The Sandbox

Amnesia, Art, Healing




Shit session yesterday.

I felt like I had to explain to Teresa for the millionth time this strategy that I’ve decided for some writing I’m doing. 

I’ve been talking about this since, literally, March of this year when it occurred to me.

When I expressed how frustrating it was for her to be asking these basic questions about work I'd been bringing in for months now, she got defensive. 

She claimed I was hard to understand—confusing. To which I responded that I don’t appreciate, having spent years working on sorting through chaos inside me, to be called confusing. 


Uh, how about “complex”—is that better?


Then came the standard therapist speech that I have literally found online, “You know (insert client’s name here), you’ve been seeing me for (insert months/years here) so you can’t expect me to remember everything."

Literally, I have found this crap online. 

And then of course, my irritation became the wound we were going to pick at. 

Insecure attachment—last week was good...I felt heard...and this week…not so much. 

It was going to be about my pathology not Teresa’s lack of presence or understanding. 

My pathology…my fault…my…what? 

My disorder? 

Is something wrong with me for getting frustrated in feeling I’ve explained this same thing over and over and over again?

I brought up being recorded by Eileen, asking why she was doing it and her telling me that I was confusing. I told Teresa how hurt I was with this—and how I at the time also told Eileen this.

Eileen corrected her choice of words from  "confusing" to "complicated."

Worst of all was that I knew I told Teresa this story at least five or more times. And she had no recall of it which, of course, added a bit more fuel to the flames too. 

I then had to back it all up and ask myself and Teresa because I said it out loud: why am I even bothering to report to her what I’m doing. 

It’s working—I’m getting better—I’m holding very large pieces of my story inside of me. 

What I was describing to Teresa before it turned into this cluster was being able to hold the earlier pieces of this meditation—the more chaotic places—the beginnings where I was finding these parts of self to express feelings and memories in writing—I was describing what it felt like to hold that chaos by using a more healed version of myself. 

So when I backed up and felt frustrated explaining things repeatedly to Teresa I had to ask myself well…why. 

Why are you bothering to explain the work over and over again. 

If what you’re doing is working for you and you’re well on your way why do you need to come in and report it to your therapist?

Clearly it’s a heck of a lot more meaningful and important to me than to her.

So I left there feeling lousy. Unclear too as to exactly why I felt lousy. 

Later on as I drove to dinner I felt that I don’t need to be getting into therapy spats to teach me new things: I know about insecure attachment, I know that I’ve got some PTSD still left in me because of Eileen, I know there’s always the amnesia theory lurking in the background too—was I triggered by something unremembered?

I know not everything but maybe enough to conclude that I don’t perhaps need to be in therapy or in therapy pain anymore. 

I’ve got enough real-life things to try and hold that I don’t probably need to be picking away at trying to understand a therapy spat. 

Because that’s all it was. 

An annoying spat that brings to the fore that perhaps I don’t need these spats anymore. 

As the evening wore on I thought of a few other things too. 

That as I’ve gotten better, as I’ve been working diligently at finding and at holding my narrative, that I’ve yet to really write the narrative around this therapy that I’ve been in with Teresa for two years. 

I know where I landed with Eileen.

But where do I sit with Teresa? 

I’ve not yet written this narrative. I’ve not completed it. Not yet really stepped back and embraced it for all it’s been—and not been. 

It’s uncomfortable. For sure. And yesterday I saw one of my fears beginning to come true; that I’ve been scared to get pissed off in my current therapy because I need Teresa to be on my side if the Board contacts her. 

This piece haunts. And hurts. 

It hurts to go into a therapist and declare you need help. 

But in your confession, in handing over the keys, you also might be giving this person the power to harm you. 

In my case with Eileen she did harm me. And in filing a complaint against her she will take my records, take the soft underbelly I exposed, and use this against me. 

I can’t help but to feel the same dynamic playing out in my therapy now to a degree. 

Teresa suggested that I don’t need to give them access to my records with her which to me implied that she would harm me—a warning to me that I should perhaps not trust her. 

Which hurt. 

Oh what a swirl…a confusing swirl.


A complicated swirl. 


There’s been a reflex I’ve worked against now for years that’s been rough going. The reflex has been to tell an easier story, to choose words that perhaps sound good but aren’t exactly right. And I’ve had to go back and re-work my narrative to resonate and reflect the truthiest truths of what lives inside of me. 

Yesterday’s session brought to the fore that yes, I may be done with therapy spats—and therapy in general. But also that I think I’ve been reflexively holding a narrative around therapy with Teresa—and more generally therapy—that is too simplistic, not nuanced enough—not true enough yet to where therapy in general and therapy with Teresa sits inside of me. 

Not exactly but I’ve put Teresa in the “good therapist” box which is not the truthiest truth. 

It would be impossible to say that my time with Teresa has not been helpful. 

But it would be wrong to say too that it’s been perfect and that she’s perfect. 

I sit this morning mostly though not really knowing what’s up. That I haven’t quite nailed why I feel pretty lousy. 

Is it about my deepest past…my insecure attachment…my amnesia. Is it about my PTSD surrounding my previous therapy. Is it about this therapy here and now. 

I wondered too before I sat down with this transcript, could I ask Teresa? 

Could she help me to find out what hurts and why?

My reflex has always been to take on that work alone. But my experience in therapy with Teresa is that she has helped, has reacted a bit here and there but never explosively and never has she not been on my side. 

She said something yesterday about me not feeling respected or appreciated by her. And I said that I felt respected. 

But appreciated? 

The word really kind of felt off to me. Why would Teresa appreciate me? Appreciate the business like you'd appreciate any customer who pays you?


I looked up the definition of appreciate and things get clearer: “to understand fully, to recognize the full implications of.”

I feel clarity that Teresa really has no idea what waking up from dissociative amnesia really feels like. I say this with conviction because I myself did not grasp it for a very, very long time. It took years to even begin to see that this was what was happening. 

As I’ve gained clarity, as I’ve worked my process, I’ve documented it nearly every step of the way. Does she appreciate this? The story I’ve been telling? 


And I wonder if she’ll miss this narrative when I leave. 


Oh Not Gods, yes. I will. I will. I will. 


Does she see that my end with her is near? That I’m asking for the keys back? 


Perhaps. And this may be the biggest piece of all. 




Stay true to this discomfort, stay true to its complexity, hang onto what you feel now even if you can’t quite grasp what it means. In time, I  promise, it will be worth it.