I Don’t Know What To Do

There’s been chaos inside my mind. It’s a battlefield in there. I have to make a decision, and the sooner the better.

Do I stay in therapy with C? Or do I go back to A?

I think I already know what I want to do, but I’m terrified that I make the wrong decision. After all, my track record when it comes to decisions doesn’t seem to be very good. I can be convinced of one thing for a while, but then something changes, and suddenly I’m thrown for a loop. So I think the biggest issue here is that I’m too scared to trust myself. So when I say I don’t know what to do, I mean it.

When I started therapy with C, she said that we could try it out for a while, and if it doesn’t work for me, I can always resume therapy with A. And the truth is that the more time goes by, the more sessions I have, the more I want to go back. Why am I holding back though, while nearly every part of me wants to run back to my favourite person? Because I’m still trying to figure out if I’m doing it for the right reasons.

Maybe I don’t need to figure it out. I couldn’t have known some of the things I now know. I’m just scared of messing people around. I know therapy is about me, but it’s still me that I have to do right by. I care about people, and I need to know that my decisions are what’s best for me, while also respecting and keeping others in mind. That’s just how I work best. And it’s how I live with myself.

There are obvious benefits to staying with C, but most of them are surface level things, and won’t do much good if certain other conditions aren’t met. With A, right from the beginning, it felt like a perfect fit. With C, I’m struggling to connect. There seem to be too many elements missing. I’ve realized over the past few days just how vital the therapeutic relationship is for growth, change, and healing. Well, I’ve always known that, but more so lately. Now that I don’t feel there’s much of a relationship in my current therapy. Is this my fault? Or is it just how it is?

I don’t feel like anything is happening with C. It doesn’t seem as though she’s actually helping. I’m not even sure what we’re doing. What the purpose of our sessions are. A seemed in tune with me most of the time, right from the beginning, and she has a brilliant mind (which fascinates me). Our sessions were challenging, interesting and insightful, and I had a lot of “aha” moments. I haven’t had any such moments with my new therapist.

Sure, I’ll talk to C about this. But I don’t know what that will accomplish. She’ll probably just tell me it’s my choice. I don’t feel like I can tell her some of what I wrote here. Maybe that’s part of the problem. I don’t know. My new therapist is lovely, but I don’t know if we’re the right “fit”. I feel like I’ve lost the most important person in my life. The person who knows me better than anyone. Who’s been there for me through so much. Who has helped me so much.

The one person I really want to talk to about this is A. I can give her the full story. But, because this is life, she’s exactly the one person I can’t talk to about this. At least not now. So I feel stuck.

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I Don’t Want to Hug You, But They Can’t Either

Since the weekend I’ve started having stronger emotions coming to the forefront. Mostly sadness. I’ve contemplated getting into contact with Elizabeth again, thinking that maybe I’m ready to resume a friendship. I’ve been feeling the loss more. So maybe now isn’t such a great time. I’ve also been struggling with thoughts of “I made a mistake” ending therapy with A. I’ve been struggling with self-doubt these past few days. I’ve been missing A a lot. Not just missing her personally, but also missing our work together.

I had a therapy session with C yesterday. While I was sitting waiting for my appointment, she came out with another woman, who I assumed was a client. This woman hugged her goodbye, and in that instant I felt something. Jealousy and anger. They weren’t intense emotions, but not very subtle either. When I got into C’s office, I asked her whether that woman was a client, and it turns out it was. I had hoped that it was a friend instead.

Naturally, C asked me what I was experiencing. What had that situation triggered in me? I struggled for a while to communicate my thoughts, as I was also feeling confused. I wasn’t quite sure what I was experiencing, or why. I don’t feel this incredible connection with C, so why did it bother me that another client hugged her? I ended up leading her down a different road to what I only later realized wasn’t the whole truth. It wasn’t intentional. But it at least gave us some material to work with, so I don’t feel too bad. I’m going to bring up the subject again in our next session though. She was really on the money when she said that it seems to her that I just want to feel cared for today (yesterday). To know that I’m loved. When she said that, I couldn’t stop the tears from coming. I hadn’t even really consciously been aware of it until she said it, and I realized how right she was. And I still want that today.

