I’ve started seeing a new therapist. Yesterday was my second appointment.
I got there early enough to hang out in my car for a bit, so when I went in I still had about five minutes to wait. My appointment was at noon.
After sitting there for what felt like longer than five minutes though, I started to feel anxious. But I’d turned off my phone so I didn’t know exactly what time it was. I decided to turn it back on.
It was 12:02. Tick tock. More anxiety. Why was the door still shut?
One therapist opened her door and I could hear the joyful voice of a client talking to her about some event in her family. Then the family shuffled out.
About a minute after that, another therapist’s door opened and another client came walking through, joyfully shouting back to her, some pleasantry.
Still my therapist’s door remained closed.
She was running five minutes late by this point and I’d started to cry. The other two therapists had already seen me, looked at me in passing and one gave me that smile that always makes me feel like a pathetic little waif.
The anxiety grew and the tears were coming. I looked to my left, toward the wall, in case anyone were to walk by again. I was embarrassed to be crying.
Then I got up and went into the bathroom where I could just let the tears flow.
When I was young, and depended on my mother to pick me up from some activity, I would sit and wait for her while I watched all the other kids get picked up. I would be the one remaining child..waiting. Wondering when she’d show up…if she’d show up.
Feeling completely forgotten.
This is what came up for me yesterday. This is exactly how I’d felt yesterday while waiting for a very short time for my therapist.
When I got myself into the bathroom and began to cry even harder, it triggered another memory.
When I was in 7th grade, I had forgotten a paper at home for my English class. And somehow I’d gotten the word out to my mother and asked her to bring it up to me. She hadn’t been working at the time, so she did.
When I saw her at the door, I shot up out of my seat and went to her. I sort of pushed her out the door (although not forcefully). It was more of a long nudge, leading her backwards back out into the hallway.
I shut the door to the classroom and as I was thanking her, uncontrollably the tears flowed.
It was a release of the relief that I didn’t have to be anxious about not having the paper anymore. It was a release of relief that my mom cared.
Back to present day and the bathroom I was in: I knew the therapist would probably be ready soon so I pulled myself together as much as I could and walked out of the bathroom.
Just as I opened the door, the therapist was walking by…probably from the other bathroom.
I’d left early to run a couple errands before therapy and had thought about a certain Christmas past when I was 13. I think it came up for me because I had used some scented chapstick. Smells are guaranteed time travel.
I remembered the school Christmas bazaar that year. I remember the Pepsi lip gloss my mother put in my stocking that year. And then I remembered how much fun the stocking stuffers always were. And I could feel the sadness as I crossed a large intersection yesterday.
So I was already primed even before arriving at therapy.