Last month the food psych told me he was taking a leave of absence and I panicked: I’d broken him. We, the patients, had broken him.
Later, with some hard-won perspective, I decided the only thing I could do was let him know what he achieves.
So I wrote him a letter, and here it is:
Since you told me you were taking a break from work I’ve thought a lot about what your help has meant to me, and what it might be like to walk in your shoes.
And I wanted to say a few things.
I appreciate more than I think you understand that you see me as a person and not just an illness. And that’s not something to just shrug off; a lot of professionals only see a collection of symptoms that need to be assessed and managed. We can always tell.
You convey a sense of calm. That you can hear anything. Handle anything. Give the most awful of thoughts space to unfold, so they lose some of their power in the cold light of reason.
You listen. Even if you’ve heard it before. You listen with courtesy and an attention that wins confidence. And you leave just enough silence to ease out the hardest of admissions.
Your words matter. What you decide and say shakes and shapes lives.
And sometimes all your efforts cannot defeat hard-wired thinking. That must be tough.
I always hope that you can leave all the emotion and responsibility in that soulless box of a room. That nothing haunts you. That you go home to love and laughter.
And even if nothing ever changes for me I want you to know I am very, very grateful that I haven’t always been alone with this.
So, thank you.
Today, I gave this letter to him at the end of our appointment, and got an appreciative email almost straightaway.
He is a good person. And I am lucky to have his help.