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Posts from December 2010

  • Friends can be really hard work

    by Candycan on 30 December 2010

    I am so shattered this evening. I was supposed to be off work all week but after we booked our flights to go travelling I realised I will need an extra day of leave otherwise I will have to go to work the day after we return from our trip. So I decided to get up early and go in today. The plan was, to start early so I'd still have a long evening afterwards. Well, it all worked great except for the fact that I've been getting up after midday all week with being off and the 7.30 start turned out to be a bit too much for me.

    I had invited my friend Pou round this evening to watch movies and laze about so I picked her up on my way home from work, but I felt too tired to cope with being sociable. She was in a slightly manic mood as well (she tends to swing from manic to depressed really rapidly) and kept making un-funny jokes which she then expected me to laugh at and I didn't have the energy to tolerate this. I find her hard going at the best of times when she's manic.

    When I'm tired I get in a bad mood and don't want to speak or be spoken to and I definitely don't want to be touched. I apologised when I picked her up and said I was really knackered and she said it was OK and that we'd just relax and watch a movie, but then it seemed she expected more than that. She kept saying stupid jokes and poking fun at me and then wondering why I wasn't really laughing. I felt like shouting at her to stop forcing me to play her game. She also kept trying to hug and kiss me and a few times I was actually screaming for her to stop but she just thought I was being silly. I WASN'T! When I feel that way, any kind of physical touch is almost painful. I can't stand it. I was having a hard enough time just sitting on the same sofa as her. I actually told her that I was in a bad mood and that I don't like hugs when I'm in a bad mood. I tried to say it in a nice way, but I don't think she got how serious I was.

    She then (don't ask me why she did this) threw herself on me and starting nuzzling her face in between my boobs. Either she fancies me (very unlikely), has some kind of boob fetish (equally unlikely) or just thinks it's funny. Whatever the reason, it's certainly not funny to me and made me feel really angry. My chest area is a part of me I am extremely sensitive about. I can't stand to have my boobs touched by anyone; I get nervous all the time when my husband is near me in case he accidently touches my boobs and to have someone force themselves onto me like that, wether they think it's funny or not, is awful for me.

    Not to mention the fact that I have permanently sore ribs and any kind of pressure on them can trigger a lot of pain for me. My T said the chest pain I get might be a body memory from a time when someone broke my ribs by crushing me to the floor with their body weight. I am not sure if I agree with this theory; I tend to think I actually just have something wrong with my ribs (which may be a direct consequence of the rib crushing event or may be unrelated), but anyway, I've told Pou before about my sore chest and also, I shouldn't have to warn my friends about my ribs because I shouldn't have to expect that someone would do that to me!

    I think she felt hurt by my reactions to her. She asked me if she had annoyed me this evening and I explained again that I was just really tired, but secretly I did feel annoyed because I felt like she was expecting me to be someone I am not. I want to make her understand how important it is that she doesn't touch me or try to hug me if she senses resistance from me. It's not like we hug that much at the best of times; I'm not a 'huggie' kind of person, except with my husband (mainly when child parts are out). But it was almost like the more resistance I showed, the more she tried to do it and...kissing me? What the heck is that about?

    I feel like I need to be really blunt and explain that I can't tolerate affection sometimes, but I feel like if I was blunt enough to get through to her, it would make her feel bad and nervous of me as well. I feel like what I am about to say is really selfish but it's something I've come to realise is true about me and can't really work for me any other way: affection has to be on MY terms.

    I'm also feeling pissed off because she was putting on her perfume and she asked if I wanted a spray; I said NO so she sprayed it on me just to spite me (she thought that was funny). This to me was bigger than she realised. I felt like I smelt like someone else. It's hard enough feeling like I am one person some of the time. Now I felt like I had become Pou all of a sudden. I guess it may have also been a reflection in my mind of times when I've felt I had someones smell on me after not nice things happening with a person and the repulsion I felt at that time kind of came back to me. I didn't say anything because I didn't want to upset her but I felt violated and after sitting with it for an hour I had to go upstairs and change my clothes. I can still smell it now though :( Can you have 'smell memories' too? Lol

    She also made my child parts feel very upset because my husband bought us a teddy for Christmas which hasnt left my side until today when I had to go to work. But she was kicking it in the face because she thought this was funny. Then when I was cross and telling her not to she thought I was just being silly. She knows I have DID but sometimes she seems to have no understanding of it. Today though it almost felt like she was doing things on purpose to try to upset that part and I couldn't help but wonder if she was doing it to try to get me to switch so that she could see me as a child...out of morbid curiosity. I'm probably just being paranoid.

