What do I do now? (and why does DS feel so far away)

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For the last few months, my colleagues and I have been dealing with a highly uncertain situation in which our company was considering closing down. There were meetings in which very little was actually said. Most of us went on holiday in December without knowing for sure whether we would have some form of job security in the New Year. The most horrible part was the rumours. People in the industry seemed to know more about what was going to happen than we did. It was humiliating.

We eventually had a staff meeting on Thursday. A few of my colleagues and I tuned in via conference call after a stressful two hour delay. Our boss confirmed that our company was being liquidated and would shut its doors at the end of next month. It was like a punch to the gut. My belly twisted and turned as I heard the fear and anger in my colleagues’ questions.

The last few days have been weird. I have only cried for a few minutes. This is highly unusual as its usually the first thing that happens to ease internal pressure. I’ve felt lost, sad, angry, confused, tired, numb and sick. I’ve had blurry nightmares where I wake up without remembering what happened but feeling horrible and tired. Last night, my eyes shot open at 3.30am and I couldn’t fall asleep again. I usually sleep pretty well. My husband has been amazing and I don’t think it would have been possible to get out of bed if it weren’t for him.

The retrenchment has brought up all sorts of issues and questions. I am extremely sensitive to changes in my life and threats to security (You may say: well that’s life…full of surprises! While I realise that, I can’t change my fundamental sensitivity. I can only hope to work with it rather than against it). I don’t want to be a burden to my husband by relying on him if I can’t find a job. I loved my job and it was a big part of my identity and sense of accomplishment in life. How do I find a job that offers the same challenge and is also in line with my ideals and ethics? I guess I will have to find out.

The timing of the retrenchment coincides with confusing feelings about the therapeutic relationship. DS and I had a really weird session a week ago. I drew quite a few parallels between the transference and not feeling I was “good enough” for my dad. There were moments of insight and clarity as we chatted but the session was also painful. I can’t really remember the whole hour. It feels as though someone took an eraser and haphazardly worked on parts of my memory. What I can recall is sitting at the end of our session, feeling very out of sorts. Things felt fuzzy and I sunk into his couch, staring up at the ceiling. My whole body felt tingly and I floated about. I think I remember DS asking me a few times about what I was feeling in my body. It took a lot of effort to answer him. I just wanted to escape into the fuzziness. It felt so relaxing and inviting. Not sure what it was. And then I snapped back into my body when I realised I was running past our time. I am always very conscientious about keeping to time. I felt disorientated but told DS I was “fine” and got up. He said he would see me next week and I walked slowly out of there, putting my hand on the door frame to steady myself.

That bodily experience has never happened to me in therapy and I felt vulnerable and confused afterwards. I desperately hoped DS would e-mail or text to check in and see whether I was okay. He didn’t. That, and the fact that he let me walk out of his office in that state, makes me feel like he doesn’t really care. Like it’s just an illusion. I know therapists sometimes don’t make contact in these types of instances because they want the client to know they have faith in their self-soothing and coping capabilities. But I feel more alienated now. I don’t feel stronger.

As if that weren’t confusing enough, he said he would not be able to meet with me for our session next week because he is away. It was me who noted it was after the Valentines weekend. I immediately assumed that he must be in a relationship and going away with the one he loves. Not good for the transference feelings, especially abandonment, pining, anger and loss.

I guess it just feels like I have to do this alone because he won’t really be here for me during this very stressful time. Yes, he may meet with me an hour a week but whose to know if it really means anything.

Everything must eventually pass and on some level, I know this will be an opportunity for growth. It just feels so overwhelming.

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12 thoughts on “What do I do now? (and why does DS feel so far away)

  1. This so reminds me of how much I felt I needed both therapist’s, Raymond and Matt. And I did. I’d found a person who I put my faith in because I had none of my own. I hadn’t found my center, a place I can rely on far more than any therapist. I don’t mean to make this sound morbid, but if I die at any moment throughout the day, who will be with me for sure? Me.

    I’m the one who will never leave me? Right? are you listening there deep inside? That’s what I tell myself in ‘Times of Trouble’, whatever you do, don’t leave yourself. Which means, stick by me, confront the negative voices, be my own friend, don’t abandon me.

    This can translate to you, though it may not feel like it. Take this time to explore those capabilities and resources. Because you have more to offer and give to yourself than anyone can, because only you really know what you need. It takes time to figure these things out, the getting to know oneself. It’s a lifelong process. People can help along the way, but everybody leaves; comes and goes. Only you stays with you.

