Finding a therapist that you like and have a good rapport with can be frustrating. I’ve been pretty lucky and only have had to try a few. I’ve heard stories and read a lot of blogs that deal with this issue. Trusting can be tough. Sharing isn’t always easy. So when you find someone you get on with it is super wonderful. Sometimes I wonder if because of my lack of experience with therapists I’ve found the right one or simply one that will do. Either way I got some news about mine the other day and it got to me more than I expected.
I was at my therapists office and decided to schedule a few appointments while I could partly because it’s just better to get the dates planned and partly because it can be tough to get into my therapist. I figured why not get ahead and just schedule as many as I could. I now have appointments scheduled all the way until May 1st. Which I like. But, and there’s most often times a but, I found out my therapist sometime after my last appointment is going on maternity leave. I don’t know for how long and exactly when as I haven’t seen my therapist in a few weeks but I will find out when we have our next appointment.
What I wasn’t expecting was all the emotions that came along with actually hearing this. Sure I know she’s pregnant. It’s not as though it’s a secret. However, I stood there at the appointment window and was face to face with this fact and all of a sudden the wind was gone from my sails. Immediately I had these thoughts of things like, “See, I told you she would just bounce as soon as she got the chance” and “I guess no one really wants to help me.” I felt suddenly suicidal. Like I haven’t felt in awhile. “If she’s gonna do this then what’s the point in any of it?” Therapy. Living. Everything just went sideways in my mind. Why am I gonna put in all this hard work and make efforts to better my life if the people who are supposed to help me are just gonna take off? All the rest of the day and night it was foremost in my mind. “Give up.” “No one wants to help you.” “Everyone else has left, it makes sense she would too.” I couldn’t stop the thoughts. I want to say I tried using some emotion regulation skills I’ve learned in DBT but that wouldn’t be true. In the moment, and for many hours after, all I could think was how pointless therapy is now; that this was just one more person making a quiet exit from my life. Quiet, but an exit nonetheless. Add another to the ever growing list of people who have found some reason, some excuse, to not be around anymore.
I was angry with her. Angry for working so honestly and openly. Angry with her for getting pregnant. “Who does she think she is? I can’t see another therapist.” Not when I actually feel like some progress is being made. Not right now.
I was sad. Sad that my abandonment issues were not only real but hitting me like a ton of bricks. I’ve been fearful forever about people leaving me but not like this. This is uncertainty. This is not knowing. “Will she come back?” “What if she decides being a mom is more important than working?” I felt like throwing my hands up and just going home, skipping my weekly DBT group therapy so I could crawl into bed and cry myself to sleep.
I’m not one to think of my therapist like I hear and read about how other people think and feel about theirs. At least, I don’t think so. I don’t see her as someone who loves me or cares for me in any other way except a therapeutic one. I don’t believe I have attachment issues. I don’t yearn for my therapist like so many others do. It doesn’t light up my week to see her. What we do, what we work on, that’s what lights me up. Maybe I’m more attached to that than to her. I’ve gone a month without seeing her and other than feeling like my individual therapy is kinda stalled it doesn’t cause me any of this when I know there may be some time between appointments.
What I didn’t take into account at the time, and it did take some thinking and sorting through my own mind, was that just like everyone else my therapist is a person. A real life human being with wants, hopes, dreams and desires just like the rest of us. She has a life outside our small room. How could I have been so selfish? What kind of person only thinks about themselves when in fact it is someone or something else that should be congratulated? Again the thoughts turned towards myself. “What a horrible, selfish person you are.” “Why can’t you be happy for someone else’s happiness?” I hate the way my brain works sometimes.
I’m still wrestling with the idea that for an unknown period of time not only will my access to my therapist be gone but someone else who doesn’t know me, who doesn’t have the same passion and drive in them that I see in my therapist, will be “taking over”. I know I won’t be left out in the cold completely; that my therapists patients will most likely be shuffled around to other providers in the office. I still feel uncertainty as I don’t have an appointment for almost another two weeks.
I do feel a little more calm about the whole situation after writing and reading this. It helps. If nothing else it gives me something to talk about with my therapist next session, which I’m pretty sure is unavoidable at this point.
Maybe I have more attachment issues than I realize. Maybe I’m just over dramatizing the entire situation. Who knows.