Jackie is a smart, intelligent woman. She’s put herself through medical school and has been leaning on her strengths which have gotten her far.
In this moment, though, her shoulders carry an exhaustion paired with a yearning. A seeking. An emptiness in her eyes that are asking for something.
At our initial meeting Jackie presented with a confidence and “together-ness” as she eloquently shared, “My life has been working out but I’m not as happy as I should be”.
We’ve been getting to know what that feeling is about. As we settle in to the session, I inquire about any subtle shifts at home or work.
Nothing changed much, aside my placement at the hospital.
Her voice gets quieter and her eyes look as though she’s staring at something in the distance. “Jackie, I’m still here, I say, and I wonder how much of you is here right in this moment”. She glances up and smirks.
You know I’m here.
“Oh of course you are, but if I were to ask you what percentage of you is fully here and what percentage of you is somewhere else, what would that be?”
Oh. Well, not very much of me is here.
She breaths a deep sigh. We take a few more breaths together, paying attention to “gathering” more of her presence into the room and noticing what’s happening as we do that.
I’ll tell you what I’m noticing. When you asked if anything changed, I said no. But then I realize Ive been working on the gyno unit for the past two weeks. I am fascinated by the human body and parenthood, I truly am. But then there’s a sadness there. It doesn’t make sense to me though. Anyway, that’s where I went when I was spacing out,
Was her anxiety related to inhibited grief?
As her therapist, the pieces are starting to take form, and there’s an edge of possible clarity. I’m curiously holding some of what she had shared and looking at its relativity to the current anxiety. Six months ago, Phil, Jackie’s ex-boyfriend broke up with her.
When sharing this, Jackie laughed at the break-up, saying he was an idiot, and how school should be her priority anyway. Beneath the laugh there was more than a tinge of disappointment. Yes, Phil was immature and had growing up to do, but they had really connected and Jackie had invested a lot of her future goals in imagining life with him.