Wakana and I had a very productive conversation yesterday, perhaps one of our most therapeutic sessions yet. She was completely straightforward and down to business; she wanted to know what was going on last Friday and why I didn’t feel comfortable talking to her – at the very least, letting her know I was still alive. Most importantly, she asked what it is I need from her that I feel like I’m not getting.
Friday. It’s like something is actively trying to block my access to what was going on that day. In a nutshell, I just didn’t want to be bothered – with her, or anyone, or anything. That’s not entirely true: I wanted to spend time with Fox and I did. But he came to me. I didn’t want to face the world, reality. I really didn’t want to go out in it. I didn’t want to put on shoes; none of the shoes I own were quite right for the weather that day. And I didn’t want to face whatever we’d reveal about myself.
And yes, I was more interested in focusing on The Sims 3. My escape. She’s really concerned about all the time playing that game, and the narrowing of my world. On some level, I’m concerned about it, too. But on some level I feel like it’s
what I need all I can handle right now. Anything else requires me to wear the mask, and it’s just too heavy.
What do I need from her that I’m not getting? Music. I need to spend more time making music – and, more importantly, using the music to get at the heart of the matter. It’s hard, it’s painful, I don’t really want to do it most of the time. I guess I need her to push me a little more, or pull me, or … do more to help me feel safe. And to help me put my armor back on before I have to leave her room and face the world again. I hate being so vulnerable. But I think I can do it in front of her, as long as it’s contained within the session.
It felt good to be able to have that conversation with her. It was extremely uncomfortable, but just the fact that she really wanted to know and understand my experience – without judging it or telling me what to do – meant the world to me.
I can really relate to this. It seems that the times when I need my therapist the most are the times when I am least able to get to her, which is unfortunate. I am very lucky to have found a therapist who is willing and able to come to my apartment if need be, though I realize that most therapists cannot do this because they need to stay in their office to be there for the next client. Would it be possible, though, to do phone appointments on occasion, if you feel too depressed (or busy or physically ill or whatever else) to go to her? This is a fairly common practice (some therapists even do Skype appointments!), so there’s no harm in asking at least. I also recommend advocating what you need from Wakana… more music, and perhaps doing something grounding at the end of each session before you have to leave and return to your life and your responsibilities. These seem like reasonable things to ask. I know it can be hard to advocate for yourself (this is something I struggle with personally, especially with therapists), but it’s very important because every client is different and has different needs, so you can’t expect her to automatically know what yours are as opposed to her other clients.
I can do and have done phone and Skype sessions with Wakana. Occasional technical issues aside, Skype sessions are much better because they feel more like we’re together in person. Actually meeting in person is much, much better, so I try to do that as much as possible. I feel like we’re able to do a lot more. But, yeah, doing a phone or Skype session last Friday would have been much better than not contacting her at all. I really wish she could come to me, but that’s not really feasible (distance, travel costs, scheduling, etc).
At our last session (this past Friday) I told her I needed help and time to “put my armor back on” before I had to leave. Even though we spent the whole session talking and I wasn’t feeling particularly vulnerable, she initiated using music to do just that. It didn’t take a form I’d expected, and it was incredibly fun! Best of all it gave me the confidence I needed to handle the stressors I encountered during the rest of the day.
Thanks for your suggestions, they’re really good ones! I’d already acted on them this time around, but next time, who knows? 🙂