I have not drank since yesterday at approximately 7pm.
It was really hard today, after counseling with A that is literally ALL I wanted to do. I came home and talked myself into a ginger ale, and then reminded myself I have so many people rooting for me, that my body needs this, that my relationship needs it, and I had a water and watched something and then my husband woke up and I dove into some work (which I’m still not done, argh).
I think I’m finally charging what I’m worth though, which is nice, when it comes to the amount of freaking time I spend freelancing. I just want to pay off my debt really, is what it is.
Anyways, I digress. Went to see A today, and she managed to talk to the part of me that WANTS to be there all the time and I was smiling and she was like “that’s amazing, I love that smile” and she asked about how I felt about last week, when she held me, and I kept saying that I was expecting to have some sort of negative pullback at some point but didn’t, and it surprised me. But I’m glad, I am happy it happened. I actually asked her first how she felt, because I was so afraid of her being upset or regretting it or something.
Then we talked about vacation and her leaving and me being tired and I cried again, which must be some sort of record for me, two sessions in a row. And we talked about how hard it is for me, when she leaves and how much shame that brings up because not only do I have other therapist experiences to thank for my hangups but also my whole childhood of my mom getting frustrated with my brother or whatever and leaving the house. And me never knowing if she was returning or not. Or being left behind in really important moments.
A actually paused at this point and was like “I will have access to email, and if you need to reach out, I will make time for us to talk, for an hour or so.” And I was looking at her, and I was like “okay. I am going to just accept that you mean that and not question it, because I want it so badly.” And she said “But you’re afraid it was a knee jerk reaction on my part.” And I nodded. And she said “this is the process I went through..” and explained why she offered it and how she paused and really checked in with herself over her offer and if it was something she could do. And she said “so I know it isn’t knee jerk, it’s a legitimate offer. And I’m not talking about having to be in crisis, you can reach out if you feel the need for that connection, and I may take a bit to find time, but I will find time, okay?”
And I thought that was lovely.
I’m also fighting a duality right now of oh no, my childhood can’t have been that bad (which I’m not sure where that’s come from, really), and the feeling of everything being awful. The adult vs the child. I am so tired of my adult hood being viewed through a child lens. Anyways the more I thought about it and talked about it the more that wall went back up and eventually A was like “can we connect, please, I felt so connected and then you drifted off, and now you’re traveling in circles that don’t help you.” I said “do you look empathetic or sad” and she said “I will try not to look that way”, so I looked at her and she was like “hi,” and talked about something and I told her I felt so much like a burden and then she was like “I lost you for a bit there. Your shame filled defender was hanging out, but that’s okay. I want it to know it’s not a problem. I want to tell it, ‘I love you'”.
And that stopped me in my tracks. And I started to cry again (dammit!), but it pierced right through that defensive wall. That defensive and sometimes quiet, sometimes guilt ridden, sometimes angry part of me – it’s wanted to hear that for it’s whole life.
And love in therapy, I mean, there are literally books on the topic. This intimate love that can exist between therapist and client yet isn’t inappropriate. A has never shied away from the connection or attachment or the word love and has encouraged me to admit when I need her. And it’s really made a difference to my therapy this time around, and yet I’ve never felt uncomfortable with it or worried about her holding her boundaries. It has challenged all I thought I knew about the therapeutic relationship, all the opinions I held.
Anyways, I am so tired now, still sober though, so yay for small victories.