*Mentions self-harm and contains bad language*
*Names have been changed*
So I limped through my CBT course, dealing with transference on my own. I had to tolerate my feelings. My self-harm worsened more than it ever has. I ended up harming at the sessions twice, and after the sessions even more times. I ended up at the MIU twice – two of only three times in my life I’ve sought treatment outside of the house.
The only thing that kept me going was knowing I’d see my individual therapist at the end of the course, and finally get to talk about what happened, and where to go from here….
If I had known what little help I would receive at the end, then I WOULD have quit the group much earlier. On Friday I had that appointment, and it’s left me feeling even worse, and has now tainted my whole experience of the course – which was hard enough already. I now feel resentful and hateful towards the service as a whole. I then feel guilty about this, as the two who ran the course were very nice people, and I’m grateful for their efforts. I guess I’m just beyond help.
As a whole they have at one stage or another, all made me feel like a burden. I don’t know if they’re aware of what they’re saying and doing, that contributes to this feeling. Or if I’m being oversensitive. But surely as a mental health service they should be accommodating to people’s sensitivities, and aware of how they’re compounding people’s self-esteem issues.
When I went in for my appointment, my therapist asked how I was, and I said I’d been better – she asked what I meant by that. I explained my sadness at the end of the course. We talked about the course and I said it was difficult, because of the transference issue. She didn’t seem to know what I was talking about. I told her about the six pages of writing I gave to the therapists running the group, who said they’d give it to her. In that writing I had explained what led to me harming myself in the break in week three. She didn’t even seem too bothered that it even happened. She said she hadn’t received anything in writing form.
She then went on her computer to look at my notes and started reading out something I had given to James, the therapist I was transferring on, something which I had no idea would end up on the system!! I told her it was something much earlier than that – week four…. she eventually found something and started reading it out…
It was perfectly clear she hadn’t read a single word of it. So what was the bloody point?! I was led to believe she’d support me at the end. But if she wasn’t even aware of what the problem was, then what hope is there for someone needing support?? It makes me angry with James and Sarah, the facilitators, for obviously not communicating with her properly. They obviously don’t sit and discuss issues and patients. If they had then I might have had more support at the end. That’s why I thought my therapist had made the appointment for two days after the end of the course – because she knew everything and knew I would need the support. But it became blindingly clear she didn’t know a fucking thing!
She made me explain to her about the transference – now, I shouldn’t have had to do that. Because it was all there in writing. I had explained how I felt, what I needed and didn’t need (e.g. to be told it can’t happen – I fucking know that!), and what had led to the self-harm incident. I had copied my homework to show the effort I had gone to, and how that was scuppered, leading to a feeling of powerlessness and being trapped. If she had read it she would have understood and therefore made me feel supported, and like she actually gave a damn about me.
I had to explain how I felt about James. She said ‘What, do you fancy him?’ – and the way in which that was said made me feel stupid. It trivialised it and felt like a judgement. No I didn’t ‘fancy him’, I was in love with him. I couldn’t tell her that. I don’t trust her. So I just called it ‘feeling attached’. Eventually saying I ‘liked’ him. When asked what I liked about him, I didn’t feel able to properly talk about it with her. She wasn’t the right person to talk about it with. My answer in my head was ‘Everything’. It’s easier to say what I don’t like about him, because the answer is ‘Nothing’. There you go, are you happy? Does that explain it? I loved the bastard and that’s why it’s breaking my heart into tiny splinters now I will never EVER see him again.
The answer seemed to be that I have to just endure the pain. Thanks. If I knew that was the answer – that I was alone with it, then I might as well have not put myself through the last eight weeks of the course, accumulating a new scar for each week… I might as well have left in week four, saved myself an extra two months of falling for James, if I had known what little care I would be shown at the end, for all of my efforts.
