Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Why Does My Emotional Reaction Always Trump My Intellectual Reaction?

So I have a really hard session and I'm feeling overwhelmed so I text my therapist (L) and tell her this.  Now first, I must say that she lets me text as much as I want, literally.  We've only started doing this in the past few months and it has helped my anxiety tremendously.  And I know that a lot of the things she does to support me, well, most therapists probably wouldn't.  Clearly nothing illegal or unethical, but just amazingly supportive.

Anyway, I text her and tell her I'm having a hard time.  I should also tell you that she gave me an extra 30 minutes during my session.  Usually we go 90 minutes, but she didn't have anyone after me so she let the session go longer.  She reponds and tells me if texting is helping relieve the anxity then 'text away', and if I want to come back in, she had time the following evening.  I then text back and tell her thanks and that I'll think (ruminate) about it.  She responds and says that she doesn't want me to ruminate, a favorite pasttime of mine, so she'll leave the time open for me, and I can cancel if I want.  Totally blown away by this.

The next day I get up and text her to say that if due to the weather, another snowstorm here, or if she was only going in to the office to see me, then she can feel free to cancel and I'll be ok with it. She responds and says she doesn't need to cancel.  So I go about my day, building up whatever it takes to get me to my evening appointment.  And then, about 2 hours before I get a text from her canceling the session; she's having car trouble and she's stuck in the city.  I'm crushed.  I respond with a simply 'ok, good luck with the car'.

I keep hoping to hear back that it was a quick fix and she could still keep the appointment; that didn't happen.  So the next day I keep hoping she'll check in on me; that didn't happen.  The next night, on the drive home from work I finally get the courage to send her a text and tell her how cancelling made me anxious.  It's not her fault, and I'm not telling her this in hopes she feels bad, but I'm just 'putting it out to the universe' in hopes of feeling better.  She replies less than a minute later 'I was just thinking about you....I have time Monday or Tuesday to see you'.  Once again, totally floored.  To know, and believe that she was thinking about me literally filled me with warmth.

I respond and tell her that I have some things going on in the morning on Monday, but I'd be done by 1:00pm.  Now I know that I didn't come right out and ask her for a session Monday afternoon, but I thought I had implied it.  I consciously choose not to come out and ask.....that's part of the reason I'm in therapy!! For whatever reason she doesn't pick up on my implication, and I don't hear from her all weekend. On Monday afternoon, at 1:15 I sent her a text telling her that I had the rest of the day free and did she have any time to meet.  I then play the game of checking my phone every 5 minutes, and each time I don't see a response, I get more and more.....I'm not sure, anxious, angry, hurt?  At nearly 9:00pm Monday night she responds saying she's sorry she didn't see my text until just now, and did I want to come in on Monday.  Me, being an adult, choose not to respond.

I text her at 5:30am the next morning, can't do Tuesday and probably need to cancel our usual Wednesday morning meeting.  We're are in the middle of another snowstorm and I'm pretty sure the roads will be too bad on Wednesday. She responds back that we can keep our Wednesday morning time, and if it's too bad maybe we can meet later on Wednesday.

So, why after all this, am I having a hard time.  She's done more than any therapist I've ever worked with.  But I'm still feeling withdrawn, mistrustful, angry, hurt.....guess that's why I'm in therapy


  1. Oh how hard to feel so supported on the one hand, and then let down so badly on the other. :( It must have been SO difficult when she cancelled last minute, I'm not surprised that you felt crushed.

    I'm sad that you didn't feel able to ask her for what you needed on Monday/Tuesday, and missed out. I hope you got to see her today!

    It strikes me that having a hard time with a therapist who (for whatever reason) is being inconsistent is completely understandable, particularly if you were let down in a similar way by your parents/caregivers. It might be something to talk to her about - perhaps an opportunity to express some frustration/upset at being let down?

  2. I just don't understand why I react so strongly to her. When others cancel I may feel disappointed, but I never take it to the same degree as with my t (L). And she continues to go above-and-beyond for me.

  3. Hmm, well maybe there is a bit of attachment going on here for you. Sometimes even when we don't want it we can end up feeling attached, and usually that is when the strong unpredictable feelings start emerging. One of the most experienced counsellors I know often says, 'when the behaviour doesn't make sense, think attachment'.