What Distance Does
Updated: May 8, 2022
A lot gets stirred up for me when on a therapy break. Even missing one week brings into question every bit that I started to believe.
Things I tell myself now I probably should have never believed.
Because I can’t even tell for certain whether it’s just blurred vision — a result of missing the clarity of being grounded in session — or if it’s, in fact, the voice of truth brought about with the clarity of distance.
Many times I’ve gotten lost in the powerful feelings that get evoked when my therapist is on leave. The intense longing that it stirred up. The raw pain. And that always led to anger. Anger for letting myself be duped and letting myself fall for this simulated process. Anger, even, that my therapist leads me to believe that she cares, when how much could she really care in the way I need someone to care about me?
Because who else should I be angry at but the person who’s there for me, in her way, who sees me, right?
But such is the process of therapy, and as much as it is so ego-destroying to throw a tantrum while some rational part of my brain says, Hey, it’s not about her at all, they say that I need to get through this; that herein lies my healing.
But sometimes I can no longer submit myself to the implosion of pain that breaks wreak. And so I take a stoic stance. I wrap myself in steel and softly shake my head. No, I say. Keep your distance. Don’t come close. I don’t want to need you. I don’t want to worship this “therapy” thing. I don’t even need you, not because I don’t, but because there’s too much that isn’t real here. Too much of it is a delusion. I don’t need something that puts me into a position of being the one running after someone.
And as the days go by, the doubts are back, an uncomfortable whisper of dread in the depth of my core: Of course it’s all just a set-up. Stop groveling; stop letting this mean so much to you when you are just a block of time sandwiched between a whole bunch of others. You are just a fool. This therapeutic relationship, it’s just about making you think you have something you don’t really have.
And I look back at my old self in bewilderment. Did I ever really email thousands of words of my deep, dark, vulnerable thoughts to my therapist, on so many occasions?
Did I actually come home after sessions savoring moments in which I felt like she really cares about me?
Did I once think that there’s so much truth to this, despite the boundaries and seeming stiltedness there?
Am I going to go back to this? Am I ever going to trust again?
Do I ever want to trust again?
And mostly, the burning question:
Which part is true? Does the distance allow me to uncover the truth, which I didn’t want to see?
Or is distance muddying up something I’m afraid to see?