*****TRIGGER, SUICIDE***** My therapist of almost 6 years


My therapist of almost 6 years told me last evening that she's retiring from clinical work in 3 months (she's also a researcher and a professor so I suppose she's still going to doing some of that). I knew she was close, but last time we talked she had said she planned to take some patients in private practice, and she's not going to do that now. So I, on a good day, have a REALLY intense abandonment response. I'm aware of that and I knew it would pose a challenge. I reacted just like I usually would- I dissociated. It took an excessively long time for me to even figure out my thoughts, let alone communicate them. It boils down to this though. I have been suicidal very often over the past 6 years, and I have attempted several times. Once my therapist literally saved my life by simple good/bad luck. She helped me past many other close situations. Right now I'm ok. I'm stable. But it will happen again, and this time I'll die. That's all. And I am afraid of that but it's inevitable. Also, I'm terrified that my pathological and intense separation response is going to push me to that faster. So she wants to keep working with me till she leaves, try to use this as an opportunity to work on the separation thing. I think I should just stop seeing her to avoid this dangerous trigger as long as I can. Any thoughts?

I’ve been wondering how you’ve been as I’ve not seen any posts from you for awhile I’m sorry to hear your therapist is retiring and it’s causing you so much distress! Since you asked….I don’t think you should stop seeing your therapist now to avoid feeling abandoned when she retires.
I know that you want to live your life (and have been glad, ultimately, that your suicide attempts have only been attempts…
I know that you struggle with depression and suicidality
I know you want to feel better
I also know you have a family…you have children…they would be really heartbrokenly (I know this isn’t a real word) irreparably devastated….
Sooooo that means you must find a way to live and to live well…
I know you’ve gotten good exercise which is a great thing
Remember I’m big on “Make it Work for You”. Somehow you must get something (many things) out of this.
You will find another therapist (what if new therapist turns out to be as good or better than your current one?)
You are determined to get a strength from this moment. You have insight to how you feel about abandonment…so now you can focus on it and process it with her (before she retires) in a healthy way. This is not her abandoning you even if it feels that way…it is her retiring…many people retire…someday you’ll will retire from your job.,. I’m totally with you in that I hate saying goodbye and usually shed tears saying goodbye…but this is out of your control…if you think of abandonment only objectively for a moment…you can see it as a (fill in blanks with some bad or harsh words) a teeth gnashing obstacle. If abandonment is an obstacle then you need to find or choose the way over, under, around, or thru it, but you must force yourself thru it ….you could also try lying to yourself after she retires that you will get thru this week and see her next week and when next week comes, lie that you’ll see her in one more week till eventually it’s been months and you’ve survived
OR. Whatever it takes. Get yourself admitted someplace to stay safe thru these feelings (I know u don’t want this. It’s last choice)
I have confidence in you. You survived this far for a reason and it’s not to fall apart and lose your life especially as you know you will feel badly but will not ALWAYS feel badly…
Yes I’m being tough on you today
Your thoughts

I get it, I panic having to find a new hairdresser, I don't like change at all. But, she has been there for you, she understands you and I cannot imagine she will just shove all her patients on to another therapist and just head off into the sunset. Ask to be transitioned to another therapist in as gentle a way as possible. See her for the next 6 months, but start seeing another therapist that she recommends as well. Perhaps the other therapist can sit in on some of your last visits, so the transition can feel less dramatic. I have found that sometimes the worry about the change is worse than the actual event. You are a survivor for a reason. This will not break you.

1 Heart

I realize I can't feel the abandonment you're feeling right now, but know you aren't alone. I've become so worried about therapists leaving me at the most critical times that I'm even hesitant to go again at this point. I completely get that they are people and they have things change in their lives, too. However, they are in a unique position where they are dealing with the fragility of people's lives -- people's minds. It's not okay to email a patient out of nowhere and tell them that you won't be able to see them anymore. It's also not okay to simply say, "I don't know that I'm best able to help you anymore, would it be alright if I recommend to you a few associates of mine who may be able to better assist you? For people who already have severe abandonment and self-esteem deficiencies, this can be a sort of death blow. Far more harmful than the initial problem we came in for. So, I'm very very sorry you're dealing with this right now, and I hope nothing but the best for you. Please let me know if you'd like to chat further, and be well.

1 Heart

@Woichneigewesenbin. Unfortunately I agree completely with your therapist and psychiatrist because you DO have an opportunity (albeit not of your own making or choice) to delve into your loss issues….that is life…it throws a rocky road when we least want, expect, or need it…. And IF you’ve been able to have a long lasting stable relationship with a therapist that you clearly can again…that is exactly how I would see it …as gnashing teeth, getting feelings out, accepting you have no control over your therapist’s retirement, gratitude for what you had with that therapist, maybe anticipatory excitement to meeting a new therapist who might be even better for you and maybe this unwelcome change is something you need to experience; gratitude that it is, blessedly, at a relatively stable moment in time for you
You are responsible for you and how you cope. You are capable to do well thru this…
We care and support you
You can do this.

1 Heart