The trouble with trying to write some truth is that I can’t always control which truth will come out.
I think it is one reason I’ve been having a lot of trouble with writing lately, especially with getting into a creative and noncritical flow. I’ve been afraid that if I open myself I’ll bleed out truths and feelings I would rather not think about.
What’s the truth I fear? What is that earth-shaking, unspeakable knowledge that I, Miss reveal-the-darkness-of-my-soul, don’t want known?
I miss my therapist.
That’s it? It’s not about my daughter, or my family, or my health?
I know it could be difficult to take it seriously, but the relationship I’ve had for many years defies explanation. It began when I was getting my counseling degree, and we were all required to do at least a year with a certain type of therapist as part of our experience. When the year was over, unique things had already begun to happen in the therapy. So I stayed.
Any description of what I’ve learned and felt would be inadequate, and I was extraordinarily privileged to be able to work with him for years. But the work between a therapist and client, no matter how deep, is subject to practical matters–a practitioner of this art is paid, and the best and most experienced ones don’t take insurance.
As financial troubles grew, I dropped my visits to every other week. With the crisis our last move brought on, even this was not possible. It’s been almost five months since we met.
So the problem is that I miss him. No, that’s not the largest problem. The problem is that I miss him and I’m ashamed of how much I miss him. And I feel like the old stereotype of the female patient overly attached to the male therapist. And I’m angry about it, and sad, and I don’t have anyone I can talk to about those feelings.
I’ve been trying to be tough and not cry wolf. I’ve tried very hard to act like a grownup, like a mom, like someone who is capable of putting other things ahead of her own comfort. All the while being afraid that if I do too good a job of pretending for too long, I’ll never be allowed to make going back a priority. (Well, you’re doing OK without it…)
I miss the person I get to be in that room.
I miss being able to look forward to being that person.
I miss the way an upcoming appointment would inspire me to finish an essay or poem or dream so that I could talk about it.
Of course, I also have all of the cliched, neurotic feelings of resentment toward my therapist about the situation, and all of the adolescent yearning for him to say “Fuck the clinical relationship, you’re so special that I can’t stand not having you in my life. Let’s just meet for coffee.”
Yes, this truth hurts. It hurts to know that, even if I can scrape together an occasional session, our work will probably never be the same again. It had already changed.
It’s changed since I got clean for the last time. How could it not?
It’s changed since our frequency dropped.
It’s changed since I started writing.
It’s changed since I started writing poetry.
It really could be that we were already nearing the end of an era, but I don’t want it to be a forced end. And I’m afraid I don’t have what it takes to create whatever I need to make not having this relationship okay.
So that’s it. I’m grieving, and angry, and lonely, and I hate that I can’t talk to anyone else about this because they think of therapy as mental bonbons for the weak or self-indulgent. They have no conception of why someone would find it so important and so central to their sense of self–or why someone could do it for years and not be “fixed.”
I have no solution to offer myself, but maybe telling the truth will help a little.