Why ending therapy is f**king terrifying

I’m frightened. I’m terrified. And the reason? I’m ending my therapy sessions in just three weeks.

I started therapy when I was newly sober and still really mentally unwell. I was paranoid that my employer was trying to kill me and I even took an overdose and ended up in hospital just a few weeks after commencing my sessions. In short, my life was a bit of a shit show at the time.

Fast forward to almost three years on and I’m still not perfect. Far from it. But I have sat in that room, week after week, and I’ve talked and I’ve been open to learning. I’ve learnt so much about myself and where I was going wrong and where I can improve. And I say ‘improve’ rather than ‘fix’ because I don’t believe that we can ever truly be fixed. Perfection is unattainable and even when I’m ninety I will still be learning so much about myself and my fellow humans.

It has been an interesting journey, to say the least. And I’m nervous about where my life will take me after I leave the ‘care’ of my therapist. It’s the weirdest relationship that I’ve ever had with anyone, both close and distant all at once. I sometimes find myself wondering how I’m ever going to cope with nobody to hold me accountable in the same way.

I thought it might be helpful for myself and for others to just put into writing how therapy has helped me and just what it is that I’m frightened of in a life post therapy.

  • Therapy has taught me that we are all just winging it. In a way this is really terrifying because it means that I can never really find all of the answers. There is no instruction booklet for life and sometimes it’s all about a bit of guess work. Sometimes my decisions will be wrong and I just have to bear the consequences.
  • I’ve opened up to my therapist about some of my deepest and darkest secrets. I wouldn’t even tell my closest friends some of these things so I feel like I’ve let my barriers down in the extreme. Losing that relationship is like breaking up with a romantic partner. That makes me squirm to write, but it’s true, and it’s also a heartbreaking feeling.
  • I’ve discovered that some of my difficulties stem from past traumas and from my relationship with my mother. This has made for some uncomfortable realisations and I don’t know if things can ever go back to the way they were. I can cope with this, but it hurts.
  • I don’t have anyone to hold me accountable anymore. I knew that I had to check in with my therapist every week, and now I have nobody. I have to hold on so tightly to the fact that I have people around me who love me. I may not be able to burden them with all of my worries but they would be devastated if I was gone.
  • I’ve learned that when someone is mean to me, that’s their shit, not mine. People behave badly because they are uncomfortable and not because they hate me or want me arrested or dead. Holding onto this is so hard for me, but it’s essential if I am to stop myself from going down that rabbit hole I found myself in three years ago.
  • I’ve had to change my goals and my values. All I wanted was to be rich and successful because I thought that this would make people love me and respect me. Actually, it just made me bloody miserable. I need to do the things that make me happy, like writing and art and crochet. I don’t have expensive tastes so why the fuck do I need a job that pays me well but stresses me out to the point that I end up in hospital? I rest my case.
  • Just chill out. Life is to be enjoyed. If I die, then I die. But why not enjoy it while I have it?

I’d love to hear if you have had therapy and what you have learned from the experience. I think that it’s so helpful to learn what it is that causes you to behave the way that you do. I truly believe that we are all like little computers and the things that happen to us early on in life program us for the future. It’s fascinating and scary in equal measures!

Much Love,

Rachel xx

Ghost

Your ghost is always there,

It doesn’t matter how much time may pass,

Or where I am or who I’m with.

The swish of colours in the street,

It warps the faces of those figures.

Each and every one the same.

They all become the face I want to see.

It’s you.

How many crowds or queues

Do I search and find that ghost

The ghost of you who dances through

The other guests who fade away.

Because it’s only you that I can see

Since that day you left.

I want a partner in this dance,

But you are gone and no matter

How very hard I try to search,

How many times I think your face is there,

You’re not.

You’re gone.

It breaks my heart but I must dance

Alone.

I’ll see you all the time,

But they are ghosts who grace the parquet floor,

Waltzing and whirling.

One day I’ll learn, it can’t be you.

It’s just a ghost I want to see.

Ever lost someone that you loved so much it hurt? If you have then you probably know that feeling of seeing them every place you go. I got married when I was nineteen. I loved the guy so much and we had a child together. But then he left me and I was heartbroken. For years I thought that I saw him in crowds even though I knew that it couldn’t possibly be him. It was like there was a ghost haunting me every day of my life. If I’m being honest, I still sometimes think I catch a glimpse of that man and we are thirteen years on.

Sometimes people leave our lives and it’s a traumatic experience. This poem is about that feeling of seeing your loved one everywhere even when you know that it can’t possibly be them. For me it felt like I was in a ballroom and everyone around me was a dancer, swirling around, and I could just catch a glimpse of somebody with the same hair or the same eyes as my husband. It was haunting and ghostly and I hope that this poem captures this feeling.

I’m sure you have felt this at some point and I hope that reading about my experience can help you to feel better. We all miss somebody and hope that they are nearby, even if we know that they are far away or they have died. It’s part of the human experience to feel this pain and confusion. It sucks but feel comforted by the fact that you are not alone.

Much love,

Rachel xx