There are some people who come into your life and make such a mark on you that you cant imagine life without them. My mom likes to say people come into your life for one of three things: a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I have a separation looming and now im trying to make sense of it.
My therapist told me the other day shes moving and wont be able to see me anymore. I have gone through many therapists over the years and saying goodbye never hurt, until now. There were times when I wondered how attached I was to her or if I was at all and I convinced myself I wasn’t, this was clearly self deception.
My mom’s saying always seemed like some bullshit inspirational nonsense someone created to make sense out of chaos; but now I can’t help wondering if maybe this saying is true. Part of me feels like my therapist definitely came into my life for a reason.
When we started working together last September I was entering a new phase of my life. I had just started a new job and since I lost my old insurance had to change both my therapist and psychiatrist. I still remember the first session we had together, she seemed tough and no nonsense and I questioned if we would be a good fit but I stayed and im glad I did.
Over time I got to know her as a therapist and although she definitely has that no nonsense attitude there is so much more to her. Shes warm, perceptive, honest, empathetic, and very invested in the well being of her clients. She’s the first therapist I had who I felt both understood and genuinely cared about me.
She shared in my victories. When I achieved something there was usually a smile on her face, I could tell she was happy for me. When she spoke of my progress she seemed proud and excited for me.
She gave me the sympathy I oftentimes forget to give myself. When I was feeling down or depressed she would remind me of my strength and strengths. If I was internalizing something that wasnt my fault she was there to remind me that some things are out of my control and have nothing to do with me. She softened the blow of my negative self talk and helped me to develop a more positive inner voice. She saw the good in me which enabled me to see it.
She helped me form stronger bonds with those around me. When I first started seeing her I kept a lot in and very rarely shared how I was doing or my struggles with my circle. She encouraged me to and with some help from her I was able to. Thats in addition to the obvious fact that being able to be vulnerable with her gave me the comfort to do that with others.
She was no nonsense. Sometimes you need people to be frank with you. To tell you what you need to work on. To highlight your maladaptive habits and behaviors. She was great at doing this and not in a rude or brash manner. She made things real for me in places where I had on binders.
She was vulnerable too. Her concern was sometimes framed in terms of how things would affect her. This admission that I meant something to her as a client made me feel like she was invested in our therapeutic relationship which made me feel comfortable investing more.
Her skill at reading me and situations in general was impeccable. She would oftentimes throw something at me to see how I felt about it. Explain her percetion of my thoughts or feeling and she was almost never wrong. Never have I had a therapist so great at understanding me. When I would tell her of a situation she was quickly able to pull apart and analyze it. A skill which was a godsend to me.
She encouraged me realistically and honestly. This is something you should probably expect most therapists to do but I have never experienced it. I could tell that when she was encouraging me it came from a place of genuine belief in my abilities. I was not being “gassed” up, she really wanted to see me do well and believed I could.
She made me realize im human. At times I would share with her something I felt or did not feel that I thought was abnormal. She helped me contextualize and normalize me feelings. This made me both more confident and comfortable with my feelings. Through that work I realized that i’m not odd, but human.
I could go on and on about how great she was. It got to the point where others around me were asking for her name and contact number, they saw my improvement and thought that they or someone they knew could benefit from her treatment. Never in my life have I felt more capable.
She came at a time when I desperately needed help. When my life was reaching an unsustainable point and I wasnt sure how much longer I would be alive. My future doesnt seem as hopeless and bleak as it once did.
She came for a reason. To show me that I did not have to live the unsustainable life I was living. That I did not have to suffer in silence alone like I had been. That its safe to say im not ok and to ask for help.
I hate goodbyes, always have. At least when I am deeply attached to and care for the person, place, or thing I am saying goodbye to. To be honest, I havent formed any new attachments since college. I have gone almost a decade without something new penetrating my heart.
But my therapist has achieved this feat. I am very sad to be saying goodbye to her. Never in our time together, since I felt comfortable with her, did I see a time where she would be gone from my life. She’s become an integral part of my life, something that just seems an inevitable part of my week.
“Life is a series of kisses and goodbyes,” another one of my moms sayings. I’m not ready to say goodbye but I have no choice. Im thankful to my therapist for so many things. But im most thankful to her for showing me I could care about and form attachments to new people. An ability I convinced myself I had lost.
I guess I have no choice but to move on to the next kiss, hopefully its as sweet.