    I feel like this post has just been me whingeing about Pou, which is bad because I don't have many friends and we have some great times together, but there are just times when we totally clash. I hate to say it but I prefer her when she's depressed; I find her really hard to tolerate when she is manic. Her sense of humour is so different from mine. Sometimes after finding this whole friendship thing so hard, I feel I want to shut myself off from the world and just be alone. Friendship is so hard to navigate and I am too changeable to be a good friend :(

  • Going Back to Go Forward (8)

    by JustEliza on 30 December 2010

    A common theme on adoption blogs and forums is the bewilderment that joyful times are always followed by intense lows. Why can’t a traumatised child just be happy, fin? Adoptive parents acknowledge the difficulty their new child has in regulating negative emotions, but rarely acknowledge that affect regulation goes both ways. The real on-going trauma of neglected and abused children is not poor regulation of negative emotions but in their inability to feel without every feeling digging up the earth under their feet.

     

    Gosh, intelligent adults barely can make this connection, how is a child supposed to know that the anger, fear and shame following such a happy day is not:

     

    1)      Due to their parents (mean and cruel!)

    2)      Due to their identity (naughty boy!)

     

    The point is, they can’t.

     

    I am left just as bewildered, as I research more into adoption, reading personal accounts, wondering how I ended up being 30 and relating to the emotions and actions of traumatised 4 year olds.  Am I what they have to look forward to? Or were these adopted children rescued in ways I never was?

     

    Last night was difficult. I played with (emotional) fire and (yes) got burned. Knowing how to tap into my EPs doesn’t mean I’m capable of managing those feelings. As a result, I’ve been physically ill for weeks, as well as suffering from dissociation, derealisation, and depersonalisation. Just one of the latter would be traumatising enough.

     

    I visited an interactive art exhibit in Manchester over the holiday, staring blindly at the 113-beats-per-minute flash of my lightbulb. It looked like a tiny bird, fluttering amongst a ceiling of slow giants. Every other light bulb was half the pace of mine. What is wrong with me? I wondered. My face flushed, because I felt fine. I felt fine. But my heart knew differently. When did 113 beats per minute become fine?

     

    More and more, I regress. As the childlike parts become dominant, I can feel whole sections of my brain going dark. The dissociation comes on more strongly at night. I panic at the sight of a strange man in my bed, my husband. And I realise now why I always think he is a family member. That part of me doesn’t know I am married. Therefore, a stranger in my bed must be my mum or my brother. Imagine waking up naked next to your mum or your brother. The disgust, shame, and confusion is overwhelming.

     

    It only takes a moment, a single breath, to become grounded again: to cognitively realise where I am and who I am. But the feelings persist: an unearthly vacancy of self.

     

    Last night, I experienced a key emotional memory. My EPs flashed me in one big synchronised chorus. Remember this? Remember feeling like this? This is you.

     

    I dissociated strongly in response and then relied on distraction to get me to sleep. The visual memory remains, but could I find my way back to the feelings, when my therapist asks me? Already this morning, I find myself denying them. That’s not me. There’s nothing wrong with me. This isn’t a repression; the feelings and memories are already gone.

     

    I’m restless, unable to work, searching for a new project to distract me. Therefore, we must be making progress. We must have hit a nerve. I’m torn between believing I can integrate this mess, undo decades of damaged attachments and emotional trauma, and the blissful ignorance of giving up. That’s called fear, and since I (the ANP) am feeling it, we must be getting somewhere.

     

    I just wish I knew where.

  • Making friends /Christmas update

    by AnnC1 on 29 December 2010

    Christmas was very mixed.  It was great to be in such a Christian atmosphere,  I met a penfriend whom I had written to for 10 years - latterly only at Christmas.  She saw my name on one of my poems.  However, there were upsetting things - the closure of Cautley House brought thoughts of my friends moving in the summer, and my lack of close friends.  I was asked to do a reading which was about the blessing of family, and as a single, post-meopausal woman found this distressing and refused.  In the afternoon I scratched myself mildly.

    I think that many ministers who are married with families have no idea of how some people without children feel - in a way it is a bit like SH - something that would never occur to them.  My time as a midwife made me realise how painful 'family-oriented' meetings are for those who have had a stillbirth or a baby with an incurable illness.  Then we have those like my friend and yourself - married, but unable to have children, those of us who have never met a partner and also those whose marriage or partnership slip has left them with limited or no access to their child.  I am wondering about writing one of my 'sheets' on this which could just let the ministers know.

