Facts? no, Uncertainty

I’m dealing with some powerful emotions and abandonment triggers, and don’t know how to cope with them right now. I’m trying to use my tools to regulate myself, because I can feel myself heading for a meltdown. It’s been a busy day with way too much stimulation. But even the best tools and things that usually help don’t always work. That’s when it’s helpful to have someone else around. Now that I’m back home alone, I don’t have that.

In DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) they tell you to check the facts before reacting on our emotions. But how the hell am I supposed to do that when I don’t have the facts? I’m someone who needs as much information as possible in order to make decisions, process, understand things, or generally be able to regulate myself.

But there’s uncertainty. The bane of my existence. Uncertainty about so many things.

My meds have just started kicking in, so I’ll end this here before everything starts getting blurry.

Maybe I’ll feel better tomorrow.

Safe and “Additional” Diagnosis

Just a relatively quick update, as I don’t have the mental energy right now for an in-depth post explaining everything. There’s way too much.

I’ve been back in the psychiatric clinic for the past two weeks. Didn’t want to come in initially, but my therapist thought it was necessary, and I ultimately agreed. I’m going to be discharged either on Thursday or Friday.

There’s something I haven’t mentioned before, as I haven’t been ready to talk to others about it, or even write about it. A while ago I came across a woman on the autism spectrum, and through identifying with her a lot, I started exploring it. So many things about myself, my life, made sense. I had always believed the stereotypes that comes along with autism, so it was never something I thought would apply to me until then.

I was terrified to bring it up with my therapist for many reasons, but I took the plunge anyway. I was very surprised when she told me that she had ASD as her differential diagnosis for a while already. She had never mentioned it to me before.

We spoke about it (specific symptoms/difficulties) now and then during a session in relation to something else that would come up, but never actually discussed it in any depth. And since it wasn’t something she specialized in, she also couldn’t do any official assessments. I was also wary about making it a “thing” in case I was wrong.

But then out of the blue, just before my admission, she brought up the possibility of getting an assessment while I’m in the clinic. She spoke to my dad before my admission and explained the purpose of the admission, the possibility of ASD, among other things. She was concerned about me, and thought that since I’m going to be living with them again as soon as I get my EU passport, he needs to understand some things. It went very well, and he was receptive and understanding. I was so surprised. He’s been different with me after that. In a good way. We’re having another “meeting” with him this week to discuss the results of my assessments.

I didn’t think anything would come of it actually, but true to her word, she arranged with a specialist to do an assessment with me. It was exhausting. Long. Overwhelming. I also had a sensory evaluation done (on a different day, thank god).

When the results came back and was discussed and explained, I felt so many emotions, I couldn’t even process them all. There was a mixture of heavy relief, intense sadness, my life flashing before my eyes. Memories. Even extreme anger. I’m still processing everything.

Primary diagnosis: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – a type previously called Aspergers
Secondary diagnosis: BPD

I strongly suspect my mom is also on the spectrum, as we’re so similar. When I had to ask her questions about my childhood, it brought back memories for her of her own childhood and life too with similar difficulties. She said I was a very different baby and child compared to her other two children, my half-sisters, and understands me better than she does them, even though I didn’t grow up with her. One of her brothers had been diagnosed with ASD as a child, so it seems it might run in her side of the family.

So much of my life makes so much more sense in light of all of this. I make more sense to myself now, and realized just how much masking I did throughout my life. No wonder I’m almost always exhausted and drained. My sensory report also confirmed so much. Feeling useless and stupid because I struggle/d with things that aren’t a big deal to most others… I’m not lazy, stupid, or pathetic. My brain just works differently and deals with certain things in different ways.

A Lifeline

Last week my therapist cancelled our session due to a personal loss.

My heart went out to her.

It was a strange experience. Usually a cancellation would trigger my abandonment issues. But this time all I could think and feel was an intense sadness for her. What this cancellation means to me didn’t even enter my mind (at least not consciously). For the rest of that week I carried on with life as normal.

Of course, I thought about my therapist often, and experienced those same feelings of sadness for her situation. Along with a deep sense of care, and hoping for comfort for her.

Something inside me shifted on Monday. Certain frustrations in my life intensified, and I received some bad news regarding my emigration (a new plan has since been made however). I was feeling extra intense pressure from my dad and everything starting going haywire inside my head. I felt overwhelmed. To the extent where I just wanted to end it all, just wanted to make it stop.

And then the panic set in. The desperation. I wanted my therapist. She would understand. She always does. She was the only one I feel safe with emotionally. Our session was a couple of days away, but what if she cancels again? What if she doesn’t come back? What if our relationship changes due to her loss? Yes, now the attachment demon had arrived. Now it was about me again.

I felt ashamed by these new thoughts and feelings. How could I be so selfish? That’s when the self-hatred kicked in.

On Tuesday came the message I feared. My therapist was cancelling our session this week too. This brought back the memory of another attachment figure, my OT, cancelling two of our sessions back to back, and then sending an email weeks later terminating our work. The reason for the new cancellation was also a trigger. The memorial service was on the day my session was supposed to be. My therapist had said that she would be back in the office this week. So the thought that she was going to be seeing some other clients this week, but not me, felt devastating.

