Friday, July 5, 2013

Taking a Break From Therapy

It's time.  I've felt like it was time for a while now.  The initial issue that brought me back to therapy this time is not an issue now.  But I worried that I would have a crisis and not have any way to get in to see my therapist.  I worried that one crisis would be enough to make my life spiral out of my control.  Again.

So week after week, appointment after appointment, I kept scheduling.  My therapist is scheduled a month or two out and I didn't dare let a gap happen. 

It's not like I don't have plenty of issues to work on.  It's not like we haven't gotten good work done.  But the things I have to work on aren't emergencies.  Right now, they aren't even urgent.  I'm feeling strong.  I've got a good support system in place.  I'm getting better at communicating when I'm not okay. 

And over the last few months, when I've had a crisis, it's usually been between sessions and I dealt with it before I got back in anyway.  We ended up reviewing it in therapy, but not really facing it -- because I'd already done that before I got there.

Honestly, I've been feeling like I was using therapy as a crutch.  A crutch is good when you're really wounded, but when it keeps you from making progress in healing, from standing on both feet when you're capable, it's no longer a good thing.

So it was fear of being alone during a crisis, a feeling that I needed backup, someone to protect me, that kept me scheduling.

But my therapist isn't my big brother.  He isn't my dad.  He isn't even my friend.  He is the person I pay to help me see thinking errors and choose more wisely.  It's easy to get confused about that relationship -- especially when I go frequently without interruption. 

It's easy for therapy to just become a part of my schedule.  Just what I do Mondays at 9:00am.  And to get swept up in continuing it because scheduling becomes part of the process.

Even though I've been feeling like it was time for a break for a while, I didn't act on it.  Partly due to that fear, but also because I didn't feel like I had a good reason.  I couldn't explain why. 

Well, that's dumb.  I don't have to explain why.  It's my life and my money and my time; I get to choose how I spend it.  And I don't have to have a good reason.

It took a few episodes of not seeing eye to eye with my therapist, being offended and/or angered by what he said, and another bad session to hit me in the head and wake me up.

When I need therapy again, really need it, I will probably go back to him.  He is a good man who knows my story.  He's good at what he does.  And I think we will work better together after a break.

But it's time.  It's time to get some distance from my therapist so I can get the relationship clear in my head again (and he can, too).  It's time to figure out what I want to do instead of being swept along by the process.  It's time to get back to protecting myself, because that's MY job.


MaggieJo said...

Good for you. If ever I can help, let me know. I love lunches and sonic runs. I don't know if I can help, but I'd like to.

The Dose of Reality said...

It sounds like you've really thought this through and it's time. Good for you!--Lisa

Bonnie said...

How empowered! You go girl! I'm glad that is the reason you've chosen your hiatus. You *do* have a good support system.

Mothering From Scratch said...

{Melinda} Sounds like a reasoned, well-thought out decision. I have been in and out of counseling at different times for different issues. It is good to know that it is there when you need objective advice and guidance to work through a problem or problems. But, I agree, that it can be used as a crutch at a certain point if you're not careful. You are a wise woman. :)

Shauna Quintero said...

Hello! I'm visiting from the SITS and I don't know your back story but it sounds like you've made a very informed decision.

Putting it simply, therapy is used to fix something. If it's fixed, why continue to go? A lot of people get addicted to it, like you mentioned. It becomes part of their life and the therapists becomes someone who listens to them. So it's necessary. I'm glad you recognized it was time for your break.

Unknown said...

You know yourself better than anyone and I'm glad that you were able to put your crutch aside until you need to pick it up again, you'll know when and if you need to.

Britton said...

Only you know what's best for you! I like your comparison of using your therapist like you use a crutch and it makes perfect sense. Best wishes to you! :-)

Jin Ai @ Mama Hear Me Roar said...

Sounds like you've been going through a tough time, but you can also see the wood for the trees. Good for you!

Thank you for stopping by my blog and I hope to follow your story after a few reads here.

another jennifer said...

You sound pretty strong, Robin, and that you know what's best for you right now. I think it's so key to have that support system in place. That's what gets us through those tough times we all have. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Therapy is so helpful and sometimes crucial to getting thru the stickiest parts of the mess that life can become...and when it's dealt with, it's nice to let go of the crutch and realize you CAN still stand on your own and walk proudly out of the life struggle that sent you into therapy in the first place.

You've made a powerful choice. Thanks so much for sharing it. Your vulnerability and authenticity are so clear in this post. It's really touching. I blogged once about how hard it is reveal ourselves like that:

Thanks so much for sharing. Happy sharefest.
Heather @

Kate @ Another Clean Slate said...

I never know when is a good time to stop and go- seems good to at least somewhat keep up for me!