I met with ‘K’ last Tuesday. The session started off on what, in some ways, was a humorous note.
We decided that the chairs in the part of the room we wanted to sit in were not nice enough and so re-arranged them to much nicer chairs. Once we sat down ‘K’ realised she was sitting much further away from me than she would like so she tried to move her chair closer to mine. I, without even thinking, backed my chair away. ‘K’ tried to inch towards me, I backed off. It wasn’t deliberate! It was a reaction from deep inside. I felt like I was being rude but I couldn’t stop myself. I’ve never ever done that before. I’ve just kind of accepted whatever chair is there, regardless of type or position. Sub-consciously I was really struggling with the fact I hadn’t seen ‘K’ for 2 weeks and had had a really difficult time during those two weeks. I was feeling very nervous and scared inside. Looking back it was quite funny – ‘K’ shifting towards me, me backing off – but actually it wasn’t funny at all. In the end I told myself to “stop messing around, for goodness sake, park your bum on the chair and sit still.”
‘K’ asked me if I was nervous so I said ‘yep’ and started talking about all that’s happened during the last two weeks and how hard it is for me when there’s a gap between our appointments. I feel really unsupported and just left to get on with it. Then when I do get to see ‘K’ I can’t do any real abuse work because of how uneasy I feel about the gap and how I’ve survived, coped, or not, as the case may be.
I find that very frustrating, massively frustrating, to be honest!
I heard myself say “look I need the consistency of weekly appointments to build trust and confidence that I am safe and can talk about what I really need to talk about”.
‘K’ said “I hear you loud and clear, I know you do but I cannot carry on seeing you weekly, we’re changing how we work and are only seeing people either fortnightly or monthly now. I know it’s not enough, I know that. I know it’s not fair on you. It’s not fair to have built this relationship and then have someone put limits on how often and how much you can talk but there’s nothing I can do about it.”
So where do we go from here then?
I heard myself say “it would help if I could have an explanation, just to be told we’re going to have to go to fortnightly appointments without knowing why is hard.”
‘K’ said “if you need me to explain, I will, no problem, I’m very happy to” and went on to explain why they’re changing their way of working. “I’ll see you weekly for another four weeks and then review it but I can’t carry on seeing you weekly indefinitely.”
Okay, fair enough. Doesn’t mean I’m happy with the idea because I’m not. But at least ‘K’ knows that and she is aware too that I’m not relaxed and able to talk freely when there’s been a gap between appointments. It really affects my ability to trust. I wish I knew why but I don’t just that that is the affect it has on me. I guess it shows how fragile my trust is. Neither of us is happy with the situation. But I guess she’s being leaned on from her supervisor.
‘K’ said she is concerned about the situation and wants to sort something out so that I am supported between sessions and not just left to muddle through.
My response was “great because I’m not going to get my life back just muddling through, all that does it to just maintain the status quo and is most definitely not what I want.”
‘K’ mentioned another community mental health organisation and said she’d be happy to refer me and sit in on my referral appointment if necessary. I said I’d think about it. It means starting over with a new person and all that entails but it does widen my support network. I know I’ll be saying ‘yes’, I realise I don’t really have an option but it still sucks.
But it’s good to know that it isn’t only me who thinks it sucks - so does ‘K’.
What’s really good is that I can be really honest with ‘K’ now, even during wobbly appointments when I’m feeling very insecure and unsure.
And that I guess is BIG progress!