On Monday I wanted to send A an email telling her that I’ve been thinking about returning to therapy with her, but that I’m not sure if I should. That I’m confused. But I didn’t send it. I could just imagine her saying “that would be inappropriate” with regards to sending her such an email, since C is my therapist and I should be talking to her about these things. So I just ended up sending A a quick text message to say hi. It helps so much just knowing that she’s still around, and we can still communicate. I just wish I could see her again.

I didn’t talk to C about this yesterday. It’s on my agenda for the next session. What happened yesterday, how I felt, just made me even more confused than I’ve already been lately. I also feel fear somewhere inside, but I’m not sure where it comes from and why it’s there.

With regards to whether she allows hugs, she told me that she doesn’t mind hugging her clients or her clients hugging her, as long as she doesn’t think it’s going to do them more harm that good. And as long as it’s with express consent. Then she asked me what I need then and there, and if I would ask if I want/need something. I told her that most of the time I’m too scared to explicitly ask for something, like a hug for example. But that I do sometimes ask… I’ve become better at it. In that moment, I didn’t want a hug from her. I didn’t want to hug her. Even after our session, I just thanked her for the session and left. It had been one of those days where I didn’t want to be touched by anyone, and even being close enough to touch felt overwhelming. So, I didn’t want a hug. But I didn’t want her other clients to get one either. Messed up, I know.

My roommates in the clinic haven’t been in contact with me. I sent them each a couple of messages, and they replied, but days later, and with messages that can’t even really be seen as a proper reply. The worst part is that I saw they went somewhere together last weekend. I know I said that I understood that this might happen, and that it would be okay. But that “no care” attitude is gone, and has been replaced with feelings of rejection. I’ve removed them from my contacts. I’m not going to run after people anymore.

I feel a little lost. Lost. Alone. Sad.

A Heartbreaking, But (Relatively) Peaceful Decision

I’ve been wanting to write this post since my therapy session last Tuesday, but have been hard at work making a website for a client. Once I’m busy with a website or graphic design, I lose track of time and before I know it, hours have passed. I’m definitely made for this field of work. It feels good.

I spent the weekend locked up in my room, working on the website, doing lots of reading, and other activities that I enjoy. It was a nice, relaxing weekend, and I was enjoying my time alone.

As most of you already know, I was seeing another psychologist during my two weeks in the clinic. The medical aid wouldn’t cover Skype sessions with my usual therapist, and my psychiatrist suggested C.

For those who don’t know, I met my lovely therapist more than two years ago, when I was still in the city I lived in with my ex of four years. It was a toxic relationship, and I was at rock bottom. That led to me meeting my therapist. When I left my relationship and moved to this city, my therapist thought it would be in my best interest to continue seeing me via Skype, rather than referring me to someone here. I was very attached to her, and like she mentioned in our last session, I would have stayed in a bad relationship just to keep seeing her for therapy. It’s worked beautifully for two years.

When I was in the clinic last year, I refused to see a different therapist, so just didn’t see anyone. I was only there for about five days anyway. This time I agreed to see someone for the duration of my time there. When my psychiatrist told me about C, and that she’d be a good fit for me, I agreed to give it a try. I saw C about five times while I was there. From the get go I told her I have a therapist who I’m happy with, so this would just be for while I was in the clinic. She assured me that she’s not there to replace my current therapist. Once that was out of the way, I felt better about the situation.

But during these sessions I realized something. There’s something different about face-to-face sessions. When I went to visit my mom last year, and got to see my therapist in person again, I had felt that difference. I know a lot of body language gets lost over Skype video calls, which is one of the disadvantages of this form of communication. I find it difficult to read people’s facial expressions, so I think I rely more on the body language apart from the face. There’s a certain sense of “safety” being able to see all of a person, I guess.

Doing therapy over Skype, I’m still in my home environment. A place I don’t particularly feel safe in. Where I’m always aware that someone could come into my room at any moment. Where there are interruptions from a family member from time to time. Sitting in that room in the clinic where I had my sessions with C, I felt safe and contained.

For some reason, when I’m in a face to face session, I feel more emotionally expressive and open than I do over Skype. It’s as if the computer screen/web cam dulls or even cuts off my emotions somehow. It’s weird. I don’t understand it. Maybe it’s not about the “mode” of therapy, but the environment I’m engaging in therapy in? Anyway, whatever it is, the experience is very different.

