Individual MBT Week 10

Well, today’s session felt like me giving a news report. I felt totally detached from what I was telling her, and I left feeling like she doesn’t really like me. This is a crash from the approval I perceived from her last week.

I know I have issues with relating to her, so desperate for her to approve of me and then today feeling terrible after because I didn’t feel I got that approval.

I told her about the group, and tried to rationalise what people were saying. I know they were probably relating their experiences and not meaning me to apply it so directly to my situation. I know they probably weren’t judging me but I still fear they were.

I know the group leader was probably trying to make me see my dad’s perspective so that I don’t blame myself, not the opposite. If my dad perceived me as hostile and reacted accordingly because he was drunk and just reacting badly to his life, it means it wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t to do with me.

Of course, this is all easier said than really believed. How can I feel that my dad’s abuse was anything other than extremely personal and down to me? But these are alternative perspectives for me to think about more.

Last night I had a big relationship talk with one of my partners. He has, for the last two years, been seeing me less and less and prioritising another relationship.

This has been very painful for me and all along I have been trying to get him to be around more, to be at the house he’s supposed to live in with me and my other partner half the time.

Eventually I have not accepted but I have come to an equilibrium with seeing him less and trying to adjust to our now far less serious relationship.

A few weeks ago he told me he was breaking up with her and he wanted to come live with us again.

After much turmoil (including my hospital trip which was also caused by other things), last night we had a big relationship talk and I told him I don’t want him to move back in.

I was very upset and felt very guilty. This is one of the first times I have stood up for my needs and asked for something for myself. My decision.

I feel numb today. I feel like I am scared I’ll regret this big decision and I’m fearful about the future, not knowing if me and my other partner will have to move house or not, not knowing where my relationships will go from here.

I’m left feeling dissatisfied and a bit paranoid after today’s session.

Advertisements

MBT Group Week 10

Trigger warning: Self injury

It’s really embarrassing walking around with recent cuts on my arm and having people stare. These memories of my dad are haunting me more than I can explain.

Today in the group I managed to say what I wanted to say, namely that:

  • I was discharged from hospital last Tuesday afternoon
  • Not before having a blazing row with my partner when we stopped to get food on the way back to the hospital.
  • I’ve been feeling horrible since coming home, so I’ve just been trying to get through each half an hour or so at a time.
  • I’m starting to feel a little bit better now, but I’ve been cutting myself again, so that’s kind of shitty.

I think sharing this was a big achievement for me. I also talked about what my dad was like when I was a kid, and how I always talked back to him/acted up.

One of the group leaders said it was important to see where my dad was coming from and that perhaps my dad perceived me as hostile and that’s why things escalated.

Other members of the group launched into talk about their kids and how it’s so hard to handle badly behaved kids and kids that talk back.

One person said that they could understand where I was coming from and that he was the adult after all. One of the group leaders tried to say something to a similar effect.

The sum total of the group today was that I feel more blamed than ever. I feel more at fault than ever. I feel like it is affirming my view of myself as a naughty, badly behaved child, unworthy of love and deserving of the physical and verbal abuse I got from my dad.

I feel wretched and horrible. I feel unworthy of love now, as an adult. I feel gawky and ashamed. I feel uncomfortable in my own skin.

I feel angry and like the group have let me down, I opened up and I didn’t feel safe with their response.

I felt totally detached when I was talking about my dad. I found it hard to talk and mostly just answered questions. I used to be so scared of people asking me questions in the group but I actually found it helpful. I couldn’t have said half so much without being asked things specifically.

I feel exposed now though. Are they judging me?

Another upshot of this is that I am so glad I don’t already have kids yet. It also makes me apprehensive. Will I ever be ready to have kids? I don’t want to screw them up with my own issues. (That’s aside from the practical aspects of me having a child in the first place.)

Lots to take to my individual therapist on Thursday…

MBT Week 9

Trigger Warning: Descriptions of abusive behaviour

Group

I was discharged from the inpatient unit on Tuesday afternoon, since I seemed able to keep myself safe after the group therapy session. I was able to talk a little bit in the group, and I was quite impressed with myself for that.

I said I had been feeling very suicidal last week and that on Friday I was admitted to hospital and that I had to return there after the session. I felt embarrassed, and it was horrible knowing that everyone else could go home and that I was going back to the ward. I didn’t know then that I would soon be discharged.

I explained that one of the reasons I felt so bad was that a lot of painful memories had been raised for me when I listened to others’ experiences of having violent and abusive fathers. I told them how it made me feel small and helpless. I told them I was scared of feeling that way all the time if I talked more about these memories.

Individual

Then yesterday I met with my individual therapist. I felt ashamed because of everything that’s happened since last week. She said she had been very worried about me then. She talked about it kindly, and put me a little more at ease.

I told her I’m still feeling awful all the time and I described to her (to anyone) for the first time the memories I’m feeling about my dad.

When they happen, the memories are in my body and in my mind, unlike my usual memories which are just replayed in my mind. It feels like they are physically happening now, like a flashback.

