Yesterday I felt such intense sadness from Heidi (my therapist), her words, her eyes and something in her voice really affected me. It may have been frustration, which is far more understandable, but it felt like sadness.
It was the first time I had spoken to Heidi since being told the diagnosis. For the last few days it has all been about my not wanting to accept the diagnosis. I have been feeling really angry with her, the only way I can describe it is that I felt she had betrayed me. I hated her for revealing the awful truth. For identifying the secret that I didn’t know I had.
Part of me really wanted to yell at her, I initially thought I wouldn’t attend our session because I couldn’t trust myself. I was scared what nasty words would fly from my mouth. I was also scared that she would no longer be my counsellor. How she would abandon me when I need her the most. This caused my usual response, that I must push her away before she had the opportunity to push me away.
But another part of me really needed her. I would do anything for her to hug me, help me to feel safe. Because I feel so scared and alone, like a child huddled in a corner desperately wanting someone to comfort and help me. For once I didn’t push her away, I allowed myself to call her.
After the counselling session everything changed. All I have in my head, are her words. I feel intense sadness but it feels like her sadness and not mine.
If only I could hold on to what I felt, because yesterday I trusted her in a way I never have before.
I am a risk to myself
The conversation started with my telling her about my confusion and anger. How I felt she had deliberately put me into my worst nightmare. She knew I didn’t want to go to my doctor or take antidepressants. Reminding her how I have spent my entire adult life proving I don’t have mental health issues. I told her what the psychiatrist had said and what he had written in his report. How he is writing to my GP saying I have EUPD and PTSD and that I am a potential risk to myself and my husband! I told her this was the proof that I am the mad and evil woman I always feared that I was.
She told me that I am a risk to myself. Which momentarily enraged me, how dare she say that. I am not a danger to myself! I insisted I’d only been suicidal a few times since seeing her and that doesn’t make me a risk to myself. But she pointed out it hasn’t been a few times; it’s been many times that I have spoken about wanting to die. How I have described to her the ways in which I want to kill myself. The hours I have spent planning my exit. And as she said those words, despite my not truly knowing it before, I knew she was telling the truth.
I suspect I disregard the turbulence unless it is extreme and lasts for several days. I forget how suicidal and distressed I was as soon as I return to normal me (whatever that is). She said about how she couldn’t sit back and watch me suffer any more, how she had to decide that I needed more help.
I care deeply for Heidi
On reflection, I have considered how it must feel to witness my moments of torturous pain. It would cause me sadness and distress to witness anyone in this state. I could not bear to see her suffer. It hurt when she appeared upset today, it was like I could really feel it too. I suppose I treat her as a counsellor, imagine she is immune to feelings and I forget that she is human too.
I cannot explain why I care deeply for Heidi. Out of choice I would not care, for caring brings such pain. But there is something about her that makes me care, makes me feel protective. She probably doesn’t care in the same way I do, which is understandable given the relationship. However she has shown me so many times that she must care on some level. For me the relationship is as real as those I have with friends.
2020 has been the worst year for many reasons, the pandemic being the most prominent. She has helped and supported me through all of these months, gone over and above what she really needed to do. And in return I constantly accuse her and push her away. What hurts me the most, is how I have treated her in the same way I have been treated in the past. I know how it feels to always be in the wrong, regardless of my good intentions. I know how it feels to not be good enough.
The simple truth is, I am fairly sure I would have ended my life this year, had it not been for her. I have no words to articulate just how much she means to me.
She knows me better than I know myself
Heidi asked me what I thought about the report she had prepared for the psychiatrist, the bit about my achieving my aspirations. I answered with my usual brutal honesty, that I thought it was stupid because I don’t have any.
She then reeled off a list of my aspirations, described all the things I want and need in my ideal world. As she listed them I instantly knew I had told her each and every one of these things. She remembered them all, while they had been forgotten in my mind. Heidi knows my aspirations and she understands who I am, better than I know myself. She knows more about me than anyone. I have shared my worst memories with this woman, my darkest fears. I’ve told her my suicidal thoughts and she has listened and comforted me.
I am often afraid to look at her because that would mean she can see me. But I realise she can see me anyway. I struggle to accept I let someone witness my vulnerabilities, my heartache, and my distress, but she does so with such compassion and empathy.
Heidi is unlike any counsellor I have ever met; she challenges me on how I think. She makes me laugh even on the toughest of days. Heidi has far exceeded my expectations of how much a therapist can and will help.
I wish that I could always feel like this, but some days all I can think about is how much of a threat she is to me. I’m ashamed and sad that my mind changes so frequently, and my view of her changes so dramatically. I hope I don’t hurt her with the things I say, because I really know which view of her is correct and I hope she knows that too.
My life is like living on a swing
Imagine living on a swing, with every back and forth motion my mood, my thoughts, and my beliefs can change. One look from someone, one word of criticism or ridicule and my whole worlds shifts and so does everything within it. Most of the time, I have no idea if I am coming or going. Only work offers me the stability that I need, and even that is a problem when I have a conflicting view to that of my colleagues. Soon I will lose this stability too.
Depending on who I am with, I have to adapt. I have to try to fit in. I have to be what I perceive that person wants me to be. It’s exhausting and frustrating. It causes me much pain and suffering.
I don’t consider how my actions affect others
Whilst I obviously know how it feels to be me, I don’t think I have ever thought about how my actions affect others. I think I may have been a selfish person, self-obsessed in my own little world. But whatever happened with Heidi and I yesterday, made me really question how I impact on people around me. What must it be like to be my friend? What great people they must be, to still be by my side. How my inner turmoil must appear to them, especially when I cannot tell them what goes on inside my head.
One friend offered recently to adapt her approach and change how she interacts with me. I don’t want her to treat me differently, but how lucky am I that she would be prepared to explain herself to me in an attempt to stop me fretting about the what if’s.
I suppose I am realising that I have lived with BPD /EUPD for many years and these friends have lived it with me and they are still here. My life would be so much easier if every second of everyday I didn’t have to analyse everything everyone says and does. If I didn’t have to criticise myself for everything and once the moment has passed I could forget about it.
I’m more aware than ever, that I can be difficult at times. I suppose like with Heidi yesterday, I need to reflect on what great relationships I have and work on keeping them, rather than pushing them away. It must hurt my friends at times the things I say and do, how can they know that I am driven by the fear of them leaving me? This wasn’t something I knew about myself until it was pointed out by Heidi and a psychiatrist!
I have to take medication
I care about my friends and the last thing I would want is to hurt them and it makes me so sad to realise what I do. What I need is to somehow keep this at the forefront of my mind, because I do not want to lose another person that I love because I am terrified of losing them.
I heard Heidi yesterday and her view about my needing medication. I understand that my instability is affecting my ability to cope with therapy. I’ve tried to explain my reluctance, but now I have to listen to her. I know I cannot take any more, I know how much I am struggling and if medication can make my life easier then I feel like that is my only option.
It feels like such a massive failure taking medication, but wouldn’t my suicide after all this effort be the biggest failure? She has been right about so much, that I have no choice but to trust her and like she said yesterday, she only has my best interests at heart. I believed her when she said “I only want to help you”.
I have been through the worst, I have spoken to the psychologist and psychiatrist, I have the diagnosis. Now I have to work on fixing myself.
Failure is not an option!