Today I told my therapist, M, that I wouldn’t be coming to see her anymore. It was astonishingly difficult to do that. It made me so sad. But I felt it was a necessary step forward.
Before seeing M, I hadn’t seen a therapist since junior high, and I’d never seen a therapist I actually liked. Until I met her, I had managed many times to write myself out of crises, with what I felt were fairly decent results.
A friend recommended M because of her work with cancer patients. Herself a survivor of lymphoma, M had a lot to reveal to me about what I hesitate to call (because the phrase has been overused to the point of utter banality) “the New Normal.” I could speak freely with her about my darkest and most morbid thoughts, and chances were if she hadn’t had the same thoughts herself, then at the very least she could identify with those thoughts in a way other people simply cannot. She served as a one-person support group for someone like me, who has never been comfortable in groups. She was my teacher. And, she and I both live under a giant sword. From her, I learned how one can actually live like that.
We discovered by chance we had a few things in common in terms of biography, and I really appreciated that M had been a writer and editor before transitioning to psychology. She was able to understand my struggle as a writer, as well. I feel so lucky to have met her, and to have worked with her.
Suddenly this week, I began feeling very protective of my free time. Something to do with so much of it being swallowed up by doctor’s visits. I spent a lot of time – I would even say too much time this week – taking care of others. I let the strategic energy reserve get depleted. I wasn’t able to get to the gym or exercise at all, which was a huge disappointment to me. I’m also feeling very much at sea with my career at the moment – wanting to work, but also wary of committing to work, in the fear of things going like they did last year.
Illness has made me a habituée of change. I certainly made a big one today. It’s not irreversible, of course, but I’m very curious to see how I do on my own.
I’ll keep in touch with M, though. I promised to, and I want to. I can’t help wishing I could throw an enormous protective tarp over the both of us – it would be such a relief. But if that were possible, I wouldn’t have gotten to know M in the first place, and I wouldn’t have gained the knowledge I did from her.
I’m really drained tonight, and feeling sad. I’ve been hiding in my room since we finished dinner. J has been in the living room playing music with the kids, and he just played this song on guitar. It usually makes me cry, and tonight was no exception. I send this beautiful song out to you, M. Thank you for all that you taught me, and for telling me that I managed (though I can’t imagine how) to teach something to you as well.