A Hard Day.

Today has been a tough day. I’ve just been to the garden of remembrance with family to leave some flowers for my granddad. Today would’ve been my grandparents’ 69th wedding anniversary… they reached just shy of 68 years of marriage before he passed away – something I could never achieve…. unless I live to be 100 years old… and that would mean meeting and marrying the guy like right now!!

It was okay. I didn’t get upset like I often do when I go there. I’d already had a bit of a day, and didn’t want to get too emotionally involved in it all. I was just there to comfort my nan. It was a nice sunny afternoon, and the bushes and trees are green now, which they weren’t the last time I went. The birds were singing, and as we left the place where we left the flowers, we heard a seagull flying overhead. My granddad loved the sea, so we took it as a sign that he was with us. It was a lovely moment.

Earlier in the day I had bumped into the therapist I had transference issues with several months ago. He didn’t appear to notice me. I don’t know if that was deliberate. But it stirred many conflicting emotions up. I had never forgotten him. In fact only this morning I’d realised it’s six months ago today since I last saw him, thinking I’d never see him again. I probably never will again, but it was nice to know he still exists. I wish I could have said hello.

I had just had my therapy session, which is what I want to write about here at the moment. I need to get it out and clear my mind. I wasn’t happy about the session. I spent a lot of it just wanting to get out of the room. I didn’t want to be there. I felt it was a waste of everyone’s time. I’d made no progress, and the therapist didn’t seem to really understand the difficulties I have.

Many years ago when I was mentally unwell I was under CMHT, and although they’d occasionally make me feel like a burden, generally they were there to help me. Nowadays the services that exist seem to be a factory. They want to get people in and out as quickly as possible. They say they provide a toolbox, but otherwise it’s up to you to help yourself. That’s fine, if you’re in a place where you are capable of helping yourself. Unfortunately I am not. And this is something I can’t seem to get through to anyone. I might not be quite as erratic as I was when I was younger… but I promise you I am the worst I can ever remember being. I may not look it, but it’s the reality.

I wish I could help myself – I feel like such a disappointment to these services when I have to tell them why I feel physically unable to do anything about my life! I feel like I’m wasting their time, and they see me as a lost cause. I’m not being lazy. I’m not being stubborn. But if you heard the ‘motivation’ they try to give me, you’d be forgiven for thinking they believe that! I’m constantly told I can’t wait until I feel a certain way to take action… I have to do things even when I don’t want to…. do you want to step into my body for a minute and experience everything I’m feeling and all I’ve been through and then try and achieve these goals you set me, on a bad day? I’m sorry I’m a failure. I’m sorry I’m useless. I’m sorry I can’t click my fingers and magically recover. I’m sorry I’m not perfect. I’m sorry that I’m busy trying to stay alive, and that I have very little left over after that to put to good use.

I didn’t even admit to everything that’s been going on for me, as the conversation got swept elsewhere before I could finish sentences. I didn’t admit to the punching issues. I didn’t admit to the hair-pulling.

I tried to explain the rage, but I really don’t think it got through. I was told to use my anger positively and ‘let go of the negative stuff’…. that’s fine with rising anger. But I’m talking about full-on BPD ‘flick of a switch’, ‘seeing red’ RAGE. It comes from nowhere, and there’s no way I can use that anger positively. I can’t direct it into getting a job, or joining a club, or fighting for a cause. In those moments I am not in control of my body. In those moments the only thing I feel is the need to punch the living daylights of everything, particularly myself. Or I self-harm in other ways. They say ‘use mindfulness’ – but bollocks to that! ‘Mindfulness’ when you’ve been triggered and the rage is suddenly happening, will do bugger all. Once you’re triggered, and you react, there’s no space for mindfulness. There’s not even the awareness that it’s something that could be used. It is as they say – seeing red. Everything else vanishes, and very often the only way to bring it down and make it manageable, despite what therapists say, is to punch…. that brings me back into my body and more under control. I know they can’t understand this, and that’s the biggest problem I have with these people, is they really don’t seem to understand the challenges of BPD. I feel very misunderstood by them.

They also make things sound so simple. Like, ‘get out and make new friends’….. yeah… do you even know me? I have severe trust issues because of friends I’ve had. I hate myself so much that I don’t believe anyone new will like me – I even doubt the ones who do know me like me!

She talks about the fact that online connections aren’t real, and I need to have real friends in real life – again, this shows how little she understands. I had to explain that when you feel isolated from your friends and CAN’T have real life friends, then it’s better than nothing. It’s better to feel connected online than to be completely disconnected from civilisation.

When I talked about the fact I sing while I play the guitar, my therapist asked if I could go to an open mic night! I said no. I do not have that sort of confidence. I already said I’m not good at singing / playing. She said if I have musical friends I could get them involved….. I had already said my friendships are limited right now.

When I said about wanting to do office work but not wanting to have to use a phone, the typical therapist answer came – that I should challenge my fears… that  I don’t want it to be a life-long thing. Why not? What is this CBT obsession of having to face every fear, and to not avoid?? Sometimes it pays to avoid! I had to explain to my therapist that doing a job where I answer the phone, and the idea of an open mic night, are throwing me in at the deep end!

The trouble is if I had a therapist for more than four sessions, they would get to know me, and would know the things that are ridiculous to suggest to me. Where it’s part of this factory procedure there’s no time to really get to know me, and to understand me. It’s not helpful to someone like me at all. I need more consistent and long-term support. Anything else is damaging or a waste. I hate to sound ungrateful… I just don’t think their methods work for someone like me.

I wanted to get out of there so much. I feel relieved I’m done with the service now. I feel reluctant to seek help anywhere else now though, as I feel they’re all going to be the same. They’re going to give me the same crappy solutions, and if I don’t or can’t do them, they’ll wash their hands of me. I feel I’ll be wasting everyone’s time.

