What I Want in Therapy is Exactly What I Can’t Have – C: Week 27
Today’s session with C was one of the oddest I’ve had. It’s kind of hard to articulate exactly why. I was experiencing acute senses of depersonalisation and derealisation, for no reason that I can discern. I didn’t really feel anything throughout the entire 50 minutes. I know I spend all my time with C trying to pretend that I never feel anything anyway, but of course that’s rarely actually true, and despite my pretences, he knows that it’s false. But today it was accurate, and interestingly it was quite obvious that my complete lack of feeling anything was apparent to him.
We spent some time initially discussing the fact that I have lost my job. Naturally, he asked me how I felt about that. Whilst I admitted to some sadness, I said my main sense of things was one of overwhelming relief.
“Sadness?” he asked, apparently slightly puzzled by that.
That might well sound like a stupid thing for him to say – I mean, wouldn’t it be normal to be sad over losing a job – but I knew exactly why he was asking it.
“I suppose that didn’t particularly come across in my discussion of the matter,” I told him.
“Yeah, that’s the thing. You don’t sound sad. You don’t seem sad in any way.”
I shrugged. “Only in subtle ways, I suppose, and it is slight. It’s a weight off my shoulders really, so I’m not really feeling that upset over it, no.”
We talked about some of the good points in the office, some of the bad things, what I had come to think of the place in general. Eventually that particular conversation came to a natural end, and we sat in silence for a few minutes.
It was C that chose to bring last week’s difficulties up. He asked how I had felt about it in its aftermath. To one degree or another, the rest of the session was about this, or at least followed on from it directly.
I won’t profess to recalling everything that we went over in a lot of detail, unfortunately. As stated, and as I later told C, I was feeling a little depersonalised and disconnected from the discussion. I am not sure why; I had been fine when I left A off near his office only about an hour beforehand. Maybe I was starting to dissociate in preparation for the hardship I foresaw with C. I did expect this to be a very hard session, as it had been my intention to open up to him. But that’s easy to plan and easy to say – not easy to actually achieve.
He was concerned that I had reacted with worry or anxiety as far as last week’s session went. I assured him that this actually hadn’t been the case, stating that we were allowed to disagree, as long as disagreement didn’t permeate the entire relationship, which of course it doesn’t.
He accepted that, but asked me to be more specific in how I had perceived his attitude.
I didn’t want to say, “you didn’t take me seriously,” because he does take me seriously – but there was something slightly invalidating about his insistent belief that what I was experiencing during the episode to which this alludes was, to some extent, within my control.
So, prefacing my statement with a diplomatic disclaimer, I did say, “you didn’t take me seriously,” simply as I couldn’t think of a more adequate way to put it.
I’m not entirely sure where this went. The next thing I remember clearly was him saying that he still held to his position, but he didn’t want me to see that as some sort of blame or criticism. He said he had no doubt that my perception of the whole thing was very real to me, but that he still felt that I could have some control over it.
I asked, “would you think that someone with full-blown schizophrenia would have some level of control?”
He thought about this for a moment, and then said that he felt that actually, people with that disorder could learn – to differing extents, depending on the individuals – to recognise triggers for major psychotic episodes. He conceded that he felt that by the time the psychosis set in, however, the schizophrenic individual was at best significantly debilitated in their ability to control themselves.
“But,” he went on, “in the case of an individual with schizophrenia, psychoses are a complete disconnection from reality. Again, I don’t want you to perceive this as blame, but I think you were there, you were connected to the reality of the situation – even if on a limited basis.”
I mulled this over for a bit, then said that I could maybe meet him half way. “I can possibly agree with and accept that part of me was there, but really, it was a small part.”
Again, I don’t remember the outcome of this. Eventually he asked me how I was “experiencing” the discussion.
“It’s like it’s someone else speaking for me,” I told him. “I feel like I’m an observer of this conversation. The word ‘depersonalised’ is perhaps strong, but I certainly feel pretty…I don’t know, disconnected.”
He asked if this was something that happened with frequency; obviously he knows that there are times when I have completely disassociated, but we haven’t spoken in perhaps as much detail as we should regarding the episodes of depersonalisation and derealisation. I told him that yes, this was fairly common.
Another jump. I don’t know what happened next. I hadn’t eaten, and my stomach kept rumbling ludicrously loudly. I shouted at it to shut up and apologised to C. He was semi-amused but asked how I felt about its cacophony. He was, presumably, under the impression that I was embarrassed about it, which I wasn’t especially. It was just irritating.
I went on to say that despite my not-inconsiderable size, I usually don’t eat that much. This prompted C to ask if I exercised at all. I told him that since I got the car I don’t do all the walking I used to, but that I do go swimming from time to time.
“But,” I complained, “the problem is that when one is in the throes of depression, say, it becomes terribly hard to get motivated to do same…”
I was going to continue, but he interjected at this juncture, saying, “there – again – you’re speaking in the third person, abstracting what you’re saying, avoiding talking about yourself.”
“It’s a turn of phrase,” I sneered.
“Maybe so, but you see what I mean – it’s not ‘when I’m depressed’ or whatever.”
“I have a tendency to speak in the passive voice,” I retorted. “It’s a habit I picked up in GCSE English.”
“You’re going to great pains to justify it now. Don’t you think it’s an avoidance technique?”
