Oh fuck. My psychologist is raising his fees.
That thought is actually 2 weeks overdue. Several months ago I returned to my original psychologist K because psychologist J and I had been stuck in re-enactments of trauma and therapy was feeling like even more of a maze than usual.
It’s not really his fault therapy feels so bad although my inner critic will disagree and it once sent him a 17 page document pinpointing all the aspects of therapy with him that I find unhelpful and tormenting. I could really have just sent him a few sentences:
“You’re a man and so was my abuser and CAN YOU JUST STOP BEING A MAN ALREADY? Super annoying.”
But I didn’t, I sent him a document that he kindly read and then he spent one whole session agreeing with bits of it and talking about how we can make things feel easier when my little “holiday” with psychologist K comes to an end. There is no point rehashing what took place with psychologist Dr K because she’s gone to have a baby and will be busy for a year taking care of an ACTUAL child rather than people like me who sometimes insists I’m a real child but am actually just stuck in a flashback.
Psychologist J has been charging me the same heavily discounted “student” rate for over 5 years and I have for a long time been wondering when this generosity would end.
It ended the last session before he went on leave for 2 weeks, shortly after pregnant psychologist K went on leave, shortly after seeing her had stirred up new memories, shortly after my husband was diagnosed with MS, shortly after we just took out a mortgage, shortly after we were being told our child with a disability wouldn’t be able to attend a mainstream school, shortly after we just found out we wouldn’t be able to get any kind of life or income insurance.
It was the start of the session and I was about to gather up some words to describe the anger and stress of the above list of things when he said “I just have to tell you I’m increasing my fees.”
So instead of thinking “Oh fuck. My psychologist is raising his fees,” my brain kind of just exploded and suddenly I was two people – my angry inner critic and my scared inner child – and I started to do what printers do when when they are trying to print but paper is jammed in them – that kind of jarring shhhhhrrrrrrrrrggggg noise. I was as stiff as a printer with my brain unable to calculate the updated weekly fee vs my income, tears flowing and my vocal gears unable to churn out some useful words.
Eventually I managed to explain I was feeling panic and anger and when he tried to reassure me that therapy would still be continuing, I shouted, “You don’t understand!” and started to cry even louder. He replied, “Perhaps I don’t understand,” although I am almost 100% certain he understood even better than I did that this was one of those horrendous moments when a tiny apple added to a very full applecart of emotions topples the whole cart and apples fly everywhere and he tries to dodge or catch them and afterwards when I regain some composure I look back on the toppling applecart incident with shame and embarrassment. Sometimes I think he chooses to respond in these conciliatory ways because he knows that my applecart is poorly designed by bad parenting and badly weathered by trauma and if he was to challenge all my ridiculous statements, he would just be adding yet another apple to the pile.
Many hours later I realised I could in fact afford the increase and I was able to further take in that he was STILL not asking me to pay the full fee. And as per usual, long after a session when I look back on my dramatics, the usual boulders of shame start tumbling down on me.
Psychologist J is actually still on leave. Today I told myself I would use our session time to write the report I want him to write for my NDIS application. Psychologist J and I tried to discuss what he should put in the report in a previous session but I was too busy being a depressed slug to contribute much other than some grunts and angry glares.
I’m actually partway through an application but they have requested more information in very formal language that essentially means:
“Tell us in more detail why your life is more fucked than all the other people applying for financial assistance from the government. Yeah ok we know you have a sucky disability but what can you NOT DO because of it. Please list.”
So when that is done, I will send it to psychologist J, he will reword it into psychologist jargon, and we will wait to see how much the NDIS believes it should cost to repair a broken applecart. I hope a lot so I can purchase a decent brain from psychologist J at the full retail price.
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Koenigsberg HWJ. 2010. Affective instability: toward an integration of neuroscience and psychological perspectives. Journal of Personality Disorders. Feb; 24(1):60-82. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20205499/
Matulewicz, C. (2017, November 30). Age Regression in Dissociative Identity Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, October 8 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/dissociativeliving/2017/11/age-regression-in-dissociative-identity-disorder