Looking back a couple weeks ago, at my previous post, I thought that I had most of my fears about Dave attempting again, beat. Now I realize that my fears were merely compartmentalized, tucked away, ready to spring into action when some trigger, some reminder set them off.
The day after I wrote the previous post–I was in my therapy session tearfully explaining how scared I felt. It didn’t make sense to me initially–the level of fear I was experiencing, since my fears weren’t set into motion by another attempt.
Our therapist rearranged his schedule and had each of us consider the frequency of our sessions in the new year. We could keep things as they were, decrease sessions, or wind down. It was up to the clients to decide.
Dave and I have been getting along pretty well so there was a decreased sense of urgency to continue couples session, yet I was anxious about discontinuing them. In considering letting go of the sessions, 1) Our therapist eased my fears by saying that he could add a couples session when we needed it. 2) I believed that Dave was going to continue twice monthly individual sessions.
On those two premises, I agreed to close down–what had been a very precious part of my life for six and a half years. We were supposed to have our last two couples sessions this month.
Then I found out that Dave was going from twice a month sessions with our therapist, down to once a month.
What? My brain attempted to process this. On the day of my previous post, I asked Dave several times throughout the day, how did this happen? He acknowledged that he forgot the agreement, but reaffirmed that he believed that once a month sessions was all he needed.
I knew Dave no showed his last two individual appointments, so there appeared to be some sort of resistance to going whether it was avoidance of an issue, not feeling like he needed to go, or some other reason, in any case, it seemed like he was not prioritizing his sessions, which made me uneasy.
At my individual session, following Dave’s revelation, I was in tears through out as I processed and acknowledged that the changes in scheduling triggered my very real fears that without the therapeutic support Dave might attempt. Very real, not in the sense that I knew Dave was going to make an attempt, but very real as in my bodily, emotional, psychological experience of it. Perhaps Dave would never make an attempt again as he does appear to be improving, but at the same time prior to his last attempt in August 2011, he said that he would never do it again, and he did.
I understand that thoughts about attempting may always be an initial solution that pops into his head, since he has habitually considered it since he was in elementary school. It’s his go to solution. But he has chosen to battle the thoughts, understands that there are other solutions, has begun to build a central belief that he has worth, and believes it’s worthwhile for him to live. So he has made some significant gains.
So why am I so scared? My concern appears to be in the decrease in frequency (to once a month) that Dave will be checking in with our therapist. I am afraid that something can happen for him emotionally and psychologically between the monthly sessions. And while I have improved in helping him to process events at home, I know I do not have the same skill, nor objectivity that our therapist has. When I think about Dave sitting with something difficult for one month, I get anxious that feelings will pile up and tip him to beliefs of: “I’m a failure, I suck,” and feelings of hopelessness and despair.
I also know that Dave will not call to self initiate an individual appointment. He minimizes stressors saying, “I’m okay. I can wait to my appointment.” Meanwhile I see him unraveling and he doesn’t appear to recognize that he is slipping down the slope.
In my session I explained that Dave said knowing my concerns about him decreasing his session, he said that he was willing to add an individual session. Which was sweet of him. But I didn’t want him to feel like I was pressuring him into another individual session.
By the end of my session my therapist said something that moved me, he said, that we didn’t have to close the couples piece yet and that continuing the couples sessions wouldn’t be for him, that “coming in for a couples session once a month would really be for you,” and “that’s all that needs to be important for that to happen” that saying, “‘I’m not ready for the couples time to wind down here’ was enough of a reason for us to keep meeting.”
We would continue the couples session because I needed it, that it was okay to not let the couple’s piece go yet. Me being that important.
I’m also realizing that fears are going to pop up once in a while and it’s okay. It doesn’t make me weak or irrational. It just is. And I’ll, we’ll deal with it and talk about it when the feelings come up.