Parts Of Me

Today was one of those days where I wanted nothing to do with my therapist. All I wanted to do when I got her session confirmation text message was to cancel it. What stopped me? The different parts of myself all bringing their own voices to the thought. Arguing back and forth, pulling in different directions.

I’ve recognized 4 distinct parts of myself. There’s the little part, the one that’s terrified of having the connection to therapist cut. That’s scared whenever she needs to be away from her, and can’t bear “goodbye”. The thought that therapist will disappear and isn’t around anymore. Who doesn’t understand why she has to go and leave her all alone.

Then there’s the insecure girl (she feels about 8 years old). The part that doesn’t quite know whether therapist can be trusted. That isn’t sure whether she’s cared about. That’s scared of the connection she feels. She’s also a little scared of therapist herself. She’s the shy one.

There’s also the rebellious and angry teenage part. She feels like she doesn’t need anyone or anything and that she’s better off alone. She longs for connection, but afraid of it. To her, connection means getting hurt. So she pushes people away. She uses anger so that she doesn’t feel the pain.

Lastly, there’s the adult part. The one that knows therapy is valuable and helping her move forward, even when it’s uncomfortable and hard. The one who truly values and cares deeply about therapist. She knows the connection is a healthy and necessary one. She likes learning things about herself that she maybe wasn’t aware of, and wants to grow and become the best version of herself.

Sometimes all these parts of myself seem to collide into one big confusing mess, and other times there’s a dominant one that seems stronger than the rest. The teenager was especially active this morning. She had built up walls around herself. But once again, a few minutes into the session, my therapist somehow managed to pull those walls down. Broke through the resistance and fear.

So while the teenage part was the dominant one, the littlest part was panicking about not seeing my therapist today, and the adult part was providing the rational thought. I didn’t cancel, I showed up to the session. Then it seemed it was the teenager and the child competing against one another in the first few minutes before and during the session.

Why do I feel this need to pull away? I figured this out right before the session. I think it’s because of the current situation. I have to go 2 weeks between sessions for the next while, and that’s really difficult for me to cope with. In other words, I hate it, and I don’t care if anyone says I’m overreacting or being silly.

It’s not just in the therapy relationship that this happens though. It seems to happen in my other relationships as well when I really sit down to think about it. Although the littlest part doesn’t seem to feature with anyone other than my therapist, and my wonderful friend, Imani (sorry for pushing you away the past few days).

Writing all this makes me feel ridiculous. But then… wait, I hear a voice… I DON’T CARE how I sound!

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.

Hope Quotes.jpg

Living Black & White

Woke up this morning and got started on my day, thinking I’d enjoy my day off work. I didn’t have any plans besides reading and catching up on the blogs I follow religiously, and get some needed study time in.

I did that a little bit (except for the studying part), but couldn’t help noticing that I was feeling really strange. Like I don’t exist. Like I don’t even have a name. I tried saying my name a few times, hoping to feel some recognition or “togetherness”, but it just didn’t sound right. It was as though the name didn’t belong to me. Like I’m no one. Not part of this world. Just floating somewhere, and I don’t even know where. How am I? I don’t even know if I am. There’s nothing. Just emptiness.

That continued on for most of the day. I attempted to study, but just couldn’t focus, no matter how hard I tried. So once again, I put my book aside. I can’t remember anything else from the day up until my therapy session. It’s been a long 2 weeks between sessions. Way too long.

It didn’t quite go the way I had planned. Not that I plan my sessions, but I at least know more or less what I want to talk about or what issues to address. I was surprised by the direction it ended up going in. We spoke about my excessive suicidal ideation over the past two weeks. She told me she was worried about me, and the truth is, I’m worried too. It just seems to be getting worse. We agreed that I would consider admission to hospital for a small amount of time (maybe a few days), which is something I never seriously considered before. I had thought about it once or twice in the past, but for the briefest few minutes. This time though, I think it might just be necessary and a good thing.

My therapist pointed out my black and white thinking during our conversation. I didn’t recognize that’s what was happening. After our session though I realized that I had been in “all or nothing” mode during our entire session. If she hadn’t mentioned that thinking pattern I wouldn’t have even known I was in it, and I wouldn’t have realized that I’d been doing it the whole time. I really should start noticing it from now on. I’ve never paid much attention to it. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about this thought process:

Splitting (also called black-and-white thinking or all-or-nothing thinking) is the failure in a person’s thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. It is a common defense mechanism used by many people. The individual tends to think in extremes (i.e., an individual’s actions and motivations are all good or all bad with no middle ground).