I remember my dad’s hand gripping all the way around my skinny upper arm. He’d grab hold of me like that when I tried to get away from him hitting me. I can feel his hand on my arm now. It is also the place where my worst scars are. Was I trying to cut him out of me?

I remember making a triangle to hide in behind the door of mine and my sister’s bedroom: the back of the door made one side and the wardrobe and the wall the second and third.

I’d run up the stairs and bolt into there, pulling the door wide open to hide behind it. It was hopeless though. He’d be thundering up the stairs right after me, and it only made him angrier that I pulled the door in front of him. He’d grab my arm and pull me out and hit me.

The hitting wasn’t even the worst part. The terror beforehand was; trying to get away, and his sudden mood changes.

I can feel his hands where he’d hold my two little wrists in one of his big hands so I couldn’t get away.

I remember once we were all in the living room and he suddenly snapped, lost his temper. He grabbed me and pulled me to the kitchen door, and pulled it open. He picked me up and threw me across the kitchen and then shut the door. It was cold and dark in there.

They used to tell me I was so bad and so badly behaved (that being hit was my fault). I still feel like I am bad inside, that people will find me out as being bad really.

They used to tell me I would be sent away to a school for bad children because I was bad, and I believed them. Perhaps they were just saying it to try to get me to behave, but I was just a kid so I believed them. I didn’t question this belief until really recently, maybe last year sometime.

When I said that last part to my therapist, I was pressing my hand against my chest. That’s where the badness is, in there, inside me. My therapist said she felt sad for me then, that she could really feel the pain I was feeling.

I felt guilty I made her sad but glad she cares about me. I haven’t had that empathy as I haven’t talked about this stuff much and when I have I haven’t always had a very sympathetic response.

She said not to feel guilty because she can cope with her own sadness. That was new to me too. I always feel like I have to protect other people from my feelings, especially my mum. Lots of guilt there.

I still feel depressed and like I’ve decided not to kill myself but I don’t know how to live either. I’m in limbo.

Back as an inpatient

MBT Week 8: Individual Session

TRIGGER WARNING: SUICIDE ATTEMPT

I was still feeling very agitated and upset when it came to my individual therapy session on Thursday morning.

My therapist was concerned about my hopeless thinking and thoughts of suicide and said she’d talk to my occupational therapist on the phone.

I went off to volunteering that afternoon in a daze. I was tired and I felt like a robot. The racing thoughts of suicide have continued, especially at night, all week.

Yesterday I decided it was time to put my plan into motion. I got up early Friday and headed to the tall multistorey car park at the top of town.

I went in on one of the top floors and wandered around. I peered over the edge and dared myself to jump. The ground swam up and down under my gaze.

My legs turned to jelly. My heart started racing and I got really scared. I walked just outside the car park, still level with one of the higher floors.

I sat on a bench in an ornamental garden and texted my occupational therapist, asking if she could phone me.
To cut a very long story short, she wound up talking me round, she stayed on the phone and almost step by step talked me into going to the CMHRS. It was a very emotional conversation.

She came in to work because I couldn’t talk to anyone else. I burst into tears when I saw her. There was a long day of waiting around to be seen and lots of people asking me questions.

I got given an apple from my occupational therapist and a cup of milk from the home treatment team, because I hadn’t eaten anything.

Eventually a guy called Thomas assessed me and found me a bed on a local inpatient unit. I got brought here and everything had been a disorganised mess. I spent most of yesterday evening crying. I’ve got no key to get into the dorm room where all my stuff is. I feel like I have died and now I’m in hell.

Feeling Hopeless

MBT Week 8: Individual Session

This week we mostly talked about how I’m feeling really hopeless and desperate at the moment. I really feel that I can’t cope and I don’t know how I’m going to get through the next four days until my next support appointment.

I don’t know that I left feeling any better but my therapist at least acknowledged how bad I’m feeling. She didn’t try to sweep my feelings under the carpet like a lot of professionals have in the past, and like my family always have.

Then a little later I had a phone call from my occupational therapist while standing in the shade opposite the bus station to try to get some privacy.

I didn’t really know what to say to her and I felt guilty. She was saying all these things to try to get me to feel better and none of it was working or giving me any hope at all. I feel like I’m a waste of everybody’s time.

On feeling unsafe and trying not to make things worse

I’ve been finding things very difficult lately. I’m still adjusting to being so much busier, what with therapy twice a week, my other appointments with my social worker and my occupational therapist, my driving lessons, exercise classes, volunteering… It all feels like too much.

After the group session on Tuesday I was feeling in quite a bad way. I hadn’t been sleeping well and I was feeling agitated. I kept laying awake at night going over and over plans of self harm and suicide. I was tired and not feeling safe.

I managed to text my occupational therapist. I find it hard to reach out for support and my social worker is away. Luckily I have this number I can text because I find it hard to call someone.

