Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The next day

I don't have as many details (or maybe the patience to -- titrated up the dose today) as I thought.  Let's see.*

Essentially, she implied throughout the session that I was using the loss and infertility and grief to get in the way of really dealing with my depression (a distraction, like bitching about my brother, or getting off topic). I tried to conceptualize for her that the experience of the infertility and loss and grief seem to be enmeshed (I can't think of the right word) with the depression, and that the only way to get through the depression was to try to parse out what was what and how one affected the other.

But of course, I'm just the depressed client, what do I know.

She even told me about a couple she treated who had tried for maybe 10 years to have a child and got a surprise pregnancy, made it all the way to delivery and the baby died.  And she treated them. And they got pregnant again and treated them through the whole, fraught second pregnancy that did result in a living child.  (See? I can treat you too?!?) I said, she was very lucky to get pregnant a second time if she had been infertile for so long.  The chances are infinitesimal. Yes, she was very lucky, said my therapist.

During my session, I tried to communicate to my therapist the experience of losing not just the child, but his future -- made harder by seeing those his same age going through all the milestones I thought I would go through with him. Caught up in the discussion, I said, "Imagine your children had died at age 3, but you see all their friends going through elementary school, high school, prom..."  And she said, starting to cry "I have to stop you there, because you're starting to make me angry.  My daughters, at age X and X+3 watched their father die a horrible death and I was a widow trying to take care of two fatherless children." I made some comment about me losing my mother, too, but of course as an adult it's different (actually, I agree with that). I don't even really remember much after that. As I left, she asked if I would be back next week and I said I didn't know.

To be honest, I felt a little bad about bringing up something that would be so painful for her and maybe it was a little too much.  But as I took a drive to burn off some anger and sadness, I realized something and called her. I said, "I'll be in touch in a month to let you know what my plans are.  I also called to say that I realized, after our conversation, that it seems that you believe your pain is (greater/more important/more significant) than mine, and I believed that was not necessarily the case.

I can't imagine being a widow with two small children.  For Christ's sake, my friend B was days away from the very same situation. With smaller children.  But I think that, aside from the arrogance (common in the public mind, I think) that there is not complexity of experience and pain in the impact of IF (certainly none she needed to even look into), my therapist believed that her pain was worse than any mine, and I didn't believe that was true.  Can you say medalist in the Pain Olympics?  Guess what? I felt my dead child against my leg but was too drugged to do anything about it.  I delivered my dead sons and held my mother as she died a terrible death.  What medal do I get?

I hate that.

So, the message from my therapist from yesterday?  I didn't want to listen to it, and C didn't want to, so my sister volunteered and I let her.  She emailed me the message:  My therapist still thought we could still work together, and hack away at the work we had to do and was saving my spot for next week.

Holy. Christ.

Finally got to talk to Dr. Shrink, whom I gave the session highlights and told I was actively searching for a new therapist. I told him I felt like we crossed a line and that I wasn't comfortable gong back.  He didn't argue or challenge. He said he'd check with a couple of people locally.  "There's got to be someone who's got some experience with this around here."

I'm still not sure about, well, much -- how I've been feeling, thinking about myself -- is it "simply" depression or IF complicating things or what.  Don't know how to communicate anything, emptiness, hopelessness, helplessness, fatigue, poor concentration, poor sleep -- what to tell whom... it's easing, maybe, I think. And I can eat now. Maybe that's the drugs.  But what does that say about my mental health in general?

Oy. C keeps telling me that I can let it go for a little bit.  I don't have to constantly think about it.  He's right.  But it's hard.

Well, I guess I had more to say than I thought.  Thanks for listening.  And for all your kind, supportive comments on my recent posts.  It means a lot.

*Yes, yes...more than I thought...


teki said...

The whole concept of therapy is to work on YOUR problems, YOU the patient, not the THERAPIST. I'm very sorry for her loss, but that wasn't the reason you were in therapy. Not that you need my approval in any way, but I think you made the only decision you could. It's time to find that person who can help you, not the other way around. I believe you'll find a therapist you "click" with and it will make quite a bit of difference. Best of wishes in your search.

