*Self-harm & suicidal references*
Wrote this the other day…
Wednesday 15th January
It pains me to have to write this post. I’m filled with shame and embarrassment. But I need to get this out there, to organise my thoughts and make sense of everything I experienced yesterday.
Despite saying I’d never do it again, I tried to tackle a problem head-on by being honest about my fears and my feelings. It backfired and resulted in the same things I experienced at the IAPT service I used two years ago.
I was afraid that I’d go through the same problems in a group setting again. When I started one of my groups, I was horrified that it was run by two young men. I was scared I would catch “feelings” again (which last time I referred to as ‘transference’ – but this time I’m saying that phrase is BS and invalidating of what I’m experiencing… which is simply attraction). I did indeed catch the “feelings” and now everything’s ruined… again.
I don’t know where to start so I’ll just dive into what I’m feeling right now. I’m feeling like a pathetic slut. Or that that’s how the world sees me. I feel these mental health services are so concerned about doing the right thing, and ‘boundaries’ and ‘procedures’ that they forget their service-users are actually individual human beings, with different needs, personalities and histories.
I was unable to say what the problem was, so I wrote it down. Now it’s on my record. I didn’t want it to be, but I lost control of that. That loss of control / power made me angry with myself first of all, for ever saying anything, and now I’m angry at them, for not respecting my wishes to not keep it. I feel violated. Now it’s there in black and white, how I feel and why. And I feel it’s probably led to misunderstandings of me as a person too, and that’s what I want to come on to….
I’m going to refer to a couple of people as A and B, as I can’t be bothered thinking up fake names…. I was meant to speak to A before the group yesterday about the issues I raised in what I wrote. When he came down B came with him and I was asked if it was okay that he joined us. I could of course have said no – but I never feel able to say no – it’s like when doctors or dentists say they have students in… I can never say how I really feel. And to be honest I read into this decision as being based on what I wrote, and that A needed a ‘chaperone’…. you know…. in case I were to pounce on him whilst alone – as huge sluts like me do, naturally…..
So anyway, I had to sit and talk to both of them about the issues, and I disclosed more information that explained why I was struggling with my self-harm issues at that time. It was the longest silence I’ve ever sat through, waiting for A to read it… knowing I was completely effing up my life. I was regretting it already, but I think a part of me at the time thought ‘what the hell, why not…won’t be around much longer anyway!’. Basically A was just finding out that I was attracted to one of them in the room, and the shame attached to that (which I will come on to in a bit) was making me hurt myself for being a bad person for having feelings again. B didn’t read it, so didn’t know what was being referred to when we discussed it afterwards. It was an awkward talk.
I’m apparently going to have help from someone else for a couple of sessions… but they said it might be a good idea if it’s a female…. yeah…. because I can’t be trusted around the male species can I?! Can’t leave me alone with one of them for five minutes or I might jump his bones or whatever the cool kids call it nowadays….. this is how these mental health services and the way they handle this sort of thing, make me feel….. they make me feel like some super slut who fancies anything in trousers. And that I’m a risk to them all and their jobs. I doubt it’s for my own safety, no matter what they say… they just don’t want a situation where they could get in some kind of trouble themselves. I know that. And that’s why I’m offended. Because they don’t know the first thing about me as a person. I’m not someone who acts. I admire people…. I may even admit to admiring them. That is the extent of it. I will never make a move on someone. I never have and I never will, because I used to be the person who admitted my feelings for guys, and they either rejected me, or they led me on, messed with my emotions for a while and then ghosted me. So I stopped making the first move. I stopped seeking a man. I stopped believing that anyone would want me. Because they never really did. If I’m ever to end up with a guy, he will have to be the one to admit his feelings to me first. I’m not going there again.
So while these people are so preoccupied with procedures and boundaries, I’m over here like ‘Hello? Never broken a rule in my life! Never made a move on a guy… never even had a guy…. pretty much a nun… quiet, reserved person here, hello?’ … I feel they’re assuming that I want every man. I don’t. At all. Admittedly A and B are lovely and attractive in many ways of their own. But there is only one I have feelings for. I don’t feel attracted to any of the others working in that building. I’m not a super slut. I don’t ‘fancy’ everyone. I’m very selective and always devote my attention and feelings to one person at a time. And even that one I like is under no threat from me. Even if no rules were in place, he was single, straight and interested in me too, I still wouldn’t make the move, because of my past experiences and because of the type of person I am, the morals I have and the respect I have for boundaries – both professional and personal.
