Have any of you ever been dumped by a therapist? Can they even DO that?
I mean, yes, obviously. They can. I guess anyone can dump anyone. You can dump me and stop reading this blog. I can dump you and stop reading your comments and your posts. But my THERAPIST? That should be the one person in the world I can count on to not dump me. She is literally paid to talk to me, and she still tried to dump me. I think this is a new personal low. How crazy am I, exactly?!
In my therapist’s defense, she claims she didn’t dump me. Here’s how it went down:
At our last session, with about five minutes left, she told me she had looked up some more resources for me. She referred to a couple of therapists who specialize in bipolar disorder and said that perhaps they might be a “better fit” for what I’m going through. I was a bit startled. I’ve been seeing this therapist for months. I thought we had a good thing going. I thought she was helping. I even have a blog series going on all of the crazy shit we’ve done together! She’s the first therapist I’ve had who didn’t make me absolutely hate therapy. So when she started talking about “better fit,” I looked at her suspiciously, “Wait a minute, are you dumping me?”
“No!” she said. “I’m totally not dumping you. I’m just trying to give you more resources. This has absolutely nothing to do with you. I just don’t know if I have the right knowledge and background for your specific illness.”
Because I make jokes when I’m upset or nervous, I sunk into the couch dramatically and said, “Okay, what I just heard is ‘it’s not you, it’s me.’ WHICH IS WHAT PEOPLE SAY WHEN THEY DUMP PEOPLE! I cannot believe I am getting dumped by my therapist.”
“No no no,” she tried again. “I want you to get the most that you can out of therapy, and I don’t know if that’s happening for you right now.”
“Seriously?” I responded. “The ‘you deserve better, and I want you to be happy’ line? BECAUSE THAT’S ALSO WHAT PEOPLE SAY WHEN THEY DUMP PEOPLE!'” I laughed, but I also felt a familiar hotness behind my eyes as I tried to hold back tears. This wasn’t as funny as I was trying to make it.
I could tell my therapist was getting nervous. “No wait,” she said, laughing nervously when she realized everything she said was sounding bad. “Never mind,” she finally said. “Forget I mentioned it. I’m not giving you these new names.”
“You can’t do that,” I said. “Now that I know there are other resources to use, you might as well give them to me.”
“Nope,” she said, “because you think I’m dumping you, and I’m so not. You don’t need that kind of perceived rejection in your life.”
Which, you know, she probably should have thought of before DUMPING ME.
“How is it even possible to be a ‘bad’ therapy client?” I wondered aloud. “I’ve done all of my homework assignments. You told me there was no timeline on how fast I needed to be improving. Am I not improving fast enough? I can do better! I promise! I’ve done every weird thing you’ve asked me to do here! Wait a minute…did you find my blog?”
“What blog?” she looked intrigued.
“Never mind,” I hastily amended. “Definitely no blog. But seriously – I do not understand how I failed therapy. You said there were no grades! This is bizarre. I’m trying my absolute hardest to get better! What else am I supposed to do?!”
“Nothing!” she grabbed both of my hands in hers, which was a little weird but oddly comforting. “Listen Hazel,” she said, staring at me intently. “I’m not dumping you. You’re fine. You can stay. If I’m helping you, please stay. I have a lot of fun talking to you, and I think you’re hilarious. You’re a great client. I just want you to be okay.”
For an instant, I saw a flicker of fear in her eyes. It’s the same flicker I see frequently when I look into my husband’s. I then realized something that I didn’t tell her but that I’m going to tell you: I think she thinks I’m going to kill myself, and she doesn’t want it to be on her watch. She doesn’t want to be the one responsible for “not helping enough.” What she doesn’t realize is that she’s the only one that’s ever helped at all, and I’m not okay with starting over from square 1 at the moment, even with a so-called “specialist.”
Again, to be fair to her…I really think she was only trying to help. I started seeing her about a month before my diagnosis, and at the time I didn’t know to look for a bipolar specialist. I didn’t know I needed one. I think, like many people, she doesn’t know much about that specific illness, and that scares her. Here’s the thing, though – many of the issues I have are perfectly “normal person” issues. I feel like I don’t fit in. I have a lot of issues with accepting myself. I have issues with anxiety. I have issues with my past. I have fear of my future. Can you, my non-mentally ill reader, tell me that you’ve honestly never struggled with any of those things? A good therapist (which she is) doesn’t have to be an expert on bipolar disorder to help someone through those struggles. I have a psychiatrist to handle the bipolar disorder. I need my therapist to help me handle everything else.
In the end, I’m still on her schedule for next week. I’m not all-the-way dumped. I wonder about those specialists, though – do any of my bipolar readers have experience with specialists? Is it something I should look into? As I said, I’m just so not ready to start over. I don’t want to relive all of the things I’ve explained and analyzed with my current therapist. They’re not fun things. It’s taken me months to fully delve into them. Also, I think I fear that this would make me a step further down the crazy trail: I’m too crazy for a normal therapist.
I don’t know. We’ll see. I’d better start showing progress faster…but how does one do that?
Maybe I’ll just bring her flowers next week. That fixes every relationship, right? 😉