After the events of last week my goal this week was clear.
I have been seeing the current one for just under a year and while we’ve had several communication issues I’ve tried hard to come back at the next appointment, try to talk things out, and move on.
She is a nice woman and she is very easy to talk to when she is receptive. Unfortunately sometimes she just… isn’t? Her availability has not been stellar, so when I actually have a chance to see her it has been a real bummer when she isn’t listening.
Despite the obvious issues I told myself that (realistically) some of the feelings I was having about her not listening to me could be an emotional reaction, out of line, and that maybe I wasn’t communicating properly on my end. However after several of these situations I found myself sitting in front of her last week talking about this very subject. She seemed to listen, she had a sad emotional reaction in her face, and I was prepared to move past it. Again.
But then… she asked if looking up [a specific topic] as homework might help me. I replied I felt more comfortable saving the topic for later down the road because I didn’t want to be confused after getting different information from difference sources (once I get into the DBT group). In seconds she said,
“ok,” pulled out a sticky note, wrote a few words down, and gave it to me. “That way you will remember to look this up when you get home.”
For a second I honestly thought she might be screwing with me… hadn’t I just said no? Hadn’t I just said that I was terribly afraid she wasn’t listening to me?
I took the note and left.
When I told this story to my new psychiatrist later last week she implored me to call the director of the program to switch to someone else. It can be so hard to know when to cut ties with a therapist, and I have a hard time not giving someone having a hard time with their job another chance to do better. After all, it is what I would want if I needed another chance… the difference is that this pattern I fall into is no longer therapeutic for me. Sure, it might be therapeutic for my therapist that I be forgiving when something comes up, but when does that gesture dissolve the positives I might be getting out of therapy in the first place? I need to be working to resolve issues in therapy, not causing new ones.
At any rate, this is the first time I have made a big move to switch therapists. Normally they’ve just quit or left before I had a chance, so I feel proud of myself for addressing this before it went too far. I’ve already spoken to the program director and have already been assigned someone new, I just have to wait for them to call to set up our first appointment now.
I feel a little conflicted about not reaching this point with my therapist in person (I generally do enjoy her as a human being), but every time I tried to suggest we split in the last year she would reel me back in. Again with the not-listening. At any rate, I think I’ve devised a method to help me potentially predict big upcoming episodes with more accuracy (more on that in my next post) and it seems pretty clear that I am heading into one of those large depressive states I can find myself in. Finding a support system that is… well, supportive before the ball drops will be crucial, so any guilt I am feeling is largely overshadowed by a sense of self-preservation.