NB: This post was going to be over 4,000 words long, which even by my standards in reviewing my sessions with C is ridiculous. I’ve therefore turned it into two unbearably fascinating parts, of which this is the first. As you might expect, in reality this is indescribably boring stuff, so proceed at your own peril, dearest reader. <3 x
I was bricking myself about this session with C, after his apparent transference-related realisations at the end of the last meeting. I don’t want to tell him I want him to hold me, stroke my hair, soothingly kiss my forehead and softly whisper protective words in my ear. I mean, who would want to reveal such intimate and one-sided desires? I was totally dreading having to verbally enunciate such material, but in the end – although C made some references to the transference issues at points – I was successful in dodging much of it. Result. (Except that it’s not, of course, because presumably this is necessary discussion. But, in the short-term, this worked very nicely for me).
However, we did end up having a protracted and painful discussion about something else – suicide. Of course, we have certainly discussed this thoroughly in the past – but, shit suicide attempt in January excepted, this was the first time that I did more than just allude to it as a concept; I actually told him in depth that I had plans to do myself in.
First, however, I had house-keeping matters to deal with. I was mortified to ask if he would provide me with a letter for the DLA people to confirm that I had been seeing him. Now I’m mortified that I was mortified. I should not be ashamed of being on state benefits, because I am claiming for genuine reasons – it’s not like I’m really some sort of shit dolescum twat. Simultaneously, I hate being a claimant and find it an immensely degrading place in which to be, and it’s bad enough thinking about that myself, never mind having to remind someone that I all but revere of the fucking matter. In fact, so disgusted was I about bringing it up that I was really quite disparaging about my claim.
I told him that the woman at the CAB had advised that, in light of my declaration of my C-PTSD diagnosis, C should note as part of the claim that I was seeing him, in part, to address trauma issues in the aftermath of child sexual abuse. “I don’t feel entirely comfortable with acknowledging that to the Social Security Agency,” I said, “but that’s what she advised.” I shrugged, resignedly.
I went on to point out that acknowledgement of both psychoses and dissociation would also be helpful, then winced and said, “I don’t like having to ask you to do this.” Read: I don’t like you being reminded of the fact that I am a useless tax-scrounging cunt. I want you to think of me as intelligent and articulate, but that’s not what you’re seeing. So you must hate me.
He said, “I can certainly write them a letter, that’s no problem. I can say you’ve been attending since February 2009 and we’re due to be concluding at the end of August 2010…”
Thanks C, rub it in. Just what I need to hear at every fucking juncture. Besides which, the people who work in the social security are not very bright. They will assume that a cessation of therapy automatically denotes that I am now well.
“Can you not say that please?” I pleaded. “If they think you’re discharging me, they’ll think I’m well, which I’m certainly not. They see things in very black and white terms in my experience.”
He agreed that he “would certainly not give that impression,” then asked me if I was really sure he wanted to reference child sex abuse.
I paused, considering it. I mean, of course I don’t want that information floating about so evidently in the system. But on the other hand, I need this claim to be renewed, otherwise I will not be able to survive and will have no choice but to catch the bus. It is, aside from this, a mere option, but to be so financially fucked as a non-renewal would make me would very definitely make the decision for me. I sighed, and told him to go ahead.
Rather than just agree to acknowledge the abuse very clearly, C proposed that he draft a letter, which I could then ‘OK’ or reject as applicable the following week, though he then went on to say that he had “mixed feelings” about being so forthright. I agreed that if you have the symptoms, then you do – what has actually caused them is none of the SSA’s bloody business.
The session proceeded in a curious fashion. There were several lengthy silences, which were then broken by C making some point about the claim and those assessing the claim. He eventually asked was there some sort of “shake-up” in DLA, which I confirmed to be the case.
“I’m hoping it won’t affect me unduly,” I admitted, “because I hope to be back at work by then. However, I expected to be back at work last time after a month or two, and here we are two years later. So who the fuck knows.”
Time for C to try and annoy me. It happens at least once every session, does it not? I think they must be trained at Therapist University to make irritating points when engaging with clients. It must be intended to force underlying tensions out of us or something.
“Have you ever considered returning now to some sort of work?” he asked.
“Nope,” I replied, straight off the bat.
He looked at me questioningly, so I explained that I can’t think beyond the next hour, never mind any more long-term than that.
He pressed on, asking what it was that I felt was so strongly preventing me from considering a return to work at the moment.
I said, scathingly, that being a risk of losing time, hallucinating and being overwhelmingly depressed and anxious did not present the best circumstances in which to rejoin the employment market, adding that having such an added stress before I was fully able to deal with it would be helpful to neither the potential employer nor me.
“But I suppose I’m thinking,” C replied, “that work doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing thing.”
“OK, but even a couple of hours here and there – I just cannot conceive of how that’s feasible.”
My irritation was compounded by the fact that some pack of cunts or other were heard to be engaging in conversation outside C’s door. The room is meant to be deathly quiet, devoid of distractions. I wanted to go into the corridor and smash the offenders’ faces off the relevant party wall until they begged for mercy. There is a whole hospital campus, with an extensive outside area (not to mention a canteen), where these wankers could have gone to engage in their banal drivel. Outside a psychologist’s door that clearly indicates he is in a meeting and not to be disturbed was not the best choice to start up a conversation on anything much.
