MBT Week 5: A Calmer Group

Trigger warning: Discussion of self injury and suicidal ideation

After the conflict of last week’s session, the group leaders decided on a different approach. For the remaining weeks of the psycho-educational part of the group (that’s this week and next week) they’ll be focusing on the psycho-education and not getting people to participate as much. This definitely made for a calmer group but it was a bit like a lecture, with the group leaders talking a lot and us having to sit and listen (which is pretty much what I do most of the time anyway!).

I was tired and hungover and found it hard to concentrate. Last night I got involved in a discussion with someone in a group I was out with and got upset. I ended up having a panic attack outside the pub, coming home and self-harming. My partner is away at the moment so there was no one to stop me, and my inhibitions were lower because of the alcohol. I’m lucky I didn’t do more damage, but I’m disappointed because it has been a year since I last cut (before my short hospital stay almost exactly a year ago).

I was glad of the calmer group, and I managed to share some things about when I was very depressed and I got admitted to hospital because I was suicidal. It felt like a totally different environment to speak in with a gentler atmosphere, and I was glad because I was feeling vulnerable today.

I felt that I was looked at in a sympathetic way when I shared my experiences and other people agreed that they had felt similarly when I talked about something, which was really nice. I’m left feeling a little bit more at home in the group and a bit less intimidated.

We talked about how even when someone appears angry, it is often because they are defensive and worried about opening up and making themselves vulnerable. This contributed to helping the group move on from last week and be forgiving and non-judgemental to the people involved in the upset. I hope seeing this resolved will make me less scared of saying anything in future, but I know it will be something that will continue to challenge me.

This week we learnt about anxiety and depression and a bit about how these relate to mentalisation. As usual, I didn’t feel like it added to my knowledge of mental illness, but it gave me the chance to think about these issues in relation to my own experiences and to hear how other people have experienced these things.

We also talked about medication and the experiences people have had with that. This is when I said that I have been on various anti-depressants but I found that they made me numb and that made my impulsivity worse. (This kind of shows an interaction between my BPD and my depressive/anxious symptoms.) Other people shared that they had a similar experience of being made very numb by medication too. I know it is a common reaction to anti-depressants but it was nice to have people speak up and agree with me because I am always scared to talk and worried that people will tell me I’m wrong and judge me. In fact the opposite happened today.

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3 thoughts on “MBT Week 5: A Calmer Group

  1. I would find concentration very difficult if I was to listen to someone talking too much, but this probably gave the group a break from the emotions from last week.

    Sorry to hear about your SH, I appreciate how disappointing this must have been.

    It takes a long time before we can entirely trust a group of strangers; we worry about our acceptance. In my experience, most people can usually identify with one another.

    • Hi Cat, as always your comment is so thoughtful, thank you for that. I am disappointed about the SH. I plan to discuss it with my occupational therapist tomorrow.

      You’re right, even though it made it a bit hard to concentrate, the calm brought by the group leaders taking over more was reassuring.

      As I’ve mentioned, I’ve discussed with my individual therapist my fear of rejection by the group, and you pick up on this well. I hope you’re right that we can all learn to be compassionate to each other and I hope the group can be a safe place. At the moment it still seems like it has so much potential to be unsafe!

      Take care

  2. Pingback: Borderlion – Living with Borderline Personality Disorder | MBT Week 6: Final week of psychoeducation

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