I love T. I love therapy with her all the time. I love the sessions where I leave feeling like my whole world has changed, based on 50 minutes with her. I love the sessions where I turned up feeling broken, and leave feeling a little mended. I love the painful sessions, I love the sessions filled with angry and filled with hurting, I love sessions where we do nothing (but we’re doing nothing together). Even when they’re painful and sore and filled with emotions, I love them.
But by far my favourite times with T are times like tonight.
They’re just like shooting stars; rare, fleeting, but so impossibly beautiful you feel you couldn’t hope to describe it to anyone else even if you tried. There must be a magic formula to them, but I haven’t yet found it. Usually, I’m a bit sleepy, tearful and childish – after a long struggle or perhaps just a long day. She’s had a long day too, so her responses are easy and not quite so filtered through her ‘therapist face’. I’m usually somewhere comfortable, maybe in my car with my knees up by the steering wheel, or sometimes (like tonight), I’m in bed, maybe with her blanket and Rabbit, my PJs on warm from the radiator.
What we talk about almost seems irrelevant, as usually I’m too sleepy for proper discussion – but I hear the gorgeous tone to her voice and it adds to and complements the warmth and comfort of my surroundings. Her voice always provides the same comfort of being tucked in, or having your hair stroked – it’s such a familiar but wholly beautiful sensation. Because she’s tired and I’m a bit cheeky and childish, she laughs and her laugh makes me laugh – she laughs with all of herself but it is so rare in our sessions, usually. I love listening to her laugh down the phone, letting myself get swallowed up by the beauty and warmth of it. The conversations are always so honest; tonight, I was teasing about how hard the last few weeks of therapy had been since her holiday. Jokingly, I teased that she must love working with me. She replied with, “I do like working with you, but our sessions are not easy! Though I suspect they’re harder for you than me.” I burst out laughing and agreed they’re harder for me. These moments usually happen at a point of evaluation for us – maybe after a tough session – and it’s a time for her to fill me with the words I couldn’t take in in that session. “I can be cross or frustrated or whatever and still want to see you. I don’t leave people when I’m cross.” “Promise?” “Yes.” “Say it.” “I promise.”
They’re times when I just blurt out how I feel, and she doesn’t respond with the usual therapist spiel that gets me to process it. “Can I come and live with you please?” Or maybe, “I just want to die, but you’re the only person I’m scared of leaving.” Or even, “Cant we just hide in the dark until the world stops spinning, just for a bit?” She responds to this with genuine human compassion, not therapist speak; her “oh” means more to me than any amount of “and how does that make you feel?”
We usually part because she needs to go. She takes time to remind me she isn’t leaving me – and I sort of shrug it off, but I love it and try to internalise it anyway. I feel safe and warmth (and usually very sleepy) at the end. She goes, and I finally feel calm enough to relax into sleep or perhaps the next activity with peace and resilience.
I love my therapy sessions, even the painful ones. But I love the sleepy, gentle, care-filled sessions, which rely entirely on our relationship and the ways we know each other, the most. They are ineffable.