With C, I didn’t feel that instant connection like I did with my usual therapist. But I still felt quite safe in her presence, which is saying a lot. Over the next few sessions though, I felt more of a connection, but I have a special bond with Therapist that I don’t have with C, and don’t think I ever will have.

At some point during my stay in the clinic I found myself wondering whether it wouldn’t be better for me to continue to see C as an outpatient, and stop therapy with A (my usual therapist). For some reason that thought didn’t send me into a blind panic the way it would have just a few months ago. A few months ago I wouldn’t have even considered this. But somehow, now, it just made more sense. Of course, I felt a great sadness as well during this decision-making progress. But I also felt a peace about it.

I had my last session with A last Tuesday. Near the end I started questioning myself, and when the session was over, I went into panic mode. What the hell had I just done? What if I just made the biggest mistake of my life? But the rational side had a voice as well, albeit a quieter one. I had thought this through for a while, and I did make the best decision for myself at this point in time.

A was amazing as always. She told me that her door will always be open to me. In my second session with her more than two years ago, she told me she wouldn’t abandon me. And she’s holding true to that. I have the option to come back to her any time. I’m also allowed to continue sending her messages. To stay in contact. My safe person is still there. She’s not abandoning me. If it had been any other way, I wouldn’t have been able to let go. I would have rather stayed with her.

This was a hard decision, and I think I’m still processing it. Or at least navigating my way through it. My mind has been occupied this weekend with work and making myself feel good. I haven’t really gone “there” completely.

I had a session with C today. I told her that I’m not sure how I’m feeling about all of this (other than knowing I did the right thing). For a week I’ve shut myself away and had no desire for human companionship. I just wanted to be alone. I still feel that way. I had put my phone on silent and away from me for 4 days. It was pure bliss.

Anyway, in today’s session, C said something that made complete sense to me. I may have been shutting myself away a bit, but I was also taking care of myself. I’ve gone through two major relationship changes recently (including Elizabeth) so it’s normal to want to be alone and not have to deal with my other relationships just now. She was glad that I went out with a friend for a couple of hours yesterday though. So I’m not pushing people away, I’m just taking much more time for myself.

I saw my psychiatrist when I left C’s office, and she gave me a big hug, which made me feel good and happy. So that was really nice.

I’m feeling a little empty tonight and life feels a bit strange right now.

Am I Still Me?

I’m not quite sure what I’m dealing with.

For the past 6 days I’m having problems figuring out how I’m truly feeling. I just feel “different”.

I’ll start with last week Thursday, because that’s when it all seemed to begin. After the final skills group for the day I asked D (OT) for a hug (since I’ve gotten quite a few from her when I was still attending group). As a side note, since I was back in the clinic, I can now go to 12 more group sessions on Tuesdays. (I didn’t go tonight- needed a break from the clinic environment). I wasn’t expecting her reply. She told me she wasn’t allowed to (it was a legitimate reason as far as I can recall). In the past I would have felt ashamed and rejected and probably gone off somewhere to cry and nurse my wounds. This time however, while I still felt a tiny bit embarrassed for having asked in the first place, and quite shocked at her reply, I was okay. I was surprised at myself. There were no big emotions. Just tiny little hints of them, barely noticeable. I did, however, feel myself distancing from her emotionally.

Actually, as I mentioned in my previous post, I felt disconnected from everyone and everything since waking up on Thursday, so maybe that was why I wasn’t as upset as I usually would have been?

On Friday I didn’t get to go to any groups, as I had my psych appointments. After my appointments I went to D to let her know that I won’t be in any groups for the day, that I was leaving. And what did I do? I asked her if I could hug her goodbye. This time she did hug me. While it was the same amazing D hug, I didn’t feel connected to her. Now here’s the thing… I don’t really feel connected to anyone anymore. Not even my therapist. And I haven’t reached out to her, which is even more strange. Usually when I feel the connection slipping, I’ll send her a text or email, but not this time.

I also don’t care that my roommates haven’t been in contact. I sent them each a message on Saturday and they both replied with a very brief message and that was it. Usually I would have reached out again by now (I told them I might come visit them as they’ll still be at the clinic until Friday), but I don’t want to.