I feel really horrible. I feel like the worst client ever (did I just do it again?). Replaying the session back in my head and trying to see things from another perspective other than my own, I realize that the things I said could possibly have made her feel like I was “attacking” her and her skills as a Psychologist. Which wasn’t my intention at all. I think she’s the most amazing therapist. I told her in the beginning when she asked me about my suicide plan, that I didn’t want to talk to her about it, because I always feel invalidated by her, and that she doesn’t take me seriously when talking about that topic. She explained why she says what she says during those times, and I finally get it. She wasn’t invalidating me, she wasn’t careless about it, she was encouraging me to see my own strength and resilience. And now that I understand, I’m grateful for it and to her.

She pushed me today and I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it at all. But she knows what she’s doing, and like she says, therapy isn’t always easy.

I’m feeling really shitty, embarrassed and weird about it. Shitty, weird, embarrassed, and exhausted. I just want to crawl into a hole and hide away for a while. My bed will have to do instead.

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.”

miss-you-best-high-defination-hd-wallpaper-free

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

Frustrated With Myself (Again)

Yesterday was a weird day.

It all started when my therapist sent me a message confirming our appointment for later that morning. I felt emotionally cut off from her. It had been too long between sessions. I thought to myself “I don’t need therapy (or her) anymore”, but another part still wanted her (and I know I will always want her, even when I don’t “need” her anymore). The part that was indifferent had a far more active role in my mind though.

It continued during the session. I could hear myself saying all these good and positive things, but I lacked emotion. I was fully present and attentive when my therapist was mentioning some stuff about her and answered the questions I asked her, but when it came to ME and MY stuff, I felt disconnected from my feelings. I felt like I was “on the surface” instead of “down deep”. I couldn’t connect to ME. There were a couple of moments where I got really angry at technology and felt I was going to throw something, but that’s it. No other emotions.

Then it was time for work. My final training shift. Sunday we skipped training as the manager wasn’t there. Walking into the store I felt tired and not too well. All I wanted to do was go back home and sleep (I woke up this morning with a cold/flu so that’s probably why I felt so crap last night). But being so new I didn’t want to take any chances. The store was way too noisy. There was too much stimulation around me, and I felt triggered. The lights were too bright. There were too many people. Too many voices. I felt myself starting to lose control, and I was about to go tell the manager that I’m quitting, but then someone close by dropped a book and I almost jumped out of my skin. That quickly zapped that thought out of my head. But I started feeling claustrophobic and anxiety ripped through me. I was trying to remember all the tools I have learned up until this point, but I just couldn’t focus. I hit a blank. I felt tears well up, and I walked to the back office, to the furthest corner I could find and tried to get the tears to just not come, but come, they did. But I managed to stop the majority of it. I felt so overwhelmed. I forced myself to stay busy with the new books that had come in that I saw lying on the table, and proceeded to pick them up one by one and read the back (just like my therapist had suggested in our session). My shift was starting in a few minutes so I wasn’t neglecting my job at least. I really didn’t want to go back out there. It felt like my inner child was kicking and screaming, begging me to stay where it was safe, but I told her it would be alright and went out anyway.

It was much the same. Too many people, which I find intimidating. The smallest noise (the sound of someone typing on the keyboard for example) made me want to yell “stop it, just stop it” and cover my ears. I was still so jumpy (yet anyone that knows me will tell you I’m always quick to startle anyway) and my senses were on extra high alert. I’m naturally sensitive to my external environment (even as a baby apparently), but most of the time I can deal with it. But in moments like these, I find it especially difficult. It’s times like this when even the texture of my clothing bothers me and I just want to rip it all off. I don’t know exactly what it is that sometimes takes this sensitivity up beyond what is even normal for me, all I know is that it happens.

At one point, I had to help a customer, with my manager standing there watching. I didn’t trust myself. I felt panic and anxiety rise up. I looked at my manager and I think she could see it, as she smiled and said “you can do it”. But I didn’t feel like I could. The pressure was just too much. I wanted to run out and not look back. But I forced a smile and greeted the customer, painfully aware that I was visibly shaking. I then suddenly took on “robot mode”, and can’t remember the rest of that interaction. It was as if I had just shut down. When I was “back” the first thing I remember is the manager telling me “good job”. I can only hope I was friendly with the customer and didn’t come across as a complete idiot. But the manager looked happy, so I guess it’s safe to say that I didn’t mess up.

I know I should be kind to myself. But how can I be when this shit happens? Just when I think I’ve taken 1 or 2 steps forward, it’s like I take 20 steps back. It’s frustrating.

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.