I can’t help that I feel as bad as I do right now. Believe me, I wish my life was better. Nobody knows how dire it is in my mind at the moment. Nobody knows the carnage I see when I close my eyes… the tatters of my life. Nobody hears the cracking of my heart. Nobody hears the deafening scream in my chest. Nobody feels the force preparing to erupt in me, or the other force pushing me down… paralysing me. Nobody knows. More than anything right now, I want someone to give me their time…. listen to my depressing feelings, validate them…. show compassion and empathy…. tell me they hear me and how sorry they are that my life is so shit, and that they can understand why I feel so broken and just done with life. I don’t want advice right now. I don’t want solutions until I truly feel someone gets my reality. I want to be understood. Until I feel understood, no amount of suggestions will help… they will all be met with a feeling that nobody gets how hard this is for me.

Today was exhausting, upsetting and I’m glad it’s finished with. The rest of the week is busy, but at least I get to sleep soon. A short respite from reality and emotions. I almost live for sleep at the moment. Goodnight everyone.

xxxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surviving Therapy: “Life Goes On”.

*Mentions self-harm*

 

Four weeks ago was the last session of my twelve week CBT course. That night was hard, and I didn’t feel I would make it through. I had to phone the Samaritans for the first time in my life in the middle of the night. Somehow I’m still here fighting.

I won’t lie and say things feel better now. They don’t. I am awfully depressed and don’t see a future right now. I try not to think about the things that are hurting my heart, because I know if I really let the feelings in they will drown me, and each day I care less about keeping afloat. But I’ve got some new friends out of doing my course. They understand me more now, and are always there to remind me to use my skills, and look at my crisis box. I’ve mentioned this crisis box before and had questions about it, so I’ll do a post to illustrate this in a little while.

The course was intense, from start to finish. Before the first session I was so anxious, about going to a new place, knowing absolutely nobody there. I had identified the building, but wasn’t sure how to get in. There was a buzzer system, and I had no clue what to do. So I lurked around outside, observing. I saw someone who looked like they were doing the same. I had a guess they were there for the same reason as me, so I waited until they went in and then went to join them.

The first session was difficult. Everyone felt on edge, keeping to ourselves. I felt quite positive about it, and really wanted to give it my best shot, and get on well with the facilitators. It was all going relatively okay, until at the end we did a mindfulness exercise, and this led me down a path of thinking about my granddad who I had lost five months beforehand. I talked about how the exercise went and burst into tears, in a room full of strangers! I felt really embarrassed by this, and I think after that little outburst I tried to keep my emotions locked up. This may have been what led me down a path of self-harm as the course progressed.

The second session was better – I knew where to go, how to get in and what to expect. That was probably the better of the sessions. But after going away from that session I realised my feelings for one of the facilitators.

The third session I turned up early, wanting a word… I wanted to quickly admit to this transference issue, to nip it in the bud and refocus my energies. But the buzzer didn’t work. I phoned them to be let in and they didn’t answer. Others turned up and some of us went through the door when others came out, and went up to the floor the group was held on. We waited outside the door, and one of the others phoned this time, and her call was answered. Needless to say I took that personally…. Anyway I decided to have a word at the end… I got through the first half of the session, but as time went on I couldn’t focus on what was being said. I conveyed this to the facilitator in the break and asked if I could have a word at the end. He said they don’t have a lot of time at the end. So I had to have a chat with him in the break. I had to rush through what I’d planned to say. He asked questions which skirted around the issue and didn’t allow me to say it. He said I should talk to my individual therapist if there’s something troubling me. He didn’t let me unburden myself, I had to go back into the group feeling even worse and unheard. I knew I wouldn’t be able to focus, so last second instead of following him back into the group, I went the other way and broke down in the toilets before harming myself, the worst I ever have.

That was the beginning of a downhill slope for me. After that night I would struggle to stop harming myself. It became a weekly thing, which it hasn’t been for many years. One of the facilitators had to come and check on me, and had to treat me, before telling me I ought to go to the hospital to get it stitched. I was phoned by the facilitator who treated me the next day.

From that point on every single Wednesday I would have intense anxiety which left me feeling physically ill and unable to breathe. I didn’t know if it was anxiety about going back into the place where I harmed myself, or if it was anxiety about seeing him again. I gave them something to read to explain what happened and apologise for it, as well as apologising in person to them both for how it may have affected them. Whilst it felt they understood me better after that there was still a distance, and I felt a burden asking for support. There would be weeks where I’d ask for help and not be given it, or I’d be told it had to be quick. Eventually I stopped reaching out. I’d go away, go home and harm myself on a few occasions. I even did it at the session another time, though managed to hide it this time round.

After another session I sent a text to one of them to say I hadn’t felt able to approach them at the end, but I didn’t feel safe going away, and that I felt like quitting the group. This went ignored, as apparently it appeared as a multimedia message on his old style work phone, and didn’t have a subject, so he thought it was spam. That was also the week the other one refused to help me, and made me push myself instead. I had a lot of anger that week.

Four weeks before the end I got there early to have a chat with the facilitator I was transferring on. I wanted to know how to detach from someone, and if I’d receive any help for transference afterwards or not. I got a ‘politician answer’ in that I’m not sure I got an answer! I felt unheard and misunderstood. I told him I didn’t feel safe about the course ending… I meant losing him. He asked if I could stay safe that night, I said it would be difficult. He asked if I had the means on me to do anything, I said no – I didn’t, but that wasn’t the issue… I knew it could and likely would happen when I went home. I shut down for that session… didn’t say a single word. Nobody interacted with me – the facilitator I’d spoken to didn’t even look at me. I hid in the toilets during the break and decided I’d harm myself when I got home. At the end of the session I dashed out of there – I ran down the stairs and out of the building. I got in the car and said to the person driving ‘Don’t ask’. Went home, did what I did and ended up at the hospital again.

That was the point I decided to quit the group. But over the next few days I changed my mind and decided to see it through to the end; to apologise to the group for how I’d been and try to build better bonds with them. So when I said this at the next session, and had every single face looking at me and listening to me it was overwhelming. It turned out to be the best decision I made, as these people are supportive friends to me now. I joined in more and tried to get back to the more positive way of the beginning….

