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Accidentally stalking my psychotherapist?!

(24 Posts)
NoStalker Mon 17-Feb-14 17:44:43

I posted this on chat for the traffic, but thought this might actually be the better forum... Any advice or reassurance would be welcome!

I used to have a lot of MH issues and had several years of psychoanalytic psychotherapy as a part of my recovery. My therapist was a lovely woman, quite a bit older than me, very business-like but kind. I felt we always had very clear boundaries and I never really learned much anything about her personal life at all - so obviously I didn't know where she lived at all! The therapy ended some years ago and I hadn't seen her since.

But we've recently moved, and must have moved somewhere very close to her; I keep bumping into her! It's a small place, and I keep seeing her out and about and it's now really bothering me. First of all it brings up a lot of issues for me, and it's affecting how I feel about my new home - just knowing there's someone "out there", who knows all my issues. But I'm also worried that she thinks I'm stalking her!

Are there any MH professionals out there with any advice? I don't know if I should somehow try to explain myself, or do I keep pretending I don't even notice her, like I've done so far?

This is all surprisingly upsetting!

HavantGuard Mon 17-Feb-14 17:50:52

I hope she helped you to feel better. She will also have helped and be continuing to help lots of other people to cope. I would imagine she has other patients living nearby if she has been doing this for a good length of time. You said it was some years ago, so I can't imagine how anyone could consider it 'stalking.'

Don't let it spoil your enjoyment of your new home. She can't even mention you were a patient of hers and the therapeutic relationship is in the past.

NoStalker Mon 17-Feb-14 18:16:50

Thanks for answering, Havant.

I don't really know why this is bothering me so much. I know it's perfectly reasonable that a therapist sometimes happens to live near a patient or an old patient and actually it must be quite common. As far as I know, she's been practising for a long time, so she must have loads of previous patients all around this general area.

I think the whole "stalking" idea comes from the fact that I once told her (during the therapy, of course) I had googled her, and she reacted much more than I was expecting. And in any case, I don't really trust my own social skills and judgement quite often, to be honest, so I get paranoid that I'm doing something wrong.

Every time I bump into her, it upsets me for several days. I hope in time I'm at least going to get used to it. sad

HavantGuard Mon 17-Feb-14 18:24:12

I think you've been doing exactly the right thing. Ignore her and get on with whatever you're doing. That sends a good, clear message that is not open to misunderstandings - I am getting on with my stuff and my being here has nothing to do with your presence.

drinkyourmilk Mon 17-Feb-14 18:24:38

Do you think it may help to have a session with her now and talk to her about how you handle meeting her?
My therapist lives close to me. I wanted to see him because he seemed perfect for me in terms of treatment but I was worried what would happen when we met within the community. We discussed this at my first session and he gave me the choice of ignoring each other or just saying hi. We could easily have met within another social context so I went with acknowledgement. Makes me feel less awkward and im now at a place where I speak freely about my illness so would explain to anyone who was with me.

NoStalker Mon 17-Feb-14 18:31:40

Havant - I think that's what I'll do; and I'll just hope I'll get used to it.

Drink - Sadly that's not really an option. My therapy was on NHS, and I've moved away from the area, and I don't think they would arrange anything like that anyway. I don't think she has private patients. I do now wish we'd talk about this possibility, but what's done is done.

I think if I was ever to go and see a therapist now, it would be better if it was someone different. I liked her very much, but those years were very difficult going, and I think I'd prefer a clean slate. And someone private, so that the therapy wouldn't end just because I was only allowed a certain maximum amount.

NoStalker Mon 17-Feb-14 19:08:42

I'm also now randomly worried that my old therapist is on MN and reading and judging me from this. Sigh. I wonder if I'm heading to a bad place... sad

Messupmum Mon 17-Feb-14 19:44:44

Hi, how about just saying hello next time you see her. It might make things feel less awkward? I know exactly what you mean, I've googled HV's, therapists, cpn's blush

What was her reaction when you said you'd googled her? Maybe you could look into another type of therapy just to keep you going and enable you to talk things through.

