I Will Rise

I heard Katy Perry’s new song today, and it grabbed me in a powerful way. Most of all it inspired me.

It’s my time to shine. It’s my time to start putting the pieces of myself together. To figure out who I want to be, who I am.

I may not be nowhere near where I want to be. But I’ll get there, on my own terms.

I never got the chance to be the rebellious teenager. So I’m going to be the rebel that’s a natural part of me, the part that I suppressed. She also deserves free expression.

I will no longer be controlled… Told what to do, or how to feel.

I will no longer conform, just because I’m afraid of conflict.

I will no longer be silent. I have a voice, and I’m going to use it.

It’s time for me to write my own story. To transform.

I will rise.

Therapy, Connection, And Knowing She Cares

This past week was the worst I’ve ever had with regards to my feelings toward my therapist. I’ve had my moments in the past where I would feel the desire to push her away, and then try to pull her close again. But this past week and a half it seemed to happen nearly every day. I was more scared to lose her than ever before. The desire to push her away and just quit therapy was excruciatingly intense. And the desire to feel connected to her again was a whole different kind of pain and longing. During and after our session last week, and through no fault of hers, I had felt as though she had jumped from the “therapist” to the “best friend” box in my head. And maybe in a way that is what caused the insecurity. By her reiterating our therapeutic relationship, I had grown to trust in it as just that… A therapy relationship. But when the change in my head occurred, it might have upset the delicate tapestry. Maybe this is why a therapist needs such clear boundaries with regards to friendship and sexual relationships with clients. And even though I hate these boundaries, I’m grateful to my therapist for being so consistent in keeping them. It’s just one of the ways in which she shows that she truly cares. I found this post by Dr. Gerald Stein particularly interesting:

How Would a Friendship with Your Therapist Work?

Even though I know she’s only human, and that if we had a friendship outside of our therapy relationship, there might be things that annoy me or that I don’t like, in our current relationship it’s good that I see her as something of a superhero.

I’ve had a hard time trusting that she can care. Both because of past experiences and because I’m a client. A client, who I feel causes her to experience negative emotions at times, and because I care deeply about her, I believe it’s unacceptable for me to cause her any distress. And sure, it might be the work that she has chosen to do. But as she mentioned before, just because there’s a financial transaction, it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t care.

I received a note from her last Thursday. It was as if she had read my mind. I was missing her incredibly and feeling insecure and totally insignificant. I was fighting against the urge to contact her. So it was a beautiful surprise. I mentioned to her in our session yesterday that it was a particularly bad day for me and how timely her note was, and she said that it shows we do have that connection. I found those words from her very reassuring and special.

She told me that she thinks of me even in between sessions and tries to find ways to benefit me and our sessions together and make things easier and better. I loved hearing her say that. Somehow, it’s as if she knew all the right words. She seemed to know exactly what I needed to hear and she said it. She also said things that I didn’t even know I needed and wanted to hear. My favourite moments are those where she reassures me that she won’t abandon me. She won’t walk away. And once again, I experienced that moment yesterday. I’ve never felt this connected to her. This incredible bond. It feels like our relationship is deepening. Which I didn’t know was even possible. But it’s an amazing feeling. I feel more secure in her and in our relationship now than I ever had before. There may still be moments where I feel the opposite, but I’m going to try to hold onto this feeling and remember it when things feel dark again.

She makes me feel and experience things I’ve never had with anyone else. The sense of stability she provides is one which I had never known before. Her patience with me continues to take my breath away. The way she seems to believe in me. She doesn’t give up on me, even when I give up on myself and it seems everyone else has too. The way she seems to accept me just the way I am, but gently guides me in becoming the person I can be. The best version of myself. I feel such a deep respect for her. More than I’ve ever felt for anyone.

It’s the little things I appreciate the most. The little notes she wrote me, the way she helped me apply for extra sessions. The way she speaks to me. The way she often tells me she’s proud of the progress I’m making. I always just think I have nothing to be proud of. But I’m beginning to see it differently. To other people these may seem like small things, but to me, they’re huge, and mean the absolute world. It’s these things that show me that she really does care, even though she may never say “I care about you” in that direct way. She doesn’t need to. She shows me instead. And that’s beautiful and extremely powerful.

