I’ve just returned from a four day ‘episode’. I call it episode in the absence of having a more appropriate word to describe it. Another way to describe it would be a suicidal meltdown. I was already struggling, then a call with my therapist was the final straw. Heidi is the therapist that I have seen for the longest period of time. Most therapists I saw for a few weeks at most, I genuinely didn’t like them, but it was they who left the relationship.
I had CBT 6 – 7 years ago and that lasted several months. But this therapy relationship has lasted 18 months and has been a very different experience. It hasn’t all been about my past, it has been about the real me that exists now. I have allowed Heidi to enter my world, to understand what happens in my heart and in my mind. This makes feel exposed and vulnerable. I want her help but I did not want to let her into my world like I have.
The relationship with Heidi is challenging. I suppose it is so hard because normally a relationship that feels like this would cause me to cut the person off. No explanation, no reason, I would just remove them from any of my social media accounts and block their phone number.
How relationships feel
Making friends is hard, retaining them much harder. Whilst Heidi is my therapist, the relationship feels much the same as a friendship. The relationship builds and evolves. It is unusual for me to like someone, when I do it starts to get confusing and complicated. I find it hard to trust, cannot bear that I can never truly know what they think or feel about me. Maybe they will randomly tell me, I could ask them, but I will be unable to believe what they say. Words spoken by others cannot be trusted.
When I start to care about someone, the confusing surrounding the relationship intensifies. With Heidi I anticipate it feels extremely difficult because I haven’t actually cut her off like I usually would, and so I face the same battle every time we speak.
Imagine an elastic band, one end is being pulled with I like her, I trust her more than other people, and the feeling of needing her. The other end is being pulled with I shouldn’t trust her, she will let me down, she will leave me. In the hours and minutes leading to our next session the pulling on both ends increases and I am in the middle about to snap. Panic sets in, I should speak to her, I shouldn’t speak to her.
If I don’t speak to her, then that’s it our counselling relationship is over. If I do speak to her, she may end our relationship. I believe I am a burden. I feel hurt and confused and I don’t know what to do. Panic and despair set in. the pulling gets worse and worse. When I speak to her, the anxiety fades. However as soon as the conversation ends the pulling starts again, sometimes but less frequently it starts during the conversation.
So during the call I was already struggling, the anger had already started building. I was having one of those day where I couldn’t look at Heidi. The not being able to look at her, causes me anxiety, I find it difficult to understand, so even harder to explain. It like I want to be invisible, so if I don’t look at her, then she cannot see me. But if I cannot see her, I cannot soothe myself that she is there. It’s a bit like the push pull of the relationship, there is always a conflict in the things that I want and need.
She was in a lively mood and I was not. A very important part of the relationship is the laughter and our shared sense of humour. Ironic that laughter is what triggered me. She laughed, I asked why and she replied, “I’m sorry I have the giggles”. I was instantly furious with her; she was laughing at me. The next thing I knew I was sat staring at a blank screen and I had ended our video call. I had no idea that is what I was going to do, my finger reacted before it had engaged with my brain.
Then the panic started, that’s it, I will never speak to her again. I was mad with her. She is just like my mother; all she wants is to ridicule and humiliate me! So that’s it, the counselling relationship has ended, just like I had always known that it would. In an instant I couldn’t cope and all I felt was despair.
How an ‘episode’ feels
It feels like the most intense, explosive pain, sadness, despair, anger and panic you can imagine.
Imagine feeling the grief you feel when you lose someone that means the world to you. The intense sadness that feels like your heart is breaking in two. The sobs can be felt in every fibre of your being.
The intense anger you might feel if you had just found your best friend in bed with your husband. A rage that consumes you, surges through you, until you feel like you will literally explode.
The fear you might feel if your life was at risk. Imagine walking home late at night and you are suddenly approached by a man with a knife. You experience terror and truly believe your are going to die.
In additional to the grief, anger and despair, I tell myself that no one loves me, no one cares and I am all alone.
It would be difficult to deal with any of these intense emotions in isolation, but with them all at once it is totally unbearable and renders me unable to cope.
Is it any wonder that all I can think about is escape? Maybe this is why I experience the constant suicidal thoughts.
All I want is for the pain to stop. I’d literally do anything to be able to release the pressure from my body. It feels like I am going to burst open. I want to cut down the centre of my body and release whatever is bubbling within.
I spend hours thinking about the ways in which I can end my own life. My mind goes into the minute details of what I am going to do to myself. I don’t know if I truly want to die, however in these moments I truly believe I am going to kill myself and I am scared of what I am capable of. I want to tell someone, I want to beg someone to help me, but I cannot speak and I cannot be helped and so all I can do is suffer.
And just like that it is over, and I am able to think and function again. But I am drained from the experience.