Therapist cancels an hour before appointment


Lynn called at 8:45 this morning to cancel our 10 am appointment. The conversation went like this:

“Hi Daylily, this is Lynn.”

“Oh, hi, how are you?”

“I’m going to have to cancel our appointment this morning.”

LOOOONG pause from me because I know I signed something saying I would have to pay for the therapy time if I cancelled. I want to say, just remember this if I have to cancel at the last-minute. I keep my thoughts to myself and wait, expecting to hear a reason but the silence seems like it will never end.

“My kitty is sick and I have to take her to the vet this morning,” explains Lynn.

I finally say, “I totally understand that things come up. No problem.”

“It was a long night last night.”

I’m thinking, Shit, I got up early and have been fretting about this appointment for days. Now, you cancel on me? I hold my tongue and tell myself to sound sympathetic and be friendly.

I hope your kitty gets better and it’s not too serious.” Did I just say ‘kitty?’

“How about we meet next Saturday at 9:00 am?” Lynn asks.

“That looks okay right now,” I reply. My tone is non-committal. A piece of me is thinking maybe and maybe not. You drop me like a hot potato and maybe I will do the same to you.

Lynn closes by saying, “Call me if something comes up and you need to talk before then.”

I’ve never called a therapist between appointments and I don’t expect to start now.  I reply, “Everything’s fine, there are no emergencies.” I am desperately trying to minimize my need for Lynn if she is going to cancel on me; however, I was let down by Lynn cancelling our appointment. It takes a lot of self-talk to get me to feel safe exposing myself in therapy. I psyched myself up for nothing.

History repeats itself and I feel like I never get my needs met. I tell myself it’s my fault because I’m not good at expressing them. Self-protective walls surround me, shielding me from the disappointment of others.

No surprise that I ‘needed’ a drink tonight. It is my way of decompressing from the build-up to therapy. I bought a moderately priced bottle of Pinot Grigio and I plan on drinking the whole thing. I continue to have sinus headaches everyday and I’m trying a new antibiotic so the wine could come back to haunt me.

My husband said to me at the dinner table, “You’ve got a headache and you’re drinking wine.” My cocky response, “Good observation. Yes, that is what I’m doing”. (My 14-year-old laughed at me and the conversation changed to something else.) I suppose, in a way, I like the control I have in those situations. How could my husband respond, when I was acting like I didn’t care what he had to say? Hey, it’s Saturday so I don’t have to deal with work tomorrow and the mental break I get from drinking feels worth the agony I might be in tomorrow.

I recognize in this post extreme dislike for myself. I hate the way I handle relationships with those that care about me. I see myself as exceptionally flawed in my ability to receive support.

I usually pump out over 1,000 words but tonight its slow going. The doctors used to call depression “melancholy” and that is how my mood is right now, downhearted and glum. Oh, did I forget to mention my birthday is tomorrow?


6 responses to “Therapist cancels an hour before appointment

  1. Thanks for this. The therapist/client relationship is a very unequal one… I hope your next appointment with her goes well (if her kitty isn’t sick again…).
    Happy Birthday!

  2. First things first…. Happy Birthday!! Life’s little celebrations are important.

    Is there a reason you cant call Linda and ask to see her sooner than next weekend? I know you were all ready and prepared to go. I dont recall a specific instance of calling a “talk doc” to move an appointment up, but I am sure I did in the begining. When I first sought treatment I treated each appointment like an oasis, a break from my personal hell. There I was free, and I felt safe. I know for a fact that I have called the doc that manages the meds to tell him we need to do something new before the actual appointment comes around.

    Now I know you dont feel the same way about therapy that I did. In fact it would appear we approach things from opposite ends of the spectrum, but consider that she is there to help you the best she can, and there is no real need for you to sit and fret if she has an open appointment prior to the weekend. In the end I am sure you will do what is right for you, but sometimes a different perspective can help. Wishing you well.

    • Thanks for your support! There’s no realistic reason I can’t call Linda, except asking for help is not my strong suit. Calling my primary doctor is much easier, when the subject is my physical health. Calling to discuss my mental status is just not something I do comfortably so calling to move an appointment up is unthinkable. That would be exposing an emotional need and I do not put my emotions out there for others to step on. I have an uncanny ability to suffer through anything, while I wait for my scheduled appointment with the therapist. However, you are absolutely right about it not being necessary to suffer. Oh, the stigma of mental illness!

  3. I’m very frank and very intuitive and I have to tell you that…for your birthday (I sure am glad you were born as are a lot of people in your Life I can tell you that, funny lady x)…for your birthday I really think you should treat yourself to a new therapist. Mine would never have DREAMT of dropping me. She took my weekly slot (my recovery) as seriously as if I were her own daughter. Even though we were strangers.
    Her KITTY???? My God.
    You have the patience of a saint for reacting so calmly.
    I would write her a stinking email and drop her forever, thus ensuring that she never does this to another patient.

    I hope it’s a good birthday.
    Your needs will one day feel met, I promise.

    • I think you may be onto something. The connection with Linda may not be there — for either of us. I am digging deep on this and trying to decide if it is me and my self-protectiveness or if it’s just not clicking with Linda.

Would love a reply

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