Selks Mon 17-Feb-14 19:59:15

I wonder if you are over-thinking this. She may not even recognise you....therapists see many many patients. Even if she does I would just not say anything to her, maybe smile in passing and that's it. How you feel about bumping into her is likely to settle with time, the more you get used to it.
But it might be helpful to examine the feelings underneath this....what are the real issues? Stirring up of old painful memories or feelings? Well that's bound to happen occasionally surely. Or has it triggered some anxiety? You do sound quite anxious in your posts.
I'm sorry that this unwanted situation is in your face right now, but the most productive way forwards seems to me to come to terms with the underlying feelings that this has stirred up, and do nothing about the therapist. Your therapy with her is in the past.

NoStalker Mon 17-Feb-14 20:12:02

Messup - She seemed to take it as an invasion on privacy; not in a nasty way - she was mostly interested on why I had done it in the first place. But I had assumed it was something "everyone" did, and was surprised to be called up on it.

Selks - Heh, I do know you're right, but the idea of her not even recognising me is not at all reassuring! blush But I do think you're right and there's something going on still, which is why it's all so upsetting to me... I don't really know what to do about it right now, though.

NoStalker Wed 19-Feb-14 16:43:53

Writing here because I'm not sure where else to write and don't really want to actually talk about this to anyone. I'm sorry to whine. I'm just hoping the process of writing is somehow useful.

I think things are starting to go bad. I've had relapses into self-harm behaviours in the past two days now, and I feel horrible. I've been taking too many strong painkillers. I'm not sleeping well. Can't concentrate, can't get anything done. I can't talk sense to myself anymore. Feels like a dark downhill stretching ahead. We've had some good news today, and I feel absolutely nothing.

I don't have a new GP yet, and I was hoping never to bring up "old" MH problems anymore when I get one. DH is stressed as it is. I need to ride this out...

LastingLight Wed 19-Feb-14 16:54:18

NoStalker you sound very unwell. Please get a new gp asap and make an appointment. It's not about bringing up "old" MH problems, you have issues right now that you need help with.

ITCouldBeWorse Wed 19-Feb-14 16:58:10

I agree, it is common practice to google someone you are using in a professional capacity. In this way I identified an unscrupulous ( but well qualified and respect nhs psychologist). So I guess she is of the era when this was less commonplace.

I'd be stunned if she remembered all your information and experiences; whilst this was a big experience for you it is actually quite quite a small, past part of her working life.

Smile if you like, then carry on as before.

NoStalker Wed 19-Feb-14 17:55:03

Thanks both.

I don't think this actually is what she thinks or remembers, though that is upsetting (I realise it's not really based on reality). I think I'm actually finding this so upsetting, because seeing her reminds me of such a vulnerable position and such difficult and painful things that I've since done my best to put behind me.

I don't think a new GP is going to help me. ADs never really helped me. There's not a lot more they can do. I wouldn't want to get referred back to the MH services (they were a pain to deal with, apart from the lovely therapist). I've been looking at some private councelling, but money's too tight for that. This has all come on quite suddenly, so I'm hoping it'll go as quickly, too.

drinkyourmilk Wed 19-Feb-14 22:54:45

Hi NoStalker
I understand your reasons for not seeing a GP yet, if you self harm you really ought to see one again though, medicine moves quickly and there are always different combinations to try should you need to.
I came off my ADs last year, and for the first time since I'm having a real low. It's awful going back to being so uninvolved with life and constantly feeling on edge and irritable.
I'm trying to ride it out myself before visiting the Dr's. For me this means doing something physical every single day, eating properly and avoiding alcohol, being kind to myself- try to not take on guilt for every slip up or snarky remark I make, being honest with my oh about what I'm feeling and not bottling it up. I'm going to look at some herbal supplements too if it hasn't lifted by next week. I'm giving myself two months and then I will talk to my gp.
Sorry this is such a waffle (and mainly about me blush). In my cack handed way, I'm trying to let you know you aren't alone and are supported, even if it's only online.
Be kind to yourself x

NoStalker Wed 19-Feb-14 23:16:11

Thanks for waffling drink. smile It's good to hear about others and their struggles, to know you're not the only one. I've been off ADs for nearly two years now, I think. I've had short periods of feeling anxious and depressed when there's been stress and hormonal stuff going on, but it has always passed, and I haven't gone back to self harming.

I've had a bit of a chat and a cuddle with DH. I think I'll try to follow a similar plan of yours - if I can keep self harming at bay. I'll need to find a new GP anyway as soon as possible for other reasons, anyway.

