What it means to quit

Today I had to face that therapy is going nowhere. Despite wanting to actually do work and move forward with my life, I am at a standstill. Who knew that what I want and what I am actually capable of doing are two different things? I, for one, didn’t have a clue. I walked out of therapy a few minutes before it would have been over (“Thanks. I’ll email, but I need to go.”) T just replied, “okay.” He sent me an email after…and I just replied. The emails are pasted below.

From T:

I’m sorry this decision is so painful, difficult and the consequences seem so dire. I want to say something supportive and reassuring here, so that’s my intent. I fear that you are seeing yourself as a failure in this therapy. I don’t see you that way. Truly. If you aren’t ready to deal with these issues (and you certainly don’t seem at all ready) then you haven’t failed. You aren’t in control of when you will be ready. I know that for me that has always been the case. And for the clients I work with. I often see the issues they need to work on. I line them up in my mind. But they might work through one and not be ready to deal with any others. They come back a couple of years later and do more.
I want you to know that I care about you as a person who has a good heart. I’m sorry this is causing so much pain. I’m here if I can be of any help.

My reply:

Yes, to some extent I feel that I am failing at this. I want something that I cannot figure out a way to force myself to do. It is not failure in the sense that I am completely incapable of it, but that I feel like I should be able to find the
answer…the way to move around the obstacles.

Remember when I said that I had never failed at something I truly wanted? That’s an unfortunate truth in my life. I have failed many times, but never in that context. I always find a way to figure out whatever is keeping me from my goal. I don’t know how to do that this time, and that feels like failure to me.

I do not want to do this later. I want to do this now. (Not that it makes any difference since I’m figuring out quickly that what I want and what is possible aren’t necessarily the same things.)

I know this isn’t you giving up on me (and in the end it will be my decision to stay or go), but the little voice in the back of my head says otherwise. I am beyond help so I should just quite trying and get as much out of life as I can before it shatters beyond repair. Catastrophizing…I know (but the knowing doesn’t change the feeling).

I remember telling you when we first started out (and many times since) that I didn’t want to have children until I had things straightened out. Not doing this now (whether it’s because I’m not ready or some other stupid reason) means putting off children. As much as I want to try to pretend that I can just move on and ignore all of this stuff,
I’m not sure that I can risk having a suicidal meltdown when my child reaches some triggering age. It isn’t fair to put a child through something like that…or even to bring one into my life knowing the risk.

I honestly don’t know that I can make this choice. It would be so much easier if you would just tell me that we’re wasting our time (which I know we are…and I know you’re aware of it too). I don’t want to admit to myself that I cannot find a way to make this work.

Do you realize what that kind of admission would mean to me? You can’t fully know where my head is taking me right now because I’m not articulating it. I wish I could. Suffice it to say that it isn’t a happy place. It is a dark, dangerous, scary place…and I don’t want to go. I’ve been there before, and I do not want to go back.

If I walk away, essentially admitting defeat, what do I do then? I don’t expect an answer. You can’t tell me what to do “after” any more than you can make the choice of whether I should remain in therapy or not (even though I’m sure you have your opinions).

I wish I knew how you could help right now. Should we even bother meeting between now and the time I figure it out?

Feeling kinda directionless (read: lost and hopeless) at the moment,
Kj

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~ by Kj on July 20, 2010.

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