It was a big day for some reasons I can't yet divulge (don't you love it when I do that?) but also because I started on the child unit today. Whew. I forgot how exhausting the little ones can be, especially when they suddenly have to be discharged.
My day actually started much earlier than that. My adolescent therapy patient who comes at 7am (voluntarily. Of her own choosing)....um...well, she came at 7am. We're doing some transition work now, so she only comes every other week. We had a good session today, about some pretty heavy stuff. And then, later, after the whirlwind discharge and while I was on my way to supervision (handy), she sent me a text telling me that what we had talked about this morning ended poorly.
Can I be totally honest with you? It broke my heart a little.
I know we're all trained to come off as being somewhat aloof and all "blank slate" and whatnot, but here's a dirty little secret of psychotherapy: we get emotionally invested. At least, the good ones do. And this is a kid I've been seeing for three years now, which is not an insignificant chunk of her life (or mine, for that matter). I've seen her grow in a lot of really profound ways. And even if my response was something close to the cliche "that must be so hard for you," I really hurt for her. To really get the emotional content, blank slate or not, you have to make an emotional connection. That's why this work is so exhausting. I see it in my colleagues' exuberance about college acceptance or dismay at an abrupt and clumsy termination. We may sometimes give the impression that you may only exist to us for a fifty minute hour, but in truth, as much as we hope our patients internalize us, we internalize them to some degree too.
It's kind of cool, when you get right down to it.
Oh - and, I went to the gym after work and supervision and therapy and the, um, whatnot, and I did my little proscribed treadmill workout at 1.8 miles per hour in the middle of the crowded, post-work-rush gym. Yeah, I was still self-conscious about it (especially because that 7% grade was kicking my ass today), but I did it.
Baby steps, you know?