So this concept that I must be kept away from the men… and not allowed to speak to them one-on-one…. it’s BS. I feel I’m going to be ‘watched’ from now on… it’s really bad for my paranoia and self-esteem. God help them when they offer me the self-esteem course…. not much point… I don’t think I’ll be too receptive given they’ve already trashed that.
I feel totally mischaracterised. I feel painted as some temptress… whose sole aim is to seduce these men, and that I must be stopped. The ‘wall of women’ must be brought out again…. ‘DEFEND THE MEN FROM THIS SEX-CRAZED HOPELESS ROMANTIC SLUT OF A WOMAN!!’… that’s how I feel. That they see me in that way…. I’m nothing of the sort. But they made me feel that way. I took it on as though it were a fact. That’s how I felt. That, and pitied. I felt pathetic last night.
I was inconsolable. It took scarring myself for life with the words they made me feel, to stop me crying…. to stop me wanting to die. Nothing was working. Earlier in the day I had called the Samaritans. I had taken my emergency medication. Nothing was working. I had to reach that point where the pain, the shame, the regret and everything that was tearing away at me, became anger…. anger at THEM. Anger for the way they made me feel about myself. That’s the only way I could sleep and make it to another day.
I don’t doubt that there are probably people out there who would make a move on a mental health professional, but I am not that person. I don’t want to be treated like I’m that person… just because others are like that. OR because they’ve had so little experience of people having feelings for them in their position – that’s just as bad really, because they then don’t know how to respond best, and I realise they don’t know what they’re doing, because it’s rare… and then I feel like a freak and a ‘problem person’.. which is the last thing I want to be.
I hate asking for help. I hate admitting I’m struggling. I hate asking for their time for anything. I had that conversation before the group, which overran… then I was allowed to take five minutes to gather myself before joining the group… in that time I took a couple of diazepam because I didn’t feel good at all. I wanted to harm myself. I would’ve done.
But I went in and I did my best at pretending everything was fine. I talked when prompted. I sounded normal. I nodded along to other people. And then as the end came along I had images of what I wanted to do. I felt zoned out by then…. I knew where I would end up if I walked out the door, and it would probably have led to me not sitting in that room again next week. I wanted a permanent solution to what I was feeling. I knew where to go to get that. The thought of the Samaritans crossed my mind, and I thought where I could go locally to phone them… even the thought of phoning them having left the building I felt unsafe. I felt I would still end up at the place I had in mind. I knew I couldn’t leave the building. I wouldn’t make it home.
So I stayed behind at the end and told A and B that I didn’t feel safe. They asked what I meant. I told them I wanted to do something stupid. At least I think that’s what I said… it’s a bit hazy now. I asked if there was a room I could use in the building to sit and phone the Samaritans. They said yes. So I sat in a room downstairs – everyone worked upstairs so I didn’t have to worry too much about being overheard. A and B had to leave and go somewhere else, but they said a colleague would pop down and check on me in a bit. When this person did come down I was still talking on the phone, so they gestured to me then went back upstairs.
I spoke to a lovely woman. The Samaritans really are incredible people… they tend to know what to say / ask… and before you know it you’re spilling everything to them. I kept catching myself saying things, and thinking ‘You do realise you’re talking to another person right??’ … ‘You are speaking out loud….’ … it helped a little. I talked for almost an hour with this wonderful lady. I talked through what had upset me, and how I felt… some background stuff too… at that point I wasn’t aware of why I was so upset. I hadn’t pinpointed how the actions taken in response to what I said, had made me feel like a pathetic cheap slag basically… that came later that night. I cried a bit. I once again answered the suicide question honestly straight away… I never used to, but if someone asks me now if I have thoughts of ending my life, I straight away tell them yes. No more bullshitting people.