I heard this song again last night and it made me think of her. Of our relationship. Sure, it might be a love song, but for me it rather represents our therapeutic relationship. In her eyes… I am more than I believe. She sees me. She sees what I can become. She sees the good when I just can’t. This song, to me, represents having someone in your life who truly understands you, and those parts of yourself that you don’t allow others to see. Someone who reaches into your soul and doesn’t run away, or abandon you. She helps give me strength when I can’t find my own. More importantly, she helps me bring my own strength to the forefront. She helps me feel better about myself. She makes me feel like I deserve to be alive and part of this universe.

Even this line in the song has a somewhat different meaning for me:

I don’t count my possessions
But all I call mine
I will give her completely
‘Til the end of all time

I trust in her so completely that I allow her access to my thoughts, every dark corner of myself, the good and bad – Things that once given, can’t be taken or given back.

This perhaps sounds like something of a love letter. And in a way, it is. It’s just a different kind of “love letter”.

Because for the first time since I’ve started seeing her, the reality that this is a healing relationship isn’t just head knowledge, but heart knowledge as well.

Refreshing The Soul

The threat of gale force winds looms
Ocean waves rising higher and higher
Rain battering against the windows
The glass doors shaking and rattling

Safe inside. But my soul is asleep.

Stepping out of the warmth and safety.

I stand in the rain, letting it pour over me. Oh so refreshing. Cleansing.

The wind now forcing me to hold onto the railing. It got worse so quick. Fear spreading through me. I used to be afraid of the wind. But then, the fear turns into exhilaration.

Ice cold. Shivering.

I stand there until I can’t feel my body anymore. Numb on the outside.

But deep down inside I feel alive again.

rain

The Highs & Lows of the Therapeutic Relationship

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but have tried to put it off. It feels like I’ll be walking out into the street naked. But I have read similar posts by a couple of other people, which was a great help and comfort to me. And since this is part of my life, if someone can relate and not feel like they’re alone, that can only be a good thing.

Let me start with a quick background on my first meeting with my therapist.

Sitting in the waiting room, my heart was racing. And suddenly, there she was. Calling my name.

Following her, I felt strangely safe. I don’t remember ever feeling safe with someone right off the bat. Actually, there aren’t many people I feel safe around in general. But I digress.

When we sat down, that feeling remained. I was nervous and anxious, yes. But something else was also happening. Something I still can’t explain. She somehow managed to get me to open up and reveal certain things in record time. I felt an instant connection. And that was it. She had me.

Now, let’s rip this band aid off.

I love my therapist.

As in love love. I sometimes have to stop myself from just saying the words “I love you”. Sure, I might say “I have this crazy obsession or attachment to you”. Those are the words coming out of my mouth. But those aren’t the words I really want to say.

I’ve been reading Life In A Bind’s blog for a while now (have started from her first ever post and working my way to the latest – still a lot to go, but amazing stuff there), and there’s a post that I could really relate to, as with a lot of her other posts. I want to quote a paragraph that pretty much sums up how I feel about the therapeutic relationship:

Whether the feelings relate to a friend, a partner or a therapist, the intensity of an obsessive attachment has brought me, repeatedly, both the most intense highs and the most painful lows. It seems to me that therapy, in particular, is a cruel form of unrequited love in which attachment can be necessary for healing, but the boundaries of the relationship may serve to make the obsessional nature of the attachment even more painful.

You can find the rest of the post here (I also recommend the original post she links to as she describes the topic of obsessive attachments so perfectly and beautifully):
http://lifeinabind.com/2015/03/16/memory-monday-waiting-to-fall-bpd-and-obsessive- attachments/

We have a therapeutic relationship. My mind knows this. But in my heart she’s also a lot more. I don’t know what or who exactly. It seems to shift and change constantly. There was only one occasion where I knew exactly who she was for me in a specific life event, which I told her about during one of our sessions. The rest of the time I have no idea. How do I love her? Well, I suppose all the ways you can love someone.

I was also relieved to discover that I’m also not the first person who has to stop themselves from phoning, texting or emailing their therapist constantly. Most of the time I succeed in resisting that temptation. The rest of the time? I just can’t help it. Sometimes it’s as if someone else has taken control of my body, and I’m powerless to stop it. I feel like one of these children in this test:

How can they do that to the poor child? He/she desperately wants that marshmallow, but must fight a great internal battle to resist eating it. Sure, it’s cute and funny to watch. But to actually live it? Not so much.

