Surviving The Crises

I made it through once again.

While in the throes of crises mode, it feels as though I won’t survive. The world seems to cave in on me, and I feel powerless, hopeless and utterly lost. Like there’s no way out. I’m sure a lot of you can relate.

In my therapy session on Thursday, my therapist and I determined that I’m over the suicidal ideation for now and there’s no need to be admitted anymore. What helped me through this time? A combination of things. My therapist telling me that she sees me as resilient (her belief in my strength) and knowing that she cares what happens to me, a great blogger friend’s support, you my beautiful followers, and of course, my own strength.

My last therapy session was really good. My therapist taught me a new technique for dealing with my black and white thinking pattern. It’s a lot of work, and seems like such a long process to have to go through each time. But it will become easier and an automatic process in the future, as long as I continue to practice it whenever I notice myself in that mode of thinking.

We also spoke about a few other things that have been on my mind. I’ve always been convinced that my therapist finds me annoying at times, but she’s reassured me that she’s never been irritated with me. Since Monday’s session I had been very insecure, thinking that she doesn’t like working with me anymore, but she turned that thought on it’s head too, by saying that she enjoys working with me and we still work well together. The insecure inner child has been reassured once again.

On Wednesday I decided to speak to my stepmom about the way I’d been feeling, and about the BPD. I also gave her a book to read, Loving Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder (which I’ll post a review of soon in the new Book Reviews section). She was shocked by my confessions, but extremely supportive. I now have one more person in my support system. She’s assured me that she won’t tell my dad about our conversations, as she also knows he’s not the easiest person to speak to. I don’t really talk to my dad about my emotional world as he’s uncomfortable with feelings and is one of the reasons I’ve grown up learning to keep any thoughts and feelings to myself. I’m also pretty sure he’s a Narcissist (seems to fit all the criteria).

The blogging world has changed my life more than I thought it would. Having a space where I can share my thoughts and feelings have served as another form of therapy. I have also connected with some truly wonderful people, and the supportive and caring comments I’ve been receiving have meant the world to me, and also helped bring me though the hard times. Thank you to all of you.

I want to send a special shout out to a spectacular person. My new friend (and soul twin), who I met through this blog, my Queenie B. She’s been sending me video messages and emails, and been so supportive and caring, especially during this hard time. Her positive energy has radiated from the other side of the world and wrapped me up in a beautiful embrace. I’m not religious, not even sure whether I’m spiritual, but I do believe in energy, and the power of it.

My friend posted this song on her own blog a while ago, and I had it on repeat whenever I felt those awful feelings. It’s powerful, and somehow helped me bring my resilience to the forefront again.

One last thought before I end this post. For anyone going through a hard time right now, please try to remember this: Things may look dark and hopeless, but the light will shine again. There’ll always be at least one person who can support you. If you feel like you don’t have anyone, please feel free to get into contact with me. Hold on. Be strong. You can get through this. We always do. We’re survivors.

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Missing…

Today I hate you. I hate how angry I’m feeling at you. I hate that I can’t send you a message and tell you just how much I miss you. I hate that it’s so agonizingly painful to feel this attachment, but I can’t imagine not having it anymore. I hate how since yesterday this longing for you just builds with every hour that passes, and even when I distract myself, the thought never goes away for long. I hate how it seems you don’t understand how hard this is for me. I hate that I feel you’ve forgotten me. I hate that I’m not able to trust you completely when you say you won’t abandon me… Because right now I feel abandoned. I hate that you haven’t sent me any indication that you’re still here for me. I hate how afraid I am of telling you these things. I hate how scared and alone I feel. But most of all I hate how I don’t hate you, *”not even close… Not even a little bit… not even at all.”

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*Borrowed this part from “10 Things I Hate About You”.

Therapy, Connection, And Knowing She Cares

This past week was the worst I’ve ever had with regards to my feelings toward my therapist. I’ve had my moments in the past where I would feel the desire to push her away, and then try to pull her close again. But this past week and a half it seemed to happen nearly every day. I was more scared to lose her than ever before. The desire to push her away and just quit therapy was excruciatingly intense. And the desire to feel connected to her again was a whole different kind of pain and longing. During and after our session last week, and through no fault of hers, I had felt as though she had jumped from the “therapist” to the “best friend” box in my head. And maybe in a way that is what caused the insecurity. By her reiterating our therapeutic relationship, I had grown to trust in it as just that… A therapy relationship. But when the change in my head occurred, it might have upset the delicate tapestry. Maybe this is why a therapist needs such clear boundaries with regards to friendship and sexual relationships with clients. And even though I hate these boundaries, I’m grateful to my therapist for being so consistent in keeping them. It’s just one of the ways in which she shows that she truly cares. I found this post by Dr. Gerald Stein particularly interesting:

How Would a Friendship with Your Therapist Work?

