Saturday, January 14, 2012

My shrink is dead. Long live my shrink.

I met my first ever therapist about four years ago. I was wary and not at all sure this kind of action would be any help for me but thought it might be a nice diversion..a sort of internal, masturbatory journey, a self centered kind of celebration of me. I warmed to the process at first. I got to talk endlessly about myself, my stories, my own personal history, and someone listened! She wasn't waiting to tell me her stories as we do in our friendships. She just listened and asked occasional questions. She also interspersed germane suggestions and insights and kept my threads as I wove the tapestry of who I am for her. I was surprised when our time was up and mildly offended that she could stop this process on a dime, and, albeit gently, decidedly show me the door. I was hooked. As I left her office that first visit, she said gently, "You know what I would really like to hear next time? I would like to hear what you didn't talk about. Your husband."
There it was. Needless to say, the next session was dominated by my wailing. I voiced my greatest fears to her that afternoon, that I was in fact losing him. Over the next few years I grew to depend on those sessions. Not only was it a safe place to face my fears, to get reassurance that my inadequacies were human, but also to get actual help in the form of referrals and planning. We were a team.
I left in November to stay with my daughter for a few months. A couple weeks into our visit, I got the news that my therapist had died. The word 'stunned' is all I can come up with, but it is completely inadequate. This kind of loss is debilitating. I thought so many things, many of them crazy. My therapist was holding all my secrets and she died. All I know is that I told her stuff I have told no other living soul. It made me feel better, much better. But she died. From the weight of it. At our last session together, she told me that kind of thinking is called "magical thinking". I find it some serious self centered behavior. A wonderful woman, a really bright light in the world is gone...suddenly, shockingly, and somehow, it's all about me.

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