But lurking underneath it all I was still dreading the loss in the next three weeks. The end of the course was mentioned at this session, at the end, and put me in an unsafe headspace. So I spoke to one of the facilitators to say how I felt about it. And during that week I wrote something for the facilitator (the one I was dreading to lose) to read, to explain how misunderstood and unheard I felt by him in our discussion, and explaining the pain I was experiencing. He seemed to understand more after reading that at the next session. It felt better that he understood how hard losing him would be for me. But nothing could prepare me for the last session.

It was a nightmare blur, and didn’t go as I thought it would. We did one last mindfulness exercise at the end, where the facilitator I was transferring on spoke us through it. I closed my eyes and listened, and realised it would be the last time I’d hear his voice. I broke down in tears. I still can’t get over that feeling. There were lots of hugs, and a bunch of us went to the pub next door to celebrate getting through the course. On the way out I said a brief ‘See you, bye’ to him… but it was so fleeting it was as though it was nothing… when inside it was killing me a million times over, in a thousand different ways. I didn’t have the closure I needed. The conversation I needed. The chance to say goodbye. It was over. I’d never see him again.

Four weeks since I last saw and heard him. Four weeks is nothing compared to the rest of my life having to do the same. This is harder than anyone will ever understand. I know I have to use ‘radical acceptance’ and accept the way things are. I do know that. But it’s hard. I don’t want things to be this way. I’m resisting reality. I think I’m in the denial and bargaining stages of grief about losing him. I’ll be writing about grief soon. I want someone to hold me and tell me they understand how I feel. But I honestly don’t think anyone out there can understand it, not really. I’m alone with this. And it’s breaking my heart every day. The darkness I feel is overpowering. I don’t know how to overcome it.

But I’ll have to try. I may be very depressed, verging on suicidal right now, but all I can say is one good thing is I no longer have to face overwhelming anxiety on a Wednesday. Can’t say I’ve missed that!

I know I have to carry on, and get through each day, moving forward… there’s no other choice. ‘Life goes on’ after all…. but for me that’s the worst part. I don’t want it to go on….

Faith In Therapy = Zero.

NO.2 GUIDE

 

*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.

 

These therapists, are they even human__ Have they ever experienced a mental health problem_ Have they ever.jpg

 

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.

 

goals for 2018.jpg

 

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.

Where Do I Turn?

Where Do I Turn_

 

I’m currently researching whether CBT is useful to those with BPD.

I feel trapped and lost right now. And horribly alone. I’m lacking trust, faith and confidence in the therapy service I’m using at the moment. I don’t think they can help me. I’m going to discuss this with the doctor tomorrow, to see if there’s any other help I can get.

But I’m looking into what types of therapy are useful for people with BPD. Obviously I know DBT is useful, as I did two courses of it back-to-back and it was one of the only things to help me, by reducing my self-harm. The course I’m doing at the moment touches on aspects of DBT, but the support isn’t there. It’s a twelve week course, without individual support alongside it. It’s not long enough, and there isn’t that bond with a therapist. All that’s happening is a lot of old wounds are being violently ripped open, some new ones added to them, and I’m expected to treat them myself and navigate a labyrinth of intense emotions, and suicidal feelings entirely alone. Or at the very least, until the end of the course and I see my individual therapist.

I don’t think this type of therapy is suitable for someone as troubled as me. I need more support than this. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any further help out there. I’ve been led to believe the Community Mental Health Team will not take me on, as I don’t fit their criteria anymore. So where do I turn? What therapy would best benefit me? I need advice.

In my research I’m reading that many people with BPD find CBT quite damaging, though I’m sure there are many cases where it has been useful to people. I’m starting to think we need different treatment, more attuned to our emotional needs. I’m seeing the best options as DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy), Schema-based therapy (whatever that is!), or TFP (Transference-Focused Psychotherapy). Now, as someone with BPD who is currently transferring on a therapist, this sounds like the best option. But I cannot have this therapy with this person, probably not even this service. I might even have to pay to go privately to see a specialised therapist – and what’s the likelihood of me experiencing transference with them, like I am with this one right now?! How can I discuss my transference on him, to a different therapist? How on Earth would that be helpful? What if I don’t form a good bond with any therapist I see?

The way I see it, with BPD it’s important to build a strong therapeutic relationship with the therapist… to be able to trust them, be open with them, and believe they care. The trouble I’m having with this CBT is the emotional distance. I know all therapists have to maintain this, but in a way it’s worsening things for me, because what I need in my life is emotional warmth. So to have that denied by the therapists is very painful for me. It makes me feel they don’t care about me, whether I live or die. It makes me feel like a statistic. It makes me feel like a burden. If anything it’s amplifying the problems that exist for me already, and confirms that nobody cares, and I can’t be cured.

It feels very invalidating at the moment, which I didn’t experience as much with DBT. The deeper connection and understanding is lacking. I know this is because it’s a group course… they are there to simply teach skills and ideas, and nothing else, but surely they ought to take at least some responsibility for the monsters they awaken? The problems I’m currently having are related to the therapy, therefore wouldn’t it be ideal if they could help me with it…. help me see things a different way?

But I’ve come to terms with the fact they aren’t going to help me. They don’t understand my issues. They don’t care what happens to me. I’m going to face a painful loss in a couple of weeks, and I’m expected to just survive it on my own. They don’t get that this isn’t about a course ending. It’s not that I’d be like this whatever it was that was ending…. This is about the one therapist I’m transferring on. The one I admire and don’t want to lose. It’s specifically him I don’t want to lose. He thinks I have issues working with him. I don’t. I have issues NOT working with him. I want and need his help. And I don’t want to face the pain and heartbreak of losing him forever. Why is that so hard for people to understand??

He / they clearly don’t understand transference, as they believe it’s something that should sort itself out, without any help (in other words ‘Just ignore it and it’ll go away’), and if it doesn’t then I just need to not work with him anymore. But they’re missing the point – that I don’t want to lose him. So having it implied I’ll have to lose him if I don’t get over it, is so unhelpful and damaging. Basically it’s saying ‘Get over your fear of losing me, or you’ll lose me!’ WTF?!