Even though I know she’s only human, and that if we had a friendship outside of our therapy relationship, there might be things that annoy me or that I don’t like, in our current relationship it’s good that I see her as something of a superhero.

I’ve had a hard time trusting that she can care. Both because of past experiences and because I’m a client. A client, who I feel causes her to experience negative emotions at times, and because I care deeply about her, I believe it’s unacceptable for me to cause her any distress. And sure, it might be the work that she has chosen to do. But as she mentioned before, just because there’s a financial transaction, it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t care.

I received a note from her last Thursday. It was as if she had read my mind. I was missing her incredibly and feeling insecure and totally insignificant. I was fighting against the urge to contact her. So it was a beautiful surprise. I mentioned to her in our session yesterday that it was a particularly bad day for me and how timely her note was, and she said that it shows we do have that connection. I found those words from her very reassuring and special.

She told me that she thinks of me even in between sessions and tries to find ways to benefit me and our sessions together and make things easier and better. I loved hearing her say that. Somehow, it’s as if she knew all the right words. She seemed to know exactly what I needed to hear and she said it. She also said things that I didn’t even know I needed and wanted to hear. My favourite moments are those where she reassures me that she won’t abandon me. She won’t walk away. And once again, I experienced that moment yesterday. I’ve never felt this connected to her. This incredible bond. It feels like our relationship is deepening. Which I didn’t know was even possible. But it’s an amazing feeling. I feel more secure in her and in our relationship now than I ever had before. There may still be moments where I feel the opposite, but I’m going to try to hold onto this feeling and remember it when things feel dark again.

She makes me feel and experience things I’ve never had with anyone else. The sense of stability she provides is one which I had never known before. Her patience with me continues to take my breath away. The way she seems to believe in me. She doesn’t give up on me, even when I give up on myself and it seems everyone else has too. The way she seems to accept me just the way I am, but gently guides me in becoming the person I can be. The best version of myself. I feel such a deep respect for her. More than I’ve ever felt for anyone.

It’s the little things I appreciate the most. The little notes she wrote me, the way she helped me apply for extra sessions. The way she speaks to me. The way she often tells me she’s proud of the progress I’m making. I always just think I have nothing to be proud of. But I’m beginning to see it differently. To other people these may seem like small things, but to me, they’re huge, and mean the absolute world. It’s these things that show me that she really does care, even though she may never say “I care about you” in that direct way. She doesn’t need to. She shows me instead. And that’s beautiful and extremely powerful.

I heard this song again last night and it made me think of her. Of our relationship. Sure, it might be a love song, but for me it rather represents our therapeutic relationship. In her eyes… I am more than I believe. She sees me. She sees what I can become. She sees the good when I just can’t. This song, to me, represents having someone in your life who truly understands you, and those parts of yourself that you don’t allow others to see. Someone who reaches into your soul and doesn’t run away, or abandon you. She helps give me strength when I can’t find my own. More importantly, she helps me bring my own strength to the forefront. She helps me feel better about myself. She makes me feel like I deserve to be alive and part of this universe.

Even this line in the song has a somewhat different meaning for me:

I don’t count my possessions
But all I call mine
I will give her completely
‘Til the end of all time

I trust in her so completely that I allow her access to my thoughts, every dark corner of myself, the good and bad – Things that once given, can’t be taken or given back.

This perhaps sounds like something of a love letter. And in a way, it is. It’s just a different kind of “love letter”.

Because for the first time since I’ve started seeing her, the reality that this is a healing relationship isn’t just head knowledge, but heart knowledge as well.

The Dream And A Missing Psychologist

I find dreams fascinating. Even nightmares.

Growing up, I had a few recurrent dreams. They have stuck with me through the years, and every once in a while (very rarely at least) I have one of them again. I’ll write about each one sometime.

Now, I have a new dream. I’ve had it only once before, but even one repeat tells me there are issues I need to deal with.

