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I'm Angry at the Hurt My Therapist Caused, but Thankful for His Help

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

Dear therapist,

Late this spring was hard. We were in the middle of a pandemic and I was working on my goal of moving out of my parent’s house. And then that one Monday happened. You knew about an inappropriate comment a previous male therapist said to me and still you accidentally hurt me the same way. You said something that made me uncomfortable as a 28-year-old woman talking to a male therapist in his late 30s.

When we met that Friday for our second session of the week, I wanted to talk about what you said to me, but instead I was met with a statement from you saying you thought seeing a female therapist would be better for me to address my body image and that the following Monday, one week after you slipped up, would be our last session.

You knew I didn’t have another therapist lined up. I asked you to keep working with me until I found someone. I had you talk to my case manager to hear her opinion to bridge the gap, and still you refused to keep seeing me. After five years of working together, I had four days’ notice our therapeutic relationship would be ending.

I know there’s no way you could have known what came next, and I know my current therapist didn’t give you all the details when you spoke about my case. Let me tell you what happened and how mad I am about you abandoning me with no support.

As part of my therapy, you would allow me to text you in times of crisis. Twelve days after we last met, my parents were out of town. I did not feel comfortable verbally talking to someone on the county crisis line, so I texted my case manager because she was trying her best to fill in the gaps you left behind.

After being told to stop taking my antidepressant for sleep as a trial for a few days, and not sleeping, as well as coming home from a four-hour shift at the COVID-19 vaccine clinic, I was not thinking clearly. I hadn’t really slept in days. I sent my case manager the following text. “You’re probably not going to get this because it’s the weekend, but I don’t know if it’s smart for me to be home by myself until Friday. I dunno. I’m never going to survive on my own. I need to just die.”

What I needed in that moment was for someone who knew me to help deescalate the situation as you had done many times in the past.

Per county protocol, my case manager contacted the county crisis line to have them reach out to me and make sure I was OK. I don’t know what time that contact happened.

The only functioning part of my brain knew I needed sleep before something more serious could happen. At around 7 p.m., I decided to take the appropriate dose of the antidepressant I recently stopped that I knew would help in the moment. Then, I went to bed and finally slept.

But the truth doesn’t end there. At 8:30 p.m., the crisis line tried to call me, but I was sleeping and my phone was on vibrate. I didn’t answer.

Thirty minutes later, I saw a flash in my window and heard someone banging on it, too. Then, I saw my parents calling. I thought someone was trying to break into the house and my parents were alerted via their video doorbell.

I was wrong.

It was the cops coming to do a welfare check, something that haunts me to this day because that’s how my cousin was found after he died.

For some reason, my dad doesn’t have the video doorbell set to ring in the house, but the cops and my parents could talk through the device and guided the cops to my bedroom window to wake me up.

Thankfully, nothing happened and they didn’t have to take me anywhere.

This situation hurts so much because you knew how much I didn’t want the cops to get involved in my care. You knew how I always caved and would go to treatment before you could call the cops.

I try to remember our time together as good because most of it was, but the night the cops came just makes me angry at you and sad that you’d let that happen.

I understand now why you wanted me to switch therapists, although I’d love to work with you again someday in the future. You were the best therapist I ever had and I’d recommend you to anyone who asks. It’s just the last week that was bad.

I look at the plant clippings you gave me the last day we met and think of one of our last conversations where we talked about how therapy is like growing a succulent. You said eventually plants need to repotted into larger containers. Maybe I’ve currently “outgrown” your therapy “pot” and need some time with another therapist in their “pot.”

I can’t remember who told me this, although I think it was you, that “just because you didn’t finish doesn’t mean what you did do never happened.” Our five years together and all the progress I made still remain. Nothing is lost because of how things ended.

So, I guess I should say thank you for helping in everything I did accomplish.

It was real.


Unsplash image by Yoann Boyer

Originally published: August 21, 2021
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