Everything I’ve read about transference indicates it’s something to be looked at and worked through. It’s a useful tool to recovery. But I shouldn’t be left all alone with it. This is new to me. I’ve never experienced transference before. I don’t know what I’m doing! But clearly they wouldn’t know either. They think it’s nothing more than one of my ‘vicious circles’ and can be dealt with through mindfulness.

It’s making me angry, because these people have NO idea how much pain and distress I’m in right now. They don’t know about my life. They don’t know how their actions or lack thereof, are contributing to already existing beliefs. They think mindfulness will solve all my problems. ‘Mindfully accepting my emotions’ will see me safely through what feels to me like a traumatic loss. They don’t understand that this is the level of distress I feel, and I need support with it. Or at the very least I need to feel heard, understood and validated… and not in general terms of ‘Oh it’s natural to feel like this when something comes to an end’… I need to feel they’re hearing ME. Like they understand what I’m saying and how big a deal it is to me personally. I don’t feel my feelings matter.

And I don’t trust that they’re not mirroring my life and making me feel distress deliberately, to test me and make me cope on my own. I don’t trust their motives anymore. If I can’t trust them, what / who can I trust?

When Therapy Does More Harm Than Good.

* Self-harm and a lot of very bad language, I’m sorry *

 

 

I find myself being a ball of thoughts and emotions today. Last night fucked me up royally.

I found myself at the MIU at the hospital again after my CBT group. I had gone home and harmed myself badly. The nurse who treated me was appalled that this was the second time I had come away from therapy, harming myself. But she said it’s not the first time she’s heard of it doing that to people. I explained to her that the course is opening up a lot for me, and I’m not getting the support with it. I told her I’m unlikely to finish the course now. I can’t keep coming away worse than when I went. In the couple of months I’ve been there I have ended up at the hospital twice (two of only three times in my life). But I have harmed myself more times at home and not sought treatment. This isn’t right.

Yesterday I asked one of the therapists if I would receive any help with my transference issue at all, as I was concerned that this can of worms had been opened, and I would be left to deal with it on my own. I can’t recall everything that was said, only what I took from what was said… the message I received was that I have to be my own therapist, use mindfulness, and pretty much get over it. It either magically sorts itself out, or I have to stop working with the therapist I’m transferring on. So no mention of help working through it. Fuck that. So I come to therapy to try and help me recover, I have this massively distressing thing come up, and I’m expected to shrug it off or be forced to face a traumatic loss that I’m already dreading. “If you can’t get over it by yourself I’ll abandon you”… that’s how it feels to me. That is so fucking awful to convey to someone like me. I feel utterly powerless and alone. That’s why I harm myself nowadays… I have no control over anything. And things like last night’s conversation DO NOT help.

I wasn’t being listened to, understood or heard. I give up trying to get them to understand me. What’s the point? I wish I’d never even mentioned this issue to them in the first place. The way they’ve handled it, or rather NOT handled it, has set me back years. I am so fucking angry with them as a service. I’ve lost all trust and faith in them. My interaction with the one yesterday made me realise they don’t give a fuck about me, and I really am as alone as I have always felt… they’ve stirred up this shit-storm for me and don’t care what it does to me. The other therapist didn’t help me when I specifically asked for their help, abandoning me when I needed them…. ‘for my own good’, to get me to push myself – I don’t trust their motives now. Both of them have ruined my problem-solving attempts, by rejecting what I had decided to do. They’re fucking useless.

And I feel so upset to have to say that, because only a few weeks ago I was so grateful to them, and desperately sad about losing them. But this set-up isn’t working for me. They’re leaving me in distress and without support.

I told the therapist last night that I didn’t feel safe. They asked if I had the means on me to harm myself, and I said no, and inside my head I was screaming ‘I WISH I DID!!!’ … they asked about how I could keep myself safe tonight… I honestly didn’t know. They just don’t seem to understand my pain and suffering right now. I am getting worse. And they still don’t want to know.

They don’t even seem to recognise how fucking hard I’ve been working every single fucking week to be there, and do the homework and make progress, despite this agonising feeling. The therapist said about it being a block to therapy… which is what I had said originally… I then changed that and said the block is denying it, pushing it away and seeing it as something other than an aspect of therapy. Now here he was saying it’s a block! NO. The BLOCK is the way it’s being handled, i.e. it’s NOT. Why can’t it be acknowledged?! Why can’t my feelings and pain be validated?! Why can’t I NOT be made to feel like a fucking burden / nuisance / unlovable / disgusting / awful freak, for having feelings I don’t want to have.

I should never have said anything and I’m so angry with myself for having done so. I SHOULD have done what I’ve always done and stuffed my feelings down, and suffered in silence. These therapists are teaching me that’s the best way to live. All this therapy is demonstrating to me at this point is that every belief I have about myself and other people / life, is correct. I’m a worthless piece of shit who should kill herself, then they won’t have to deal with me anymore. I hate myself, I hate them, I hate life, and I give up on all of it.

I didn’t open my mouth at all in the session last night. I disappeared during the break. And I left the session quickly, without saying goodbye. Nobody noticed me at all. The therapists, particularly the one I spoke to before the session, didn’t even look at me once. I might as well have not been there. I was invisible. Body language towards me was different. I felt rejected and isolated. During a role-play, discussing ways you could say no to someone, they joked about different answers, and said ‘My granddad died – my other granddad’… and I found that insensitive since that’s exactly what I’m struggling with right now. So I took that personally.

I battled graphic images of what I wanted to do to myself when I got home. In the break I sat in the toilets and decided I would do it. I felt calmer in the second half as I knew I had self-harm to turn to when I got home. I couldn’t get out of there quick enough.

I don’t know if they realise they’re destroying me. And if they realise, I’m not sure they actually care. I have three more sessions. I wanted to spend those sessions making the most of their company, and joining in with the group. But I’ve never felt more alienated in my life. I feel so stupid for ever mentioning transference. I feel ashamed I’m getting worse and harming more. I wanted to be on good terms with them, but now I don’t feel I am, especially since I was totally ignored and blocked out of vision last night. I feel I’ve pissed them off, they’ve had enough of me, they hate me, I disgust them, they’ve given up on me. Which is fine. I’ve given up on myself.