I thought about it. It probably is, actually, in most circumstances, though it certainly would be subconscious. My best mate D and I got into using the habit of using the passive voice all the time, as far as I can recall in order to annoy our English teacher (though,in contrast, in scientific classes you were expected to use it). But I have a tendency to use it (or generic terms) with much more frequency than anyone else I know, nevertheless.
“Can I say something that you may find ridiculous, please?” I asked.
He gestured for me to go ahead.
“You told me once that you weren’t my teacher.[this was since I’ve kept this blog, on an occasion where I asked about object relations theory, but I didn’t include this detail on any post, which is a shame]. Yet this is an education. I would never have thought about any of this stuff as being remotely relevant, yet it is – it’s insightful as regards my intellectual interest in psychology.”
C said something that has concerned me ever since – he said that he wasn’t sure what use the relationship would be if I saw it as a teacher-pupil situation.
Naturally, I take this as a sign of his intention to abandon me. I therefore started into a self-defence of “oh, only in this particular session, that’s not generally the case,” and whatnot. But I’ve been obsessing over the comment since.
He can’t abandon me. He can’t. I know and I accept that therapy is not permanent, but I genuinely cannot foresee any ability to cope on my part without my weekly meetings with this virtual fucking stranger for – I don’t know – another long while anyway, certainly not within the timeframe of our current contract (due to finish at the end of November).
I think I must’ve realised at that point – not that I haven’t before, but more acutely and strongly at that point – that I have no choice but to open up to him if he is going to continue to work with me, and if he is going to help me. As such, I instigated a conversation on my resistance in therapy (not his term, by the way).
This is kind of timely. The fabulous author of the Behind the Couch blog (as was) has now put up archives of the blog in question at this URL (*SI does a happy dance*). As I was reading through them after seeing C this morning, I came across this post on the client’s resistance in therapy, which could have (in many ((though not all)) of its points) been written directly about me.
I was very honest with C for once and admitted that I hadn’t told him all I needed to tell him. I admitted that I was scared of confronting all the hurt. So much hurt.
He was quite good about this and said that he could understand why that might be the case. “But,” he predictably went on, “I would encourage you to share these things.”
Well, no shit. No shit. It’s just so fucking hard.
He doesn’t know about the rape (he knows that something inappropriate happened, but he doesn’t know the full extent of it. In this case, for the purposes of avoidance, I actually outright lied to him 😦 I’m sorry. Really, I am.). He doesn’t know much about my utter loneliness and despair whilst at school, nor about the bullying. He doesn’t know, in any adequate detail, about the misery inflicted on me by my first boyfriend (something I have deliberately avoided discussing here too, for the same reason. I do not want to think about the sheer emotional ((yes, yes, I said that Satanic fucking word)) agony of that). We haven’t discussed how much I still miss my grandfather.
We have discussed my abandonment issues pertaining to V, but unsurprisingly I abstracted everything and didn’t really show much of the dreaded emotion. The time I remember being the most ’emotional’ in front of C was when I confessed to him about my stream-of-consciousness mental fantasy. I wept without saying anything for about 20 minutes – and God love him, the poor man just sat there with me and I felt like he empathised and like he gave a fucking toss – then I spent the next 20 minutes apologising to him for weeping in front of him, whilst he went to great pains to reassure me that I apparently had nothing for which to apologise.
I’m sure there’s plenty more in my subconscious that I could bring to his attention with some probing too. Hur-fucking-rah.
I have been very brave today and taken extracts from this blog to give to him. They take some of the most relevant details and discuss them, meaning that C will have the benefit of being as well informed as possible before questioning me on the matters concerned. I am thinking of posting it to him to avoid my inevitable chickening out of presenting him with it, but I don’t know if that brakes boundaries – it might, and I don’t want to go there. I’ll think about it.
One thing I haven’t mentioned to him (or, in any great detail, anyone else) is one of the worst things; confronting the exact nature of the transference felt towards him. I read this post by bourach this afternoon, in which she detailed how she had bravely admitted (to all intents and purposes) that her transference towards her psychotherapist was distinctly maternal.
Reading this kind of catalysed me out of my depersonalised state. Aside from feeling bourach’s pain, and wanting to reach out and hug her, I so selfishly felt my own.
I want him to take care of me. I do. I want him to protect me from everything from which my father should have protected me. At the very least, I want him to comfort me. Like bourach, I want to be liked by him. ‘Love’ is a strong word, and I don’t like it because it carries connotations of romantic love, which is not what it’s about at all. But, if I am entirely honest, yes; I want him to be a surrogate father, and if that involves my wanting him to love me as my own father so clearly didn’t, then I suppose that is what I want. It seems utterly pathetic written down, but I can no longer hide this from myself.
This is what I want. I want what he can’t give me, what is impossible. I know this is impossible. I know. But I hate that the relationship is somehow ‘not real’. I want it to be real, I really do, and I know it can’t be but I hate that. I hate it so profoundly. I hate it SO MUCH.
This is what I want. THIS. IS. WHAT. I. WANT. Why can’t I have it?
This entry was posted on Thursday, 22 October, 2009 at 8:17 pm and is filed under C, Moods, Psychotherapy with tags anxiety, bipolar 2, bipolar 2 disorder, bipolar disorder, bipolar II, bipolar II disorder, borderline personality disorder, bpd, clinical depression, countertransference, depersonalisation, depersonalization, depression, derealisation, derealization, insanity, madness, major depressive disorder, mania, manic depression, mental health, mental illness, panic, panic attack, psychology, Psychotherapy, sadness, social anxiety, therapeutic relationship, therapy, transference. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.