     I had a marvellous talk with one of the retired chaplains at Burrswood yesterday (will put a bit more in a separate thread.)  I told him I had SH over the Christmas, about my friends moving in the summer, and Cautley House closing (as I say, I feel the Lord prepared me for this, but the marking of 'who was taking what' - and specific aspect of this - really made me think of vultures picking meat off a carcass.) and about my pain problems.  He prayed with me, and it was such a blessing.

     Today the pain has been exceptionally bad.  I am supposed to have polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), which responds to steroids, and arthritis, but suspect that I could have fibromyalgia as well, and the events of Monday have precipitaed a flare.

     I spoke to my GP on the phone today and have some more penicillin, so the minor throat problem should be cleared before my hospital assessment.  I see her on Tuesday to discuss other medication - the changes suggested by the Pain Clinic and antidepressant changes.  Sadly, one of the antidepressants with excellent pain-relieving properties is now no longer available in the UK.  I certainly respond better to the older ones than the SSRIs etc.  I went back on one some time ago and found it less effective than before, but realised that I have in the past combined it with another (clomipramine + trazodone).  I certainly don't want a psychiatric referral until my second hip replacement and my back treatment (? April) are over.

     

    I don't know if I've shared this before, but, although 64, I have always had great difficulty making friends. In our church there are four families with which I could have a closer relationship, but all live outside my town, and I do not drive. I only have one really close friend locally with whom I can really share, and she and her husband are moving away in the summer. I have two other friends locally - and one is a Self-harmer 'in recovery'. Apart from this, I have a friend in London whom I seldom see, and two animal-loving friends miles away. One of the chaplains at Burrswood considers me her friend but again lives a long distance away. I have never had a date. I have a number of acquaintances who seem pleased to see me, but not to meet. In my working years I upset a lot of people who perceived me as verbally aggressive when I felt I was merely being assertive and logical. I tend to be a perfectionist. I also upset people at work by talking about SU.

    Yesterday the speaker at Burrswood spoke about how we always have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit with us, and also prayed with me, because of my depression and its relationship to loneliness etc.

    At one time I wondered if I had Asperger's syndrome, as I cannot read body language, and also have my obsessive interest in my 'little furry friends!' (Sadly, the word RAT upsets so many people who don't realise that fancy rats are as different from wild ones as dogs are from wolves!)

    I'm coming to realise that much of the problem lay in my upbringing. Mum and Dad were both introverts, and because Mum had a severe tremor, about which she felt very sensitive, did not socialise except with very close family (now dead.) Only one was married and she divorced her ? alcoholic husband. I never saw 'normal' marriages and grew up believing each spouse met all the needs of their partners. As Dad's family were not used to showing emotions, he couldn't meet Mum's emotional needs, which fell to me, and I resented Dad for this. I also had few friends and was seldom allowed to take anyone home. I think really that I never learned to socialise and, to some extent have 'an avoidant personality' and social phobia - although I love taking meetings or doing teaching sessions - where I am prepared and 'in control.'

    It has been talked about a bit at counselling but I can't afford this regularly, nor cope with the journey. I have too much money to qualify for 'Access To Care', but my stupid Christian financial adviser has tied it up so I get high penalties for withdrawing anything. With Burrswood aftercare after my operation, I have a big outlay coming up.

    Does this make sense to anyone? I feel it lies behind much of my depresssion and loneliness.

  • Today my husband and I spent the evening at his aunt’s house, with lots of his relatives. I was watching his middle aged uncle playing with my husband’s little cousin who is about four years old. Uncle was sitting on the sofa and she was standing with one foot on each of his feet and was leaning in between his legs, across his belly then pushing herself off his legs back into standing position repeatedly, the way a four year old might. He was pretending to be the child and she was being the mummy. He was saying he forgot to do his spellings and could she write him a note for school. It was kinda funny seeing this middle aged man talking like a little kid. He was so good with her. But the longer I watched the more I began to feel some uncomfortable feelings and an inner stirring of ‘parts’.

    I was felt suspicious of this man and saw disturbing images in my mind. I could hear the questions: why is he interested in her? Part of me couldn’t imagine how a grown man could be innocently playing with a child. Part of me couldn’t believe that is possible. I felt angry and scared and other feelings that I can’t put my finger on. I felt I should watch intently as I was certain if I watched for long enough I would see some sign of an ulterior motive. I would see a hand in the wrong place or a tickle that just wasn’t quite innocent.

    Yet at the same time, another part could see the beauty and innocence of the situation and was reminding me that not all men are like that. That part felt happy to be watching someone taking the time to interact with a small child and thought how lovely it would be to have a father like that.