The only good thing is I’m seeing the doctor before the next session, so I can speak to her and decide what’s best for me. I’ll tell her everything and she might say there’s a better service for me. These people are only compounding my problems and leaving me to deal with them alone. This should not be allowed in someone with BPD. It’s dangerous. But I get the sense they don’t give a fuck about that. ‘All lives matter‘, apart from mine apparently. Whatever.

Baby Steps Through Anger.

Baby Steps Through Anger

 

Nobody knows the truth of the last week for me. So I’m going to write it here, to unburden myself.

I struggled at the CBT group session last week. I was anxious, I’d taken a diazepam, I gave a note to one of the therapists asking for them to help me speak out at the start, and she didn’t. I left with suicidal thoughts. A member of the group appeared to snub me on the way out. I went home and self-harmed, couldn’t sleep, considered phoning the Samaritans, but don’t like using the phone, and couldn’t risk no answer. So the next morning texted the other therapist as I had his number, and it wouldn’t require speaking on a phone. I got no answer. This sparked off reminders of the past for me, and many different emotions. Nobody in my life knows how much I’ve been struggling in the last couple of weeks or why.

In total honesty, I went to my session last night, prepared to harm myself or much worse. I felt really angry at the therapists and group… seethingly so. When we started with a grounding mindfulness, this just pissed me off. I couldn’t take part in it properly, as I was fuming. So in the feedback I told them that. I told them that I went away the last week, in a bad state of mind, and although we were told we could talk to them if we didn’t feel safe, I felt unable to, because of the point they kept making about time restrictions. I told them it made me feel like a burden, therefore unable to open up to them anymore. I also said about the text I sent and not getting a response, and how that triggered the memories of the past. I was so upset and angry as I spoke I had to stop and breathe, so I didn’t burst into tears. My voice shook, but these things needed saying, or else I would’ve walked right out of there and not come back. I told them I had thought of quitting the group.

I was commended for being brave enough to say anything, and for being honest. But not much else came from it at that point. I didn’t receive an apology for being ignored. I didn’t feel a resolution on the other issue, so my anger didn’t subside. It bubbled underneath for almost the whole first half of the session.

One good thing was the member of the group who appeared to snub me the previous week, publicly apologised to me for it… which felt awkward and embarrassing for me, as I’m sure it did for them too, but was nice that they had recognised what they said, and what effect it might have had on me.

But the anger towards the therapists kept simmering underneath. At times I felt I wasn’t listening to other members of the group. I wanted so many times, to excuse myself and go outside for a break, as I couldn’t stand looking at the therapists, particularly the one who ‘ignored’ my text. Their voices were pissing me off, and I wanted to get out of there and harm myself. But I sat with the anger, and eventually it did come down, like a wave. I kept telling myself ‘Just make it to the break’… and I did. But just before the break, my feelings were dredged up again by one of the therapists, and I became desperate to get out of there.

As soon as the break started, I headed for the toilets, and sat in a cubicle, trying to calm down by breathing. It wasn’t working. It didn’t feel enough. So I admit, I harmed myself… not quite as badly as before, but enough to need to treat it again. I kept listening out, hoping nobody was going to come into the toilets. And just as I was finishing up, I heard someone coming in and thought ‘Oh shit, not again’. It was the therapist. I told her I was okay and just needed some time away from everyone. I chatted with her through the cubicle door, not giving away what I’d done, all the while trying to bandage my arm back up as quickly as possible, so that she wouldn’t suspect anything.

By the time I came out of the cubicle, someone else came into the toilets, which likely distracted her, so I quickly washed the blood off my hands. She then said either we could have a quick chat and miss the first five minutes of the second half, or she could phone me today to chat, rather than me feeling rushed at the end. I went for the quick chat, as I thought I wouldn’t be able to carry on otherwise.

When we came out of the toilets, the other therapist was lurking, probably concerned I’d harmed myself again, and he wanted to apologise for not responding to the text. He said he didn’t receive one. However he was aware of a ‘multimedia message’, which he thought might’ve been spam. His work phone is an old sort of phone, so probably didn’t even share my number, I assume, otherwise I’d wonder why he wouldn’t open it. He said he wouldn’t ignore me if I was in distress. It was just because obviously my message was too long, and didn’t come through like it would on a more modern phone. Unfortunate. And going to be hard to get over, as it kicked up a lot of shit for me.

I went for my chat with the female therapist, and told her the week I’d had. She recognised that I had faced three situations, effectively in the space of a day, whereby I felt rejected or abandoned, and how that would’ve felt. She confirmed what I had thought about her lack of support the previous week, in speaking out, and said it was because she knew I could do it myself, and wanted me to push myself to do it. This still pisses me off actually, as that’s not helpful to me right now. I needed the support. And now I don’t know if I can trust their motives. It makes me feel more alone.

I went back in the room and felt less angry, but aware of the pain in my arm. But they’ll never know about that. I’ve become good at hiding my pain and pretending nothing is wrong. I even put on a brave and happy front at home. Nobody will know. I guess in a way this shows I’ve gone backwards even more, as my self-harming always used to be very secretive like that.

But last night I decided enough is enough. I put self-care ahead of anything else. That’s why I didn’t stay up and write this blog last night. I put self-soothing and sleep ahead of it. I’m also going to create a ‘Crisis box’… a nicely decorated box, with things in it that can help me in a crisis – colouring book, chocolate, a favourite film, photographs of my Godchildren, and anything else I can think of – with reminders in it of why I don’t want to cut too. I need to stop self-harming. If for no other reason than I’m running out of space! I realise it’s spiralling out of control, and I don’t want to be that person again. I’m ashamed of who I am at the moment, but I need to be self-compassionate in my approach to stopping.

Obviously I can’t carry the box with me when I’m out, but I’m going to try the rubber band technique when I’m outside the house if I get an urge, and dig into the crisis box when I get home if needs be.

