I saw Therapist on Monday and tried to tackle the thorny issue of whether it's her personally that I need, or the support that she gives me. I find it increasingly hard to separate the two, but it's a separation that has to happen. I've written about it a fair bit recently, and it's not exactly a new topic of conversation in sessions either. But it's something that keeps coming up, so it's a stumbling block, and one that has to be addressed.
I think what's going on is that over the years, I've relied on her 110% for validation of what I was feeling because I just wasn't able to provide that for myself. But now, finally, I'm starting to reach a point where I can do this. I'm learning it with DBT, I've talked about it a lot with Therapist, and now, I need to just do it. I have to start recognising that I've come a long way, that I do have some good qualities (however loath I am to admit it), and more than that, that it's ok to recognise these things in myself. We talked about the fact that I'm afraid I'm sabotaging myself so I can continue to see her. She reassured me that even when I am able to do this for myself, and I'm well and stable consistently, that doesn't mean I can't still avail of her support. She's there/the support she provides is there, for as long as I feel I need it. I'll be the one to make the decision to stop, not her (although for what it's worth she doesn't think stopping now would be a good plan).
So where does this leave me? I walked out of the session feeling reassured, and much calmer about things. But then I saw her on my way to the bus, out in the world as an ordinary person, and it pulled me up short. She looked tired. I immediately started to feel bad for taking up her time. BUT..............enter DBT. I have to trust that she is able for whatever comes at her in a session - it's her job, and it's up to her to make sure she's ok to be there. The whole point of the blank slate she presents is that I don't have to think about any of that. For the hour that I'm with her, I can be completely focussed on me. It's not up to me to question how she's doing. That feels really alien, especially now when I'm feeling so much better and actually able to take in more of what's happening around me. But that's the nature of the relationship. She looks after herself, and facilitates me in helping me to look after myself. I often find myself thinking that she has all the answers, and I suppose in a way she does - for herself. In reality I'm the only one with the answers for me, no matter how much I want to believe otherwise. Everyone struggles, everyone has something. Therapist is no different.
I'm getting there. Things are starting to make sense, at more than just a thinking level. I'm starting to see myself, and my strengths. There's no doubt in my mind I've a lot of work yet to do, but the way is looking easier. That helps a lot.
Labels: challenges, DBT, self worth, support, therapist