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  • Writer's pictureMelissa

Discordant Notes



The song in my playlist winds down and the notes of the next one make themselves heard. My stomach lurches and nausea churns in its depths as my subconscious picks up on the flow.

It's a song my therapist had sent me when I was in a particular black funk.

Confusion clouds my insides.


See? Perhaps she did understand? Perhaps she could have helped with the healing? Did I throw away something supportive in my life that could have helped me if only I learned to make use of it?

Did I let my damaged receptors convince me that the issue stems not with me in receiving, but with my therapist in giving what I needed?


The doubt once again rises as my mind takes me to that session:


My therapist prods me to look at the pain, that black chasm of hurt that is sucking everything into it.

How old is it? What does it want? How would you fare without it? Is it serving you in any way?

It's my soul, I explain. Not a part I can separate from me. Nothing exists beneath it. It's me, and I am it.


A contemplative look settles on her face; not that I am looking, but much can be sensed and seen with eyes firmly planted on a bookshelf.

What song speaks to you? she asks.


Oh, maybe this will put words to my longing and the infinity of my angst, I think as I will my lips to move and utter the words.


Um.. Broken Hearts.

What is that? she asks, with what I first think of as curiosity.


She takes out her phone to Google it, but then changes her mind.

Can I turn on another song for you?

I nod.


She asks if I know the singer, the song.


I don't.


She decisively types into her phone, and the sound of music fills the space between us. I'm not sure where to put myself as I tense my arms tighter in protection and discomfort.

I search for a spot to stare at, to dissolve into, as the singer's voice fills the room. I dig my nails into my arms, trying not to float off.

The song rises and falls and I hear parts of it, not really being able to concentrate on the flow.


It song finally ends and my therapist is there, asking me what I heard in it.

But I'm no longer there. I attempt to piece together what I think I heard... About wanting to feel complete, feel like I'm enough, okay.


She shakes her head and then tells me what she hears in it: That if we feel love, know that we're loved, the pain subsides. That taking in the love is the recipe for healing.


She may be right, but there's so much I need to process before I can even attempt to heal myself with love, and so I leave the session feeling... maybe dissatisfied? Maybe unheard? I'm not quite sure...


Later that day, an email pops into my inbox from my therapist, an extremely rare occurrence. It touches me.

There's something tangible to hold on to. Something meaningful to connect to. And I always see this song as a sign of support.


And yet today, I wonder.


How would it be if she'd have turned my song on song on?

How would it feel for us to have the notes of anguish and longing with no solutions offered permeating the room and filling up the space between us?


I think I know.

It would've been healing. I would've felt heard. My emotions would have felt held.


And I know with clarity once more why therapy hasn't been working... How well-intentioned and kind interventions can actually miss the mark, time and again


When solutions are offered when solutions are neither needed nor the answer.


When my pain is not attended to with presence.


Because I think that's what healing is all about.

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