    And then I wondered why I felt these things? Why did I imagine terrible things being done to that child? Why did parts feel upset? Why did I feel suspicious? And that leads on to the usual questions...why do I have parts? Why do I have dissociative identity disorder? I know what the research says about the main reasons it develops in children. I know that there are fragments of memories but they hold no proof. There’s nothing clear cut. Just images of things that don’t seem to be my memories and then memories of things that don’t seem to be bad enough in themselves because of who it involved. And it’s like trying to do a puzzle in my mind when the pieces are only in my mind’s eye and I’m not sure which pieces are real and which are just imaginary and there are far too few to make any sense of.

    And it seems to unbelievable to conceive that there may be memories inside that I don’t hold and that I may one day become aware of them. This seems too unlikely. I feel I have all the facts. And then I think I must just be genetically faulted somehow. But if this is the case, why do I feel so bad every time I see a child? Why does this stirring commence?

    And then there is a part so separate that doesn’t understand any of this and wonders why I am getting upset about nothing because nothing bad has ever happened to me. And then I feel I must just be making this all up because I am sick. Maybe I have Munchausens. And so it goes on.

  • i see were all back

    by torchwood fan on 28 December 2010

    glad to see were all back after xmas i said i was going to say one possitive thing so this is it im reading a book my cpn gave me about an american lady with BPD  its a great book i see myself so much in what she says and how she acts she feels my anger and hatred towards both herself and other people some of my feelings i keep to myself as im both ashamed and i didnt think people would believe me the love and hate i have for people are so strong that sometimes i am so ashamed by myself even i find it difficult to keep up with. she goes in and out of hospital several times and when she says she is glad to be in there away from all the responcibilities i know how she feels and i am embarressed that i too want that it makes me feel like a bad mother and wife and believe me im not that good at it anyway i try to read for an hour before i go to sleep while im on my own i just feel i cant read it in front of anybody else somehow it feels private.

    ive been in nearly all christmas im finding it difficult to be around people and i would rarther stay in my world where i am safe and no one can be nasty to me i know that sounds like a child talking i suppose part of me never grew up properly and im still scared of people bullying me calling me names and having no one to tell no one to tell me that everything is ok i keep people at arms lenth and very rarely let anyone in sometimes i sit in a corner it feels safe there no one can get to you so i make myself as small as possibe in the hope that i will be left alone

    im hoping to loose some weight soon i need to speak to my scyhiatrist about the new tablets he put me on one of the side effects is weight gain so i found one on the internet its a mood stabaliser but the side effects is weight loss so im going to see what he says sometimes i want to shout and be pushy but im scared he wont see me any more and i really trust him i cant be pushed onto someone else i cant trust anyone else  im not going for 3 weeks but my cpn coming weekly at the moment so im going to ask her if she mentioned it. i will try to loose weight though but i hate going out but ive got a dvd i might try when theres no one about i look in the mirrow and i cant believe what i do to myself evev if it means i do more cutting myself its better than eating like i do and if it gets really bad someone might help me. i know i cant be like other people and i dont care anymore if im really really honest i just want for someone to notice me and for me not to feel so completely alone at this moment thats just how i feel completly alone i know youre out there telling me im not and believe me im so glad youre there also hendry keep blogging it was great to hear from you

  • Meet Grace

    by Candycan on 27 December 2010

    Who is Grace?

    This is hard for me to say because she is not part of Candycan

    (OK I know any psychologist would disagree there: she is an alter so she must be part of me).

    I don’t know where Grace comes from. All I know is her life is very different from mine. She isn’t me; she hasn’t lived the same life. Her life has been easy and happy, but I don’t know where or in what way.

    Grace is beautiful; she has blonde wavy hair, smooth skin, a small nose, soft lines to her face; blue eyes. Grace is not too tall, but not short and is slender, not skinny, but slender...and modern, stylish. Grace is happy, in a calm way; confident, sure of herself and happy-go-lucky. She is probably in her twenties.

    Grace can help me when things get too hard. Grace hasn’t had my history so the thing I might be crying about or scared of, is irrelevant to her. She only sees the present and the future and she sees that there is no reason to be upset or worried or regretful of anything.

    Grace is relaxed. When Grace comes to visit (for it seems she’s not so much inside me), I relax. As soon as she arrives I can see my shoulders drop and feel all the muscles that are so tight suddenly easing and resting: my back, shoulders, fists, face, neck, feet. Quite often this will be at night so I tend to fall asleep quickly after she gets here, because I’m exhausted but have been unable to sleep because of emotions and/or physical tension and unrest. The emotions change when she is there because she only feels peace and contentment. None of that stuff matters to her.

