The best-selling text written on borderline to date is a book called I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me, by Jerold Kreisman. I am struck by how much that title applies to this weeks session with C, which was fraught. Fraught fraught fraught. In a way, given parts of the post regarding last week’s session and my slightly more generalised anti-NHS rant of Wednesday, this should not be a surprise. On the other, given how passive – nay, submissive – I am known to be towards C, the fact that I was able to let it be fraught was surprising.
Not unlike last week, my memories are rather skewed. My most clear recollections involve me shouting at and insulting him and then threatening to walk out, then later breaking down and crying for what seemed like ages, in a defeated, resigned sort of fashion. Am I defeated and resigned? I’ll see if I can make some sort of sense of it all, but don’t expect miracles.
OK, so I went into his office and sat there like a knob, as seems to be fairly typical these days, as I refuse to start the conversation (no doubt an avoidance tactic). I had vowed to A that I would bring up the material in the aforementioned NHS rant, but as I sat there under C’s silent and enquiring gaze, I felt that I was going to chicken out completely. Eventually the silence led to the usual miserable whinge from me about wasting his time.
I saw my opportunity here – an opportunity to somewhat surreptitiously bring up my concerns, under the pretence that I was concerned about wasting C’s time. So when he yet again asked me why I felt the silences were so bad (apparently they can be very revealing and useful – since when did this become psycho-fucking-analysis?), I responded with something like, “well, we have a limited amount of time to talk about a number of things about which I need to talk. 50 minutes today, something like five more weeks overall.”
I don’t remember his verbal reaction (if any), but I think I noticed a split-second narrowing of his eyes at this, denoting confusion at the statement.
I have no idea what happened next. He must have probed me on my assertion that we only had five weeks of therapy remaining, though I distinctly don’t recall him doing so until later. In any event, I started babbling on about how I’d spent the preceeding few days looking online and in Yellow Pages for an alternative psychologist of a similar therapeutic bent to assist me on a private basis, but that I was having no success so could he please recommend someone, because if he wasn’t going to treat me until I was well enough to face the world without a therapist, then someone else would have to do so.
Again, the sense of confusion emanating from him was palpable, and I think he actually questioned why I’d felt this exercise was necessary.
I can only imagine that this was the point where I demanded specific answers from him on whether or not we were going to discontinue our relationship in January. Most (though not all) of the rest of the session centred around this, but I can’t be bothered to break it down into a specific chronology, and am not sure that I could even if I wanted to.
The very much paraphrased essence of this bit of the meeting was:
- C – I never said it would discontinue in January.
- SI – fuck you, you did.
- C – I said we would review it.
- SI – Same thing.
- Repeat 700,000 fucking times
- C – but you know it’s finite.
- SI – but it would be irresponsible of you to make it finite now. MEGeorgie RANT ABOUT THE NHS – Starting with point 1 from last post (if they’d done something with me when I first showed outward signs of being mental, then we’d probably not even be here), moving on to point 2 (it’s either the bin or C – latter is surely cheaper, but the NHS is such a stupid fucking bureaucratic mess that they won’t consider that).
- C – you may well be right but unfortunately that’s the way it is.
- SI – how do you expect to adequately reverse two decades of mental illness in less than a year?
- C – answer not recalled but probably some politican-esque answer of avoidance.
Blah blah blah. He kept refusing to tell me directly whether his reference to reviewing things in January was a suggestion that we would end things then. He did, however, have the audacity to ask me what I wanted him to say. Hmm, that wouldn’t be obvious or anything, would it?
I said, slowly and menacingly, through (very evident) gritted teeth, that what I wanted him to do was to give me a straight fucking answer.
I don’t remember what he said, but it wasn’t a straight fucking answer – so I lost it. I absolutely, completely fucking lost it. I felt the anger well up in my stomach, like some sort of raging inferno, and felt it rise through my internal organs, eventually finding its way to my vocal chords.
I screamed at him, “I’ve fucking had enough of this. I’m leaving right now!”
And, indeed, I got my things together and went to stand up, but he started blathering on again – so, curious though still furious (I’m a poet, didn’t know it), I relented and sat back down. I think he was asking me where this anger was coming from or some such other non-sensical wank given that it was profoundly fucking obvious where it was coming from. (Or maybe not. Maybe I am angry at my father for abandoning me and C, in his role as a temporary surrogate father, is now bearing the brunt of that anger thanks to the perceived threat of abandonment. Oh yes. It must all be to do with one’s subconscious, mustn’t it? Nothing to do with the fact this uncertainty is fucking with an already fragile mindset. Fuck off, psychology).
