When reaching out goes wrong 

I recall it vividly. 

2003. 

I’d been under the care of a psychologist for 18 months. This was in the formative days of my defined journey towards diagnosis. We hadn’t mentioned the word “Autism” yet but I had so many other issues whirling around in my head that I don’t really blame her. I was a mixed up individual fighting self loathing, self esteem issues, depression and a host of other psychological factors. 

But I’d formed a bond. I actually found her easy to talk to, a good listener and, of the many such that I’d seen before and seen since, definitely one of the better ones. 

Then my wife told me she was leaving me. 

She wanted out. Oh it wasn’t me, it wasn’t my fault but…well, she’d fallen out of love with me a year ago and now, enough was enough. 

I remember walking round the corner. My psychologist only practiced a road away and I sort of staggered up to her door in a bit of a daze, trying to work out where it had gone wrong. 

We sat down and, as per usual, our session began with the question. 

“How have things been this week ?” 

“Well”, I began, “My wife’s told me she’s leaving me”. 

I recall it vividly. He look on her face. The way she put her notebook down. The way she sighed. 

And I recall what she said next, 

“I see. Well, look, I don’t know how to say this but I can’t help you anymore. This is just one thing to many and I don’t think we can take an extra issue here and deal with it”

What did she mean ? 

Did I have a quota of problems I had somehow exceeded ?. Was three enough but four too many ?. 

I stared blankly at her. 

But that was that. 

Over 18 months and twenty odd sessions we’d talked and she’d been supportive; then, in an instant, she dropped me. I’d somehow become that “problem” patient, the bridge too far, the one too many. I barely coped with her help but now I had to cope alone. 

I stumbled home. Back to a house now empty of love, empty of family, empty of a future. 

I sat at the table and cried. 

To this day I still don’t know what happened. I don’t know how an extra issue made her just give up on me. How I somehow went from guy she was helping to guy she wanted nothing more to do with. I was bereft, abandoned in more ways than one. 

It’s easy to tell others to reach out,that support is there, that people want to help. I’m sure that, in many cases that’s true. 

But when you reach out and it all goes wrong it can be as devastating, if not more so, than the original issue. 

Take care of yourselves out there. 

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