    If Grace comes during the day, she can lift me from the wallowing to the action; she will cook and clean or do whatever it takes. She enjoys it all too. She is happy to do this for others.

    Grace is someone I am only beginning to know. I think she may have been around for quite some time though. I didn’t think she could be called Grace; the name didn’t seem to suit her at all. I thought something like Poppy or Angel would be more fitting but I keep hearing ‘Grace’ so Grace it is. Now that I have tried to describe her and thought about her role, I feel Grace is a good name for her after all. She has the grace to help us.

    I feel there is more I don’t know about Grace and maybe I will have more to say on her in the future. But for now, that is Grace and we love her.

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWmdwe5Ga5M

     

  • Going Back to Go Forward (7)

    by JustEliza on 24 December 2010

    I now have a handle on this therapy business. Sure, it's about trauma, affect regulation, coping mechanisms, attachments… but mostly it's about owning up to me. Knowing me. Being me, without shame.

    The labels, the theories, they are all metaphors in the end. Complex PTSD, Dissociative Disorder, Schizoid. Psychological theories say I have one ANP (apparently normal part) who controls my actions and oppresses the two EPs (emotional parts) that have split as a result of childhood abuse and neglect: one for bad feelings (EP-Sad) and one for good feelings (EP-Happy). That's a fair enough theoretical model. What's real, though, is my experience, my choices, me. So, enough of the theory.

    Therapy extends beyond the hour with my Therapist.

    The big unsolved question from the last session was 'where is my safe place' ? I sat in the chair, tears streaming down my face, staring vacantly, feeling lost. My eyes slowly and fearfully scanned the room. I looked inside. I imagined trees. I couldn't feel safe. Did I have a safe place?

    She left the room. Relief sifted the shame away. I glanced at my phone. She returned.

    "Distraction." My voice was quiet. I didn't look at her. "I usually rely on distraction."

    We moved on. At the end of the session, she pointed out my pin, and I smiled, but not at the compliment. She was distracting me. And I, I was being me, in everyone else's heads but my own. Fair play.

    But the work continues without her.

    Today, while writing this blog entry, I found my safe place.

    I'm grateful there are parts inside that are smarter than me: parts that unconsciously reach for familiarity and expression. Parts that find their own voice even if it isn't through my thoughts or my lips. Even if it is in ways that others don't expect or accept. Ways that I don't even expect or accept.

    I'm also grateful that it's Christmas. Because my happiest part, my most fragile part, feels safest here. EP-Happy sings Christmas songs all year long (annoys my dear husband to no end) but it's only at Christmas that she can do it without judgment, inhibition or shame. It's safe to be her at Christmas, despite all of the sadness and grief that surfaces from EP-Sad, too.

    But this story isn't really about Jingle Bells or presents under the tree or turkey dinner. It's not even about Christ's birth. It's about listening, connecting my parts together, and feeling safe.

    It's safe to be me at Christmas, because it's safe to be Christian at Christmas. Silent Night. Away in the Manger. We Three Kings. The First Noel. No matter what I believe about God, the greatest sense of calm comes to me in the form of Christian music. When I was younger (and in much more pain), Christian music gave me a voice; it connected together my experiences and my feelings in a way that no one… nothing else... did.

    I stopped listening to music because it was affecting my mental health, and that was a mistake. It helped to silence EP-Sad, but I also silenced EP-Happy in the process. I should have known better. In struggling to find EP-Happy at counselling several years ago, I realised listening to music was a clue. I wrote it on my board. And still didn't learn.

    Since beginning therapy again this winter, I've started listening to more music. I also started eating more carbohydrates, so raise your glass for bad habits, eh? Except music, it wasn't all bad. And my body knew better than me. I started to preferentially play my Christian music. First Jars of Clay, then WOW mixes, then Christmas music, and then.. "My Will" came on while I was writing today, and it hit me.

    "Complexity haunts me, for I am two men
    Entrenched in a battle that I'll never win.
    My discipline fails me, my knowledge it fools me
    But you are my shelter, all the strength that I need."
    -Sung by DC Talk

    I was calm.

    My safe place is listening to Christian music. Not a palm-lined paradise or army of pillows. Moreover, my safe place is where I feel whole: where EP-Sad and EP-Happy hold hands, which is a fanciful way of saying I allow myself to be happy and sad at the same time. I allow myself to be me. I am happy, sad, and grateful to have moments of brilliance like this from my ANP.

    Merry Christmas.

