I’ve been working very intensely in therapy for 8-months now and have developed a strong trusting relationship with my therapist. She went on extended leave of a month in the middle of July. Approaching this time I had to deal with my strong and deep abandonment stuff as well as wondering how on earth I was going to get through that time.
My therapist spoke to my CPN and got her to give me extra support while she was away. I was also very well supported by my counsellor who I’ve also got a very sound trusting safe relationship with. Between the pair of them I had loads of support and was able to discuss all the uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and processes that were going on for me during my therapist’s leave.
I was also able from our discussions to ease back and reframe the time as having a break from working on all the stuff me and my therapist work on. It is impossible to take a break from it all as I live with it 24/7, but taking a break from working on it though hard was also necessary.
I realised I was totally drained, mentally and emotionally, and found I actually really needed that break. I know too that I would not have stopped had my therapist not taken leave which is something I have discussed with her on her return from leave and we have a strategy in place for dealing better with the strain of what therapy involves.
This summer has been quite an adventure. I’ve learned a lot about how deep the abandonment is, I recognise some of its roots and have been able to get past the shame that surrounds it to be able to discuss it with my counsellor and CPN and now my therapist on her return from leave.
I’m already feeling a lot better for the forced break from therapy. I’m feeling much more refreshed and more able to return to very painful subjects, memories and the rigours of therapy which I’ve found, though healing in the long run and also seeing short term benefits, places in under enormous strain which I hadn’t realised till the enforced break during my therapist’s leave. I’ve learned a lot during our first 8-months of work. We have discussed it last week and she said to me that we will have intense sessions interspersed with deliberately lighter ones to help me cope better with the strain and sheer hard work of therapy.
I saw my therapist for the first time since her return from leave last week. In the past when people have taken leave I’ve been very shut down and protective on their return and it usually took a bit of time to redevelop the rapport and trust. So I was really concerned about how I’d cope with seeing her again after such a long gap.
I was astounded by myself because I found I was not shut down, defensive or protective.
Although I felt tentative I communicated very openly and trustingly. I realised just what a quality of relationship we and how safe I actually feel with her.
Also, from the outset she was very concerned to learn how I’d really felt about her taking leave, how it had affected me and how I’d processed it which helped me open up a lot and discuss all that’s gone on during the last few weeks knowing that I was in a safe and compassionate understanding environment. I was very glad that she cut to the chase like that which made it easier for me.
Towards the end of the session I returned to the art work I did in our last session to discuss it and how I feel about it.
I had taken to the session the only photo I have of myself as a child. I am aged 6 in the photo and although I am smiling my eyes tell another story. She was very moved to see the photo and also sad to see the look in my child’s eyes. She also said that she had been wondering if I have any photos of myself as a child.
We talked much about the abandonment which began in the womb, carried on throughout my childhood in many ways and then ended with my being abandoned and left for dead in the snow aged 19.
It’s so good to finally be able to begin to talk about it without all the shame that I’ve felt all my life about carrying such deep abandonment and about how it impacts on my life in very deep ways. We will carry on with that next week.
I was pleasantly surprised by myself and massively relieved that I was able to pick up from where I left off before she went on leave as if I’d been on hold rather than stopped in my tracks and having to try and find a way to start over.
I realised I’ve come a long way during the last few months and am beginning to be hopeful for a future – and that for the first time in my life.