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What Stayed the Same After My Therapist Redecorated Her Office

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My therapist redecorated her office. Not in the most dramatic way, but I crave consistency and now things are different. Right when I walked into my session, I stopped and went, “Whoa.” I noticed every single change.

There’s a big rug on the floor now. I guess that’s fine, in fact it’s a light color so it brightens up the room a little. I accidentally spilled coffee on it yesterday, so I guess I’ve made my mark. Every little table is different, from the small one that holds the tissue box and the slightly larger one with the lamp on it.

To the left, there is a bookcase, one that — years ago — used to be on the right side of the room. Where there have always been lots of psychology books, there are now none. The bookcase is just sitting there. Empty. Lonely. I don’t know why it got to me so much. After all, why should I care about something like that?

Her various diplomas and certificates are now hung up in the hall. I mean, I guess it’s about time, she’s been in that location for so many years. In a weird way, seeing them up there comforted me, gave me more faith in the mental health care system. It was kind of like … see, she’s a therapist and she’s not scared away by the label that’s been put on me. I don’t see that a lot.

My poem is also hung up, high and important next to her diploma. Right in the middle, above the desk. The poem I wrote and framed and gave her at the beginning of December. I tried to sum up all the emotions I feel surrounding our therapeutic relationship. I tried to relay to her how grateful I am toward her and the work we have done for more than five years. Honestly, when I gave her the poem, it seemed like she was going to cry. She stared at it for a while, reread it over and over. I know she appreciated it, I know she understood the sincerity in my words. I also know she legitimately felt it.

My pillow is gone. Well, not my pillow, but the pillow that’s always been there, flat and worn-out from the many people who have held it, cried into it or if they’re like me, they’ve hidden behind it. The new pillow feels stiff like it was just bought from Ikea. It feels foreign and uncomfortable. My pillow is gone.

I feel such a mix of things about this redecoration. I feel comfortable with some things, but with others, I feel like a stranger. What will always stay constant is the fact this small room is my safe place, a place where I can come and let down the walls I try so hard to keep up. It’s a place where breakthroughs occur, where intense feelings and emotions surface. It’s the only place I can truly be myself and feel 100% understood and validated and cared for.

I don’t think that will ever change, regardless of the surroundings.

Getty image by SeventyFour

Originally published: January 7, 2020
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