Elizabeth and I have sent a few text messages back and forth during these past two weeks, but it’s become less frequent. I took two days to respond to one of her messages, and vice versa. And it didn’t bother me when she didn’t reply for those two days. Every now and then I would feel a lot of anger and hurt during the first week after she broke up with me. But most of the time I haven’t really felt much of anything for and about her. It’s as if our relationship didn’t even happen.

I’ve had some moments during the day where I’ve felt pretty good. Not happy. But good. I don’t know what emotions come with that “good” though. I made an appointment to go see my GP today, and she kept telling me how good I look. That I look confident and am carrying myself differently. That she remembers the first few times she saw me… I was this shy, timid little thing. At some point during our conversation we got onto the topic of relationships and I told her that I’m sick and tired of letting people walk all over me. I’m tired of giving others power over me. That I’m taking back my power. Whoever doesn’t like it can remove themselves from my life. I’m not going to take any more shit. That “the bitch has emerged”. I surprised myself by how powerfully those words came from my mouth. I felt strong, determined and in control. Well, she seemed to like this new side of me. Problem is, I don’t know if I like it. Part of me does, part of me doesn’t. Part of me feels like I’m in “self protect” mode. Another part of me wonders whether this new attitude is good or bad.

I don’t feel like me. Not that I really know who “me” is. I just feel weird dammit.

On Connection, And Saying Goodbye

Yesterday was my last full day in the clinic. All that was left for me to do was to see my psychiatrist and the psychologist I’ve been seeing here this morning.

I woke up late yesterday morning, and felt somewhat disconnected from everyone and everything the entire day. My stomach had also been giving me issues, so didn’t feel too great physically either.

My time there was filled with anger, tears, anxiety, frustration, melt downs (both mine and some others), hard work, and drama. But it was also filled with care, support, friendship, connection, laughter, and silly fun. I learned a lot, and feel as though I have grown.

Coming into the clinic I didn’t want to connect with anyone. I had this almost defiant attitude. I was tired of connecting, attaching, loving, then losing. Of course, that intention didn’t last. When you spend so much time with people in an intimate and healing setting, you can’t help forming bonds with some people. Besides, it was exhausting trying to keep up that “distance” attitude.

The intensity of my connection to these people isn’t as intense as my connections usually are. I think I managed to strike a good balance. I made sure to spend time alone and give myself space from time to time, instead of my pattern of sticking way too close to a person or group of people, afraid that I’ll be rejected or forgotten about if I’m not with them the entire time. There are a couple of people I’ve met here, like my two roommates for example, who I hope to stay in contact with. I’d like to continue building these relationships. But I’m not as emotionally invested in it as I usually would be. Meaning, I know it might not happen. That we might lose touch. That it might not work out. But even though that wouldn’t feel good, I’m actually okay with that too.

Over this past week, I was hit with a revelation. It’s nothing I haven’t known before, but until this week it had just been head knowledge. People are going to come into my life. It’s okay to connect. It’s okay to form attachments. It’s a beautiful part of life. It’s also okay if things don’t work out. Yes, it hurts when people leave and relationships end. But I’ve been through enough “abandonment” and endings to know that I’ll survive. Boycotting connection is even more harmful. As humans, we thrive on connection. We’re built for it. It’s a basic human need.

I felt good when I woke up this morning. I was ready to leave and come back home. The goodbye’s were sad, but I also felt so grateful to these people who have been a part of my life over these past two weeks. I took a piece of each of them away with me. They inspired me.

It’s strange being back at home. I don’t quite feel like I belong here. I miss the clinic, but not too much either. I feel a little lost, but I guess that’s normal. I have to adjust to life outside that sheltered and safe place again. I’m not entirely sure how I feel. How I’ve felt since I left the clinic. But that’s okay. I’m going to read a chapter of a novel I’m busy reading, and make it an early night.

It’s the best thing I can do for myself right now.

The End.

I guess I can’t say that I didn’t see this coming. But I didn’t believe that it would actually happen.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Elizabeth and I broke up two weeks ago. She came over the Sunday evening and she asked me whether we could try starting over, and get back to that “honeymoon” stage. I was confused as to how to go about that, since every relationship naturally goes through different stages, but I agreed anyway. She mentioned that we’re too comfortable with one another, and it feels as though we’re just friends. She mentioned things such as not getting changed in front of one another anymore. I didn’t get how that would bring those feelings back, but I was willing to give it a try.

