Monday, May 19, 2008

Beginning of the end

Warning: suicide discussed. May trigger some people.

Last week I had a really rough session with V. It’s easier for me to talk about it now, now that I have had some time to put things into perspective, but it is still a very difficult issue for me.

It’s about termination and the end of the work we do together. I don’t remember how V had brought it up because my immediate reaction was an emotional one – an intensely extreme one at that. Almost immediately I accused her of abandoning me. I wanted to bring up rage and anger, but that inevitably led to me breaking down in tears. The fear I felt was cataclysmic. The sadness was overwhelming. I had to leave V’s office to hide in the washroom for a while as the sobbing got the better of me. I was a mess.

V tried hard to let me know this wasn’t going to happen immediately. She said she would be willing to contract for another year, after which we may cut down sessions to fortnightly. It’s a professional relationship, I understood that, but it was tough to hear those words being said.

And no matter how she tried to reassure me she wouldn’t “dump” me, that was all I could hear her say. The foundation has to be laid. It is the beginning of the end. It may be another year from now, but the reality does not change, no matter how much I don’t want to hear or talk about it. And for that, she has to prepare me, knowing how hard it would be for me.

After the session, V wanted to make me a cup of tea and suggested that I sat in the waiting room for a while until I felt better. But I left immediately after the session and headed in to work. Throughout the day, I would break down into tears many times. It felt as though my entire world had come to a standstill and I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t imagine ever smiling, living, or eating again. I would call V again in the afternoon, seeking that reassurance that she was still there. Her words would be something I clung onto like a life preserver – “I will not abandon you”.

But that brings little comfort, even though it is enough to preserve my life for now. I cannot expect to be in therapy or to see V for the rest of my life. V works for a public service, and as such, resources are limited. Even though V has reassured me that termination would be made on a clinical basis, I know that there will come a time when it has to be done. Otherwise the ineffectiveness of therapy would have to be declared – to me, this is merely an “out” for those professionals to dump you if you are still not “better”.

This whole week has been rough. I’ve had to consider the thought of existing without V and my conclusion at this point in time is that I cannot do it. If V had meant to dump me in the near future, say next week or next month, I know that the pain of that would drive me to suicide. A year from now? I don’t know, but I’ve lived this entire life fixated on one figure after another and a year from now, I know that an end to my relationship with V will still drive me to suicide.

So this week, my thoughts have hovered almost constantly on ending my life. I have no life without V. How sad is that? That my life has been reduced to my weekly therapy sessions. How shameful is that? My heart agonizes over this, over this insatiable need for care, for validation, for love. My heart is torn, over the shame of it all.

I’ve been pretending to live an independent life when in truth, my entire world rests on one individual. My world is so extremely fragile. If that one individual is removed, my world will collapse. Did that surprise me? Yes. It surprised me a bit. I always knew I was attached to V, but it has struck me a somewhat unexpected blow to come to the realisation that I would need to take my own life if she wasn’t there anymore.

I’m scared. I’m scared about the possibility of this.


Suzanne said...

I went through similar with G, the reason they tell us SO long in advance is that they know it'll provoke a strong reaction. She's giving you a year to come to terms with the end of this professional relationship and also you'll be amazed at how much stronger you are in a year. She isn't dumping you (as you know)... she's just making sure that for once in your life you'll know exactly where you stand with her. She's doing the exact OPPOSITE of all the shitheads who've abandoned us.


Zathyn Priest said...

I know the thought of losing V is a scary one for you, but as Suzanne said, it isn't happening immediately. She sounds like an extremely supportive therapist and not at all like someone who would abandon you.

Sometimes you meet people who sweep into your life and you think, 'How can I live without you? If I ever lost you I couldn't continue to breathe.' God only knows I know exactly what it's like when that frightening thought turns into brutal reality. I also know exactly what it's like to be the one left behind when suicide becomes someone's option. Don't let it become your option, it's never the answer. And believe's not like I don't think about it often, I do. I know what it's like to constantly battle those thoughts.

I wish I could say something to ease your mind, your anxiety, and your pain. *hugs*

Marissa Miller said...

I concur with Suzanne.

Rylah/Jacqui said...

Polar, this post is so close to my heart, I feel I have experienced everything you have described here, over and over again. It is so painful. I don't know what to say or do, other than wish you strength and love and lots of hugs.
Please take care

Clueless said...

Oh, do I ever feel for you!! I think I can really empathize with your feelings. Whenever, my therapist even goes out of town or on vacation. I always feel and my thoughts tell me that he is abandoning me and terror and panic set in. I now cry before I wouldn't let him see it. When I read your post, my stomach sank, my heart ached, I got a lump in my throat and my breathing stopped for a while (otherwise I wouldn't be able to write, huh?)

I want to write something comforting, so I thought what would be comforting to me in this situation and I came up with, "Nothing anyone can say would make me feel any better!" When everything feels like abandonment for me, everything is bad and nothing other than talking to my therapist helps.

I don't know if what I wrote was helpful or not. But, do know that I understand your feelings. And, I'm glad that she was sensitive enough to tell you at least a year in advance. You and your therapist can get through this together, but it will be extremely painful and healing. Now, aren't I just a whole lot of fun. Are you more depressed now after reading this? I was not very cheery, but I was honest.

Please do take care. I will be thinking about you and will come back to visit your blog...I like it and I'm going to add you to my "blogroll."

Aqua said...

I would have the exact same reaction if Dr X. said what V said to you. Why is she placing a time limit on your therapy together? I am of the thought that illnesses like yours and mine are chronic and may require support throughout our lives.

Maybe it would help to ask what her thoughts are around continued care and what you are to do if you aree still ill in a year? Maybe if she wrote things down...her reasoning, her future plans and her availability if you are not well, or if you become well, but relapse...maybe seeing it in writing would help you understand?

Personally, if this were me, I'd be ensuring I had a back-up therapist if my therapy ended with my pdoc...I'd start interviewing people now.

I hope she rethinks what she has said to you. I am so sorry this has come up for you .

jcat said...

know how you feel.

Anne said...

Hey there. I've been in therapy for depression for 9 years, and I can tell you that for ages I thought I wouldn't survive without my (private) therapist, so I really feel for you. I was terrified for years that she would leave. I think it's part of the process, for me anyway. I can assure you that more recently I know I will survive - because through the help in therapy I've been able to create support networks outside therapy but most importantly learn to be kind to myself and how to help rather than hurt myself. And how to weather the really hard times. Now, amazingly to me, I'm in the process of ending with her - totally my decision. I never ever thought I would feel this way.

I really hope you get there too. And in the meantime, can you arrange to see another therapist when the time comes? (Abhorrent as the thought must seem, I know.)

The fact that she's told you so far in advance is good, because you'll be able to work through all these (normal!!) feelings together and hopefully when the ending does come you will feel differently. Still sad, but not overwhelmed. Therapists are trained in how to end properly, but be as honest as you can be with her to get the most out of it.