Letters: Dear My Teen Years Therapist

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I remember the final time we met. I remember giving you a card, in which I wrote a somewhat lengthy version of a thank you note. I remember you thanking me for showing you a side to me that you doubted I showed to many, if any, others. I remember you saying that it was sad that we wouldn’t see one another again after having met up frequently for 2 1/2 years. I said no. I wasn’t feeling. Perhaps I wasn’t allowing myself to feel, because even now I remember. Even now you are occasionally within my thoughts. Often I wish I could catch up with you, let you know about what happened, the good and the bad because I could talk to you. I could really talk to you.

You came into my life at a bad time, but I feel our meeting was fortunate because for those years that I saw you, you were the only stable and healthy relationship in my life. You were the only constant, the only one not turning on me, the only one taking time to listen to me, to really hear what I was saying. You were the only one to show me care. I was 15 when I met you, and just turned 18 when we stopped. You were the closest thing that I had to a parent during those years. Someone to listen to me, support me, help guide me and challenge my unhealthy behaviours in a way that was otherwise ignored.

I remember we would always finish our sessions talking about the weather: a non emotional ending point. I don’t think that I had full insight into the depth of my difficulties and how they related to emotional well being at the time. I don’t think I really gained that until lately, as I’ve grown older and had continued difficulties from which I have grown. I often wonder what you wrote in my file, what you wrote about my relationships with my parents, if you were concerned, if you thought I had the diagnosis I eventually wound up with. I think some day I will request my files in order to gain an insight into that part of my life; I don’t remember much.

I do remember you though, and I remember our sessions. I remember some of our conversations and how you gently questioned my feelings of being fat, overweight, ugly and especially disgusting after sexual encounters. You showed me something I needed from my parents but never really got. Alongside that we had a laugh. I remember us joking together, making light heart of the situation. You had a good sense of humour.

As a result of your care, concern and listening ear I have often wanted to tell you what I did with my life. I have often wanted to tell you how I was so lucky to find someone to love me, like you promised I would. I have wanted to tell you about when I went to uni and started following my dreams, like you told me I would. I have often wanted to talk to you about the bad times too, and to hear your thoughts on it. To have you challenge me in a positive way again would be helpful. You were a good therapist, which is why now, a few years too late, I care that I wasn’t sad on our final meeting. I care that I didn’t show to you at the time how great you had been towards me. How you had made me feel ok, a bit better, more normal and accepted. You were possibly the first person to really let me be myself, and I want to show you how after all of these years I no longer feel that I need to hide my true self. I no longer feel ashamed of who I am. I no longer feel the need to hide every truth about myself, behind the facade that I think everyone wants to see. As it turns out I am an ok person after all.

I really wish I could share that with you. I really wish I could share a coffee with you and let you know how I grew up, how I became to be the person that I currently am, and how after all of these years the one thing I am glad of is that I did show my real self to you. I didn’t lie. I didn’t hide. I didn’t feel ashamed. I’d also like to thank you for allowing me to do that in our space, because I had no where else to be, to thrive and be honest. I didn’t need to hide around you. With you I had somewhere to be with someone that was safe. I really needed that, and you provided it. For that I’d also like it thank you.

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