We went for a walk after that, and this time she actually took my hand again as we walked. The way she used to in the beginning. It wasn’t me who had to initiate it (I was still a bit weary of holding her hand in case she didn’t want that). It felt good. We watched a movie when we got back, and she actually let me hold her. I felt hopeful again. That things were going to be okay. But then, when we got into bed, she was distant again, and told me she had taken a sleeping pill, turned around and just said “goodnight”. No hug, no kiss. I suddenly felt very hurt and angry. So I got up and went to go sit outside for a while.

The next morning when I left for work, she also left to go back home. I was about to kiss her goodbye, but she just bypassed it and gave me a hug instead. One that again, felt cold. For the rest of that morning I didn’t allow myself to go down a negative thought process. I tried to hold onto the hope that things would get better. Because, after all, things rarely change overnight.

Elizabeth didn’t tell me when she got home safely, so a few hours later, I decided to send her a message asking whether she was at home, and okay. She told me she was, but that she had a lot on her mind. I asked her what was bothering her. And that’s when it started.

She told me that she doesn’t think she’s attracted to me anymore. That her feelings have changed, and she doesn’t think it will change back by continuing to “try”. She asked me what I thought, what I wanted to do. I told her that I still want to be with her, but I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t really want to be with me. I told her that I’d been feeling as though she’s been pulling away from me. Distancing herself from me, and she admitted that was the case. So it wasn’t all in my head, as I thought it might have been. I had thought that I was just oversensitive, and projecting. But this time, my feelings and intuition had been correct.

While all I wanted to do was beg her to please stay and give us another chance, another part of me knew it was better for the relationship to come to an end. I couldn’t keep living in that state of confusion and walking on eggshells.

Having your heart broken over voice notes is not the best way to have things end. For two entire days that week I was so angry with Elizabeth. I felt rejected, hurt, and betrayed. I had felt so confused, depressed and anxious in the relationship the last couple of months, and she knew she didn’t love me “anymore”, but just continued to let me believe that she still had feelings for me. That we would get through it. I doubt she ever really loved me. Can love really just vanish like that? If it can, I’m not interested in having anything to do with it.

We’ve agreed to stay friends. When Jasmine and I broke up and decided to just be in one another’s lives as friends, I found it pretty easy. But with Elizabeth, it’s not. I haven’t seen her since we’ve broken up, but we’ve spoken over text on occasion. I’ve limited the contact, because I found it too hard. Once I’m out of the clinic, she’s going to come fetch the things she left at my place. I don’t know how I’m going to feel when I see her for the first time again.

Can we be friends? I don’t know yet. She’s already spoken about meeting someone again “like maybe in a month- how will you take that?” (her words). How do you think? It will hurt. I told her that it’s her life and I can’t tell her what to do or what she’s not allowed to do. But of course it will hurt, especially since she said that she can’t sustain a relationship right now, there’s too many other things in her life. If she meets someone else so soon, what does that mean about the relationship we had? That she wants to be with someone, just not me? She told me that she enjoys being single, but it gets boring after a while. So having heard all of this from her, can I have her in my life as a friend and be okay? I’m not ready to cut her out of my life… I don’t even want her to come get her stuff yet. As the psychologist I’m seeing here in the clinic told me (about something unrelated), I don’t have to make any decisions right now.

What makes this breakup so much harder than all the others combined, is the fact that the first couple of months were amazing. It finally felt like I was in a healthy relationship. She was everything I had wanted, and more. I felt content with life, even though the other parts of my life sucked. But she allowed negative outside forces to take up too much space in our relationship. I fucked up as well, but we always managed to sort through things. I guess sometimes things are just bound to fail.

Since I’ve been in the clinic I’ve been somewhat distracted. I haven’t had the time or space to deal with this properly. Today there aren’t any groups, as it’s a Sunday, and both of my roommates and other patients have day passes, so it’s the first time I’ve had a few hours just to myself. So I haven’t been able to “run away” from allowing myself to experience the hard emotions. I feel broken.

If she wanted to get back together, would I? Again, part of me will be overjoyed with that, but the biggest part of me feels like it will just be repeating the same pattern. What if after a few months, this happens again? She loses that feeling again? I can’t go through this again. It hurts too much.

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