Today in therapy I adopted a somewhat different mindset to usual. My usual level of dissociation (after 20 minutes of talking) was accompanied by a notable (and atypical, for me) lack of enthusiasm about being stuck in that room. Being attached to my therapist however, I still wanted to spend as much time with her as I could – I just didn’t feel up to doing it in the conventional therapeutic way.
So, I put on my best puppy-dog-eyed look, turned to her and said,
“I’m really not ‘feeling’ therapy today, wanna go outside and sun bathe instead?!”
She was humming and haa-ing and wondering out-loud, clearly wanting to take up my offer (she loves sun, and would get to have a smoke) but weighing up whether that would be effective or not.
“If I say yes to your request, missy”, she asked, “Would I be encouraging your avoidance?”
“Maybe!” I said, eyes still wide, “But it’s sunny out, we need to make the most of it, and we both REALLY need a cigarette!”
She rolled her eyes but secretly I’m sure she was pleased. So we gathered our stuff and ventured outside to a little green area by the practice, where we laid down on the grass in a patch of sun. We chatted and chilled for the rest of the session and it was rather cute. Awkwardly, she only had one paper left so we had to share the promised cigarette. At first, that felt super weird given our relationship, but then relievingly it was pretty normal, like how it would be with a friend.
We talked about therapeutic matters and emotions but also non-therapeutic ones. She analysed my motivation for suggesting we come outside, and I cracked some jokes about it which made her laugh although they were actually more true than not – and she probably knew it too. I told her I felt happy and that I wanted to stay there for a long time.
“What about this makes you feel happy?”, she asked.
“It just feels so normal”, I responded, “I’m not used to feeling safe around people in social situations.”
“I’m not sure about normal!” she joked, “I can’t say I’ve ever taken another client to lie down, sunbathe and smoke outside during therapy!”
I felt so special, peaceful and in the moment, it was such a lovely half hour. I got a bit sad also, so I guess I was ‘happy-sad’, because the truth is that I do not have someone in real life with whom I feel as safe and cared for as I do with her. I have people who love me and who I love, but I am not attached to them, nor do I crave their affection, in the way I do hers.
I feel like such a small child around my therapist, and today meant the world to me because the needs of that lost and lonely child were met by her. But the relationship that we have, as beautiful as it is, is also a sort of illusion. It is not something that can or will ever exist in ‘reality’, outside of the therapeutic context. And for that, I am very sad.
As we walked back in the direction of her office, almost getting run-over because we both suck as crossing roads, I joked,
“Imagine if I got run over whilst on this adventure with you…”
“Yikes”, she joked back, “Now how would I explain THAT one to your Mother?!”