In January I stopped going to therapy. I felt we kept going somewhere I did not know how to come back from. A place from which I often emerged confused and inconsolable, ruined for an entire day.
This was a therapeutic relationship that had lasted nine-and-a-half years, with a break of only one month, by far the most stable relationship of my life during that time. I do not know for sure that I will not be back, and perhaps lately I have wondered if a recent edge in myself—what feels like a descent, or maybe an erosion—is a lack of a certain kind of expression that feels not safe to share with anyone else I know. But I think, too, it’s been good to take a break, to notice what I am without it, to feel the way my body recieves itself otherwise, to recognize the patterns that anger and anxiety and lack paint on its surface.
The debilitation I sometimes experience that feels physical but is in fact entirely mental, so convincing I cannot imagine a way out. A sickness, a weight, a heaviness that I need to figure out how to escape. But that first I need even just to recognize.
Today on a hike I watched a golden retriever step into a fast-flowing river, watched it paddle into the place where the current began to take it. When it went into the current it looked momentarily shaken, disoriented—ready to be swept down the rapids only metres from where the river was pulling it in. (Luckily, the dog—with the help of a bystander—was able to return to the bank.)
In the shower afterwards I thought of how much I felt like that dog, rattled by the current and unable to find its footing. The river was too deep for it there. Too deep, and fast, and, for the dog, unknowable.
And I thought, “What am I doing, trying to swim where it is impossible for me?”