I threatened to walk out again, telling him that if we were going to end things that we might as well just do it now rather than waste more of our time, but he kept managing to entice me not to leave.
I then spat at him (in something of a stylistic homage to part of this post) that he was “nothing but a fucking sadist” because he and the profession to which he belongs do nothing but make people relive trauma and misery and that it takes “a special kind of twisted individual” to think that that’s an enjoyable career path. I asked, rhetorically, if he’d use the old cliché of ‘I want to help people’, sneering about that being used as some sort of defence of his decision to practice clinical psychology.
I continued with my contempt-filled bile, telling him that he didn’t want to help people, that instead he wanted to “headfuck” them (I was gratified to see how agog he was at this. “Headfuck?!” he repeated, apparently aghast and astonished. Hahaha). “You’ve had your fun with me,” I asserted, vindictively, “so now you want someone else to headfuck.
He harped on the ‘headfuck’ comment for a bit, asking me to explain it, but I don’t remember exactly what he said and neither do I remember my response. So let’s (regrettably, cos that was fun) move on; at one point he asked what it would be like to end therapy. I said that I would have no real outlet to help me cope with the enormity of what I feel and of what I want to talk about. I said that I was emotionally (yes!) fragile in the extreme and that being left alone with the totality of my mentalism might well send me over the edge.
And how would it feel to continue, then, he pressed. Well, we have reached a point in our relationship where I feel that I can trust him enough to fully explore all that needs to be explored (not that that will be easy, but at least I think I can do it now). Our relationship is, I feel, the only adequate vehicle that I have – and have had – for a recovery of sorts. Only with his support and guidance can I face these things and, hopefully, move on from them. Or something – I don’t remember the exact nature of what I said. It was something like that.
Was it at this point that I uttered those tiny but synchronously hugely vile, belittling words? I don’t know, but this post is so disjointed anyway that it hardly matters. I said, “you can’t have escaped the fact that I’m very attached to you.”
He didn’t specifically respond to that as I recall, but at some point or other he did say that terminating therapy was going to be “a problem” whenever it happened, irrespective of whether we continued now or not and whether we’d worked through things properly. He didn’t say it, but the clear implication was that that would be due to my attachment to him. He’s right; I can’t deny it, it will be fucking horrible. The only thing I can say is that I would hope to be in a better mental place to deal with such a difficult prospect further into the relationship; right now, I am convinced that it would merely result in a hospitalisation – or even a possible run to catch the bus.
The long and the short of it is this: (a) we will review progress this Thursday rather than in January, as he recognises the enormous pressure that Christmas places on me, which will be compounded by his fortnight’s worth of absence at said point; (b) again, he stressed, there would be at least four sessions in the run-up to a termination of treatment devoted entirely to how to deal with that cessation (and it would probably more like six sessions); and (c) he is happy to continue ‘working’ with me as long as there is actual work being done – he won’t just do it for the sake of avoiding ending it.
On (c), I accepted the reasonableness of this position, but told him that if there were occasions where I found it very hard to talk to him about a particular issue, I did not want him to be of the view that that was me simply trying to manipulatively (not that that’s a word) extend therapy. I wanted him to be aware that some issues are just difficult to face, and it will take yet more time to address them.
He seemed surprised that I thought he would think that I would try to draw out the process, but assured me that he wouldn’t and didn’t subscribe to such thinking.
It was probably here that I started crying. I babbled incoherently through my sobs and he couldn’t understand me, and kept trying, in this annoyingly understanding and compassionate tone, to get me to repeat myself. Eventually I managed to articulate that, although I desperately want to continue with psychotherapy, the idea simultaneously petrifies me as I really don’t want to think or talk about so many things that I probably need to think or talk about (deja vu, anyone?).
I sat and cried for a few minutes, then started (literally) beating myself about the head as punishment for crying. He told me to stop it and said that I should allow myself be upset and indeed that he would actively encourage my tears if I was feeling an emotion that may precipitate them. For once I did as I was told, sitting silently in tears for a few minutes. As I said at the start of the post, for some reason I just felt terribly defeated – even though I shouldn’t because it seemed like I had got what I wanted – ie, C was saying that we could continue the psychotherapeutic process. Perhaps I felt defeated because continuing is agreed with the qualification that we are actually still doing something constructive – my visceral desire, of course, is to have him in my life permanently in some way. But this is armchair psychological conjecture; I have no idea why I felt this weird resignation. Perhaps it is simply that I was exhausted by riding on the rollercoaster that this session had been.
