I’m having one of those “What have I done?” moments after therapy on Monday. The feeling is familiar and reeks of vulnerability… so basically the mainstay of any long-term psychotherapy.
The session with DS (Deep Soul) was steaming along very productively. We discussed all my unresolved feelings about the boundaries he had set down for the way he worked and my idea to hand him notes. I really felt like I was being heard and that he knew how important it was for me to feel supported. What struck me was that he was actively keeping certain boundaries in place because he trying to work out something important about how I operate. The boundaries were not about me being a bad person and needing to be restrained and kept in place. Knowing this seemed to remind me that he was on my side. He was not trying to punish me.
Therapists give the best gifts…
Quite by surprise, DS said I was welcome to contact him during the week and organise an in-between session if I was feeling overwhelmed and needed his support. He said this had always been an option but realised we had never spoken about it and that I therefore wouldn’t have known. I was really touched. It feels like a gift when someone offers more of their time and concern. I think I looked like I had just been hit by a truck because he said he was trying to work out how I was feeling. It was just overwhelming to have him come through for me like that. Talk about needing time to process.
Flitting thought the rainforest…
With that out in the open, we moved onto how I’ve been grappling with my existence lately. I’ve been bogged down by the struggle to define my purpose on this planet. I explained how I’ve always felt so different to everyone and how I was convinced I had a different brain because I seemed to think and feel more deeply than my peers and the general population. I’d told told him before that Elaine Aron’s HSP theory had gone some way to explaining this feeling of being different.
“And then I discovered this blog about rainforest minds. I found it fascinating because it was talking about how sensitive and curious people are quite often gifted. Not purely in the intellectual sense but emotionally, imaginationally and with their senses,” I gushed out.
DS hadn’t heard about Polish psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski’s theory of overexcitabilities, and how it proposed that many gifted people were born with innate intensities and sensitivities. I asked him to look it up and get back to me. And then I proceeded to explain that it’s not that I WAS gifted or anything like that. Or maybe it was a struggle to believe it could be true because of self-doubt. Anyway, I felt the term gifted was loaded in a sense because it seemed to imply a sense of being better than others, which I didn’t appreciate.
He calmly recommended I read The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller. I had heard of it but hadn’t been able to get a copy. Laughing, I said I assumed from the title it was about giftedness.
“I must be honest. I haven’t actually read it myself,” DS said with a small, sheepish smile. With that, he turned around and ran his finger along the spines of his books to find it. He pulled it out and started reading the back.
“Actually, I’d like to go through it first before you read it. I hope that’s okay,” he asked.
I said that was fine.
Christmas comes twice in one hour…
“Yes and when I’m done, you can borrow my copy.”
Oh. Em. Gee. How can so few words provide so much pleasure?! I was dumbfounded, again. DS was loosening the boundaries for me slightly and actually offering a something of his to hold onto, even just for a little bit. I remember thanking him with a very serious expression on my face because I wanted him to know how important this was.
“And don’t worry DS. I look after books like I do children and pets,” I blurted out. I hope he knows I am good with little ones and fur balls, not a crazy lady looking to hack things to pieces.
Why butterflies, why?!
I think I skipped and whistled out of the therapy room. In fact, I think it was a first that I didn’t trip down his stairs or along the uneven parking lot because it was dark and I was on a high.
AND THEN… I had a shocking thought. A completely paranoid, unnecessary thought which has not ruined my happy feelings about DS but is nonetheless flitting around like a thousand butterflies in my skull and stomach.
WHAT IF HE READS THE BOOK AND DECIDES I AM NOT “GIFTED” IN THAT SENSE?!
Dude, what if he never speaks about the book again and it becomes the gifted but quiet elephant in the room? Worse, what if he does bring it up and tactfully tries to tell me that I wasn’t the sensitive child discussed in the book. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of this.
So many trapshots in therapy. Should I even be worrying about this or is my concern legitimate?