When I left Boston, the clinical director – with whom I had developed a very close and meaningful relationship – made me a promise. She told me that she had a few trainings in London over 2015 and that she would be visiting four times over the next 9 months. Her promise was that she would see me when she came to the UK at some point during these visits – and I held onto these words with everything I had.
Her first, second and third trips to London went by, and we hadn’t had the opportunity to reunite. I started dreading the possibility that we wouldn’t meet at all, and that she would break her promise. Promises mean a lot to me, and I was terrified that it would fall through. I convinced myself that she hadn’t meant what she had said, and that she was just being kind in the moment but had no intention to really see me.
As time went on, I would obsessively check my emails, including my junk folder, for any signs of movement on her end. I was on high alert for receipt of an offer or decision regarding our “reunion”. My fear was of feeling rejected and deceived by someone who hands down has helped me save my life. Even though I knew she wouldn’t do that – and that if she did she would certainly have a legitimate reason for doing so – the fear was still there. “What if, what if, what if”….. And time went on. I think I love too much.
It felt like days, weeks, months passing by… Until finally at the beginning of October we got in contact – and she confirmed the dates of her final trip to London and a desire (an ACTUAL DESIRE!) to see me.
We arranged to meet for a few hours in the day in a green area of London for coffee. She arrived a few minutes late and all I was thinking during that time was how terrified I was that she may not show up. I imagined what she would say to me in helping me target my unhelpful thoughts, and so used my mentalising skills. I realised pretty quickly that the possibility of a disruption to public transport would be far more likely than a last-minute cancellation on her part at this point! (And she was happy to hear this when I jokingly let her know upon her arrival!)
When she arrived and came through the barriers of the station looking like a cute lost tourist, I was shaking with nervous excitement. Even though she was right in front of me, I was flooded with memories, nostalgia and feelings of missing her – because suddenly there she was again, once of my favourite people in the entire world – and it was massively overwhelming. I had to fight with everything I had not to start crying. I wanted to have a conversation adult to adult, human to human, not patient to clinician; so this was important to me.
When I say overwhelming, I mean it only in the best of ways. Yes, I experienced anxiety and sadness and longing, and yes I dreaded having to say farewell again and was hit with a jolt of incredible sadness upon leaving. However, the joy that I felt being with her again, and the pride I was able to experience when sharing my current life and situation with her – especially compared to what it looked like this time was year – was immense.
We had coffee (I had tea!) and then walked for another unexpected hour (yay, another whole hour with her!) through the beautiful parks, taking in the view of London and chatting about a whole range of topics. I felt so safe and held and happy and at one the entire time I was with her. Despite the wind and the cold, I felt warm inside.
I had been waiting the entire year for the moment I could see her again, and finally it had arrived. I am so glad we waited because I was able to share with her all the progress I have made and the transitions that are continuing to happen within my life today. The two hours we spent together meant the world to me. I couldn’t stop smiling and that didn’t go unnoticed – especially because she has really seen me at my worst! It was also an incredible opportunity to look back and acknowledge the progress I have made. Sometimes it is hard to fathom… so it was helpful having her reflect her experiences back to me; I was really able to internalise what she was expressing to me.
She was hecticly busy, only here for a few days, had so many people to see and things to do, was pretty jetlagged and tired, and yet, she still made time to see me. She told me to remember just that during times I find myself doubting how much people care about me, or if I start thinking that I’m not worth spending time with or supporting.
“Don’t worry”, I told her. “I’ll remember that you came allll the way from America just to see me 😜!”
I know I would probably be discouraged from ‘putting her on a pedestal’ to this extent due to the typical Borderline trait of idealising vs devaluation – however, it has to be said: I do love her very much. She was like the Mummy of the unit in Boston and I was incredibly attached to her, always giving her cuddles and whatnot. Not just that, but she has a beautiful soul too and is simply great company. She radiates kindness and acceptance and I couldn’t ask for more than that from anyone. Lastly, without her, I may not even have ended up in treatment in Boston, and I most certainly would not be in the position I am in today.