At what I think was my instigation, there was a discussion around the fact that it’s basically taken me six months and more to even begin to open up to him properly. I have discussed many things in sort of superficial ways, but I’ve not gone into much detail about specifics relating to my past at least and certainly, I have very rarely – if ever – behaved in a fashion like I did in this or the preceeding meeting whilst in session. I, of course, lambasted myself left, right and centre for being a time-waster.
C disagreed, opining that it was perfectly reasonable for me to have taken all this time to ‘test’ him, to make sure that he was worthy of my trust. Apparently he does not believe this to be time-wasting at all.
Whilst that is ostensibly reassuring, of course I find this a rather curious declaration on his part. If it was reasonable for me to have taken so much time to get to know him (well, kind of) before opening the floodgates, then how can it be unreasonable for me to expect long-ish-term therapy from this point to examine relevant issues from my past, or of transference, or of my life right now? The notion of continuing on some sort of rolling contract, rather than setting an initial timeframe of, say, six further months, seems incompatible to me with the idea that it was a positive thing to have used up the first six months essentially getting to know each other.
Anyway, I dried my eyes and apologised for shouting at him and for “being nasty”. Ever the psychologist, C replied by stating that if that was something I was harbouring, that it was good to demonstrate it to him, and that he would encourage me to do the same in future. He’s right of course, but it seems so terribly cruel for me to sit and shout “sadist! Headfucker!” or some such across the room, when the reality is that I don’t actually believe that and that I probably just wanted to hurt him (which I have no doubt he realises).
One thing I remember clearly about this session was that he seemed reluctant to let me leave. Normally, on the 49th minute mark, he pipes right up with the “we’re going to have to leave it there” line, and uses the remaining seconds for very brief housekeeping or, simply, goodbyes. On Thursday, I kept grabbing my stuff to leave, but he kept interrupting. It was odd and, looking back now, seems a little unsettling; he must have been seriously troubled by my mental state at the time.
Indeed, he said that he was concerned about how much I ruminate on therapy and that, that day in particular, he wanted me to find something else to occupy my mind, noting how difficult I had found the session.
I told him I would go home and kill people on Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.
He laughed (I don’t know why because I was absolutely serious) but continued by asking me what I enjoyed.
“All my interests are solitary pursuits,” I advised. “Aside from GTA and other video games, I don’t do much and don’t enjoy much. I do enjoy writing the blog, but one needs a specific mindset to write about difficult things and I am really not in it right now.”
(As an aside apparently C now thinks this blog is a good thing, despite the cuntified whinging that I reported here. Well, not that he thought it was a bad thing then per se – he just thought I was too fucking braindead to be careful in what I wrote here. Anyway, he now believes, correctly, that I seem to find the composition of posts cathartic and that I have found immeasurable support through the people that read what I write. If you don’t already know, folks, this is absolutely true. Thank you).
In the end we agreed that I would make an effort to rejoin the gym – as they all bloody do, C thinks exercise is imperative in promoting mental health. What’s more, though, he seems to be of the view that the physical effort required in exercise alleviates anger, stresses, blah blah. Personally, I find the gym insurmountably boring, but I’m unlikely to try and do myself in there I suppose, what with the other fuckers about. I haven’t rejoined it yet, but I will tomorrow. As for that day, despite my expectations that I would go back to A’s and my promise to C to actively take my mind off the session, in the end I went to my mother’s house and straight to bed. Rather than reveal why, I let her think I was ill.
So, how do I feel now, several days later? To be honest I don’t know. Although C said he was happy to continue working with me as long as we were not just avoiding the end of therapy for its own sake, the lack of a more definite answer and indeed timeframe still annoys me, and I am nervous about this week’s session as of course we are to review progress to that point. I do think significant advances have been made, as it happens, and I assume that C must too otherwise he wouldn’t have felt it was reasonable for me to take six months to get to this juncture. But nevertheless – I am dubious about what he’ll arrange next. Another 10 or 12 weeks – or something more meaningful?
I am sorry that this entry is so confused and disjointed, but that’s an accurate representation of my mental state during this session and, to a lesser extent, of the entire session itself.