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Online Therapy is NOT the Same as In-Person Therapy and I Miss My Providers

This image is washed in fog, difficult to see and difficult to grasp.

We all have the same questions and so many more. We are living in an unprecedented and terrifying time, something we haven’t dealt with before. What I’m left with is anger. My hypomania had just decreased to a point where I had insight, thanks to starting the medication, Lithium. A minute later life shut down: moving from in-person sessions to phone sessions with my therapist, then from in-person group therapy at my Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) to online, to online sessions with my therapist.

I continue to have difficulty focusing as I recover from my hypomania/depression. This can make it difficult to write, as you can imagine, but I am trying. You see, I am sad, scared and tired. I have good times of the day but I also have not so great times. This is normal for the way our world is right now, but, currently, my thoughts center around all of my providers and supports. It’s great to connect online with my IOP people and it’s great to see my therapist via technology, but you know what? – it’s not the same. The novelty has worn off and I feel so sad as if I’m just flying out here alone. I miss these people so much. I count on them when meeting in person, but now, it’s not that I don’t count on them, it’s that it feels too separate. There’s a void between us that I am feeling, in a strong way. This is what has made me cry the past few days. I’m hanging on, holding on to my recovery, but it’s abstract, in some ways. I want my supports, my professional allies and I want to feel it, not remember it or imagine it as it will be in the future. I want to feel it NOW.

I heavily rely on my psychological team and right now, it feels surreal, as if no one is actually there. Intellectually I know they are, but the feeling of them, it’s as if it’s being chipped away and I’m scared by that. I am more vulnerable right now, still in IOP, still getting used to the Lithium, while also living this unbelievable existence in order to be safe and keep my family safe.

I just don’t want to feel alone, flying alone, because, in reality, I am not, not even close. My therapist, psychiatrist, my IOP therapist and psychiatrist are there for me and in touch with each other. I am simply not coping well with the lack of in-person meetings. When I feel alone in treatment, which can come about for many different reasons, I become very scared and sad. I talked to them during my zoom appointments today about this. That’s the only way to help myself, to make sure everyone is on the same page. My therapist told me today to not be afraid of my sadness or tears, that it’s all okay. She said I have to not only cope with the current state of our world but I also have to focus on my recovery from 3 months of extreme difficulty, psychologically. I felt validated and I have to keep reminding myself that this treatment team is there for me. I just hope I can get that feeling back soon and, of course, to meet again in person, once it’s safe enough. I just can’t wait to really feel it again.

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