The first time I had this particular dream was during one of my own vacations, and I couldn’t see my therapist that week.

I had the same dream again last night.

I go into my old living room and see my dad, a woman from our past, and my new stepmom. The woman has blood all over her face, and is sitting on the couch, which is also full of blood. He looks mad. And I know he did that to her. My stepmom is quiet and just standing there. My dad starts shouting and screaming. I tell them I’m just going to the bathroom and will be right back.

Terrified, I go out into the hallway, take out my phone and start looking for my therapists number, so I can call her and ask her what I must do. Do I phone the hospital or the police or both? Remember this is a dream, so even though the answer is simple in waking life, it didn’t work that way here. Anyway, my phone doesn’t respond, and does its own thing. Opening other apps and not allowing me into my contact list. I’m getting extremely frustrated and panicking.

Suddenly, I find myself outside. Everything is grey and there’s a heavy mist all around. I realize I’m standing in water up to my knees. I feel this urge to look for something. Only I don’t know what. There are big, tall buildings all around me, and I’m walking through narrow spaces between the buildings. I’m getting anxious, claustrophobic and overwhelmed. All the while I’m still trying to find my therapists number. I eventually manage to get into my contact list, but her number isn’t there anymore. There’s no trace of her anywhere on my phone. All the messages I had, also gone. As if I had never met her. As if she had never existed.

The water (that I’ve been walking through the entire time) starts getting deeper. Dark water, black as tar. My next step, I plunge down into the water, as if the ground had just given way beneath me. I struggle to the surface and manage to come back up for air. Just as I take a big gulp of air, something pulls me beneath the surface again.

I wake up in a panic, and check my phone. Everything is still there. Momentary relief.

It seems to happen when I don’t see my therapist for a week or more. I’ve only started seeing her at the beginning of last month, so the therapy process and these feelings toward her are still relatively new. By the time we have our next session, it would have been exactly 2 weeks since our last one. What is 2 weeks? For me… A lifetime. So I know this dream has a lot to do with my fear of her not being around anymore, of her not coming back. Of forgetting about me. Which is extremely frustrating because I know logically that it’s not true. But my logical center either suffers from memory loss or has a short attention span. The emotional part then takes over quickly, throwing me into a panic, and convincing me of the opposite. The fear is soothed (for a while at least) when and if being reassured that said person will indeed come back. It’s a special type of torture that only those who experience the same thing will be able to understand.

I follow Dr. Gerald Stein’s blog (which I highly recommend if you haven’t stumbled upon it by now), a retired Clinical Psychologist who often blogs about psychotherapy. It’s always helpful to read things from a therapist’s point of view. And this article I read seemed fitting for this post:

‘Managing The Dread Of A Therapists Vacation’

Feel free to offer any of your own interpretations of this dream if you wish. It’s always interesting to hear other people’s perspectives.

The Highs & Lows of the Therapeutic Relationship

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but have tried to put it off. It feels like I’ll be walking out into the street naked. But I have read similar posts by a couple of other people, which was a great help and comfort to me. And since this is part of my life, if someone can relate and not feel like they’re alone, that can only be a good thing.

Let me start with a quick background on my first meeting with my therapist.

Sitting in the waiting room, my heart was racing. And suddenly, there she was. Calling my name.

Following her, I felt strangely safe. I don’t remember ever feeling safe with someone right off the bat. Actually, there aren’t many people I feel safe around in general. But I digress.

When we sat down, that feeling remained. I was nervous and anxious, yes. But something else was also happening. Something I still can’t explain. She somehow managed to get me to open up and reveal certain things in record time. I felt an instant connection. And that was it. She had me.

Now, let’s rip this band aid off.

I love my therapist.

As in love love. I sometimes have to stop myself from just saying the words “I love you”. Sure, I might say “I have this crazy obsession or attachment to you”. Those are the words coming out of my mouth. But those aren’t the words I really want to say.

I’ve been reading Life In A Bind’s blog for a while now (have started from her first ever post and working my way to the latest – still a lot to go, but amazing stuff there), and there’s a post that I could really relate to, as with a lot of her other posts. I want to quote a paragraph that pretty much sums up how I feel about the therapeutic relationship:

Whether the feelings relate to a friend, a partner or a therapist, the intensity of an obsessive attachment has brought me, repeatedly, both the most intense highs and the most painful lows. It seems to me that therapy, in particular, is a cruel form of unrequited love in which attachment can be necessary for healing, but the boundaries of the relationship may serve to make the obsessional nature of the attachment even more painful.