  • christmas eve

    by torchwood fan on 24 December 2010

    this will be the last chance i get to be on my own with the computer until boxing day i know thats only sunday but it feels like its a lifetime away im really tired because i hardly slept last night and usually i can sleep downstairs for an hour before everyone gets up but i cant today i dont know why. i dont have a lot to say as i was only on yesterday so i hope to hear from you sunday take care everyone and try to have a nice christmas day

  • thanks for all the comments they really keep me sane and hendy im so gratefull for your comments it feels like BPD is dragging me down but you have a rope to hold on to.the only thing holding my head above water is the anti sycotics im back up on maximum dose and they just help that little bit i was told by my cpn to look up on the internet about BPD and i do i suppose i look for a miricle really as we all know i will never recover from it and it will always control my life.why dosent it mention the hallusinations or the constant voices in my head as symptons do you get them too. i just want to be left alone i cant bare the thought of being dragged around at xmas with me smiling like an idiot we have bought a lot of cider etc this year if you drink with the anti sycotics and anti depressents it helps you sleep. the dreams of my death continue about 5 nights a week sometimes i feel peacefull other times i scream the house down i guess some part of me is holding onto life. i got the letter about my benifits they have kept me on the same amount but i have been put in the group where you have to look long term for a job i cant go back to work i didnt mean to get poorly again i warned them it would come back i thought they were my friends but at the end they laughed about me and stopped talking to me i will not go back to that no one likes me because i am different i am not like them i have BPD i have never had friends looking back at my past it is like reading a book about BPD that is me that is who i am i am one of the 2 percent of the world that has it i knowyou must read my bloggs lately and think you are glad you do not know me and its best for you as i drag people down with me. my husband and adult children stick up for me theyknow i dont mean to be like it but my constant thoughts of death i leave with you all because i know you understand it is impossible to talk to people you care about it im sorry im going to try to find one possitive thing for my next blog im so glad youre all there your my lifeline so take care of yourselves

  • Hello, before I start I just want to say thanks to you if you've commented so far and to anyone who might in the future. It is great to hear from others about my blogs.

    This evening I am feeling f*cking knackered. I have been on another planet of late, emotionally. As in, if I am having any emotions, they are being felt by someone who isn't present with me. Well, except for the feeling of being annoyed. My husband just sitting next to me minding his own business manages to piss me off and at work I find myself becoming absorbed in my work and not bothering with conversation and chit chat. I dont actively feel like I want to be alone, but I am content alone at the moment and other people just seem like much too much hassle to deal with. I am fine as long as no one speaks to me; I just can't handle any interference in my life at the moment. It's a kind of function.

    So, I went to my therapy session today. You may remember that last week T told me she is going to be off work for a minimum of six months and this came as a huge shock.
    So today was the first since then. T started the session with a variation of the question I always hate to hear: "What would you like to talk about today?" It always throws me off guard because 95% of the time T already has a set agenda for the session. She asks the questions, I do a pretty poor job at providing the answers. So to have the ball in my court is something I'm never prepared for.

    It is good sometimes to be able to just talk about stuff that's going on in my life though. I just find that specific question hard to answer. Sometimes I've come into sessions feeling like I have just about managed to survive the previous two weeks without having a mental breakdown and there has been so much going on that it would be great to just process that with someone but that's not really the focus of my therapy. It can be hard though, when I'm really struggling with present day-holding myself together issues, to then delve into the inner workings of my brain and start talking about which part is who and why they are there.

    I am guessing that she decided to take a step back from all the 'parts' business (actually now that I say that, I think she may have said that herself last time). Maybe it's something to do with it being just before Christmas, or maybe this is something to do with the fact that I'm going travelling in a month's time. Or maybe both. It is a relief though. I find the whole: "Which part is this and which is that?" project extremely stressful and unsettling.

    We ended up talking about my dad (not really an easy topic either but hey...). I don't like to think about him as he causes so much pain inside when I do, but she asked me about his recent visit and how it affects me when he visits and we talked about some of my experiences of him as a child and teenager. I never like to admit to myself how much of my problems with DID are as a result of the way he treated me. T hypothesized that as a child it was easier to split my emotions about him into another part so that I didnt have to believe painful things to be real. I reflected about times when I'd expressed that I had been the lucky one out of my sisters and me because my childhood was easier and happier than theirs. Then I reflected on some of my memories of my childhood and I realised the two reflections don't really tally. I wasn't lying when I said I'd been lucky, I just was not tuned into all the bad memories and emotions. They were too separate from me.

    She asked me what it was about being eleven years old that I was so depressed at that time (because I said a few times that I didn't have any emotions before the age of eleven). This is an interesting question and I don't really know the answer to it. I must have had stuff going on inside my head before that stage: I remember self harming at age eight; before that I remember feeling wrong/not normal at the age of five. I remember doing things that didn't reflect healthy child activity even before that.