Tash said...

For fucks sake, this person sounds HORRIBLE!!! "I'm going to stop you there?" NO! Nononono. How dare she compare you to other clients? She sounds completely unprofessional and way way in over her head. (Was she billing herself as a grief counselor? Because she failed miserably there, too.)

IF like you tried to imply has it's tentacles in just about all parts of your life -- your sex life, your job, your immediate future, your finances . . . . and you really need someone who understands that. THere are people, I know there are. Would RESOLVE be of any help? Do they have lists of people in your area?

I'm glad you dumped this person, Sue. She needs a massive wakeup call and sounds like she's really worried about her bottom line ("I make people feel better!") than actually helping you.

Sue said...

Working on it. May have someone awesome w IF background in LA who'll skype w me and Dr Shrink is even getting involved ("Dr. That's Really Up To You")

So. Yeah. Worse than I even imagined. Awesome job, Sue! But it's over now.

Glass Case of Emotion said...

I am a counselor. That is COMPLETELY inappropriate. We are not supposed to bring our issues into conversatin like that... ever. That violates so many therapy rules I can't even tell you. It sounds to me like she has some personal issues she's trying to work through with you and that is not the purpose of it.

I think it's fantastic, if you can, to find a therapist with an IF background.

If you ever have any questions about it, feel free to contact me

I am just so sorry that you had this experience!

Ya Chun said...

Ok, so you are depressed. I think you know that. You are on drugs for that. But you're not functioning at 100%. I don't get the 'not dealing with your depression' part.

I could see a hang up if it was *only* the twins' deaths, because that was a moment in time and time does help, but the infertility is ongoing. You are still in the thick of that.

Since we lost our kids at about the same time, I would hazard a guess that the lack of resolution, ie having a living baby, is the bigger and current problem. And since you are still hoping and trying, that is just where you are at.

I don't know what more you could possibly do to 'deal' with the depression. Your body is not functioning correctly right now. Exercise and diet might help you. The meds aren't enough, I guess.

I do think it helps if you can get to the point where you don't have to think about the hot topics or your mood constantly (like C said). Maybe some mental exercises could help with that, like 'stop' therapy and positive imaging. Your brain has been in the same loops for so long, it's forgotten how to think differently. Gee, these are the kinds of things a therapist should be helping you with!

Sara said...



Obviously her loss was tremendous. But her comment to you was more than inappropriate. It was mean. Really, I hope you understand and see that. You deserve better treatment, and more compassion. You are extraordinarily able to expression compassion, empathy and sympathy. You don't deserve to be shat upon like that.

You know, in the early days of my grief, I was so self-absorbed I coldly blew off someone else's pain because I thought it was less than mine. I regret it, and I look back upon that as a major learning moment. I don't even know why I thought that was a relevant question. I don't know why your therapist does either.

erica said...

Wow. Just, wow. I'm glad you got out before you had to start billing her. I hope you find someone who can focus on you and where you are right now.

In the meantime, sending love and hoping hard that things get better.

It is what it is said...

Wow, so many things to say, but I'll keep it to this is momentous and I believe will be a turning point for you in many ways that you can't even know right now.

I hope the person in LA is who I'm thinking it is and even if it's not, I hope that it is a good fit for you.

I met with a therapist for the first time today and am very hopeful that she is going to be a good fit for me.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you heard this from other commenters, but I also work as a therapist and found it TOTALLY inappropriate and unethical to stop you and self-disclose information about her personal life. She sounds like she has poor boundaries and like you said, is more interested in "one up-man-ship" than being available to help you work through the issues you brought into therapy. I am sorry a bad therapist is making this time more difficult.

Anonymous said...

Sue, I have been a lurker for a while now and have never commented before. But this 'therapist' is beyond beliefe! I have had a couple of major bouts of counselling, and done a lot of reading around (depression is my issue) and as the therapists who have commented said, rule number one is, the therapist is anonymous. Therapy is all about you. Or is supposed to be. I really really hope this skype therapist works out for you. Big hugs, daisy xx