Oh and not to ruminate about it. These therapists, are they even human?? Have they ever experienced a mental health problem? Have they ever suffered a broken heart or a bereavement?? If so they would understand that when you lose someone you love you don’t stop thinking about it. Especially only two days after losing them. I’m sorry I couldn’t just bounce back and be positive about it. Nobody knows the level of attachment and loss I feel right now. Nobody knows how it feels inside. Nobody knows what it’s like to be doing something and suddenly have one single thought of ‘I’ll never see him again’ pop into my head, and straight away I’m in tears. This isn’t ‘ruminating’, this is being attacked by my thoughts and feelings. This is my heart breaking. This is grief. Some things I can control. I can control my thoughts and emotions in some aspects of my life, but this is too overpowering, and the complete lack of support I’ve been shown with it has only made it more overpowering.
At the end of my appointment I learnt that was the last of my sessions with the service, and I broke down. I seriously couldn’t believe that having just faced an ‘abandonment’ in the sense of a traumatic loss, only two days before… I was still in crisis from that loss… and here was my therapist abandoning me too. Do these people have any clue about mental illness? Any mental illness would make people feel this way, but with BPD it is criminal to put someone through two abandonments within two days! What were they playing at?
I was offered one more review session, only after crying about it and saying about the sense of abandonment. I feel worthless and like I had to demean myself, by practically begging to not be abandoned and to have more help. And now having been offered it I kind of don’t want it now. I feel like I’ve manipulated them. Which makes me feel shit about myself. And I feel like a burden. I feel like they want to be rid of me.
I wonder why I was only offered four sessions, when others were offered more. Why is it I always get treated differently, as though I’m a nuisance? My trust and faith in my therapist has been broken. I never really warmed to her anyway. I’d much rather have had one of the group facilitators as my therapist. They might actually have cared about my wellbeing, and they know what I’ve been through these past weeks. But the whole service has turned toxic for me now, so I guess it’s time to cut ties with them, go back to the doctor and see what she suggests… unfortunately I don’t think there are other options. If these people had said I’m too ill for them to help and ‘stepped me up’ to the community mental health team, that would have helped. But otherwise I’m stranded with no support. My life obviously doesn’t matter to anyone.
It’s just such a mess. I came to therapy, to help me deal with grief. To deal with issues from my past, and the scars it’s left me with. To feel better about myself and about life / other people. I have come away hating myself, harming myself, wanting to die, having every belief I had confirmed by the therapists. I’ve been told that transference goes away by itself and if it doesn’t then I have to not work with the person I’m transferring on. I’ve been told I had to make it quick if I wanted to ask or say something to them at the end, as they had to be out of the building at a certain time. I asked for help in speaking out and had that ignored, for my own good apparently – to push myself. I’ve been told I have to do the work on myself, my therapist can’t do it for me – WTF?! Did I ASK for that?? No. I simply requested more support. It’s not my fault she’s not qualified enough to help me, and that no help exists out there for me. I’m sorry I’m clearly such a burden…… that’s the upsetting thing – I came to therapy partly due to feeling like a burden to everyone, and they made me feel like I’m a burden to the mental health services too. They’ve made me feel the only option is to do everyone a favour and drop dead… another reason I sought help, as I was having urges to throw myself off a bridge. They’ve done nothing to help that mindset.
And my therapist had to say it to me that my feelings for the other therapist I was transferring on, are obviously not reciprocated…. I didn’t need telling that!! In fact that’s why I wrote what I did, to explain what I did NOT need telling. I know it’s a hopeless situation. I know even if he wasn’t a therapist and wasn’t married, he wouldn’t look twice at me. Nobody ever does. I don’t need to be reminded of that. And I most definitely don’t need another therapist, a woman telling me how a man doesn’t feel about me. That only reminds me of my past. There’s been no sensitivity. This whole thing has been handled wrongly from start to finish. Their lack of expertise, and support has made me feel I am beyond help… like I’m too complex for them, and they can’t wait to be rid of me. That’s why I’ve been offered this appointment for Tuesday – to get me off their books by the end of the year I bet. They’ve kicked off the self-hatred and paranoia in me. It’s made me go into the ‘I’m sorry for having needs, I’m sorry for breathing’ mentality. Therapy should be reducing that, not provoking it. But unfortunately this has.
