It’s the end of Missy’s therapy but the tears are all mine.
I had my last review meeting with Missy’s psychotherapist today. She has completed her CAMHS training and now she’s moving on to another clinic. It’s time for a new psychotherapist then. Time for a final report summing up what she has made of my little Missy. Time to reflect.
I admit – there have been times when I have truly resented her and the cool calm manner in which she talks to me and Missy. She’s so unlike the hurt, exhausted, anxious, distressed Mummy that I am.
I don’t have a quiet, controlled little room and masses of resources and a team of specialists to help me reflect on how to make sense of her. Missy has me, and our family and our chaotic home and somehow we’ve got to stand in the gap while she strays further and further from real life. It feels like a frantic, fruitless emotional battle most days.
I’ve wanted to yell at her for getting cross with me when I didn’t bring Missy to a session the same day as we had a TAF meeting. “This is your job.” I thought. “You get paid for this.”
Turning up to weekly meetings and reviews and therapy is what I’ve had to take on, part and parcel because it’s for Missy and if we can help her development we can have a hope that one day we’ll all have a life again.
It’s uncertain, it’s laborious and it’s a reward that I can only hope for, but it doesn’t pay the bills. I forfeit my earnings in order to make the time to do this. That’s not easy to do in times of debt, stress and austerity.
So I wonder why I’m in tears now, as I look at her report. I see her thoughts in black and white. Now I know that she saw how hard I try to meet Missy’s needs when she’s anxiously climbing over furniture because she doesn’t want to go into the therapy room. I know she sees Missy’s face light up when she runs out of therapy to meet me.
She’s Missy’s therapist, not mine. Maybe it’s the realisation that Missy will be reminded of countless people who have walked in and out of her life already. Maybe it’s because for nearly 3 years I had somebody who knew Missy and could see her, just for one tiny hour a week in the same way that I do. Maybe I’m angry at being reminded that she has the freedom to move on to a new job and new clients – but Missy still needs her so much. She thought about Missy, remembered her, discussed her. She pondered what was going on for her. There was somebody else who emotionally held Missy the way I do, and somehow that meant so much more than I ever imagined.
So – the hour is up in our last review and there’s not much more to say. I nod at her and smile while I swallow hard and hold back my tears. Missy is pretending that she just needs to meet her new psychotherapist – that’s her way to avoid feeling loss. I’m left holding her pain as well as my shock that I’m feeling anything at all and I’m struggling to hold it all in.
All I manage is a feeble, “Thanks, so much…for everything!” and somehow, I know that if she’s seen and known Missy, if she’s managed to make sense of her behaviour, she will also see what I can’t find the words for just now. She’ll know that I’m so grateful, and sad and yet still hopeful. And she’ll know that our difficult journey has been so much richer for having her with us.