My therapist is going on a long vacation to Japan.
Two weeks ago in session, she told me she was leaving on Tuesday morning this week. She wasn’t seeing clients on Monday (May 9). She had a meeting with someone she supervises, however, at 9:00 on Monday, and she offered to see me at 10:00 if I wanted. It would shorten the amount of time between our last scheduled session (May 2) and our first one after her return (May 31).
Last Monday, we talked about it again, and we left it open about whether I would come. When I left at the end of last week’s session, I gave her a hug and wished her a good trip, “just in case” we didn’t see each other on May 9.
Then all week I went back and forth about whether to use the extra session E had offered. I came up with lots of reasons not to accept it. I’m pretty calm and centered now, after so much time at home on medical leave. I’ve already made an appointment with C this week, the mind/body therapist I have just recently started working with. I wouldn’t be able to get into anything deep because I wouldn’t want to leave it open for three weeks until we saw each other again. So what would we talk about anyway. And it will be my first day going to work that afternoon, so maybe it’s too tiring to have therapy and go to work a half day. Some of these were real reasons. Some were excuses for pulling away in anticipation of E’s physically going away from me.
Earlier today (Sunday), she sent me this text:
So I’ve still got availability tomorrow morning at 10am. I want to trust that you are well and not “desperate” to come in. However, if you are longing for supportive connection, encouragement and/or devising a clearer plan while I’m away, I’m totally available. And if you are “desperate,” I’m here to catch you, at least for one more day. Read this with warmth and support, not like I’m doubting your capacity. I’m feeling more and more confident in your ability to manage yourself with gentleness and compassion. Just want you to know I’m here if you need me.
I loved this text. I still do. I can feel her willingness to be there for me. It made me realize that all my list of reasons not to accept the extra session were just part of me denying myself the comfort and support I would take from getting to talk with her again before she leaves. So I thanked her and responded that I would see her on Monday at 10am.
It’s okay, I told myself. You don’t have to pretend you don’t want to see her. You often pretend you don’t want anything from anyone, so you won’t be disappointed. But it’s okay to accept this.
A couple of hours later, another text arrived from her:
OMG! I just got an email from Delta to check-in for our fight. We leave tomorrow, not Tuesday! I need to leave for the airport at 10:30 from my house. I could meet with you at 8am, but I definitely can’t do 10am. I’m so sorry. I just goofed due to the time/date difference in traveling to Japan. What would you like to do? I’m fine with meeting at 8am.
Well, surprise, ouch. I should have just said no the first time. I can’t do 8am. I have trouble sleeping at night and get my best sleep between 6 and 9 in the morning. Besides, she is going to be in a crazy rush to leave 24 hours earlier than she meant too, and she won’t be focused on our session, and I’ll feel that. Or at least I’ll be looking at her eyes and her body and scrutinizing her words for evidence that she just wants to be out of there. I know; I’ve done that before.
So I replied:
No, no that’s okay.
She apologized again, and I texted that I’d miss her a lot but wished her a wonderful trip. And she said we’ll talk again when she returns and told me to be well.
Deep breath. May 31 is pretty far away.