    I don't know what it was about being eleven. Maybe it was puberty. To say I struggled with this stage of life is 'the understatement of the century' (as they say on 'Neighbours'). I was deeply ashamed of developing into a woman. I hated that I was growing boobs and I remember crying and trying to pull out the hair that was starting to grow in places I thought it definitely should not be. I spent a couple of years in dread of the day I would start having periods and when it did come I was too mortified to tell my mum. I used to use my pocket money to buy sanitary towels and I'd go to great lengths to keep it all a secret. It was probably around this time that my eating problems changed (I always had a tendency to comfort eat) to starvation tactics.

    Throughout my teens I had a strong resentment of being female. I lamented that I should have been a man and was quite open about my annoyance of being a girl until at the age of sixteen someone in my church mentioned that I should be grateful for what God had blessed me with and I then 'realised' that I was sinful for being so ungrateful and I stopped hating being a woman (although, I'm not sure but I think that person in still in there somewhere).

    Anyway, I've run out of energy for thinking about being eleven now. Maybe I'll come back to that another day.

    So I was surprised T didn't mention the 'big news' although she did ask me how I was since the last session. I was kind of glad not to have to think about it this week to be honest. I think I just want to keep it in the 'unreal zone'.

    I was pleased to see she had the Christmas card I made her sitting out on display. It was beautiful even if I do say so myself. It took me hours to make...literally. Probably mainly because I am so indecisive and perfectionist that I didn't want to commit to something without being sure it would be perfect.

    I also made her a cross stitch piece a while back which I loved and actually felt a loss at giving it away...lol. But I think she was pleased with it but I'd love to know what she did with it. I wonder if it's been put in a drawer and forgotten about. I don't know why that's important to me but it is.

    I was also really pleased to get a Christmas card from my T in the post today. This was a surprise because I always get the feeling she tries hard to keep a distance from her clients and I almost feel sometimes she doesn't want me to give her cards etc (this may be my imagination) but anyway, it was such a nice surprise and it really made my day that she thought of me and wishes me good things. It's always a surprise to find evidence that a person in my life doesn't hate/despise/loathe me.

    This post has kind of gone from one thing to the other without a clear structure but I have enjoyed writing it although I do feel a little bit guilty about the lack of the 'beginning, middle and end' structure. Well done if you made it this far! I'm impressed that I did.

  • Away tomorrow

    by AnnC1 on 22 December 2010

    It has been really reassuring that my friend is taking me to the guest house tomorrow - it does away with the anxiety about our appalling public transport situation.  It is sad that the guest house closes permanently after the houseparty.  It's great to have the spiritual focus, and to have company, but last year I still became depressed down there.

    I'm still cage-cleaning - resting between.  My hamster bit me hard this morning!  I've taken the two girls on antibiotics up to my friend while I'm away - and miss them already!

    Yesterday's pain clinic visit was disappointing.  They want me to stop the analgesics which don't work very well - but if I only take the opioids twice daily I need something between.  They are also scheduling me for radiofrequency lesioning for my back pain.  I don't like the sound of having to be fully awake for this!

    The sertraline seems to have little effect, so I may go back to duloxetine, as I panicked about withdrawal effects and didn't give it a fair trial.depre

  • thanks everyone

    by torchwood fan on 21 December 2010

    thanks for your comments i really need something to hang on to at the moment everything is going wrong i went for some shopping today i was suppossed to add up as i went along but i got it all wrong i wanted to cry at the checkout i dont know how to do anything right. i must have upset my mother shes not speaking to me i dont know what i did you cant ask her i am never as good as my sister never have been i just want to be loved is it so hard to care about me.the hospital changed my tablets and i feel really poorly i guess i get what i deserve maybee i always have BPD is dragging me down or is it just an excuse i dont know.im lonely,depressed and i am down at rock bottem people expect me to feel good as its xmas but it dosent work that way i cant alter my personality to order i wish i could just to be normal for a week. i really was relieved to hear im not alone and you are out there too and candycan youre such a great person youve always something good to say please stay blogging it keeps me sane

  • Going Back to Go Forward (6)

    by JustEliza on 19 December 2010

    The first post I ever shared about my mental health echoes in me.

    I didn't know then what I have a good idea of now: that my collective physical and mental health problems, complex personality changes, and emptiness were a result of a dissociative disorder. In fact, it wasn't until CandyCan joined the mental health blog that I started to wonder why my experiences were so similar. I didn't have DID. That's impossible.

