I have not seen E for 28 days. We tried to squeeze in one last session before her trip to Japan, but that didn’t work out.
She took off earlier than she had expected and has been experiencing Japanese culture, for several weeks. She must be on the plane on her way home as I write this.
I thought I would be writing a
lot on the blog about missing her, about the coping strategies I’d planned were working. Instead, I’ve only posted five times since she left, and I haven’t actively kept up with a lot of blogs I typically enjoy reading (sorry!). The thing is, the coping strategy that I actually ended up using was to close up shop. No reading my notes from therapy. No processing my feelings. No writing in my journal. Everything went into a box tucked deep into the freezer during E’s absence.
I mean, obviously life went on, and I did try to take care of myself. I saw C once a week, and we continued to work on pain management and relaxation. I strengthened my meditation practice. I began planning healthier meals and re-started the menu planning I used to do.
There were ups and downs at work, and I paid attention to them, but with as little judgment as possible. When I renegotiated my job responsibilities, I gave myself a year to see whether I could make this job work for me. If I had only said six months, I’d have to say “no.” I still love the work itself, most clients and most colleagues. But the executive team (CEO and CPO) are pushing people so hard; the culture is all stress and unrealistic deadlines. It’s hard to walk away though, so in the next six months, I’ll be experimenting with ways to try to keep the work I love but still stay sane. I’ll want E to help me with this, because it’s really hard not to get sucked into the intensity of it all.
I have to tell you though, even though I put therapy into the deep freeze, E didn’t forget me. I think I wrote earlier that she left an encouraging message on my cell phone. I did listen to that a few times, maybe once a week. About midway through her trip, I received a really nice card from her in the mail (I’m guessing she asked C to mail it? or some friend). In it, she reiterated her commitment to our work together and said she was happy and honored to be witness and support in my healing.
One day she sent me a text, Thinking of you. Hoping you are well and continuing to support yourself. I’m having an amazing vacation. Just thought I’d let you know you’re in my thoughts. I was very surprised and touched be this, because we had intentionally decided no email, no Skype, etc. It makes me feel warm inside that she just wanted to send me that text. I texted back a simple Wishing you continued amazement.
But even with this kindness from her, I have avoided thinking about therapy. And I’ve mostly been all right. I few days, when work stress was bad, I did feel the urge to self-harm, but I took walks or listened to a guided meditation instead.
It’s just now, over the past three days, as our Tuesday afternoon appointment approaches, that I’ve started to think about everything again. I’ve begun to attend to the littlest one, the nine-year-old, the teen. Amazingly, they aren’t feeling angry and neglected. Maybe that’s because I have continued to care for my adult self; I don’t really know. Anyway, I have survived with less turmoil than I expected. I couldn’t just keep this up forever, but I have managed for the month.
You know what the best part of all this is? After this, she won’t be taking another extended vacation for a very long time.
Your last comment made me smile. But so glad that you managed without her. You’ve definitely survived. Take care.
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This is amazing!! I’m happy that you’ve managed to survive this whole month. Wow! You’ve shown so much courage and tenacity through this all. I can’t believe it’s been a month too. All the things that E did too, that’s so cool! She really cares for you and that must feel great!
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Good work Q. Even though you felt like it was on hold, it seems like this month was still healing, allowing you to practice those self care skills. I’d say you can put this in the winning column!
I’m so glad to hear that you’ve been managing nicely. I very much understand sort of putting feelings away in deep freeze and continuing on. It sounds like you’re very much still functioning, and that you’ll examine all the complex emotions when you feel safely back with E. The guided meditations sounds great – I don’t know if I have the patience to try it, but I’ll check it out. I really like that she texted you such a thoughtful message, especially because she didn’t need/have to. She clearly cares about you very deeply, and that is lovely. Wishing you success on Tuesday with reconnecting.
I also love that she texted you, just to check in and let you know she was thinking of you. I really think it is okay to push the therapy stuff away. It sounds like that is what you needed, and that is okay. It really is. I hope yesterday went well.