The attachment stuff has settled, and in my adult I am leaning towards taking a break from therapy at the end of June. Nina is going to her granddad’s on Monday afternoons and staying overnight from next week, so I’ll see if that makes a difference, but I think from a logical, untriggered perspective, this is what I need to do. Even if remote therapy doesn’t continue to send me into attachment crisis the way it has been, I don’t think I can do the work I need to do via a screen or on the phone. For me, therapy was an embodied experience, it spoke to all of my senses and affected how I felt inside myself. I could feel K all around me and it filled me up and left me feeling connected and seen and more solid (in the latter years, at the beginning it was not like this very often!). Now it just feels flat and leaves me feeling flat too. It is not how I want my therapy to be, and I think trying to keep going is part of me not facing up to how much things have changed. I thought remote therapy would be for a few months and would hold things enough for us to be able to pick up where we left off, but now it is so much longer and it doesn’t seem to be keeping things any more alive than they would be during a break. And perhaps it is damaging our relationship too.
I’m not working through trauma memories anymore, I’m not trying to form a narrative, I’ve not got stuff bursting to be shared and spoken aloud so it is not all hidden away inside me. I’ve not got new parts/alters appearing any more, wanting to tell their story. That work is done, for the most part, and what is not done cannot be done while I feel so cut off from K. It cannot be done sitting in my bedroom. For me therapy is now about taking in what it is like to be in relationship, now it is not so painful and difficult. It is about relational healing, after years of working with the edges I come up against in relationship and why I find it so hard to tolerate both closeness and space around other people. It is about healing instead of understanding, moving forward instead of examining the past. And this year it was going to be about me finding a more gentle way of being in the world, but that is put on hold for now as my world, and everyone else’s, has painfully contracted. It is wasting my money to be in therapy at the moment, struggling to connect and make it work through a screen when I need physical proximity to feel safe and heard and when what I need from therapy is so different from what I am able to get working this way.
I think I will take a break until mid-September, which isn’t that far away really. And I will ask if we can do a (paid) fortnightly email during that time. I think this will give me chance to settle things internally, and maybe even to grow and realise I need K less than I think I do. Things at home with Nina are tough some of the time and other times fine. She had a huge meltdown yesterday. Ostensibly over having nothing to wear, but really I think she was just channelling a lot of anger and frustration over the situation we are in into that. I’m pretty sure if something happened and I needed to talk it through K would still be there for a one-off session during any break we decided upon.
Things might change again, therapy might suddenly feel therapeutic again without Nina here, even if it doesn’t feel any ‘easier’. Somehow I suspect not though. I don’t need therapy the way I used to. It’s purpose in my life had changed (though I’m definitely very adult the past few days, and young parts and teens do need K in a different way I know that, so they may struggle) and that purpose cannot be fulfilled through remote work, especially at times when the separation feels so painful and re-traumatising.
I do have worries about taking a break – K won’t be there when I want to go back, she will put her fees up again, I will lose my slot and not be able to go as I can’t really do any other times due to work, she won’t let me do an email check-in between sessions because I managed so long without her, she won’t let me do a longer session anymore. I am sad that we will likely be on a break when it is 5 years since we’ve been working together (end of August) but the thought of ‘celebrating’ that through a screen is shit also.
I do feel sad that the depth and nature of my attachment wound means I can’t take in remote therapy and need to take a break to keep myself safe. But I think the reasons for a break are bigger than this, and show how far I’ve come also in the work and that my needs have changed. I feel angry that I am not a priority for anyone and that I am being left alone to cope during such a difficult time. I still think that the UKCP guidance that therapists should work remotely with clients ‘wherever possible’ means that I should be having face-to-face therapy because I can’t actually ‘do’ remote therapy, but I do understand K not wanting to work in-person, even with one client, due to her health concerns and of course her son being so unwell. It feels very unfair that I am having to take a break when I don’t want one, when I need support, but I also know I have internalised her a lot and I think maybe it will be good for me to draw on that for a while. I’ve never had a break in almost 5 years, and we always worked even when I was on holiday until last summer, so I am curious to see what it will be like. And if it is a disaster I’m sure I can change my mind and go back.
I will decide next week, but this is where I am with it all today.