MBT Week 4: A Dramatic Group

Hard to believe it is week 4 already! I am writing this part on Tuesday afternoon after my MBT group this morning. I’m tired because group was very dramatic today, and immediately following it I had an hour of occupational therapy. Thankfully that’s not my usual schedule – I don’t think I’ll be planning in 2.5 hours of therapy in one go again any time soon! 

This week in the group we learn about personality disorders. Personality disorders, roughly speaking, are diagnoses which attempt to describe when someone’s distress is organised as patterns of thinking and behaviour which seem to align with particular traits. Examples of traits associated with BPD include impulsivity, paranoia and anger. More information about the criteria for the diagnosis of BPD is widely available online. Bear in mind that the criteria will be changing slightly soon, with the release of the DSM-V (a book containing classifications of mental health problems).

We went round and talked about our experiences of getting our diagnoses. I felt like what I said didn’t make sense, or I didn’t explain it very well. This is probably a little paranoia. Personally, I had the diagnosis of bipolar II initially, I was on mood stabilisers for about a year. After that I had the diagnosis of BPD traits with anxiety and depression. Later, I met all the criteria for the full BPD diagnosis but my social worker and psychiatrist felt that the diagnosis would not benefit me in any way, so my diagnosis went unchanged until my therapy was coming to an end and they felt that I could access different therapies if they did give me the full diagnosis. This is basically what I said to the group, but less detailed. I felt like one of the therapists was like “huh” and now I’m worried she thinks they just gave me that diagnosis to get me into the group, like maybe I didn’t make it clear that I met the full criteria even before then? I also said that I already knew a fair bit about the diagnosis of BPD before contact with services (this is through my education). Talking about when I was diagnosed was the most nervous moment of this therapy so far for me. I think I was worried about bursting into tears and I was nervous about talking in front of everyone.

After that we did an exercise where we had to think of some positive traits we had and some negative ones. I made a deal with myself that I’d put down a positive one for each negative one I wrote so I only ended up writing three of each! That made it easier when reading them out though because the list was short!

Shortly after that everything kicked off. Some people got very angry and there was shouting and tears and literally half of the group ended up walking out. I ended up shaking because I think I got scared when people were angry. I had to try really hard not to burst out laughing – nervous laughter is a real issue for me, I think it’s like a defence mechanism. I also nearly cried when the therapist sitting near me raised his voice – which I was able to say to him after things had calmed down. He said he just has a loud voice.

After things had calmed down a bit, a couple of people came back into the room though others had left completely. We talked about what had happened and for some reason then I felt a lot more able to speak. Perhaps because so many emotions had been expressed it then felt like it was ok to say what I thought? Or maybe it was just nervous energy that made me talk? I was certainly still shaky after when I saw my occupational therapist. I think it was partly adrenaline and partly that I was hungry cause it was lunch time.

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6 thoughts on “MBT Week 4: A Dramatic Group

  1. I’ve been looking forward to your update this week. I’ve been writing on my own blog about my biggest issue with BPD, which is ‘Splitting’. My Psychiatrists were the same as yours when it came down to labelling me with a diagnosis, particularly when there is so much stigmatisation.

    Most people find it extraordinary difficult to talk in groups. The fact there was a blow out is testament to this. I can be extrovert, but intensely worry what others will think about what lies behind that social mask. I could easily crumble if asked to write positive and negative traits.

    It sounds like you deal with the whole process really well, despite your anxieties. I look forward to next week!

    • It’s nice to hear you think I deal with it well, it certainly doesn’t always feel like I do! I struggle a lot with splitting as well, especially with people I’m close to – they are either perfect or the worst person ever, it’s hard to see the middle ground.

      I’m more scared of talking in the group after this especially dramatic session. Obviously each week that’s a fear I’m going to have to face. I can only hope that in time my fear of conflict will reduce.

      I really appreciate you reading and commenting. I’ve been reading and enjoying your blog too – sorry I’m a bit of a lurker 🙂

  2. Pingback: Borderlion – Living with Borderline Personality Disorder | MBT Week 4 – Individual session

  3. Pingback: Borderlion – Living with Borderline Personality Disorder | MBT Week 5: Group Session

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