metre in the room could have such a profound effect?
I really struggled to pull myself out of my protected silent space. Part of me wanted to ask her to sit back on the other chair and part of me just wanted to die of shame and embarrassment for needing that. I couldn’t tell her what had just happened. I didn’t want to be so exposed and vulnerable because I was still on edge about the previous session…and the therapy break.
I found some kind of inner strength towards the end of the session and asked her if she had been cross with me in that session. I’d been sitting on that question all session! I know, it’s not exactly enormous is it? But I am often frightened of asking questions because I am not sure I really want the answer and in this case it was the little ones who were asking.
I’d felt that the last session had been off. I think it was always going to be tricky coming back after the therapy break and the text debacle/nightmare but it had felt particularly distant and all I could think of was that she was cross with me/the little ones for reaching out to her and expressing so much need.
My therapist’s initial reaction was ‘cross with you? No? Why? When did you feel like that?’ I explained that I had felt there was something off for the whole session. Then she said she wasn’t angry or cross but that she hadn’t liked reading the blog post that she’d read before I had arrived. I said ‘I didn’t think you would’ and we laughed. She explained what she had found difficult in the post and basically said that she didn’t want to read any more posts because she doesn’t need to be ‘masochistic’. So, perhaps that post hit a nerve?!
I asked her why she hadn’t felt able to tell me any of this last week, and she said maybe she’d ‘chickened out’. Which actually made me smile inside. She is human after all! haha. Although that’s just a snippet of the conversation what I will say is that the nature of the conversation felt different to what we’ve had before. I felt like she was really talking to me as ‘her’ not hiding behind the therapist persona.
I came away feeling more optimistic than I have in a while. Like there was something to build on….i.e I needed/wanted to tell her about the issue with proximity and the seating, and the feelings that get evoked about ‘no touch’, the need to work more relationally and directly with the young parts, how disappointed I’ve felt about not getting anywhere with the pebbles/transitional object, and tell her that I’d been to see another therapist to try and help me work out what I needed in therapy and how to get through the rupture. Eeek.
So there we are – some big stuff…and then my children conspired against me and had a sick fest. Whilst they are fine now they won’t be able to go to school until Tuesday – 48 hours clear and all that and so I can’t go to therapy tomorrow even if I wanted to.
So that leaves me with today’s quandary: should I ask for a Skype session tomorrow?
I already text my therapist yesterday morning to tell her I may not be able to make it as that’s her cancellation policy. I literally do not have a clue what to do for the best. We’ve done a Skype session before and whilst it wasn’t my preferred method of conducting therapy, it wasn’t totally dire either.
I’m torn. I know I was fixed in my adult and didn’t dissociate in the Skype session. And maybe that’s what I need, an untriggered adult conversation about moving forward together. Maybe if we are not in the same space I’ll feel more able to express the concerns I have and the things that have been bothering me?
I’d like to think that’s how it would be, but I am aware that I might just small talk my way through the 50 minutes. Not connect. Feel cut off and distant. And then feel bereft all week and as though the whole thing is a waste of time.
I can’t afford to find myself in that activated/distressed place where the attachment pain is rife and I’m left with it until the next session. I’m not sure how to avoid that eventuality: Skype or cancel the session until next week?
I don’t know what to do for the best. Which part do I listen to? The one that would walk over hot coals to have contact with my therapist, or the one that fears that a Skype session might send everything spiralling?
I hate indecision!
I think this is so relatable when you’re in a tough place with your therapist. Therapy is meant to help, yet the fear of being left with raw attachment panic for a week if the session goes wrong is unbearable and once you’re calm it seems easier to stay away, especially when then it’s a whole week until the next one, I applaud you!
I often hesitate over whether or not to cancel. My attach parts always win in the end though and I don’t think I ever have cancelled when it comes to it. But just look after yourself. There is time if you give it a miss. I know all too well that Skype can be a bit hit and miss but I totally agree that it’s easier to stay ‘adult’ over Skype and that could be really productive for you this week. Anyway, let us know what you decide! So many sickness bugs going round, I’ve been ill for nearly 2 months..! What a world eh. Sending healing vibes to you and the kids, and some special immune system boosting ones to boot (if only I had such powers!) 🙃 x
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Thanks lovely. I wish there was a magic wand to boost immune systems – I’m so bored of being ill. It takes its toll doesn’t it?! Hope you feel better soon. I’m four months into a virus that seems to mutate every other week and I’m starting to lose my mind with it!🤪
I still have no idea what to do today. I have to make a decision in the next hour! There’s a part that is strongly resisting and a part that is having a sulk that I can’t be there in person. Ugh!
Is it possible to get another appointment later in the week?
If the skype would keep you in an adult space, not being able to go to your session this week might be a gift, it might give you the space you need to say what’s bothering you?
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Because she only works Mondays and Fridays privately it makes extra sessions really hard because preschool doesn’t open on a Friday and unless my wife can take a day off or work from home it’s impossible. Never mind! Right now I’m still debating today. 🙄
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I say honour the attach parts who need it .
I want to puke now. The adult was so adult it it wasn’t even funny!!
Indecision is the worst! Something we all struggle with. I’m not sure what the right answer here, but maybe it’s choosing the lesser of two evils. Is it worse to have no contact or to attempt to connect and not have it work out for the best? Like Sirena said, honoring that child part who needs the attachment might serve you in the sense that it allows her to be heard. It shows you value her needs. Maybe you can have an adult conversation about that? Either way, I’m glad you were able to connect in your previous session. Whatever you do, it will be okay!