My occupational therapist got in touch hours later, offering to phone me. I was quite upset and she said she was on duty so it would be her I was supposed to talk to if I needed to call someone anyway.

I was tearful and distressed. She was trying to calm me down and I don’t think she’s heard me that bad before. I told her everything seems pointless. I can’t motivate myself to make good decisions and take care of myself, and she was trying to persuade me to do just that.

She said I’ve been making progress and I need to remember that, and try to get perspective on things. I know I’m really wrapped up in these feelings at the moment but I know I always come round to feeling this way even when it seems like things are going well, so it is hard to feel more hopeful. I feel like I’m stuck on a merry-go-round and I just want off.

We talked for about forty minutes. She was patient with me and I was probably acting like a petulant child. She was trying to convince me this feeling would pass and I couldn’t see past how I was feeling. I couldn’t talk about how I would cope tomorrow or the next day cause I was feeling unsafe in a very immediate way.

I got off the phone and then my partner came home from work. He made us a cup of tea and something to eat. I decided I would go out the to the pub as planned in the evening and I had a shower.

I knew I was at risk of getting drunk and out of control but I just wanted to go out and to feel something different from how I was feeling.

Showering made me feel better, even though I usually hate it. Usually the awareness of my body makes me feel horrible but I guess cause it’s been so hot lately, the cool shower was a relief.

I got changed and panicked a bit about what to wear, I hated everything on me.

When my friend arrived to pick me up she was in such a cheerful, upbeat mood, and I didn’t want to bring her down so I didn’t let on that I was feeling bad. Her mood lifted me a little.

In the end I managed to look after myself really well. I drank shandies instead of beer and only had two along with a pint of water. I think trying to stay hydrated in the hot weather and avoiding getting drunk even though I drank a bit was some kind of miracle. Usually when I feel bad I go out and have one drink and that’s it – I’m on the route to being drunk and emotional.

I’m proud of myself, I guess, that I managed to do the opposite of what I was feeling. I couldn’t make the situation better but I could avoid making it worse. Actually, I ended up having a lot of nice conversations with people.

Of course, when I came home I was full of anxiety, going over and over everything I’d said, sure that people thought I was horrible for some reason. But you can’t have it all. I’ll take that one. That evening could have gone a lot worse and I ended up not hurting myself in any way, when I was sure I wouldn’t be able to get through it without doing so.

This means that I’m coping with anxiety about an evening where I was not drunk or out of control and a level of social anxiety about how I came across, but if I had been drunk, unable to remember just what I said to people and knowing I might have acted up, the level of anxiety would be so much higher.

Group therapy begins

This session yesterday was the first actual group therapy session of my MBT. The psychoeducational sessions are over and we’ve had a week off the group in between. They took the table away from the centre of the room and the chairs are now arranged in a circle. I felt much more exposed and others agreed that it felt very different.

These sessions will be far less structured. The way this one worked is that the therapists suggested we go around the room to start off with and everyone says a bit about where they are and how their week has been. Then we pick up on what someone says and basically talk amongst ourselves for the rest of the session – with the therapists only stepping in when they feel it is necessary.

I’m not sure how group therapy is supposed to work. I’m thinking I might read up a bit about it, because I know these sorts of therapies (ones that use individual and group therapy in parallel, like DBT and MBT) have been shown to be more successful for people with BPD, but I don’t really understand how us talking to each other and asking each other questions will help us get better.

I am hoping that talking to other people with BPD in such depth will help me have more compassion for myself. By coming to understand other people with the same diagnosis, perhaps I can learn to better understand myself. I’m not sure if that’s the intention behind it but I can see how that would be one advantage of the group.

Also, I can understand that interacting with other people acts as a catalyst for our issues to be brought out and these can then be discussed further in our individual sessions.

MBT Week 8: Group Session

I was extremely nervous because I felt awkward without the table, being away from the group for a week was weird and I was hyperaware of the therapists knowing about my gender stuff and what’s been going on for me with that during the break.

We went around the group at the start and some people said a lot but I couldn’t say much except that I was feeling low and also anxious about being in the group session before I said it was the turn of the person next to me.

People talked a lot about their experiences of their fathers and I had a lot in common with several of them.

At times I felt that I was drifting away and dissociating because the memories of my dad’s violence and verbal abuse were very vivid. I tried to concentrate on staying in the room and listening to people’s experiences.

At the end, several of us had been really quiet and the therapists prompted us to speak. I felt dizzy with anxiety because I knew I would have to talk in front of people. My mind went blank.

I explained that I was finding it hard to talk in the group and feeling anxious. I told everyone about a nightmare I’d had the night before. In the dream, I went to speak in the group and my voice didn’t work. I stuttered and couldn’t breathe and no one could understand what I was trying to say.

I said that I had found it hard hearing people’s experiences because I also have a difficult relationship with my dad. I said that I’m scared of talking in the group because I feel like I am going to lose control of my emotions. I think it was good progress that I was able to admit this, it is something I have been talking about with my individual therapist for a while.