I need to look after myself. Nobody else will. Nobody knows I have self-harmed three times in a week – that’s the worst it’s been in many, many years. It’s my secret… though you now know it too…. so I alone have to face the consequences and pick myself back up. Nobody else can do it for me. They don’t know my suffering. I have to be my own therapist, my own best friend and my own carer. It’s either that or give up entirely and self-destruct. But I’m choosing to TRY and get better.

I hope to start sharing more positive news with you soon. But the positive parts I can take from last night, are that I was brave enough to speak out and tell them what I thought, and how I felt. I got apologies and explanations in the end – unfortunate that it was AFTER I had self-harmed. Things could have played out much worse – they could have discovered my self-harm and kicked me off the course… or I could have done it, run out and killed myself, as it played out in my head. So to just harm myself to the level I did, is a small ‘victory’… I’m still here to tell the tale and learn from the experience. I witnessed that anger can subside on its own, which I’ve not really experienced before – I’ve usually reacted and harmed myself to get rid of it, rather than just feeling it. I have come away more determined to stop harming. And I will never take something to harm myself with again, no matter how awful I might feel, and how big a confrontation I sense coming. I will deal with it in a different way from now on.

I want to make the most of the last sessions I have with the therapists. In four weeks I’ll have said goodbye to them forever. This breaks my heart. I don’t want to spend that time being bitter towards them. I want to try my best and take some steps forward. I have to, else this has all been for nothing.

xxxx

The Truth Of Transference.

adventure

 

Forgive me, this is a very long post. But it’s about transference, and it’s the first time I’ve experienced this and have spoken about it properly. If this subject interests you then have a read, but no worries if not – it is a lot to read!!

 

 

Here’s the truth. I’m not okay. I’m not coping. I want to have another breakdown and be given permission to avoid life for a bit. I rushed back into it. I’m even putting on a strong front in therapy now, as I don’t want them to worry or kick me off the course and abandon me. I’m joining in more now, and it’s taking so much effort to do so. I’m not strong enough. They now know why I harmed myself two weeks ago, and we’ll now ‘draw a line under it’… in other words it’s my issue and I’m on my own with it. It’s taking real balls for me to continue attending the course after everything that’s gone on. I hope they realise that. It’s hard. But my recovery is more important to me than anything. That’s why I’ll force myself to get through the whole thing.

But the issue isn’t resolved. It can’t be. It never will be. So every week I have to go through the same shitty feelings, feeling sick and having pain in my heart….

So here’s where I discuss transference. Simply put this is when you’re led to believe you have feelings for your therapist. These feelings can vary from person to person, depending on their past issues and unresolved feelings. Some people grow attached to the therapist and see them as a mother / father figure. Perhaps they were neglected or abused as children, and the therapist fulfils what the parents never did. Others experience negative transference, where they feel angry towards the therapist, if they seem to represent something from the past. Other times people experience erotic and romantic transference, whereby they think they’re falling for the therapist, and see them as a potential partner.

Whatever the case, it is a very distressing experience. I’m going to be talking about romantic transference, as that’s what I’m experiencing. It is very hard to talk about, but that’s why I’m going to do it, because it’s obviously something that needs to come into the light. I’m keeping it in the dark due to a feeling of shame and embarrassment. But I think so many people experience this and don’t talk about it for that reason. Consequently it makes us all feel very isolated and as if we’re strange for having these feelings. We need to talk about it, and bring the subject into the open, to feel less alone with it.

This is a heavy burden for me right now, and I’ve decided to write it out, to see if it helps lessen the load. But just know this is one of the hardest things for me to write about….

 

 

* Names have been changed *

 

When I started my twelve week course of group therapy, I didn’t know anyone who would be attending. This filled me with immense anxiety – going to a new place, with new people, not knowing a thing about anyone there. However I remembered the names of the people running it, after my individual therapist told me. To ease my anxiety I looked them both up online just to see what they looked like, so I felt I’d recognise someone there, and I could tell what they might be like (not that you can judge a book by its cover of course!!).

The first thing that struck me was that *Sarah looked very much like one of my old best friends, who betrayed me badly and messed up my whole life as a result. I thought that might be a block in going to the group, as it might stir up those old feelings of pain and hatred.

The next, was seeing *James. I thought ‘Oh shit, he looks young’. I had imagined he might be an older, less attractive man. My first thought was ‘How am I going to be open and honest about my problems to a young man?‘… and then I thought ‘Don’t get feelings for him. DO NOT get feelings for him’.

And what did I do? Yep, I went and got ‘feelings’ for him. Really quite rapidly. I walked in the door, he said hello, and ‘Oh crap’ my mind went. The first session wasn’t too bad, although I did bawl my eyes out in a room full of strangers, which was embarrassing. I told them to ignore me and carry on, but James stuck with it and spoke to me, and used it as an example to everyone else.

Other people felt a bit hostile at times about the therapy, and I felt for James and Sarah, having to cope with that on their first session. I strangely felt protective of them, and wanted to make an effort so they knew I appreciated what they were trying to do.

I went away, and that first week was mainly just a feeling of embarrassment for my emotional outpouring, so that emotion took up most of my headspace. But I spoke to James at the start of the session to ask what happens if during another mindfulness exercise, I get transported to an upsetting place and can’t get back. He made some helpful suggestions about grounding, breathing and stepping out if I need to.

I also had to ask at the end about the vicious circles the whole course is about, as I wasn’t sure I understood it properly. I felt more of a connection with James than with Sarah, as although he’s a man he seemed warmer than her. So I asked and he sat down with me after the session and looked through my folder. I felt embarrassed for him to see my vicious circle surrounding anger, and self-harm. And then one about rejection. He seemed to understand my issues more after that, but I feared judgement.

