Wednesday, February 17, 2010


So, I have avoided blogging about my session on Monday, a) because I am kind of ashamed of my regressive behaviour and b) because I just needed some time to really think about the issues and decide where I stood. But times running out. I have therapy tomorrow, and it will have to be addressed.

In line with my strategy of avoidance, I have avoided phone or email contact with (D) for the last couple of days, but she caught me this morning by calling while I was on my way home from another appointment. You know how sometimes, when you are out and about and your mobile rings, you just grab for it and automatically answer it.... shit... it's her. Very immature, I know, but I would rather have just let it go to message bank. Sigh. The conversation I had with her was quite immature too. "How are you?" Fine. "I was just worried about you after Mondays session and wanted to check in" There's nothing to talk about. I'm fine. "Well, I don't think that's true, we need to talk about this" Oh, dear, bad reception...gotta go.

But tomorrow, its time to man up and face it. You of course, have no idea what I'm talking about yet.

So the session mostly focussed on how we can better "contain" me as we move through this next more uncomfortable stage of therapy. Should we introduce a third session? I talked about my reservations a little...finances, power dynamics, dependency etc. And then she said something about how she was really suprised that I was considering it, as she thought when she put it on the table I would shoot it down. This pissed me off and I quite snarkily asked "Why would you bother asking then?". She also said something along the lines of, she wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do either, she just put it out there for discussion. To which the "Interpreter" in my brain heard "I'm not even sure if I want to do this". I got angrier. I wanted her to be sure, before she suggested such things. I wanted her to have clearly though out and justifiable reasons for her suggestions. She clarified that what she meant was, she wasn't sure if it was the right thing for me, because she was mindful of the issues it would bring up for me. Sigh. I didn't really hear her in the moment... it took a few days for that to sink in. I think the issue is, I don't trust my own opinion much, so I am relying on her to know what the best step forward is. I need her to be a rock, in a world where there is so much uncertainty and instability. I need to trust that she knows the right things to do. But, in retrospect, I am also aware that she is just a human being, that there is no magic formula, that some of this process will inherently be hit and miss. I think it feeds into the control issues. I need the sense of rules and procedures to make me feel safe, nebulous concepts and strategies make me want to run and hide, its too risky. But in order to continue this process, I have to find a way to move forward through the risks. To trust that she will catch me, or better yet, help me land on my own two feet.

The other issue this all brought up was abandoment issues, which I never really factored in as much of an issue for me (and makes me cringe, as it brings me one step closer to fullfilling the criteria for a BPD diagnosis... not that there is anything inherently wrong with the diagnosis itself, but more because that is an additional stigma I'd like to avoid...sorry if that makes me weak) I worry that with additional demands on her, session wise, (and at a reduced rate) she is eventually going to get fed up, and leave me to deal with this mess unfinished. She has stated unequivocally that is not her intention, and the suggestion for increased contact was hers... but then to hear her sound not so sure about it rattled me, and let those gremlins start gnawing at my brain. She mentioned something about how maybe I was worried that my family was right, that she was just trying to 'milk me dry'...(ludicrous, I am not that profitable a patient) I told her that was not the case, but I did wonder why? What does she get out of it? I can see the pitfalls...a client that requires more time, seems to have more crisises at the moment and makes her less money, for the time investment. So what does she actually get out of it? I guess I partly figured if I could figure out her motivations, I could better assess whether she was safe or not. But on a deeper level, I just wanted to put her in a double bind, so I could justify the fear I was feeling, that she was just going to leave. I pushed her on the issue, pushed her to answer the question, boxed her into a corner until I got something out of her I could misconstrue for my own purposes. She said she could tell me about how much of a privilege it was to be able to take this journey and help people, but that I wouldn't believe her. She acknowledged that while it can be exhausting, it was infintely rewarding... ah-ha! Gotcha. My mind stuck on the word, exhausting. Of course she is trying to subtly tell me something she is not allowed to verbalise directly. I am a burdensome, tiring, draining, exhausting waste of space. I pushed further,  "Am I exhausting?". Double bind. She could lie and say no, but I would not trust her if she was a liar. She could hedge and try the old..."I hear that its important to you to hear the impact you have on me...why do you think that is?" But this tactic cause me to shutdown and then go into tailspins. Or she could be honest. "Yes, sometimes, but....." I didn't hear anything really from there. Just a roaring in my head, and the hollow victory of being proved right. It was nearing the end of session, and I think she was concerned at sending me out, and having me decompensate. Quite a valid concern, as that is exactly what I did. She tried to talk to me about tactics to keep myself safe, asked me to email her. I sat silently. I was NOT going to email her. I was NOT going to see her again. I was NOT setting myself up for that kind of fall again. Eventually I got up and walked out without a word, and got my little self-destructive actions under way.

Sigh. When you read this, it seems like such minor things. But particularly when you are peeled raw in therapy, it seems huge and insurmountable. So, I have had my tantrum, and I have had time to think about things, and really examine my own motivations. Now its time to go and face the very uncomfortable music.


  1. Ophelia, this is like reading my life. I remember feeling all of these things and hating the diagnosis of BPD. It's funny you know, when I found that in the DSM-IV, I wanted that and then I did get diagnosed with it. Now I cannot escape it. I totally get the being abandoned thing. I have had some amazing nurses and case managers and even psychiatrists that have 'left' and I felt it so personally. I would probably have reacted exactly as you did when you were looking for the proof that you were too much for your therapist. I've done it myself so many times, but then, I would walk out first, so they didn't get the opportunity. There is a book I remember, "I hate you, don't leave me". I never did finish reading it, but the title is exactly how I was and how I felt. I pretty much fitted every criteria but one, though I can't remember which one now. I was really blown away by your post. It hurts so so much doesn't it? If only we didn't get the attachments and feel it so much when it goes away or when we think it's going away. I found that to be the big distinction. Not all of my 'feelings' were correct, even though I thought they were at the time. If that makes sense.

  2. I don't think the things you're talking about sound 'minor' at all. In fact I think you dealt with this session really rather well; I'd fly into a rage and start screaming at C, my psychologist!

    Was interesting to read Sarah's comment above. I pretty much diagnosed myself with BPD when I read about it, and now that I know more about it, I'm sorry I've received the diagnosis as I'm now familiar with the way borderlines are treated. But I don't think issues of abandonment and attachment should be confined to that disorder, particularly when it comes to therapy - when the process is working, it would seem bizarre for us *not* to be attached. I think.

    Good luck tomorrow Ophelia x

  3. Hi, Just found your blog and completely relate to everything you said here. I have never liked the BPD term and refuse to tell anyone in my offline life that I have it. I am still at the stage of being completely in the closet about if people who know me don't KNOW. Bleh. I read "I hate you, don't leave me" which is a book the other commented remarked on. That book was written for and about me, no doubt. And admitting that makes me want to throw up.
    Hope you're feeling better.

  4. Thanks for all your comments. It is the one comfort, being able to blog about this and know that to some degree it is a shared experience.

    I have not been diagnosed with BPD. My diagnosis is C-PTSD, which as I understand it is believed to be interchangeable by some. The BPD label was brought up briefly by one Psych on a recent hospitalisation, but quickly glossed over. I certainly have some traits, but am not sure if it would be an entirely appropriate label... and then there is the unfair stigma... sigh

    Ultimately, I'm just me, whatever label they decide to apply at the time..