Rather than plan the usual agenda for therapy yesterday, I decided to turn up with the same dissociative void that I wrote about in my last post “Find a Way Back to Me.” I didn’t understand why it felt important to share this moment with Paul because to sit with a void implies sitting with nothing, and that is normally a little too awkward in therapy at the best of times. Let me tell you, it felt weird, really, really WEIRD, but I did it.
We sat through most of the fifty-minute session saying very little. I don’t usually deal with silence too well in therapy, but perhaps I’ve reached a stage of feeling comfortable with Paul, or maybe the dissociation just didn’t care.
Paul said I look incredibly sad and tired when I sit quietly, but he wondered if this is more to do with dissociation rather than sadness. It must have been dissociation because I couldn’t think or feel much of anything, other than a strange kind of exhaustion.
It felt more painful to be sharing such an honest part of myself and it made me realise just how preoccupied I am with Paul’s thoughts and feelings during our sessions. I try not to bore or depress him too much and my final thought is always about the effect of my monotonous voice on his mental wellbeing. This also spills out into my personal life, where I feel responsible for other people’s feelings.
Half an hour into our time and Paul seemed pleased and comfortable with how our session was progressing. I couldn’t help wonder if it was because he didn’t need to listen to my voice. He said, “Not only were you prepared to come and sit with this void today, you are allowing me to experience it with you.” I knew this was probably significant, but it didn’t increase my sense of connection.
I told Paul that it feels as though I’ve hit a dead end. I don’t necessarily want to go over the same methodical details of the past, yet there is a fear and hesitation towards entering the present moment.
There appears to be a wall of painful emotion that I need to walk through first, so I am hovering in this void instead of moving forward. It is not all about fear, but also about the uncertainty of which direction to take because the options are not entirely clear.
This reminded Paul of a seminar he attended recently where the speaker used a line chart to demonstrate the ups and downs of therapy. When things are running well, with realisations and changes underway, a client tends to feel as though they are up and moving forward, until the stage when nothing much appears to be happening and they begin to question why. However, those times of apparent inactivity, are actually the periods when we’re absorbing what we have learned and preparing for the next leg of the journey.
In truth, I don’t yet know what all of this means and probably fail to recognise some kind of healing experience, although I imagine that will come further down the line. I have no closing smart-ass statement, nothing to help guide another through something similar. I only have the facts of my experience… Me in the present moment.