17 days without DS…


Our last therapy session for the year was terrible. I had wanted to reflect on our work together and strengthen our connection so I would be okay over the break. I envisioned a warm session where my walls were down. Us ensconced in a rich and infectious aura of Christmas hope and thankfulness. A snowglobe of memories and feelings to shake and eye in wonder while apart.

Instead, I sat in front of DS (Deep Soul) with an inexplicable headache, feeling irritated by the pain and my own low feelings. I struggled to concentrate because the pain was unrelenting. We spoke but I felt disconnected.

He remembered to give me a book to hold onto during the vacation, called “A Tale for The Time Being” by Ruth Ozeki. Such a magical book. Two weeks before that, he had surprised me with another book about two orphan girls caught up in a tale of transience and loss. I was taken aback that he was giving me a book before the break, as I thought this would be the only one to hold onto. He said he would give me another if I finished it in time, and I did. Such thoughtfulness on his part. During our last session, I explained how meaningful the first book had been and how many things had resonated. DS confessed that this was unintentional and coincidental. He  said he hadn’t spent time thinking about what to give me but had picked stuff based on a gut feeling. Covering up my feelings of surprise and disappointment, I said: “Yes, I know that obviously”. I didn’t know. I envisioned him running his fingers carefully over the spines in his shelf, a slight furrow in his brow and a biting of his lip indicating the concentration and thought about what best to leave me with. Why do I feel like an idiotic child for thinking this?

I had also contemplated making a Christmas card for him because I knew he had a strict policy on gifts and would not accept even a small token of appreciation. Actually, I bumped against this boundary a few weeks earlier when I handed him a science magazine I received in the mail. I said he could read it and then pass it on. I told him at the time that he could place it with the other mags in his waiting room when he was done but he said he would give it back to me afterwards because he did not accept gifts. I understand why his policy is in place but it wasn’t a gift. Nonetheless, if keeping those boundaries in place keeps him sane, then I can’t really complain. Going back to the Christmas card, I wanted to draw something cool, color it in with bright khokis and leave a small but meaningful message for him. I felt like the card would be a good way to close the year. I ended up at the session empty-handed because I honestly couldn’t face the possibility of rejection so close to a break.

So here I am, 17 days in, and I miss him with every inch of my being. It’s been a bit easier than I expected and I have had the support of my husband and family. We flew to see my mom, dad and sister at the coast and it’s been wonderful catching up with them the last two weeks. We fly back home on Monday and I see DS in the evening for our first session of the year. I want to be braver this year. I want to ask him what he did over the break. I want to open up about other things in my life. Maybe, at some point this year, I will be able to shake off these feelings of being unworthy, of time flying by too quickly and leaving me in its dust. Maybe, this year, I will find peace.


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12 thoughts on “17 days without DS…

  1. I’m sorry you are having such a hard time, and that the last session of the year was terrible. I hope that the rest of the break passes by quickly and that 2015 is the year you find peace, because you deserve it. You aren’t unworthy, not at all. Take care. ❤️

  2. Jay, this is such a lovely piece. I love the imagery, the analogy to a snow globe is absolutely perfect. It reminded me of these calm down jars that are great for helping children self soothe. I totally understand about being too afraid to give him your gift. I have gone home keeping something I brought for my therapist many a time even though he accepts gifts. It’s scary to make yourself that vulnerable, especially with something so heartfelt as a homemade card. Perhaps you could still give it to him. Take care, love and reach out if you need a kind word or a sympathetic ear.

    • Jay says:

      Your words and support mean the world to me. Thank you 🙂 How interesting that he accepts gifts. What had you planned to give him before changing your mind?

      • A box of chocolates once and a small, round stone representing me that I found on a beach trip. I felt stupid giving him the chocolates, so I shared them with my ACA group instead. The stone was sort of an inside joke and my way of ensuring a piece of me always remained in his office. I couldnt bring myself to give it to him. It happens.

  3. Ellen says:

    My unsolicited advice (forgive forgive) is to make the card now and give it when you next see him. Any reactions you have to his response you need to discuss. That’s what therapy is for. Though it is hard to imagine, actually, even the most boundaried of therapists taking exception to a lovingly handmade card. If you don’t do this, I’d still discuss your fear of giving him anything at all.

    It almost sounds here, as if you are very busy taking care of DS and trying to make things ‘nice’. Maybe for yourself also. I used to do this more than I do now. I’d desperately need the last session before a break to be calm and soothing and an affirmation of how much we meant to each other. Then it wouldn’t have that effect, and I’d be devastated.

    So I no longer do that. It is therapy after all. I might spend part of the session moaning about his leaving me, how he obviously doesn’t care, and generally not being ‘grown up’. How we feel about breaks is a good topic overall. I no longer hold back, or at least, I don’t particularly try to, and I’ve often paradoxically felt better about ‘last’ sessions. This may be too direct for your own style, but even small moves in this direction might be helpful.

    My two cents. Glad your Christmas provided distractions. Wishing you the best for 2015!

    • Jay says:

      Oh my word Ellen… really appreciate your honesty and please continue to say it like it is. I definitely feel that one of my challenges is taking care of people’s feelings and lives too much, even if it’s unsolicited. DS raises this whenever he feels like I might be saying or doing something to protect his feelings.

      It’s a lifelong battle… I really like your advice on being more direct. Hope to get there someday. Take care x

  4. Funny about different therapists. Raymond took my Christmas gift graciously and enjoyed it, commenting later that he showed it to a friend to ask him if he could figure out how it worked. It was some little gizmo where a little metal ball went around and around but he couldn’t figure out how or why until he discovered the battery.

    He also freely and happily allowed me to a borrow a book he had shown me that was special to him from a friend, while another therapist who showed me a book of his own would not allow me to borrow it. He didn’t let others take his books for fear they wouldn’t be returned.

    Raymond was by a far a much better fit for me. So I understand the true affection felt both ways that made me want to include him in my Christmas giving. Had I known he had a policy of not doing so I wouldn’t have, and I would have understood it wasn’t personal but a policy for everyone. (I think)

    But he allowed giving. It was a safe place where I could open up and be me, feel warmth maybe for the first time. Of course I wanted to show him how grateful I was to feel real human affection in a way that I don’t think I’d ever been able to feel before. I so understand that feeling of wanting to give a thanks with a gift or something concrete.

    A good therapeutic relationship is a rare special experience for someone like me who goes around bottled up most of the time. He had a found a way past all that. I do have a heart if you are a person worth my trust and are willing to look deep enough to find it.

    • Jay says:

      Your experience warms my heart and re-affirms my belief that the therapeutic relationship is what heals! To feel that human affection and truly believe someone cares over a long period is a gift. It also stresses how important it is for our therapists to be qualified and hold boundaries because it’s such a responsibility.

  5. Thanks for the reminder of how important sessions are to clients.

  6. I just love how honest and vulnerable you are in your writing. You express yourself beautifully. So glad to be back to reading.

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