My therapist quit last week.
I want to say I’ve been grappling with burnout for months, but I only notice it when I’m too far gone. A couple years is probably more accurate. I’m sick of feeling like I’m circling a drain.
I’ve been slowly starting to admit to myself what I truly want, cautiously listening to the signals my body’s screaming about quitting everything, lying face down on the floor, and waiting for my predatory corporate landlord to evict me. I’m learning how to give myself what I need, learning to allow my people to show up for me.
My therapy appointments were spotty, but beginning to help. I was carefully beginning to lean into opening my heart to this new season of my life after a such a long time spent in self-doubt and survival mode. The call I received from the office notifying me of my therapist’s departure just felt absurd.
“Hard to trust people when you keep being proven right,” my partner observed.
Getting myself up for work at 6 o’clock in the morning is an impossibility I somehow manage every day, but it always costs too much. The morning after I found out my therapist had quit, my partner got up early and made me coffee, then came and sat down on the edge of the bed to try to convince me to get up for “coffee and contemplation” with him before work. He knows it’s a healing ritual of mine I only get to do on weekends for lack of time and emotional resources.
My big, pudgy tuxedo cat joined the wakeup party, settling in against my side and purring like a motor. Swaddled grumpily in my blankets, I looked at the pair of them staring at me lovingly, my soft nana cat and my helpful golden retriever of a partner.
And I marvel that the last year of scarcity, anxiety attacks, and survival mode could have landed me in this specific moment.
Troubled, yet loved. Loved for fighting, not warily rejected for struggling.
That’s not something I was raised by fundamentalist Christianity to expect. I learned to pretend to believe in unconditional love, to break my back trying to offer it to others, but to never expect it in return. I had seen too many times what happened to people who truly needed it. The subtle and cruel duplicity of high control, religious love.
I’m trying to keep sight of the bigger picture. The beauty and organic love in a tough season of transition, the exhilaration of fresh air even in a downpour.
I’m trying to lean into the “and, both” philosophy, that two conflicting realities can be true at once, and almost always are. I try to embrace the good things in my life and trust that I really am grateful for them, even on the days where the struggle gives me tunnel vision. I’m beginning to understand that the crises feel bigger and harder because I’m finally safe enough to start processing deeper levels of the trauma vault. Feeling frustration and sorrow about my deep distrust of relationships is a complicated gift. It hurts, but if I can finally see it, I can learn how to heal it.
I start with a new therapist this week, so we’ll see how that goes.
A/N: Apologies if my last few posts have seemed to be coming from a dark place. I see a lot of content on social media about happily-ever-after success stories, whereas most of us are in what feels like this eternal messy middle. It’s really hard to challenge the way things have always been, and I’ve been confronting some pretty steep mountains in my life. I figure the journey is worth documenting, and I do so as an offering of hope and solidarity.
On a different note, one of my goals this year is to be a little more consistent on this blog. I’m starting with once a month, every first Tuesday. Wish me luck!