Raw

(or In Session, with Cancer)

The long-awaited text had finally arrived.  “Can you do Tues at 1:00?”

The text had been sitting on my phone for more than two hours before I saw it.  I stared at it for several minutes, trying to make sense of what I was reading, trying to get my brain to take in what this really meant.  I checked my calendar, then responded “Sure.”  It was the only answer I could give that captured my mixed-up feelings of anticipation and dread.  I wasn’t feeling a “yes” or “absolutely” or “I’ll be there.”  I definitely wasn’t feeling anything punctuated with an exclamation point.

I had been waiting for weeks for this moment to occur.  Of course I would be happy and relieved to see my therapist, but I was also feeling anxious and sad and scared and overwhelmed.  I hate it that our relationship has to be confined to the four walls of her office.  And that the only way I get to make physical contact with her is in that space.

About 30 minutes before I needed to leave for my session, a headache emerged.  My entire head hurt, as if some invisible and unrelenting force was pushing down squarely on the top of my head, but also down the back near my neck and towards my forehead.  I probably should have taken something before I left my office,  but I was hoping it would pass.  On the subway ride downtown, the pain intensified, my head hurting more with each jerk of the train.  By the time I arrived, I was in full-on headache mode.  Not the best way to arrive at a long over-due therapy session.

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Upset

(or The Only Thing We Have to Fear is…?)

For the past few weeks, I’ve been in a state of emotional paralysis.  It started before Election Day, when the pundits and media were still re-assuring us of a Hillary victory, even though I feared, back then, that they weren’t telling us the whole truth.  I clung to the New York Times and FiveThirtyEight and Rachel Maddow.  I remember a feeling of relief well over me – relief! – that Rachel was hosting a show on the Sunday night before the election, so that we only had to get through Saturday without her calm presence and analysis and experts reassuring us that it was all going to be okay.

Since Election Day, I feel like I’ve been trapped in the opening sequence of the movie Groundhog Day.  Every morning I wake up and it’s if my mind has to re-learn the fact that we have, actually, for real, in all seriousness, elected Donald Trump to be the next President of the United States.  It’s as if my brain so completely cannot wrap itself around this fact that I have to forget it each and every night in order to go to sleep, then am forced to re-learn it every morning when I wake up and am confronted with this new reality.  It’s everywhere and can’t be avoided – social media, old-fashioned media, the distraught faces of my fellow citizens of these great Northeastern States of America.

Before the election I had several blog posts in the works.  Ideas, musings, even some sentences loosely constructed and strung together.  But those thoughts are all blocked, and I have to get my thoughts on this election out before anything else can emerge.  I’ve read and reacted to the thoughts and reflections of so many of my friends, who all make up my own “bubble” of kind, empathic, moral people.  But I wanted to leave my own thoughts here.

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Under Construction

(or Do I Stay or Do I Go?)

bridgeout

Sometimes I really wish my therapist would just fire me.

Then she can give my spot to someone else.

Someone who will pay her 100-300% more than I can pay.

Someone for whom one, or even two, 45-minute sessions a week will be enough.

Someone who doesn’t need to push past that boundary of time over and over and over again.

Someone whose emotions can be contained inside the therapeutic frame.

Someone who doesn’t need more than any reasonable therapist can be expected to give.

Someone who shows up to session willing and able to talk.

Someone who is able to take a professional’s advice.

Someone who wants more out of life.

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The Guessing Game

(or Why Can’t You Just Read My Mind?)

I’ve wasted many, many therapy sessions waiting for, hoping for, my therapist to guess what I need to talk about that day, or in her words “where do you need me most?”

It can be agonizing to sit across from the person you are supposed to be able to tell anything and to still have the words catch in your throat.  I have this problem in a lot of my relationships.  Sometimes words just escape me altogether.  But more often, the words are formed in my head and I just can’t get them out.  They get stuck and I can’t seem to translate what I am thinking in my brain into actual words that can leave my lips.

So I just sit there and wait and hope that she – or anyone for that matter – will figure it out by mind-reading.

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