How to Throw a Therapist

How do you throw a therapist?  Make her curl into a ball and fling her like a shot put.  No, really, I have always thought of Sadie as very calm, cool, and collected.  She is a pro at masking any negative reaction to anything I say, and I’m sure in the past year+ I’ve triggered at least a couple of negative reactions.  Today we were reviewing the statements I had just agreed or disagreed with in a self-esteem assessment, when I confessed to being distracted by thoughts.  She wanted to know if they were something we needed to discuss and I said, “Can I ask you a random question?”

She probably regretted saying yes, when the question was “Have you ever had a client commit suicide?”  She answered as smoothly as ever though, saying that she had not, but had clients who died from other causes.  I asked how she found out and she said that other staff members had notified her.  No one directly contacted her upon the person’s death.

Sadie wanted to know why I asked, and I uncomfortably said, “I was curious what would happen if I did it.”  I wasn’t feeling suicidal in that moment (or even on this day), but the question had been milling around in my brain for a long time and finally reached the point that I felt compelled to ask.  Needless to say, our topic veered far from the self-esteem assessment.  She asked me a lot of questions about suicidal ideation, assuring me that I could be honest because she wasn’t going to rush me over to inpatient.  She shouldn’t have said that, because I could tell she was considering the possibility and I would have thrown a fit if she’d ended up taking me there after saying she wouldn’t.

I told her that I don’t want to kill myself, but sometimes (especially in the middle of the night) the idea that I could gets stuck in my brain and I obsess over it so much that I fear I’ll act on it without wanting to.  This is scarier than when I actually want to die, because in those instances at least I understand that there is some negative trigger making me feel that way.  The random obsessions just come out of nowhere, even when I’m feeling perfectly fine.

After establishing that I’m not actively planning on doing it and that the quantity of pills I have on hand could be dangerous but is not guaranteed to be lethal, she let me walk out of her office.  However, before I went she asked how confident I was that I would be alive for the appointment we have scheduled in a week and a half.  I said I was confident.  I fear it was false confidence.  All I know is that I’m swearing to myself that if I awake obsessing about suicide again I will pick up the phone and call someone, no matter how much I dread bothering people in the middle of the night.

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