The Sandbox

Amnesia, Art, Healing





I woke this morning knowing with clarity that I hit a beat in my process last week, a crescendo buoyed by writing the complaint and also, the reaction I had to last week’s session was part of this too. 

I was moving from being inside my PTSD to moving outside of it. At least this is the best way presently for me to describe it. 

I remember feeling with the complaint that it was time for me to stop with the inside churn and begin to externalize things. 

The complaint served to bring to me more of an external perspective which served then, I believe, to change my perspective inside. 

If that makes any sense 


It does.  And go on. 


I reacted to last Thursday’s session—which was let’s call it a real “internal” reaction but then a day later was able to really see with enormous clarity, more externally that yes…I have PTSD. It felt tangible and connected a million dots. 

I stumbled out of that therapy with Eileen dazed and confused and devastated. 

I was shaken up. 

And not really from my deep past.

It was mostly from the therapy that just added fuel to fires from long ago. And then also became its own firestorm independent of my past. 

Ironically, as I sit with this truth, this clarity, which has been very hard fought, I lose the desire to do anything about any of it. 

I don’t want to file a complaint. I don’t want to reach out. 

I just want to keep climbing my mountain. 


What about Eileen—her continuing to practice—potentially harming people. 


I have a feeling this was personal. I mean maybe I’m wrong. But my guess is, honestly, that she mostly just mails it in. She’s tired but wants to keep going so she probably sees some clients but let’s just say that my guess is that they are not as complicated?

In either case, I’ve served my time with this sentence. I don’t owe the world more time in helping Eileen to correct her mistakes. 

At least this is how I feel now. 

I still have my loaded gun in the drawer. 

And I believe I have another year—or maybe there’s no statute of limitations—to fire it. 

I drafted a small note though. 

Another one I won’t ever send. 





Hi Eileen, 

It's been a while. Twenty two months since I left. 

I always envisioned reaching back to you, in either a whoosh of gratitude and love. 

Or even perhaps anger. 

But I find myself presently sitting with the stark truth which is about neither love nor anger. 

It's about the fact that I've been suffering from PTSD caused by the therapy with you. 

The therapeutic trauma has felt often times like gasoline thrown a top remote fires. 

And I’ve been working hard to put all these fires out. 

I have also begun making my work public, for my own healing and for others as well.

I have churned for many, many nights feeling like I stumbled away from a hit and run accident, limping, while the other person got away without a scratch. 

No more, I think. 

Today is the day I can say with great clarity that I fell into painful, confusing, chaotic states of both dependency and transference in my therapy with you. 

Today is the day I say with clarity that a degree dependency and transference are normal and both can be used to the client’s benefit to learn from and to heal. 

Today is the day I say that in my case, things got worse. Boundaries were blurred, I was reacted to instead of empathized with. 

Today is the day I declare that you got lost.

And that I suffered and got worse.

This morning I declare, twenty two months later, finally, that this is no longer mine to hold. 

I've done my work. 

This morning I find myself hiking up this mountain of mine. The sky is cloudy, a powdery, blue. And I see I have been carrying what happened to me, heavily on my back for years now. 

But I can feel, finally, my load, this morning, this painful weight, begin to lighten. 

I set my sites up ahead. But I decide, with clarity, to keep one thing for certain always with me—the thing that perhaps makes all the sleeplessness nights and crying out in confusion and anger worth it. 

And that one thing is…empathy. 

I will carry empathy for self and for others who have been through an experience with a professional that leaves them as hurt and damaged as I was. 

You will gain clarity, I will tell the person who is reeling in confusion. 

I understand, I will tell them, that it feels like you never will.

But you will. 

If you work hard enough and long enough, you will heal. 

Look at me, I will say to them, I finally made it up this mountain. 

And so will you. 






Thanks, A. 


How does it feel?


It feels more right than any other message I’ve drafted and not sent in the past twenty two months. 


Will it be sent?


I don’t know. I think it’s a goodbye which is hard for me. But it’s a goodbye and fuck you too. It’s a passing of this baton along to Eileen in a way. It’s a way to let her sit with some sleeplessness—maybe. 


How does it differ from a complaint. 


Well it’s a softball and that’s the main thing I have with it. It has no teeth. 


Is there a way to give it teeth?


Well if I imply I’m filing something than that just prepares her. 




I suppose it’s about as honest as I can muster at the moment. I suppose my truth is that I don’t feel love for her. I feel that she’s a sick person who harmed me. 


If that’s the case then why not go the complaint route?


I have a vision of myself climbing this mountain. The complaint route seems to keep my backpack loaded down more with the past. An email like this perhaps allows me to lighten my load and move on?


Good thoughts. 


I don’t know. I’ve not decided. I am trying different clothes on to see what looks and feels good. 



Complaint or email

Or say nothing at all.

Our choices are ours,

What we drop, what we haul.


There is anger in that email. I can’t say there’s not. But I think it’s okay. 


There should be anger. Plenty of it. This is our truth. But it is also our truth that our intention is for those fires to be quelled and they are being quelled. 


Is now the moment to finally say something? 


We will know, S.  Listen closely to the tick tick tick of our own heart beating. It has and will always...know.