In panic mode all I wanted to do was beg her for a time, any time this week, even just a 10 minute call, which we had done before. I wanted her to know how badly I was taking this. The effect it was having on me. I felt like I had been on the edge of a cliff since the previous day, and now I was slipping. But despite the frame of mind I was in, I resisted my urges. Because I didn’t want to make things harder for her than they already were. Because I care about her.

But I knew I needed to do something because at that moment I didn’t trust myself with myself. I knew I needed to talk to someone. A professional. I thought of the therapist who I had two sessions with when my therapist was on leave. While I had been comfortable with her, I wasn’t comfortable enough in this situation. I didn’t want anyone that was even remotely connected to my therapist. I wanted A. Other than my current therapist, A knows me best and knows how to work (and deal) with me. We worked together for more than two years after all.

I reached out to her and asked whether we could schedule an appointment for sometime this week. I was worried that she wouldn’t have time available. But thankfully, she did. So we scheduled a video session for the next day. And even though I was in a horrible place for the rest of that day and evening, there was that little sliver of hope peeking through. Keeping me going. Keeping me safe.

Still, leading up to our session, fears that she would cancel as well, kept showing up. But she didn’t cancel. She showed up. It was like coming up for air.

We’ve had contact since we stopped working together when I moved over to my current therapist in 2018, but they were just text messages here and there. She still reads my blog. This has all been enough to keep our connection strong.

I didn’t know what to expect after such a long time of not seeing her. I thought I’d be nervous. That it might be weird. But it wasn’t. It was as though no time had passed. It felt familiar. Comfortable.

For some reason, my distress of the past few days and hours fizzled out as soon as I saw her. We caught up a bit. Some nice moments.

It was easy to open up about everything going on. And it felt so good to be able to talk to someone about this situation with my therapist. Especially with someone who is a therapist herself, and at the same time, knows me well. She provided different perspectives. Possibilities. Got me to list the evidence for why I can trust my therapist and know she cares about me. This exercise was extremely helpful, and not something I had been able to do, or see, in my distressed state.

What was also helpful was when A told that I’ve grown since we worked together, and pointed some of it out. It helped because I’d been feeling like a failure. A therapy and personal failure. Like I had regressed completely. It also felt really good when she said that it was nice to see me again. A much-needed boost to my self-esteem.

Ever the ethical professional, she asked whether I would be okay with her contacting my therapist to let her know that we had a “emergency” session. I actually really appreciated this because like she said, she doesn’t want to interfere in my work with my current therapist. Feeling protective though, I asked her to rather send her that message next Monday. I want to give therapist some “space” this week. She doesn’t need to be thinking of me right now. I’m seeing her on Monday (still struggling with the fear of yet another cancellation), so then we can discuss it as well.

This session was exactly what I needed. It felt like a warm, comforting hug. It was as though I had been stuck in a pit of despair and negativity, but had been pulled out of it. Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m completely okay. I’m still struggling. But I’m coping.

We do what we have to in order to survive.

A Long Day

Today was one of those days where everything that can go wrong, did. I had a few errands to run, and one of them had a deadline and was critical to get done. I’m aware that I sometimes make things hard on myself. So I can’t blame external forces for everything. I was the one who put this off because I didn’t feel like I could deal with it at the time. And it got to the point where I had no choice but to deal with it now. The last day. But it’s done now, so that stress and dread is off my shoulders.

The rain made things so difficult and I was soaked more times than not. But safe and warm in my pj’s in bed right now with my weighted blanket, the sound of the rain is so beautiful and soothing. Funny how something can so quickly go from being a curse to a blessing. Perspective really is everything.

I need a new script for my medication, and because Psychiatrists are so expensive, I can’t afford to go see mine. So I did what I normally do, I called to make an appointment with my GP. The receptionist told me that she’s no longer working there, and moved to another province. My attachment issues have been worse lately than they’ve been in a long time. So this felt like yet another bullet. I had no idea she was leaving! I felt she could have let me know (she knows my issues). Whenever I’d walk into her office, she’d greet me with a huge smile (and sometimes a hug) and an enthusiastic “one of my favourite patients!”. I liked her so much, and she was so good to and for me. I wrote a post about her a couple of years ago (you can read it here). Now I need to find someone else, and that caused my anxiety to spike. I think I’m going to ask my therapist if she knows someone I might be comfortable with. That’s the only thing that seems doable right now.

After that phone call I just wanted to call my therapist and make sure she wasn’t leaving me. I was so scared that I was going to lose her too. It felt like I was losing everyone I love and care about. I resisted the temptation to call her though. That’s quite an achievement.

I don’t feel so overwhelmed, irritated, or anxious tonight at least. All that’s left is exhaustion and a deep sadness. But it feels good to be writing here again.

A Reframe on BPD

I came across this article in my inbox this morning and wanted to share it on my blog. I really appreciate the way Annie approaches this subject with empathy. All her posts are worth a read and I can highly recommend her blog.

https://anniewrightpsychotherapy.com/a-reframe-on-borderline-personality-disorder/