Once the call ended I wasn’t sure what to do… whether to just sign out and leave, or wait downstairs, or what.. so I ended up calling ‘hellooo’ up the stairs. Let them know I’d finished my call and then went. The Samaritans couldn’t stop me doing what I did later that day, but they stopped me making a permanent choice. They got me out of town and back home.
At home I pretended nothing was wrong. I think that made life more difficult… but I couldn’t tell anyone what had happened. I only told them today that I made the phone call yesterday. I didn’t say why. I only did it so they know I’m a bit delicate at the moment.
I made some bad choices in terms of self-harm… things I regret now. But can’t do anything about it now. I wasn’t fully in my mind last night anyway. I was distraught and medicated, so didn’t make rational decisions. It was a breakdown. I do really stupid things when it’s that bad.
It really was a bad day. Even talking to the Samaritans I told them I hate using the phone, but I knew I had to anyway. And she said I must have felt really desperate to push through my fear of using the phone, in order to call them. It’s true. Yesterday was the worst day of my life since my friend Liv took her life eight months ago.
Now I have to pick myself up and carry on. From now on I’m not going to open up again. I won’t ever pour my heart out or share my feelings with anyone, for any reason. The exception being telling them how it makes me feel, what they’ve done. That’s only so they might learn from it. And as much as I could write that down so they can again put it in my record, I think I’ll brave the conversation if possible and then draw a line under it. After that they won’t even notice I exist. I’ll just become a nobody again, speak only when I’m spoken to, get through the courses I’m doing, be discharged and either never ask for help again, or likely experience this same problem again the next time I need help – because yet again it’s been dealt with wrong and scarred me… it’s a wound that’s not been healed and has been made worse, so very likely to have it happen again in the future. Nobody wants to help me with this shame / attraction issue. I’m not sure anyone really can…
The whole point of admitting how I felt, was because of the shame attached to it – that shame was making me self-harm every day. The response I’ve had has only confirmed it’s right that I’m ashamed. That it’s wrong to feel how I do. And they may well say that in the ‘real world’ it’s fine… it’s just in this setting… but what they don’t get is that I’m attracted to someone in this setting right now…. it’s a current problem…. and more importantly, what I experience in this setting translates to what I feel about the ‘real world’. If I have to be kept away from men in this setting, as I’m thought of as an intensely desperate, pathetic slut and temptress, then what bloody hope is there for me around any man, any place?? If that’s really how I’m viewed. It tells me I should stay away from men full stop. It tells me that it’s indeed wrong to be attracted to a man. Having BPD I already feel I’ll never fit in to this world…. this experience only makes me feel the same in terms of relationships… that I’m incapable of having a man in my life. They’re doing so much damage to someone who already doesn’t see a future for herself in this world.
I’ve called it ‘attachment’ because of the shame of saying I’m attracted to a man. This has probably led to some misunderstandings. Of course when the time comes I won’t see him again the ‘attachment’ element will kick in and I’ll be devastated. But it’s attraction right now. And I feel it’s wrong. They’ve confirmed it’s wrong by saying I should see a female, and if I speak to a man, he seems to need a chaperone. So not only was it wrong to have these feelings for him… it was also wrong to say it. So basically, in a nutshell, I’ve f*cked everything up, yet again, just because the shame of being attracted to someone makes me hurt myself. This is so messed up.
I’ve lost control by seeking to gain it. I’ve gained more shame by trying to ease it. I’ve given myself more reasons to self-harm by trying to stop it. I have to deal with one-sided feelings yet again, which I can do… I’m so used to it, but it’s the shame that was the problem. But I just have to accept that shame is part and parcel of feeling anything for a man from now on. I will now bury my feelings. I won’t bother anyone any further with any of this. I let out too much. I can’t take it back. I will feel what I do for him, alone… I will keep the shame to myself and deal with it the only way I can. I just have to accept I’m a self-harmer and a loner, and always will be. I should never have reached out about this. I regret it, and it will never happen again. Even if it kills me. From now on I keep everything to myself. This has proven that I can’t trust anyone. They’re all as bad as each other. And I’m beyond help. My heart is closed from now on. No more outpouring of feelings, for any reason. I live my life on the inside from now on. There is no other way.