* Trigger warning for thoughts of self harm
I replied to Jen almost straight away last night. Before I lost my courage, before I lost my mind from sitting with the pain, and (I hoped) before she went offline.
“No, I am not seeing the new psychiatrist and am not seeing Aisha any more either.
You’ve been a great support over the last couple of years and I really appreciate everything you’ve done – thank you. But I am feeling very hurt and unsupported by you and am not sure when or if I’ll be back.”
I don’t regret it. It was honest, and as skillful as I knew how to be. I didn’t get a reply, and I’m not waiting for one.
I thought about cutting myself. I could see the blood, pooling around me while I sat in the bottom of my shower, and that triggered another thought – maybe I should overdose, too. I could already hear exactly what I’d tell myself: Jen hates you, you stupid bitch. She thinks you’re needy and clingy and too demanding and she wants you away from her. You’re a pathetic whiny little piece of shit and she doesn’t.fucking.care about you. I hate you, you bitch. You deserve this. You deserve this.
I stopped, though.
Do you really want to hurt yourself?
I pictured drawing a razor across my arm, and inwardly recoiled.
No. But I don’t want to feel this feeling and hurting myself will push it away.
Already I don’t know how, or why, but I decided to stay with the feelings. It was probably Rachel’s fault. I sobbed until I was gasping, and I let myself feel all the rage and the hurt and the disbelief – how can this be happening again? why is this happening again? what did I do?
An hour later, I got another email in my inbox; from my friend R to Aisha, my last sort-of-remaining therapist (and his), with me cc’d. He and I are fighting, and he’d taken a screenshot of our text conversation and sent it to her. I was instantly diverted from my hurt over Jen to fury with him, and I decided it was time to terminate with Aisha.
I did hesitate, wondering if I was being reactive to Jen’s rejection and I’d regret it in the morning, but I felt very strongly that this was the push I’d been needing. I’ve been reluctant to contact her because I was scared of the feelings. I still am; I know there are a lot more to come. I love Aisha. I’m crying now, writing this. She’s given me so much unconditional affection that even with all my fears and insecurities, I really believe every part of me is accepted with her. I want her, so much. But that doesn’t mean she’s good for me. And while I’m already feeling crushed and devastated about Jen, I might as well get it over with.
So I typed out a quick email, Goodbye and thanks, and I sent it. The malicious part of me hoped that when she first opened her email, she would see the subject line and think it was a suicide note.
This [R’s email] has prompted me to write to you to formally terminate our therapeutic relationship. It’s been 6 weeks since we spoke and 4 weeks since I got in touch to let you know Anna quit and you haven’t responded. I feel very hurt and abandoned and it has brought home to me that I need a much higher level of support than you are able to provide.
I really regret that we are parting under these circumstances but I’m trying to remember that it’s not about right or wrong, just the reality that our relationship isn’t meeting my needs. That said, I so appreciate all your patience and kindness and all the humour we’ve been able to share. I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with you; I’ll miss you and I wish you all the best.
Everest also sends her regards – or she would, if she wasn’t busy trying to eat one of my pens.
I haven’t got a response, of course. If I do, it probably won’t be for weeks.
So this month has been a series of cascading failures. Anna, then Jen, then Aisha. I’m swinging wildly between emotional states – numb to angry to sad to relieved to self-loathing and back again. I don’t know what I did. It feels like it can’t be a coincidence, but I don’t know what I did. I’m trying to tell myself that even if it was because I’m too much or too hard or too something, that doesn’t mean that I’m bad or they’re bad, just that we aren’t the right fit for each other. It’s not helping much.
I was awake until 4am last night, restless, idly playing fetch with my kitten, but woke at 7am feeling okay, and determined that I have to start moving forward. I texted my GP, and asked her to call the psychiatrist I’d picked as my preference and see if she was available.
She’s not. I don’t even remember why, but she doesn’t feel she’s a good fit for me. She recommended a psychologist in my area she thinks would be perfect, and S pushed me really hard to do it, but the reality is that I can’t afford it. I’ve found 5 psychologists I would love to see, but even with the private health insurance that costs me $55 a week, it would cost another $400 to go twice a week. With what I earn, even if I went back to how I made it through law school, living in a condemned house and dumpster-diving/boiling pet bones for food, I couldn’t do it. Seeing a psychiatrist will cost me $40 – $80 to go twice a week. I know how lucky I am to have access to any level of care, but I’m still angry that my options are limited.
But I stayed calm, and gave her the number for my second preference. She got an international dial tone, and no message bank.
And then I started spinning out and catastrophising. There’s nobody else I can see. I can’t go to another male psychiatrist. Nobody is going to be able to help me. I should just give up. The universe hates me. Why do I even try when nothing ever works out?
Being activated is full of contradictory states, for me. My head feels empty, but so heavy. My stomach feels like there is a rock resting at the base, but I feel the urge to eat, to fill it. My arms and legs can’t move but they want to flail and kick and lash out. I need to be very quiet and still but the silence feels blurry. I don’t know how silence can feel blurry, but it does.
I’m trying to be kind and gentle with myself. And when that doesn’t work, I play fetch with Everest. It has become apparent that the pen lid needs to be subdued with all possible force.