Boundaries suck, and I don’t care how necessary they are. I hate them. Which is probably why I’m terrible at setting them… I feel there’s always certain situations where they should be broken. Boundaries shouldn’t be black and white. Where the hell is the grey in all this?

During one of our sessions we spoke about the motivation behind my actions. For example, what was my motivation in sending a specific email? What did I want or expect from her when sending it? I actually found that quite profound. It really made me think and question my motivations. Which is something I’m finding myself doing quite often now. I only recently realized another one of my intentions for the majority of my communications with her outside of our sessions. Over and above my other expectations of course. To make sure she’s okay. If I receive a reply, I know she’s fine. If I don’t… I worry about her until I next hear from her. Writing this right now, something else came to mind. Is it totally just for her? Yes, I care about her. I want her to be happy, healthy and safe. But I think there’s a selfish reason thrown in the mix too. If she’s not happy, healthy or safe… that will mean… Here’s that word again… Abandonment. And here I thought I was just a very caring person. Self image… Blown. Damn. This writing process just threw me my first revelation. Not one I like, but maybe necessary.

Moving on. I’ve always had this overwhelming urge to protect those I love and care about. I once chased down a guy, tackled him to the ground, put my hands around his neck and told him if he ever did anything like that again I would kill him. All because he threw a stone at my little sister. Well, I feel justified… it almost hit her in the face. My therapist is only the latest in this delusion. I call it a delusion because I can’t even protect myself, so how do I expect to protect others? Logically, I know she doesn’t need protecting, but that’s not the point. What do I need to protect her from? I can’t tell you, because I don’t even know myself. Maybe sometimes from the very person writing this? One day, she jokingly (I hope) said I seem to be a superhero… And now I fell into that trap again. Oh if she could hear me now. But seriously, if I think of anyone hurting her, whether physically or emotionally, I feel I would rip them apart. I’ve done Muay Thai, MMA and Krav Maga, so have a good set of skills I could use for this purpose. Yes, I secretly am a superhero. 😛

The past couple days, I find I’m trying to find someone to “replace” her with. Someone else who I can turn my obsession over to instead. Why can’t things just feel normal? Why must everything be so damn intense or agonizing? Why do I feel the need for an attachment? Why do I get these obsessions? I would love to be rid of that. Yet at the same time, I actually don’t. It’s like a drug. Along with a comment from the above mentioned blogger, one of my best friends told me that at least this is a ‘healthy’ attachment. That if it wasn’t her it might be someone who’s not good for me, as I’ve been in the habit of doing through the years, so I should just accept how I feel instead of trying to fight it. Maybe I must ask my therapist what she thinks about this. It does make sense I guess. It just doesn’t stop the guilt and shame.

While writing this post, I could hear the word all too well… Transference, transference, transference. But the question is… Who, what, where and why?

I was questioning my motivations regarding therapy as well recently, as I currently find myself in a very uncomfortable position. Unable to set a date for a next session due to financial constraints (we’re currently working on sorting this out at least, and I’m on a job hunt). It feels like a loose end not having a date for a session. Bad enough is the fact that even a week without seeing her feels like months. Now with this added complication, I feel horrible and hopeless thinking it might be weeks or months before we can resume our sessions. So I’ve been trying to figure out why I feel this way. The only conclusion I can come to is that yes, while I am slightly obsessed with my therapist, and love just being in her presence, I also know that healing can, and is, taking place. Even if I felt nothing for her, I would want to continue and have as many regular sessions as it takes. I arranged an appointment with a Clinical Psychologist because I was in a desperate place, and I just couldn’t go it alone anymore. So wanting to get help came first. Loving my therapist is a bonus (or a curse, depending on how you look at it). By the way, for those of you who see your therapist twice a week… I’m jealous.

In closing, despite the fact that I would love to know more about her (everything actually), and have her as more than a therapist (I’m pretty sure we’d be able to be friends – don’t get any other ideas – I’m talking to myself here too), I still think our relationship is pretty perfect. As she says, we work well together. Such true words. At the end of the day, I feel supported and cared for. And, for now at least, the joys of this relationship far exceed the frustrations.