Reaching out

And…I’m now very stressed. Writing the previous post gave me a bit of energy, but also intensified my feelings. I then wrote an email to Ron, describing how I’m not doing well. I’d hoped he would reply, but he didn’t. Now he may still reply, tomorrow sometime, or he may not. I didn’t ask for a response.

I guess since I took the risk of emailing him, because I feel so low, I’m now on tenterhooks waiting to hear from him. Reaching out intensifies how needy I feel. It makes me less shut down, I guess in the hope that he would care. But I so often feel bad after therapy. I just looked at last week’s day after therapy email, and it was pretty similar to this week’s. Some details are different – different parts are involved – but otherwise the same old same old. It’s likely boring to get them.

Part of the sorrow of this is the intense isolation of it. I feel like I can’t communicate it to anyone. At the same time I’m not up for light social conversation either.

Well, I feel needy and bad and wrong for writing.

Should I write a follow-up, saying I do want to hear from him? Please? Which is always embarrassing, because I should have known in the first place I needed a response and not waited in vain for a response. Or should I wait, hoping he will respond by tomorrow?

It’s surprising how unsafe I feel suddenly. Lethargy and depression are maybe protective – I really don’t feel much in their grip. Trying to move through it by reaching out is very painful.

Anyway, I’m not at risk for anything at all, except staying in my apartment forever. I don’t SH, I’m not addicted to anything really, I am not self-destructive. The worst I’ll do is skip a few meals because I can’t bear to cook anything. Wow.

I still wish he’d write back. I may be boring, I may be old, but, I am still a person and I’d still like him to respond to me.

Well, I’m going to have a glass of wine and go finish my mystery novel. It’s a plan. I’ll sit on whether to write an extra plea for a response.

  1. Grainne said:

    Sending a part of my soul to sit with yours tonight. Xx

    • Ellen said:

      Very kind Grainne, thanks. Got your comment last night, and it helped, just don’t like replying from my phone. Take care.

      • Grainne said:

        I’m good if you don’t reply my friend. I hope today finds you feeling a little warmer.

        Would love to be with you as you start your new job too. Email me if you can – maybe we can connect that way through the work day if you’re able. xx

        • Ellen said:

          I am better today thanks. I will think about emailing you from my phone Monday – I’ll see how scary that seems! Thanks 🙂

  2. Rachel said:

    Oh Ellen, it is so hard to wait for a reply. I completely understand the shame and embarrassment around reaching out and directly asking for a reply – and from everything you have written, Ron is very non-judgmental and would be happy to reply. I suppose it is weighing if the pain of not knowing if you’ll get one is worse than the pain of asking and feeling the shame. Either way, it is hard and I feel a lot of tenderness for you.
    And, even if you don’t SH, your pain is just as valid and real.
    Sending lots of support.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Rachel. I did send a follow-up asking for a reply, but none has come so far. For me, writing the posts and then the emails helped me move through some of this stuff. I’m anxiously checking my email though. I can cope. It used to be a lot worse for me, in the first years of therapy, so thank goodness it’s not that level of anxiety anymore. I suspect Ron is away.

      • Rachel said:

        I do agree he wouldn’t just not reply – so something is up. Hope the anxiety yields soon.

        • Ellen said:

          Thanks. Still on the anxious side but I appreciate the break from depression. Turns out Ron is ‘having issues’ with his email account. He did finally reply very late last night. Cheers

  3. I hope he responds. Waiting for a response is incredibly difficult, and as the hours pass, you imagine all sorts of things but mostly you imagine you don’t matter. But that is your fear projected on your therapist. I am sure Ron doesn’t think you are boring or that you don’t matter.

    When I started texting with E., she told me her biggest concern was that she wouldn’t always be able to respond right away and that I would misread that as not caring. I try to remember that when I’ve reached out and she hasn’t responded. I bet the same is true of Ron–he’s just not been able to respond yet.

    Wine and a mystery novel — sounds like a very wise coping mechanism.

    • Ellen said:

      Ugh – those are the imaginings for sure. I was thrown when I read last week’s email and saw it was very similar. I’m going to hold in my mind that he’ll reply once he sees it.

      They are good for coping sometimes. I try always to have some mystery or light reading that I can turn to. Not to mention wine.


  4. Can I make a suggestion? It seems like you often feel badly if he doesn’t respond at all. My therapist won’t get into an email conversation with me because I kept on misunderstanding her when she did that, but she understands that I at least need a one line acknowledgement that she got the email and will hold what I have told her until we met again. You might want to consider whether you would ask Ron for something minimal like that so that the emails help you to feel more connected, not more isolated. Because it can feel so very, very lonely to reach out and wonder whether you will hear anything back.

    • Ellen said:

      Ron also mostly just says something generic, a one liner, keeping it very brief. He really doesn’t do therapy by email – just provides a bit of a sense of connection.

      Yep, it sure can be lonely. I might ask him to always respond. Sometimes I don’t mind so much not hearing back, and because I don’t ‘require’ him to reply, I feel freer to send of an email even if it’s not a crisis, just an upset. However, yes, the downside is this unknowing aspect – will he or won’t he….

      Thanks Cat for sharing your experience.

  5. It’s so hard when you are feeling badly, and take the risk of reaching out and then you have to wait for a reply that you aren’t even sure is coming. That uncertainty is so difficult.

    You aren’t boring, and your pain is real. Just because one person self harms and one person doesn’t, it does not make one person’s pain more or less real. Your pain is very real, and it deserves to be acknowledged. I don’t think Ron thinks you are boring at all, from everything you have ever written, I believe he does care. Do you think he knows how hard it is for you to not get a response? Could you talk to him and ask him if it’s possible to always send a reply, even if it’s just to say he read your email and is there?

    Dealing with trauma, and anything that therapy stirs up is really lonely. It’s so hard. I hope the glass of wine was relaxing and the mystery took your mind off things for a while. Reading can be such a good escape. Xx

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Alice. Sometimes the uncertainty is excruciating for sure. I might ask him to always send a reply. I did send of another follow up asking for a response, but he still hasn’t replied. Now I’ve asked explicitly, I assume he is out of town or something.

      The mystery was really good, and I finished it. Reading is my main escape often, it really suits me. Take care.

  6. It’s terribly lonely isn’t it?, to want to be known and understood by at least someone. To have this strange desire for your T to not only reach out but to make things better. Yet not even knowing what you need. Going back week after week knowing that you are at least functioning but feeling as if he doesn’t understand that you are not okay. I don’t even know what I’m saying, guess I’m just validating that it’s a struggle and sending my love and support.

    • Ellen said:

      I think the loneliness of it is one of the hardest thing – how to explain to anyone else what this is, what it feels like, and not have them say – well, you’d better stop therapy if it’s making you feel bad!

      Thanks for understanding AG.

  7. I would write again and ask for a response if thats what your needing. Its ok to need. Its ok to want that connection. I hope you enjoyed the wine and book. XX

  8. e.Nice said:

    That bind is very difficult, the shame from being isolated and unable to talk to anyone and then the shame from reaching out. It does seem that reaching out is probably the best option of the two? I am impressed with your coping skills, and I think maybe I should get a few new books to keep on hand for myself when I need to escape.

    • Ellen said:

      I did reach out, but he still took a long time to reply, and when he did, he basically only said it’s fine to write to him. Anyway. Just writing helped me quite a bit.
      (Definitely get the books. Especially trashy ones.)

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