My self-esteem and self-worth are at an all-time low. I feel more shit about myself than ever. Their lack of care, concern and support has made me feel worthless… of little value… the fact I virtually had to beg for support has dragged me backwards. I needed to discuss the transference and the self-harming with my individual therapist at the end, as I thought I would, to try and rescue my self-esteem, but she’s only made it worse.
One of my goals was about trust and forgiveness. I had to forgive the group facilitators in order to continue the course, but clearly I’ve not really forgiven them. And I learnt to trust the members of the group to tell them about the transference in the end. But otherwise I’ve learnt not to trust people – particularly therapists. How that can be good for potential recovery I have no idea. They all broke my trust at some point. I can’t believe a word any of them say now. I don’t believe any of them gave a fuck about me. I was led to believe my individual therapist would support me at the end, having been informed of my struggles – that was the only thing getting me through the last sessions…. so to have her be clueless about it all, how can I ever trust her? And for her to abandon me at the worst time too….. my own doctor said they were unlikely to abandon me at the end of the course, as I’m clearly not well, but something’s obviously gone wrong somewhere in the system, as abandoning me is exactly what they’re doing… showing me that my life means nothing.
I wish I’d never used this service. At first I thought I was lucky, as not every part of the country has this kind of IAPT service. I thought this CBT stuff is better than zero support. I was wrong. I think such a short course of CBT for something as devastatingly complex as BPD is actually HARMFUL AND DANGEROUS.
CBT is about ‘being your own therapist’ – now, admittedly this is a fair point, that we all have to be that eventually. But the reality is that some people need more support, at least to start with. Fair enough I’ve done DBT, and had that support….. many years back now. I’ve been unsupported for four or five years, and last year my mental health declined. After my first loss it got even worse. And now after this therapy it’s the worst it’s been in years. I feel out of control. I feel at any minute I could snap and ‘do something stupid’. I see no hope or light anymore. I just want all the pain and sadness to stop. I hate who I am. I hate the illness I have and how it makes me think and behave. But to give me four sessions of individual ‘support’ and then say ‘It’s all up to you now’, wash their hands of me, and leave me to the demons they unleashed, it’s not on. I have heard that therapy can make things worse before they get better…. so how is it okay to make things worse, without being there to make sure it gets better? How can it be okay for them to open up all these painful wounds and then dodge all responsibility for how we cope with them, once deserted?
I am angry, because I feel they should be accountable for what’s happened here. I almost wish I’d made an official complaint about the way things were handled in week three, which led to me harming myself on site. But I was quick to say I didn’t want anyone blamed. I didn’t want James getting in trouble, and took on all the responsibility. But do you know what? If he had handled it better, I wouldn’t have felt the need to cut myself…. and if I hadn’t cut myself that night, things would not have spiralled down like they have. My self-harm is the worst it’s been in years, since that night. I do it more often, I do it deeper. And if they had dealt with it all better and with more urgency, then I might not have plummeted to the depths I’m in now. So I hold them partly responsible. Yet they seem to think I’m the one who has to resolve this, alone.
So I have no faith in mental health services anymore. And it’s just continued the pattern in my life, of people causing me pain and harm, and refusing to be accountable for it… abandoning me and making me pick up the pieces. So yeah. I wish I’d never used this service… I’d not have met James and experienced this transference. I’d not have got back into harming so badly. And I’d not have my beliefs solidified, and self-esteem shredded.
I hate to complain about things, and I hate to seem ungrateful. But I feel this service has failed me. I thank them for their efforts and I appreciate them running the course. But communication with each other failed, and individual, direct support failed. As usual I’m a casualty of the system – a system not geared up to help someone with BPD. They don’t know enough about BPD, and consequently have made me endure things nobody with BPD should have to endure alone. I’ll always resent that. And I will be reluctant to reach out for support from the mental health services ever again. This has done far more harm than good. The only good thing to come out of the last three or four months, are the other members of the group, whose support has meant so much to me this past week. I hope they will remain friends for a long time.
Now I have to recover from therapy. It has become one more trauma to overcome. And I now have to do that without professional support. My faith in therapy = zero.