I cannot keep going. I am not sure when I have felt so completely and utterly done. I am signed off work for two weeks. I am scared of the space but also so completely incapable of work that this has to be better. I cannot hide this storm. It is too big and devastating.
Part of me wants to pull it together and get back to doing the things that keep me well-ish, to show my daughter that I really was just tired by being fine tomorrow, to care for myself the way people tell me to, to not let my relationship with a professional bring me to my knees. I just don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to keep going. Every minute by myself feels like torture. Young parts are screaming. The baby (Hope, K named her, though we are pretty short on that right now) keeps taking over and screaming and screaming. The baby and young parts’ pain is impossible to be with – their pain being too huge for me to consciously bear is the reason I split into parts in the first place.
And other parts just don’t want to pick up the pieces and begin to face a future without K. We were never going to have a forever ending. Believing we were, ultimately, working towards an ending was getting in the way of me doing the work two years ago. The pain of one day losing her was unbearable. So she told me that sometimes when the work of therapy has been particularly deep it can be appropriate for there to never be a permanent ending, that after the intense work of therapy is done there can be a transition to something else – not friends, but something – like doing yoga or something like that. So I settled. A little. As much as I ever have been able to. Every so often there has been utter panic and desperation about her going away, and she has soothed it by saying she has no plans to go anywhere and that she wants to spend the rest of her life in the part of the world we are in. Last August she said she would give me a year’s notice if we needed to end because of the depth of the work we are doing. And her partner, who I know and have done yoga with, is now in Portugal and there are plans for me to go there to his yoga centre. Last time I panicked that she would move away she said even if she were to one day give me notice and move there (which she doesn’t want to do), there is the centre there and a little cottage at the side, so we would have “options”. It wouldn’t be the end of us.
So since then I’ve had in mind that ‘we always have a year – always, until the day she says otherwise’. And I hoped I would be in a stronger place and more able to cope with it by the time it happened. I hoped I wouldn’t need to move to another therapist and could keep something vaguely therapeutic going with her. And I completely understand that she intended to give me this notice period, wanted to do this, and that she can’t because everything has changed and she is very unwell. She has done nothing wrong but this does not stop the pain.
I have spent most of the time since October 2015, when I first realised she actually understood me and could help me, terrified, on some level, that she will go away. She has told me she is here and I have sobbed that I don’t know how long she will be here for. In some ways it is a relief to know how long I have left of her. Except it isn’t. It is just gut-wrenching, soul-destroying, annihilating pain. And she may have to stop work sooner than Christmas – that is the reality. Her health is failing and she doesn’t know really if she will be able to work for another 6 or 7 months.
And I know how much she will be hurting, to know she is causing me this much pain. I know how much she cares for me, I know from the things she has said that our relationship is so important to her too, that it is not like this for her with other clients – she has told me and shown me how much I matter to her, consistently for nearly 3 years. She has never let me down (recent rupture aside). She has arranged email sessions whilst she was on holiday, talked to a distressed alter at the weekend when she couldn’t get a grown up part back and didn’t know what to do, emailed me from the bottom of her garden under an umbrella in the pouring rain when her wifi was down and she had no signal near her house, supported me in my career and poured her pride down on me for every achievement, big and small. She has been there for me in every way she possibly could be because she wanted me to feel safe. And when she hasn’t been there for me it has been because she has wanted to support me to build my own strength. Everything she has done has been with my best interests in mind. She has done more for me than anyone else and I don’t want to cause her more pain by showing her how much her going away is hurting me.
I am scared to take this pain to her. I am scared because if she thinks to continue working with me is causing me more harm than good then she is ethically obliged to end our work. I don’t think my system would recover from a sudden termination.
I want a good ending. We have so many open boxes and I want to finish emptying some of them so I can close them, and decide with her how to take the rest with me to someone else. I want to take something solid and permanent away. I want there to be more than pain and abandonment and rejection and annihilation left of our time together. She has been such an amazing therapist. She saved my life, literally. I’m just not sure I can go back each week and have this pain re-triggered for 6 or 7 months. She is triggering the original pain, but I wanted to process that with her by my side, not at the same time as feeling the unbearable pain of losing her. I don’t feel strong enough to face both these things together. The pain is bigger and more terrifying than anything I have ever known, both the real here-and-now pain and the pain I know is ahead. And I have no time and space to lose myself and find myself in this work. I must be a mum through all this.
I need a mum to help me through this, but that is why I am having to go through this in the first place. I don’t have a Mum. Just someone I pay to be a bit like one, sometimes, but not really because she can leave me. I am motherless and the person who has been more like a mum than anyone I’ve ever known is leaving. The day I’ve dreaded since the attachment began is here.
I genuinely do not know what to do. The days stretch ahead, just an eternity of blackness, interspersed with things I must do because I am a parent. Sometimes having to pull it together for my daughter is a lifeline, but right now it is too much. Being with her hurts. Being alone hurts. Being with people hurts. Everything hurts and I just want it all to stop.
7 thoughts on “Total Annihilation”
Could you use this time off to find a new therapist- for therapy work and use the remaining time to transition over to a new non therapeutic relationship with your therapist? Maybe that would help calm your system, to know she’s still going to be accessible but just in a different capacity?
So sorry you’re going through this.
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Thank you. I spoke with another therapist yesterday who is willing and able to work with complex trauma and DID. She was incredibly soothing and she said she thinks if I possibly can I should try and work through this ending with K, that it will be incredibly beneficial for me. Which I understand, but the pain of that feels intolerable at times. As you can probably imagine, there are a lot of parts wanting different things (to die, mostly, but also some want to leave now before the pain gets too big, some want to stay as long as possible, some want no therapist, some want this new one), so trying to just let things settle. I think we all need to know there’s someone else in place for when we end with K, whenever that is, because a big fear (a grown-up one) is that there will be no one else to do this work with because so many therapists are too inexperienced or outright refuse to work with this level of trauma and complexity.
The sad (like biggest understatement ever) thing is I think K and I probably don’t now have the forever (or “very long time” at least) that we both had in mind. Ending prematurely and because of her health means the transitioning to something else may not happen. I don’t know this. And I don’t want to ask too soon because I doubt she’s thought it all through so I don’t want to push her to say one way or the other and then her have to hold to that.
I totally understand all of that. One of my big fears is finding someone else to work with me who is qualified and willing. Glad you’ve got someone in the wings to go to.
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I’m so sorry you’re having to go through something this hard.
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Dear CB: Sirena wrote just what I was thinking.
Has K mentioned any one else to you (she may be in too much pain at losing you and herself ….)
Might she be relieved if you ask her for a recommendation (so she can help you with that. and not carry the entire burden herself)?
PS My therapist of three decades developed Alzheimer’s while steadfastly denying it. I ended up taking care of her for a while … I do NOT recommend this. It was like bleeding from every cell in my body. I was then very fortunate to find (through connections) my current therapist, B, who is marvellous and really gets me.
Sending you love and strength. I’m sure well K wants all the best for you.
Thanks TS. I replied to Sirena above. K only told me very near the end of our session on Wednesday and I was in shock so pretended it was all fine. So we didn’t discuss anyone else or what would happen or anything, but we will when we meet on Tuesday I’m sure. But I have been in touch with a couple of other therapists and am meeting one on Wednesday, though I think she may end up being more just someone to help me contain this enormous pain rather than the one I move to long-term. I don’t want K to get the full brunt of it from me and all the parts – as you say she is probably in too much pain herself and I know he will be hurting knowing how much all the parts are hurting too because of this. Thanks for reading x
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Brave, very brave CB. Please continue to stay in touch with us – we will stay with you. TS
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