You can find the rest of the post here (I also recommend the original post she links to as she describes the topic of obsessive attachments so perfectly and beautifully):
http://lifeinabind.com/2015/03/16/memory-monday-waiting-to-fall-bpd-and-obsessive- attachments/

We have a therapeutic relationship. My mind knows this. But in my heart she’s also a lot more. I don’t know what or who exactly. It seems to shift and change constantly. There was only one occasion where I knew exactly who she was for me in a specific life event, which I told her about during one of our sessions. The rest of the time I have no idea. How do I love her? Well, I suppose all the ways you can love someone.

I was also relieved to discover that I’m also not the first person who has to stop themselves from phoning, texting or emailing their therapist constantly. Most of the time I succeed in resisting that temptation. The rest of the time? I just can’t help it. Sometimes it’s as if someone else has taken control of my body, and I’m powerless to stop it. I feel like one of these children in this test:

How can they do that to the poor child? He/she desperately wants that marshmallow, but must fight a great internal battle to resist eating it. Sure, it’s cute and funny to watch. But to actually live it? Not so much.

Boundaries suck, and I don’t care how necessary they are. I hate them. Which is probably why I’m terrible at setting them… I feel there’s always certain situations where they should be broken. Boundaries shouldn’t be black and white. Where the hell is the grey in all this?

During one of our sessions we spoke about the motivation behind my actions. For example, what was my motivation in sending a specific email? What did I want or expect from her when sending it? I actually found that quite profound. It really made me think and question my motivations. Which is something I’m finding myself doing quite often now. I only recently realized another one of my intentions for the majority of my communications with her outside of our sessions. Over and above my other expectations of course. To make sure she’s okay. If I receive a reply, I know she’s fine. If I don’t… I worry about her until I next hear from her. Writing this right now, something else came to mind. Is it totally just for her? Yes, I care about her. I want her to be happy, healthy and safe. But I think there’s a selfish reason thrown in the mix too. If she’s not happy, healthy or safe… that will mean… Here’s that word again… Abandonment. And here I thought I was just a very caring person. Self image… Blown. Damn. This writing process just threw me my first revelation. Not one I like, but maybe necessary.

Moving on. I’ve always had this overwhelming urge to protect those I love and care about. I once chased down a guy, tackled him to the ground, put my hands around his neck and told him if he ever did anything like that again I would kill him. All because he threw a stone at my little sister. Well, I feel justified… it almost hit her in the face. My therapist is only the latest in this delusion. I call it a delusion because I can’t even protect myself, so how do I expect to protect others? Logically, I know she doesn’t need protecting, but that’s not the point. What do I need to protect her from? I can’t tell you, because I don’t even know myself. Maybe sometimes from the very person writing this? One day, she jokingly (I hope) said I seem to be a superhero… And now I fell into that trap again. Oh if she could hear me now. But seriously, if I think of anyone hurting her, whether physically or emotionally, I feel I would rip them apart. I’ve done Muay Thai, MMA and Krav Maga, so have a good set of skills I could use for this purpose. Yes, I secretly am a superhero. 😛

The past couple days, I find I’m trying to find someone to “replace” her with. Someone else who I can turn my obsession over to instead. Why can’t things just feel normal? Why must everything be so damn intense or agonizing? Why do I feel the need for an attachment? Why do I get these obsessions? I would love to be rid of that. Yet at the same time, I actually don’t. It’s like a drug. Along with a comment from the above mentioned blogger, one of my best friends told me that at least this is a ‘healthy’ attachment. That if it wasn’t her it might be someone who’s not good for me, as I’ve been in the habit of doing through the years, so I should just accept how I feel instead of trying to fight it. Maybe I must ask my therapist what she thinks about this. It does make sense I guess. It just doesn’t stop the guilt and shame.

While writing this post, I could hear the word all too well… Transference, transference, transference. But the question is… Who, what, where and why?

