Friday, March 4, 2011

Therapy heist

I slept. For the first time in what feels like years I slept more than a couple of hours last night. I took an Ambien and an Ativan, watched some TV, and was asleep by 3AM. I woke up at 11AM. That’s a full 8 hours of sleep! My mind feels… lighter. I feel better. Not perfect but better.

I just got back from Therapy. I saw my therapist in the hallway coming out of the bathroom and without saying anything I just stuck my hand out asking for the bathroom key. She giggled and gave it to me. I walked back to the office, pushed the button next to my therapist’s name and sat down. She opened the door exactly two minutes later. “Come on back.” I decided to sit in her chair again. She laughed. I sat silent with my legs crossed exactly like she does, waiting for her to start. She giggled, perhaps a little bit nervous? “You look different on the couch,” I said. “I do? How so?” She asked. “I don’t know, I guess you look smaller.” I shrugged and moved back to the brown leather sofa. She moved back to her chair. “Because the couch is bigger?” She suggested. “I guess so.” We fell silent, but she was still smiling. “How are you today?” I asked, knowing I would get a generic response. “I’m good today. How are you?”

Me: “I’m okay.”
Her: “Yeah?”
Me: “I slept a lot.”
Her: “Really? That’s unusual. That must feel great.”
Me: “Yeah I feel good.”

I picked at the label on my bottle of Tropical Honest Tea. “I don’t know what to talk about today. What do you want to talk about?”
Her: “I want to talk about how you said I am giving you mixed signals.”
Me: “Well, you tell me you’re not going to be my therapist anymore and then you are.”
Her: “Did I say something or not say something that led you to believe that?”
Me: “Both.”
Her: “Uh huh”
Me: “You said you didn’t think you were helping me and you were looking for people who could help me
         better. Then you said nothing.”
Her: “uh huh.”
Me: “It’s like you said when people are in a relationship and they threaten to break up all the time, how that
         puts the other person in a powerless situation…I feel like you’re doing that to me.”
Her: “Yeah. I imagine you feel like that in a lot of your relationships.”
Me: ( Not sure how that really matters) “I’m always waiting for people to leave. I expect it. I’d rather they
        just do it than hold it over my head.”
Her: “I imagine you feel that way a lot. So in a way what’s happening here is mirroring what happens in
         relationships in your life.”
Me: “um, I guess so.” I am a bit angry that she’s not reassuring me she’s not going to leave but I don’t say

We sit in silence again.
Her: “It’s hard for you that you don’t know very much about me?” She’s referring to something in the email I
          wrote to her a few days ago.  I smile.  
Me: “I know you like cheese.”
She laughs.
Her: “Cheese is tasty.”
Me: “And cats.” I pick at my bottle some more. “But not together. We’ll maybe together.”
Her: “The cat could like the cheese. How would it help you to know more about me?”
Me: “I don’t know. Because I would know who I am taking to. I would know you better. I could read you
Her: “But maybe knowing how to read me better wouldn’t make things easier for you.”

I'm not sure what she means by that? Does she think negative things about me often?
Me: “I don’t know, I know that’s how it’s supposed to be, but I don’t like it. I think it’s stupid.”
Her: “I don’t know if that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s changing. It depends on the approach you take.”

I’m not sure why she’s telling me that. It only makes me feel worse that I don’t know more about her because it means she’s choosing to remain distant from me.

Her: “How would you like it to be?”
Me: “I don’t know. I guess I would like it better if it was just like two regular people talking and less like, I
        don’t know, doctor-patient.”
Her: “You don’t like that there is a power differential.”
Me: “I don’t think there is a power differential.”
Her: “You don’t like that I would try to stop you if you were going to kill yourself.” She’s referring to the time
         she called the police on me.
Me: “Well, I could call the cops on you too and tell them you were going to hurt yourself…anonymously.”
Her: “Well, I guess you could, but that would be a little different.”
Me: “I guess so.”
Her: “No matter what, there will always be a power difference because you are coming to me for help.”
Me: “I guess.”

We talk about my email and if she's going to keep working with me.  She doesn't give me any answers.

Me: “I’m upset that you’re not answering my questions.”
Her: “I wasn’t aware there was a question.”
Me: “Okay. Never mind.”
Her: “Why did you just retract?”
Me: “It doesn’t matter.”
Her: “We have to find a better way of expressing yourself instead of threatening suicide to your friends.”
Me: “I don’t talk about suicide with my friends.”
Her: “Okay with me then.”

         don’t want to me to tell you about them.”
Her: “No, Let’s be clear, if you are going to kill yourself I definitely want to know. I want you to tell me. I’m
         saying that maybe you can tell me about the feelings that make you go there. Like you can say, I just
         feel so out of control and desperate. When you say you want to kill yourself, it turns on alarm bells and
          it closes the door for dialogue.”
Me: “Okay.”

I pick at my bottle of tea some more.  I remove the label and put it back on, then pick the glue from my fingers.  My therapist aligns her fingers on both hands in thought or possibly boredom before she asks me a question.

Her: “I am wondering what you’re feeling about me
         being gone next week.”
Me: “What do you mean?”
Her: “What’s it going to be like for you when we
         don’t see each other for a couple weeks?”
Me: “I don’t know. I’ll be okay.”
Her: Yeah?
Me: “Will you?” I smile. “Try not to miss me too
She laughs and I ask, “Why are you going to so many conferences?”

Her: “I’m not, I just have ideas of conferences I want
         to go to.”
Me: “So what are you doing? Where are you going?”
She laughs again.
Her: “What do you think I’m doing?”
Me: “I don’t know. For all I know you could be a jewel thief outside of therapy.”
Her eyes light up and she giggles and plays along.
Her: “What kind of jewels would I steal?”
Me: “Um... Precious gems.”
Her: “How would you feel if I were a jewel thief?”
Me: "That would be awesome!”
She seems amused and continues to laugh throughout the conversation.

Her: “Well, that wouldn’t be very good because if I got caught I would go to prison.”
Me: “I’d have to have therapy in prison.”
Her: “They might not let me have any visitors as a jewel thief.”
Me: “I’m sure they would.”
Her: “Yeah, maybe.”
Me: “So if you come back with lots of jewelry, I’ll know.”
Her: “I wouldn’t be able to wear the jewels because they would be too big.”
Me: “Maybe that’s why your bag has gotten so fat," I say and point to her red leather brief case.
She laughs again. “I wouldn’t be a very good jewel thief if I hid the jewels in my bag.”
Me: “No one would think to look in there.”
Her: “That’s true; maybe I’m just being clever.”
Me:  “So you wear all black and come down from the ceiling, smoke a cigarette to find the laser beams.”

She laugh and we continue to switch back and forth between playful scenarios of jewel thievery and serious discussion for most of the session. I’m still upset that she won’t tell me that she won’t leave me or what she’s really doing, but I don’t really say anything about it. I’m sure she knows.  Maybe she doesn't care or maybe she just doesn't know if she's going to ditch me or not.

Her: “If you need to talk to someone while I am gone, I will have the name and number of a really great
         therapist on my voicemail.”
Me: “I don’t want to talk to a stranger.”
Her: “I know you don’t, but if you need to talk to someone, she’s a good stranger to talk to.”
I don’t say anything.
Her: “Did you pay me for today?”
Me: “Not yet.” I reach into my pocket and grab my crumpled bills and hand them to her. “Is it time to go?”
Her: “Almost.”
Me: “Okay well good luck with the heist.”  I stand up and walk to the door.
She laughs, “Thanks have a good weekend."  I open the door and say "Okay, bye" as I close it.