At one point Sarah left the room, and it was just the two of us sat together talking. I looked round as she left the room and as I looked back round I started blushing, so kept my head down. I liked the feeling of being alone with him. And this was quite an alarming feeling really. I knew nothing could or would happen, but oddly I wanted it to. I think because it’s ‘taboo’… it’s ‘forbidden’ it created a sense of excitement. And that’s a long-lost feeling for me. I hoped to God he didn’t notice me turning red! I imagined things that weren’t there. I imagined a change in tone when Sarah re-entered the room. I imagined the way he said my name after I thanked him. I know that. I had gone into fantasy mode, where I see signs that aren’t there. Thinking about it now, I reckon I’ve been there before, several years ago. Only then, I honestly believed the guy was stringing me along. So at least I had the ability to see it this time as something different.

From that moment on I knew I was in trouble. From then on I would spend all week thinking about him. I would feel physical heartache from MISSING him. I wanted to be in his presence. I would fantasise about him. I would think of him leaving his wife for me! Yes, he has a wife. And he’s going to become a father. Hence my extra strong feelings of self-hatred and guilt for having these feelings, as I’m no ‘home-wrecker’. I’ve beaten myself up relentlessly for feeling how I do. I remember hearing that he’s going to have a baby, and it felt like a stab to my heart…. as if the wedding ring wasn’t enough of a red-flag! It was a peculiar feeling, to feel jealous and to wish I stood a chance of winning his heart. I had met him two times! It was overpowering though. Intense. I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I wanted to learn more about him. I wanted to see him and talk to him. And yet… at times I couldn’t even remember clearly what he looked like!

That was when I knew I had feelings for a feeling, not him. It wasn’t necessarily about him. It was about what I wanted and needed. I’m talking about it in the past tense, as if it’s not something I’m still going through – I am. That’s what makes it so hard to understand.

Now, I did Psychology A Level. I have had many years of mental illness and researching all about mental health, to help myself. Plus there have been mentions of it on TV shows over the years. So I know that the term I needed to research was ‘transference’. I knew this was what I was experiencing, and I wanted to know how people cope with it.

Upon looking it up, I was surprised at just how many people have experienced the same. The general consensus was that it was actually a GOOD thing. A healthy sign that you’re healing, or ready to heal. The advice given by the majority was to talk about it with the therapist. You have to understand that nothing can come from disclosing it. It’s not to get some validation or reciprocation of feelings, as that will never happen. It’s off-limits. Obviously depending on what the therapist is like, they might even transfer you to another therapist if they think it will get in the way of your recovery. Or they might help you through it. They might help you understand why you’re feeling the way you do, and help you see what you can learn from it, about yourself and how you relate to your past.

The research I did was very positive, and I decided to do something completely out of my comfort zone and admit to it, early on…. to nip it in the bud, stop it in its tracks and make the most out of the course. It filled me with the worst anxiety I’ve had. I came up with a plan of how to approach it, easing the idea in, so that he realised I just wanted to be rid of it, and that I understood what transference was. But as much as I appeared to be skirting round the issue (when in reality I was building up to finally unburdening myself), James was also skirting the issue in his questioning. He probably thought I didn’t want to actually say what the problem was. Now the problem is he’s not my individual therapist. So really I shouldn’t have followed the advice from online, because most of those people probably transferred onto their individual therapist, who they see every week and can work through the issue with them one-on-one. I don’t have that opportunity because it’s a group session, and not about dealing with individual issues. So I knew I might not have time to work through it with him. I just wanted it off my chest. I already felt trapped with it, BECAUSE I couldn’t work through it with him…. yet I had to attend the group every week, filled with these distressing feelings. I felt trapped.

So when he didn’t give me the space to say what I needed to, and suggested I speak to my individual therapist about whatever was troubling me, I felt powerless. I’d had my decision taken away from me. Not only that but I felt even more trapped, because I still had to carry on with the course – returning to the group after the ten minute break, where I’d spoken to James, and not made any progress.

This feeling of powerlessness, feeling trapped, overwhelmed with emotions and feeling stupid for doing the wrong thing, made something inside of me snap. As James went back into the group and I followed him, I decided I couldn’t face going back into the room, unable to focus, and with all those other people there. I excused myself, said I’d be there in a minute and went off to the toilets.

There I broke down in tears, and made a stupid choice to harm myself. I had prepared for things going very wrong, and had a tool in my pocket, to harm myself with. Unfortunately I was so desperately upset and broken that I wasn’t in my usual mind of damage limitation. I usually contain it, and most of my wounds are deemed ‘superficial’. But I was lost in a moment of feeling unable to carry on with life. I didn’t want to die, but I honestly didn’t care at that point I made the cut. Anyway it ended up being the worst self-harm I’d ever done. Sarah ended up treating me with my own steri-strips, but advised me to go to the hospital. So I did.

When I got home from the hospital I was angry. I was furious. I was raging… that I was made to feel that powerless that I resorted to self-harm. I blamed James. This was probably an aspect of the transference… from times when unresolved issues with men led me to self-harm. I wrote it all out, as I just wanted to scream. Just a day or two later I switched to blaming myself instead.

That was a long, painful, exhausting week. I couldn’t sleep properly. I was going to have my dressing changed every couple of days. I didn’t have an appetite. I kept having flashbacks, very vivid ones to what happened. I felt so ashamed that Sarah got involved. And I felt so guilty that I did it straight after talking to James, and he was told what happened, so probably blamed himself. I still can’t let go of the shame and guilt even now.

I knew it would be hard going back again, knowing they’d likely talked about me, and what happened. I apologised to each of them, and James actually said he’d learnt from the experience too, to be more direct in questioning. So there’s positives there, but this was before he even knew what the problem was, so it shows he went away and thought about it and the role he played. Which increases my guilt. He didn’t make me harm myself. I’m the one stupid enough to have had something on me to hurt myself with. He wouldn’t have known. I feel worse for James than I do for Sarah – and she had to actually see the wound and fix it for me! But it’s more embarrassment with her. But with James I feel bad for making him feel bad. I hate to hurt anyone.

I picked myself back up and threw myself into the therapy course, joining in more. I had given James and Sarah something to read which explained why I did what I did. In it I explained about the transference, but said that I don’t want to talk about it now. It’s done and dusted, and not such an issue anymore. I lied….. Well… I didn’t LIE as such – it was true at the time I wrote and gave it. But now it’s crept back in and it’s overwhelming.