I was questioning my motivations regarding therapy as well recently, as I currently find myself in a very uncomfortable position. Unable to set a date for a next session due to financial constraints (we’re currently working on sorting this out at least, and I’m on a job hunt). It feels like a loose end not having a date for a session. Bad enough is the fact that even a week without seeing her feels like months. Now with this added complication, I feel horrible and hopeless thinking it might be weeks or months before we can resume our sessions. So I’ve been trying to figure out why I feel this way. The only conclusion I can come to is that yes, while I am slightly obsessed with my therapist, and love just being in her presence, I also know that healing can, and is, taking place. Even if I felt nothing for her, I would want to continue and have as many regular sessions as it takes. I arranged an appointment with a Clinical Psychologist because I was in a desperate place, and I just couldn’t go it alone anymore. So wanting to get help came first. Loving my therapist is a bonus (or a curse, depending on how you look at it). By the way, for those of you who see your therapist twice a week… I’m jealous.

In closing, despite the fact that I would love to know more about her (everything actually), and have her as more than a therapist (I’m pretty sure we’d be able to be friends – don’t get any other ideas – I’m talking to myself here too), I still think our relationship is pretty perfect. As she says, we work well together. Such true words. At the end of the day, I feel supported and cared for. And, for now at least, the joys of this relationship far exceed the frustrations.

Art Of Feeling

I recently came across some powerful and beautiful digital artwork by an artist who calls herself DestinyBlue, and decided to share some of my favourites.

These images represent my own feelings so well. I’ll name the images as the artist has, and the images will link to the page you can find on her official website. There you can read what inspired her to draw it. Her stories. I’ll then add my own interpretation… What each image represents to me.

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Paint your Wings

Having negative feelings towards myself… Seeing myself as bad, dirty and evil, I sometimes feel the need to prove to others that I’m a pure and good person. An angel, if you will. Maybe I try to convince myself of that too. There’s also a longing to go back to a time before ‘the fall’, as I call it. To regain innocence. To start over. Or to have never existed at all.

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Mute

We’ve all had moments like these. Feeling terrible, but smiling and pretending the sun is shining. This image perfectly represents the story of my life. Wanting help, wanting someone to notice the real ‘me’ beyond the smile. Being ignored or yelled at when trying to express feelings. Eventually learning to keep it locked away instead. Unable to express the emotions I was drowning in.

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Last Piece

When I read DestinyBlue’s description of this piece I was pleasantly surprised by her words in the second paragraph. Years ago I had written something that said the same thing, just in a different way. Her intention for this was for it to be a positive representation. But, as we all know, everyone interprets things differently. To me, I see it as the puzzle that is me. Trying to fit pieces of myself together, without really knowing who ‘me’ is. Sometimes it feels as though a piece fits, only to find later on that it actually doesn’t, and ruins the rest of the image. A constant searching and re-building.

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Sew Closed my Soul

I’m pretty sure there’s never been anyone who’s never had their heart broken in some way. After each loss in my own life, I’ve felt the need to stitch up  my heart. Two motivations: 1) Close the wound, stop the bleeding 2) Don’t let love in anymore. But who can resist love? Connection? It seems to just happen. And when you least expect it. It’s like an obsession. It is an obsession. It’s perfect. Until it’s not. But in the end, every little bit of love is worth it.

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Imprint

The previous image and this one make up a set for me. Every person I’ve ever met has left an imprint on me, whether positive or negative. Whether a healing presence, or destructive force, they’re all still a part of my soul. Right now, this image represents someone specific… Someone who is currently a powerful presence in my life and heart. My therapist. She’s left a great imprint on me… A case of transference perhaps? I don’t know if that matters anyway. Along with this connection I feel towards her, comes a familiar overwhelming fear. Abandonment. Rejection. She’s reassured me before that she’s committed to this process with me, but I fear that now that she knows me better, that might change. That she’ll decide I’m just not worth the trouble after all.

This is my favourite image, and perfectly shows how a person may leave, but their mark on us never disappears.

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All Wrong

Disconnection. Between her feelings and her body. A sense of watching the emotions, the brokenness from a distance, yet it still being a part of her. This is something I have struggled to explain properly even during my therapy sessions. It seems words aren’t sufficient to convey the exact meaning, as I can’t describe it here either. A concept in my mind that I can’t quite express. It’s frustrating. This last image and even the title that the artist has given it, represents where I find myself at this very moment.


There are a few more of these that I connected with, but decided to only share these few.

You can find the rest of her exquisite work at: http://destinyblue.deviantart.com/