Today, something came up, and I wanted to be there for my therapist, instead of having her be there for me. I felt guilty because of the circumstances and was struggling to talk about myself in the usual way. I just wanted to look after her feelings, not for her to look after mine! Interestingly, she seemed to know pretty much exactly what was going on for me before I had even elaborated, (once she had dragged it out of me)!
It got me thinking about how unusual it is in life to be in any sort of relationship that is, for the most part, totally unidirectional. Personally, I am used to giving and helping; to being there for everyone around me; to extending myself quite a lot to those in need – and often, to the detriment of myself. I am incredibly codependent, regularly attempting to soothe the pain of those around me far before even considering soothing my own.
But I can not do much of that with my therapist, and whenever I try to, she knows immediately and blocks me from engaging in my usual patterns. Today, it was not even a matter of codependency. I just genuinely wanted to protect and be there for her, due to various reasons, and because it is important to me to try and support people I care about and show them that I am there.
Anyway, as the session continued we starting talking about childhood matters, again. I panicked when she asked me to go into my body, but luckily averted a panic attack by doing some grounding exercises. These body sensations are terrifying me though, and are a huge block to me feeling able to do this deeper work together. We talked about that a little, and she really seemed to know what she was talking about with regards to body memories. She told me to read a book called “The Body Keeps the Score”, which everyone in my old treatment centre was obsessed with. I guess I should knuckle down and read it…
So, it is clear that we are moving on to bigger things, beyond Stage 1 DBT. I know this because she said that the health insurance people had emailed for an update, and that she had told my case manager that we have come to the end of the stabilisation phase of therapy and are now moving on to trauma-focused work.
After she said that, I hid behind my coat in an attempt to block out reality. It reminded me of how I used to cover my ears as a child and scream “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA” as loudly as I could, whenever I needed to block the rest of the world out. Suddenly it all felt very real and I was about 6 years old again. Come to think of it, I have been feeling about 6 years old for quite a long time now, actually.