Sadness and I visit the therapist

Sadness character from Inside Out crying

In the old days, clients would see their therapists once or even several times per week. That’s how it was done back then, but not any more. Today clients often see their therapists on an as-needed basis. Most people don’t have the financial resources for weekly therapy. Clients will often come more regularly to start, and then taper off, returning when they’re struggling.

I have had many such clients. When they leave, I stress that they are welcome to return anytime if they feel the need. Over the years, clients have often done just that. Sometimes they’ll return once for a refresher, or a few times to address a particular issue, or even for another go-round regarding something completely different. Returning to a familiar therapist can be easier because the client needn’t start from scratch.

I consider myself a come-and-go client. Initially I saw my therapist regularly, then again when I was diagnosed with leukemia, and only occasionally thereafter. If I feel I’m not handling something well on my own, I book in. My therapist welcomes me when I call, and I’m always glad I’ve gone.

Yesterday, I saw my therapist for the first time in almost two years. That whole new-house fiasco discombobulated me, and I didn’t rebound as quickly as I normally would. I was having nightmares and not sleeping well and I even stopped eating for a few days. I knew then that I wasn’t happy. I decided I needed the kind of pep talk that only my therapist can give. I’m so glad I went.

We talked about what this new house symbolized to me–a move away from the losses I’ve experienced since I was diagnosed with cancer. New house=fresh start. Unfortunately, my therapist confirmed that moving to a new house would not rid me of cancer. Bummer. I was hoping she’d say otherwise, but she couldn’t in good conscience.

Bear with me for saying, yet again, that people don’t tolerate sadness in others well. If my friends see I’m sad, they want to cheer me up, and I’m grateful for that. I try to cheer myself up too. I joke myself out of sadness, and I avoid it by keeping busy.

But eventually sadness catches up with me and even overwhelms me temporarily. Sadness says: “Hang out with me for a bit. I won’t stick around forever.” Curiously, at these times, I don’t want to be cheered up; I just want to be sad. I’m an inept sad person, though. I fear that if I invite sadness over, it won’t ever leave. It always does. Truth is, if I don’t make time for sadness, it harasses me until I do.

Yesterday my therapist listened to my story and didn’t try to talk me out of how I was feeling. Then, I left my sadness at her office, since she’s more than competent to care for it in my absence.

Today I feel so much lighter. No, not literally. The scale chastised me this morning, but I told it to back off. I have enough on my plate right now.



2 thoughts on “Sadness and I visit the therapist

  1. Hooray for the therapist’s office where you could openly mourn this loss of what you may have hoped life could be like. I’m happy to hear you were able to leave sadness behind.


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