    The job thing is hard, having the rug pulled out. Sometimes things happen that feel like a disaster but have an even better outcome eventually. Ride the waves…It’ll be ok…

    • Jay says:

      Thank you for taking the time to leave such a meaningful and helpful comment. I agree that at the end of the day, it is only me who can ultimately be there for myself. I wondered why that felt so hard to do now… and it’s probably because my journey of self-discovery is still quite new. It is going to take some time to find ways to be my own cheerleader and best friend. But I do believe I will one day find I have capabilities and resources I didn’t know about. Good to know people like you have come out the other end with such insight x

      • It’s so raw being in therapy. I was very dependent on my therapists, but at that time, that’s exactly what I needed, someone to lean on.
        I like that, “journey of self-discovery.”

  2. Ellen says:

    It’s too bad a therapy crisis is happening at the same time as your ‘real life’ crisis. I hate when that happens.

    I can say from my own experience, my T would react as yours did – i.e., he always allows me to leave when my time is up, though if I’m crying, he might ask if I’m OK to go. But if I actually told him I was ‘fine’, he would let me go for sure. I’ve even walked out of there crying and in a child state, and he doesn’t try and stop me. I think in order to be real, and not co-dependent, we need to say – I’m not fine, I need a few minutes to pull myself together. That is being honest, and not asking anyone to mind read. Mind reading is a kind of childish hope, really, IMO.

    My T would also never reach out to me between sessions, unless I initiated contact. Has yours ever done so? Even so, sometimes I long for him to do so, but I know he won’t. There was one exception, which was after my cancer surgery, when he wanted to know if I was OK. But that was it. I believe it’s part of his boundaries – if I need him, it is my job to reach out. Could you reach out to DS? Though I believe he maybe doesn’t respond, from what you’ve written previously. Which is very hard.

    Anyway, just wanted to say, nothing you’ve written indicates that DS does not care, which is your huge fear. Therapy has these built in boundaries, and you are bumping up against then in a painful way, is what I see happening. It’s not you and him, it’s more the nature of therapy.

    I am sorry for the loss of your much loved job.

    • Jay says:

      Your honest and kind words gave me so much to think about and provided a springboard for my session yesterday. For that I thank you. After thinking about it, I realised you are completely spot on with telling people it’s fine when it’s not really. Since starting therapy, I have been a lot more honest with revealing my inner state to people because I feel a bit safer and validated. I didn’t do that with DS because of the time situation. If there had been a few extra minutes, I think I would have said something. And your comment on the mind reading… It blew me away. It’s an old habit that I haven’t used in a while but which seemed to pop right back in unexpectedly into this session without me even being aware!

  3. Very sorry to hear about your job loss. I hope you eventually find something even better to replace it.
    Im also sorry DS feels so far away. He could not have picked up on your struggling with fuzzy feeling near the end. It could be why he didn’t say anything.
    J let’s me leave in a bit of a mess sometimes too. I collect myself together after.
    Have you talked to him about how you wish he’d reach out to you? I’m not sure his boundaries.. But it might be worth a conversation. Or it might be scary! 😉
    Hope you feel better. Therapy can be so painful… *hugs*

    • Jay says:

      I felt such support in your words, thank you. I think he sensed it had something to do with my anxiety and didn’t know what I was experiencing because I didn’t tell him. But we had a really good chat about it last night and I think we worked out what happened in the session that made me feel that way. He also knows that I wanted him to reach out. Hugs

  4. I’m sorry to head about your job loss. When your job is a big part of your identitiy, it is so devasting.

    I felt like the fuzzy, floaty, partly erased memory feeling you are describing is dissociation. You described the feeling– how I experience my “normal” dissociation– spot on. If this isn’t usual for you, DS may not have even realized it was happening. If you can, letting him know how this felt might be a really good idea.

    I hope things start to feel better. Sending lots of support and well wishes your way. Xx

    • Jay says:

      I managed to let him know about my feelings last night and we had a really productive chat! He seemed to really think about the right words to describe what he had seen and did not end up using dissociation. I think it may have been. And then I had a dream last week about severely dissociating while driving and then snapping back into my body while my foot was pressed down hard on the gas. It was freaky!

      • I’m really glad you were able to talk to DS. 😊

        Dissociation can feel very disorienting and freaky if you aren’t used to the feeling. It’s nothing bad, per say, it’s a coping mechanism, is all. A crisis at work and a crisis in the therapeutic relationship is obviously a lot of stress. It can be really comforting in a way. Anyways, I guess I just want you to know its not weird or bad.

      • Jay says:

        Thank you for your kindness and input xxx

  5. Tina says:

    Wanting him to check on me … yup. Pining …. that too. Changes in the workplace are highly stressful for me too. It causes me to question my value.

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