I know it’s a new year, but it really actually feels new right now, and that’s because a few things are really quite different to how they were just 3 or 4 weeks ago.
My therapist, who I had been seeing for 7 months, and who had been helping me make progress with EMDR, announced in an email on 21st December that we no longer had a ‘therapeutic alliance’ and that it would take multiple sessions (at £110 a pop) to try to repair it, ‘with no guarantee of success’. In other words, she dumped me as a client.
To say this didn’t go down very well was an understatement. The conversation that lead to this arose from a 5th cancellation from her in about 4 months, at times within half an hour of the scheduled start time, without being offered a rearrangement. The fact I complained about this was apparently what caused a ‘rift’ in our relationship.
So, she chose to dump me right before Christmas, a time I had told her was already very difficult for me (see here for why). I had requested a gap in sessions from 7th December so that I wouldn’t be getting triggered by anything in therapy prior to this tough time, and yet she comes out with this. Abandonment. Rejection.
I felt extremely alone. It really escalated things at a tough time, and despite me planning to manage the things that I could control (contact with parents, mainly), I hadn’t planned to be sideswiped by this. I won’t lie, I was extremely low afterwards.
But, i’m through it. However, in late November, I had also taken the decision to come off antidepressants. Again, this wasn’t exactly my choice. I eventually got through to my GP (after 10 days) to discuss my medication, because I felt it was doing absolutely nothing for my mood. I was taking mirtazipine, and the only benefit really was that I slept like a log. However it was a real struggle to get up in the morning, and I had very little energy. It also drove my appetite, something I need no assistance with! And, ultimately, I wasn’t feeling any uplift in mood.
I called to discuss either a different doses or a different medicine altogether, but was offered an ultimatum – either I carry on with what i’m taking, or I can stop taking it. So, I stopped. It took about a month to get over the resultant terrible sleep, and I had some bad headaches, my mood went right up and right down again, but i’m now totally withdrawn from it.
So, here I am now, in January 2022, with no medication, and no therapy. Not in receipt of any treatment for my mental health whatsoever. In that respect, it’s like early 2019 all over again. Except that I have been working on myself for 3 years.
I feel physically better without antidepressants in my system. There is a certain freedom, a feeling that i’m ‘natural’ again. But, it also feels dangerous, like i’m going into battle without my armour on. Let’s face it, ‘natural’ me didn’t do too well over the last few years either.
I didn’t get a debrief from my therapist, I feel like i’ve been rejected by the healthcare system, also unable to go back to my GP because of our conversation about medication. I do have the option of seeking out another therapist, but I don’t know if I want to. I trusted this woman with the darkest parts of my soul, and she rejected me in a way that was almost designed to maximise my suffering. Do I want to risk that again?
And yet, can I take the risk that my unresolved trauma is not going to come back and bite me, repeatedly? I don’t think I can.
I am doing positive things for myself. I have spent the money I would have spent on therapy, on a year’s access to bass guitar lessons. I’m getting back into healthier eating and exercise, and I do have some skills from my therapy, as well as a group of supportive people around me, both online and in real life.
But I really don’t think it’s going to be enough. At one stage in late December I didn’t think I would make it to the new year. I have no doubt, unfortunately, that I will have these moments again and again in the coming weeks and months. I’m not going to be well just because I wish it so. I’ve learnt that lesson.
I will have the benefit of some workplace health cover that kicks in around May, which would cover a number of therapy sessions. That’s the only way I could afford the last one! Can I really wait until then with no therapy, no medication, just my plan to eat better, walk and make music?
So, you see my dilemma. I do feel that I need to give things a bit of time, just to see how things are in this new state. I think no matter what, I’ll take a few weeks before I do anything. In the meantime, any advice is appreciated.
Take care of yourself (I mean it, that’s why I say it after every post!)