NoStalker Fri 21-Feb-14 12:33:44

Things aren't better, so far. sad Something about this whole situation seems to be triggering a proper relapse.

The idea of meds, treatments, trying to explain myself and having attention drawn to this seems worse than going through it all to the bitter end, at the moment. I'm managing to look and act normal, so far, when around anyone else. Trying to bury things in Codeine and frantic decoration. Can't keep still, can't read simple text; I feel twitchy and have started having bad stomach cramps. It all brings it all back. sad

longtallsally2 Fri 21-Feb-14 12:44:32

Sorry to hear that you are feeling like that NoStalker. I would suggest that you see a GP, and present this as an issue which you could talk through with your doctor. You can explain that you had MH problems in the past, have been much better since you dealt with them, but that seeing your old therapist seems to have ripped a scab off and left you feeling very vulnerable. Don't forget to emphasise how well you have been though. You need to validate that for yourself, if not for your GP. You have been well. You can be well again.

It may be that your GP suggests that more therapy is needed as you have apparently been left with some unresolved issues (I believe that it's a good time now to at least ask for therapy in the light of the recent talking therapies campaign) or it may be that in seeing your GP and reporting the issue, you can lay it to bed yourself, and regain your peace of mind.

In the meantime, have you been taught relaxation exercises, which you can do regularly, to help you regain some control here, and deal with anxiety?

NoStalker Fri 21-Feb-14 13:02:43

Thanks for the kind answer Long.

If I'm honest with myself, I don't really want to relax now, even though I could try to. I think I'm egging this relapse on, riding it and wallowing in it. I know better than this; I know I'm doing and thinking things that are very unhelpful, almost in a selfharming way. I don't know why.

I don't think more therapy is an option on NHS, but I might just have to count my pennies and have a frank talk with DH and rethink the private option. Something short term that wouldn't have to involve the whole machine...

livingzuid Fri 21-Feb-14 14:48:34

Hello sorry it is so difficult. I really think it worth you speaking to your gp. Things are different and it has been years since you last have treatment. The worst they will say is that there isn't anything available smile no one will judge you. It could be worth you asking.

LastingLight Fri 21-Feb-14 17:18:25

Don't go for psychoanalysis again, it takes forever and is imo not very useful. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is good.

NoStalker Fri 21-Feb-14 17:32:46

I wouldn't really consider CBT, my own understanding of it is not very positive at all. I don't think it would help me.

I didn't particulary choose the psychoanalysis side, either. It was just what was offered to me on the NHS at the time (they for some reason also thought CBT wasn't suitable, although I know that's the more common approach). I'd be more inclined to want that just because it's what I know, but yes I know it's not a short term solution, so probably out of the question.

I'm feeling a bit calmer now, and it's the weekend at least, so I won't have to be alone for a few days.

becsparkel Fri 21-Feb-14 22:00:53

Sorry to hear you've been feeling rough.

I think googling therapists is common place, why wouldn't you want to know more about the person you entrust all your deepest darkest feeling to? I've certainly googled mine. Perhaps she wanted to explore your reasons behind it more or perhaps she was worried that she wasn't as anonymous as she had thought.

The problem with ignoring her or the issue, is that the problem can be pushed further down, which won't help in the long term. It seems she's sparked some difficult feelings, and those need to be explored in a safe, containing environment.

Have a chat with DH about going to a private therapist, good psychotherapists often work on a sliding scale and you can negotiate fees according to your income.

Psychoanalytic psychotherapy can take time but it should hopefully provide a safe enough, holding environment in the short term - at least so you can speak openly. Hope you are able to get some help soon.

NoStalker Sat 22-Feb-14 19:23:10

Thanks becs. I'm glad other people don't think googling was weird. I honestly had no sinister thoughts behind doing so. After all, I wasn't looking for personal information, but professional. I was really interested to see what papers she had written and what her professional interests had been, and it was a surprise to me she reacted the way she did.

I've had a nice day with DH and some good talks too. I've also been having a useful email exchange with the samaritans. (And yes I've seen her again, and actually don't think she recognises me, or notices, and it's upsetting but I think I might get over this with time; who knows. I admit it's got nothing to do with her, but that I still have issues...)

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