And bloody C himself wouldn’t let up on the jobs front. Seriously, what the fuck? I can understand the desire to challenge my current lines of thinking – but only within reason. I made it very clear to him that this was not an area in which I felt there was an alternative view. I know I cannot cope with work in any meaningful fashion as things stand. And I’m not the only one: A and my mother strongly agree. Sometimes C will challenge me on something, and I’ll think, “well, there’s maybe a point there,” and I’ll tell him that – but this is one occasion in which I genuinely felt I was the best judge of the situation, and ergo his constant harping served merely to frustrate and annoy.
He claimed, when I showed myself to be visibly pissed off, that he had no vested interest in whether or not I worked; he was, apparently, simply curious as to why I felt that I couldn’t. “Although,” he added, demonstrating the reality of his desire to pursue this line of questioning, “I suppose I do think that if a person can work, that that can be a very positive thing, even if it’s only volunteering for a couple of hours a week. It’s not because it’s work, but it’s about being with people.”
As if I am not aware of such an argument as a proponent of jobs. Of course I am. I just can’t deal with people. I said so. “They make me both homicidal and suicidal, and should go away and leave me alone,” I spat.
There was a long silence, save for the unabated deliberations of shite in the corridor. The presence of those conversing underlined my point that other people make me homicidal. I sat daydreaming for a bit about how I would smash them all in if they were still there upon conclusion of my meeting with C.
Eventually I was asked if I had any opportunities to meet new people, to which I responded by saying that nearly all such “opportunities” were rejected by me, as I do not wish to meet or see people, except within very strict parameters set by me.
However, I proceeded to tell him about a planned “Mad Up” next month (a group of mental health bloggers including Lola, Karita, Little Feet, me and more are meeting up in London, though I hadn’t confirmed my attendance at the time). “I mean,” I started. “That’s different. If there’s ever going to be people I want to meet, then it’s them.”
He started wanking on yet again about internet relationships being different; at the moment this lot are all ‘good’, and perhaps if I had ‘normal’ off-line relationships with them all, I would be scared that they would not always be ‘good’. However, meeting them for one day only mitigates that risk.
“Are you therefore suggesting that I move to England for the sake of making sure I form so-called ‘proper’ relationships with these invididuals?” I asked, not even trying to hide my contempt.
“No,” he said. “I’m just saying it’s not the same – yet, anyway – as what we might think of as more typical friendships. However, I’m not discouraging you – I think that sounds really positive. It proves there’s a part of you that wants to leave the sofa, leave the house, get out there and engage with the world.”
“It’s a small part,” I replied dismissively. “After all, most people are cunts. Just…this bunch aren’t.”
Apparently I sounded angry when I used the word ‘cunts’, which I didn’t think was an accurate representation of the issue – you have to spit the word ‘cunt’ out, don’t you, otherwise it just sounds silly. ‘Cunt’ is phonetically designed to sound harsh, even if you say it with the most saccharine sweetness imaginable. Perhaps he should have studied linguistics as well as psychology. It could have been insightful for him.
This gave him an opportunity to say that apparently I felt that he was angry with me, and therein lay his chance to explore the transference issues apparently revealed to him in the previous session. I reminded him that what I had actually said was that I believed he hated me because he was always accusing me of being aggressive.
“Have you become quite…focused on this idea that I don’t like you, then?” C asked me.
My head was fried thinking about it and thinking about how much I withdraw from life, whether deliberately or otherwise. As I sit here now of course I can quite easily say that yes, I ‘focus’ quite a bit on the idea that C hates me. At the time, I couldn’t think straight, so I told him I didn’t know.
He let it pass and we sat in silence for a bit. I was desperately trying to get my thoughts together – in particular, I was trying to fight all the suicidal thoughts that had been pervading my consciousness for weeks, not because I have any strong opinion on them, but because I didn’t want to reveal them to him. I’m always scared he’ll ring the bin and I’ll find myself locked up, even if my rational mind realises that to be unlikely.
But when he asked me what was “going on for [me]” as we sat there, I admitted that I was thinking about things that I thought I should tell him, but was scared to.
“OK, maybe you can tell me what it is that you fear about telling me,” he suggested.
I fear you having me locked up. Yeah, that doesn’t give the game away or anything.
“To do so would be to provide you with the information anyway.”
“Right…well, how might I respond to whatever it is?”
“In a not particularly attractive fashion.”
“You see, that’s the point, C: if I tell you that, you’ll know what I’m talking about.”
He thought for a minute, then said, “but I think you can say that you reckon I’d be anxious, angry, concerned, worried, annoyed or something like that – I don’t think I’d be able to work out specifics from you saying that.”
This made me want to laugh out loud. As if he would be any of those things. It’s just a fucking job to him.
“Using any of those adjectives assumes an over-investment on your part,” I told him.
“I thought it might just be normal,” he said, making some hand gesture to supposedly support what he said. “You have thoughts and feelings about people you’re working with, and you and I have been working together for quite some time. It would be a bit strange if I was just like a robot or something. Of course you do know I have response to things.”
Ooooh!!! Did you hear that, readers?! Dun-dun-DUN!!!
Here, my loves, we leave our epic fly-on-the-wall voyeurism of Alice-like wonder and utter, indescribable joy. Follow the amazing developments in Part II, coming soon to a PC/Mac/Linux or Unix OSed computer near you.
Has he complimented me? Does he care? Does he work the nature of the transference out? Will I do myself in? Will I do him in? Will I get a life? Will I care? Will C get an iPhone 4? Will his beard come back? Will I transmogrify into a demon and attempt to possess him?
Find out all this and more meaningless bollocks in the next deeply un-thrilling instalment of C: Week 57…NEXT! [LA MUSICA DRAMATICA]