Just this morning I was crying at the thought of the end of the course, and knowing I will NEVER see James again. In fact I’m welling up again as I write this. It’s crazy. How can I be so attached to someone I only met a month ago? But I have realised this too, is part of the transference. I’ve had a think about it today and come to the conclusion that I have been abandoned by so many people… so many men that I cared about have just disappeared on me. They gave me no closure. They didn’t appreciate my feelings. They just vanished, leaving me with so many questions and unresolved feelings. They made me feel worthless and like I didn’t matter…. didn’t exist. They taught me that if I like a man, he will leave me without a word. I will lose him from my life… forever. And I don’t cope very well with ‘forever’ or ‘never again’. It’s too scary. It’s too sad.

So the thought of never seeing James again. I can’t bear it. And it’s making me relive that feeling of losing someone I care about, and can’t imagine my life without.

I have so many different emotions coming up from knowing James, and I wish I could work WITH him to work through those emotions. I feel jealous… when I had my incident, Sarah was the one who came looking for me, and has spoken to me since. But when someone else in the group went off, James went to check on her. This made me jealous. I also felt a tinge of resentment this week towards Sarah for dealing with me and taking charge of speaking to me, rather than letting James be in on it too. When another member didn’t get on with their therapist, James made an appointment with him, but when I said I didn’t feel comfortable talking to my therapist about the issue I had, he didn’t suggest that for me. This stirred up feelings I had in the past, where guys would treat me differently. They would have time for their friends, but not for me, they’d always cancel on me or not make time for me. I notice other members being ‘flirtatious’ with James (in my opinion), and it makes me angry with them. And it makes me feel shit about myself. I feel like they’re ‘competition’, and that he would never pick me over them. Nobody ever picks me over anyone else. Nobody would even pick me if there was no longer even a choice! Of course all of this is putting aside the fact he’s married, and a therapist, so it’s not even an issue! There is no actual competition because he’s not available. But it just wakes up these emotions and memories in me.

I love every little thing about him. I can’t even begin to explain all the things that melt my heart. He’s quirky. He’s different. He’s got such a soothing voice in mindfulness exercises. I added one to the list this week – his cute, dorky laugh… it made my heart smile. But you see, I feel BAD for feeling this way. You’d think that feeling emotions similar to admiration and love, and appreciation would be a good thing. But for me it’s hell. When you know it’s unrequited… when you know it’s impossible and hopeless, it’s horrible. And to know as well that it’s not even real. It sucks.

I feel so embarrassed to admit how I feel towards this therapist. But I guess one piece of achievement I have to take from it, is that if I had to say it out loud, I wouldn’t say ‘I’m in love with James’. I would say ‘I feel like I’m in love with James’, and there IS a difference. I know that I’m not. But the feelings I have are mimicking that sensation of loving someone… of being attached to someone. And knowing it can’t be and that I’m going to lose him soon, is breaking my heart, like real heartbreak.

Transference is about the past. I’m feeling this because of my experiences with men. But also because of what James as a therapist represents.

He is a man, who, as part of his job, listens to me…. understands…. doesn’t judge…. is supportive… is sensitive to my needs and feelings… respects me…. But of course these are traits necessary for the job he does. I have no way of knowing what sort of man he is away from work. He might be just like the rest of them! But I was likely attracted to him for these traits, as my experiences with men have been lacking in them. I have been hurt by men, and they were not very good men. They seemed to be the opposite of what I imagine James to be.

But also to add another layer to the transference…. James seems like a ‘nice guy’. And the last nice guy I liked, I had pictured settling down with him. I needed him. And I lost him. I lost him because I didn’t have the balls to speak up and tell him I liked him, until it was already too late and he had been swooped up by one of my supposed ‘best friends’ behind my back. So now, being in the presence of a ‘nice guy’ who embodies everything I’d need in a man, and knowing that he’ll never be mine, and in a few weeks it’ll be another loss of a good man from my life, that stings like crazy.

It’s very complex, and conjures up some extremely painful emotions. But something interesting that’s come to me today, is that originally I saw the transference as a BLOCK to my therapy. A distraction. Now I realise it’s actually an important part of the therapy. It’s just knowing how to use it to my advantage and get the most out of it moving forward. I don’t know if these therapists are geared up for helping me with that, or if that’s something for the future.

I do wish I’d just stuffed it down and ignored it. But at the same time I know I shouldn’t regret things, as it felt right at the time. And it’s shaping my character, strength and understanding of myself. Do I wish I had more support with this? Of course. But there’s not enough out there. Nobody can spare me the time. So that’s why today I am becoming my own therapist, and trying my best to understand this transference, alone. It’s all I can do for the next two months.

Understanding that it’s transference doesn’t mean it isn’t killing me every day. It really is. I keep crying today. I’m not looking after myself properly. I’m depressed even more. I feel ill. And I can’t cope with life in between sessions.

I had Sarah suggest to me that if I’m struggling too much then I can stop going to the group right now, and maybe do something in the future. But what she doesn’t understand is I WANT to do the therapy. It’s LIFE I don’t want to do. I’m happy (well, as happy as you can be when dealing with very heavy, upsetting topics!) at my therapy group. That 1% of my week is one of the better times. It’s the 99% of the week that I struggle with. Giving up on the course would be giving up on life for me. It would be admitting I’m not ready to have help, and I just want to self-destruct. It would be allowing me to destroy myself. It would be dangerous now. So I will push on, to learn as much as I can and put the skills into use. I just hope the therapists realise how hard I’m having to work to just be there. I’ve not felt such intense feelings, both good and bad, about one person so rapidly. And it’s distressing.

 

Have you ever experienced transference with a therapist? Feel free to share your story below, so that we can all connect with each other and realise we’re not alone in feeling this. It’s the silence and secrecy about transference which brings the shame and isolation. There’s nothing to be ashamed of – it happens for a reason. It’s just working out what that reason is.

 

Take it easy xxxx