* The following post is part of a series of fictitious pieces meant to help people who are seeing a therapist (or who aren’t). Each essay expands on a concept, theory or activity that a therapist may (or may not) have suggested in the course of a therapy session. Though the therapists and clients are invented characters, the concepts, theories and activities are readily accepted as helpful and even necessary by psychotherapists and other mental health professionals in the real world. If you feel triggered by anything in these paragraphs, please discuss them with your mental health care professional.
My therapist says that we have to start thinking about ending our sessions. We had a treatment plan, after all, and the goals we set together have been reached. By me. Mostly.
So I started to cry.
And I told her I’m not ready. And I told her I might have a meltdown any minute. And what about my ex? And what do I say to my mother? And what about the last time I felt terrible about everything and she let me vent about American politics? I don’t even care about American politics, do I? See? I don’t even know what I like. And I’m just so scared… And how, how will I ever manage without her weekly words of wisdom? And then she asked me what words of wisdom?
I blubbered out a shaky sigh. And remembered.
My therapist says tears are soul sweat. This is going to be some workout!
My therapist once said that my break-up was not mine to own completely and that both partners must take responsibility for their part. She said there are not nearly the number of narcissists out there that we think and that I needed to try to acknowledge my hurt and my half. Also, not MY break-up but THE break-up. Words, accurate words are important. She says they create our reality.
My therapist said that setting boundaries in my relationships means pushing through the fear of people not liking me and gently, firmly saying no. Like when my mom tells me to come to her neighbour’s weekly Saturday night ‘Stitch ‘n Bitch’ and bring rosé. I can say that even though I love spending time with my mom… No. Not bringing wine. Not listening to Mme Voisine’s stories about her low blood sugar and Alex Trebek. Hate rosé.
My therapist said that my feelings are non-negotiable. They are okay no matter what they are because they will visit me at inconvenient or convenient times and I will choose how to act on them or not. So no more bruised knuckles after a fight with the wall in the bathroom because my roommate ruined my favourite shoes in the rain, finished the last of the milk while scarfing the last brownie. Gah! My therapist taught me to breathe deep, deep, exhale slowly and count to 30….by 5s….or 2s…or…what was it? What was I mad about again?
My therapist suggested that I felt hurt and sad when my parents split up and of course it had an impact on my childhood. I was six! I can honour that past me by not blaming her. And by sometimes offering her quiet encouragement. And I don’t have to call her my inner child though because we don’t prefer that cliché. My therapist said that was ok. And as an adult, I can see that my parents were just sad and hurt too but we all love each other anyway. Now.
My therapist said that my self-worth is built up every day with all the decisions I make to behave with respect towards myself and with compassion for the people around me.
She said… I can’t remember everything she said! But for the last 18 months she has helped me climb out of the pit of a deep depression that I had slowly been slumping into for years. She says that eventually I might have crawled out of that dark, suffocating place by myself but it really helped to have someone lift up a corner of the heavy black and let in some light. And make the days a little less heavy.
Today, she says that I seem to remember plenty from our sessions and that she’s flattered that I took so much of our conversations home with me. The expression of taking something to heart seems so perfect for the results of our meetings. I’m carrying my therapist in my heart. So am I ready for next Thursday be our last session?
I’m feeling a sad weight on my chest but my tears have stopped. I feel sorry that I won’t have an hour on Thursday afternoons to pour out my aching psyche. I also feel proud that she thought I could make it without her guidance. I feel scared. And since I choose how to react to scared, I’m going to pay attention to the discomfort and patiently, lovingly endure it. Because my therapist used to patiently, lovingly endure it for me and she showed me how.
So, yes, next Thursday can be our last session.
My therapist said I can always make an appointment for a refresher. She hopes that I will because she’ll miss me too.