    And then my new therapist started almost immediately into transactional analysis. Integration this, Parent-Child that… psychological babble. Just semantics, really, to help us have a common language. That's all. Right?

    She got frustrated when I couldn't answer her questions. Was I being resistant? I had answered honestly: I didn't know. Nothing caused it; No one told me my feelings didn't matter. But they did; she insisted.

    I couldn't see it. Couldn't feel it. Why won't my therapist accept this?

    And then she lucked out: I got triggered, and she finally pulled something emotional on her fishing line. But neither of us expected how painful my reaction would be, and I left, traumatised.

    When I was finally alone, I cried to exhaustion, because I finally realised what my therapist wanted me to reveal and what I was trying so desperately to protect:



    They say that people who have experienced abuse or neglect as a child spend a lot of effort trying to convince themselves and others that they are fine, that it was nothing, if they can even recall it in the first place.   I thought that was just dissociative amnesia, but now I realise dissociative disorders are more complex than that. I might have some cognitive memories of the abuse and neglect, but my emotional memories were sliced right out, until I could sit with a straight face and wonder "why am I so unwell?" My life was fine. My day was fine.

    But really, I haven't been fine for a long time.

    ---

    Therapy last week was different. For one, I was exhausted from the crisis at our previous meeting. I had experienced derealisation, depersonalisation, and a resulting 4-day migraine. I also realised that there was a lifetime of emotion tucked away somewhere inside me that I've never owned up to. To put it simply: I was terrified of me.

    But I don't like not having the answers, so I took the most important question from the week before (what was I feeling) and investigated.

    At first, I was angry at my therapist for expecting me to answer something I simply had no answers for. Then when my therapist asked me if I was angry with her, I was angry at myself. I battled between these two emotions (Anger at Therapist and Anger at Self) while I struggled to tell her. As I struggled to say it, I had to push through a growing Fear (directed at Self) in response to the Anger at Self. When I finally squeaked out a 'Yes', I panicked because the Anger at Self skyrocketed.

    It felt like I was abusing myself. It felt just like I felt when I was being physically abused for the first time. Anger, fear, panic, and finally shame. Shame was the hardest emotion to name; it took me days to recognise it. And when I explained all of this to my therapist, she praised me animatedly...

    …and then verified: I said the FIRST time? I paused. Yes, I guess I did say that. And I understood what she noted, unsaid: (1) there were other times I was abused and (2) I must have been dissociating by the time they occurred.

    Sometime in the latter half of the session, my therapist pulled out the empty chair. I knew immediately what I would be asked to do and started shaking and crying. Panic. Fear. Something saying no, and something saying yes. "What do you want to say to her?" Her being the Child, of course, and me being the Parent.

    I tried desperately to calm me down, the mess of emotions inside. Meanwhile my therapist didn't want a repeat of the week before, so she pulled out the stops trying to calm me down. We don't need to do this. Just say the word, and she'll put the chair back.  A moment, please. I raised my hand. "I just need a moment."

    It just got worse. I looked at the chair. I needed to talk to my therapist, not myself. Barely in time, I bubbled out "I have nothing to say to her." The chair was pulled quickly back. And within seconds, everything inside went quiet. Blessed relief.

    But let's take a step back, too. You see, while I was fighting myself, my therapist was trying (desperately?) to calm me down, letting something very interesting slip in the process. She asked me which part was present.

    Like most of her questions at the time, I didn't reply.  And even in that moment, I thought she had made a mistake. My parts can't be present. They aren't those kind of parts.

    She let me interrupt her. I wondered how I was going to admit it. So I didn't admit it. I simply told her what I knew:

    "When we first moved, I became very depressed and missed my first home terribly. But most of all, I missed me. You see, ...I did everything I could to protect and preserve that part of me, until it was safe enough to be whole again.

    But it never became safe."

    Sound familiar? Here is what happened next:

    "Sometime after the last move, I gathered together all the photographs of me (my parents were prolific) and split them into piles." I raised my right palm. "Me." I raised my left palm. "and Me." The tears started to flow.

    "It was so easy to do. They were two different people." Sadness. Grief. "Why didn't anyone else notice? I wasn't me anymore." I looked forlorn. My voice cracked. "It was only supposed to be for a little while. I.."

    "I didn't mean to not listen to her." I'm sorry. "I didn't know I wasn't listening."

    "I just want to go back." I weeped. "I just want to be whole again."

    My therapist had been quiet, not even writing notes. But I could read her reply all over her face. Pride.

    For most of our sessions, I had been either overwhelmed with emotion or numb from dissociation, so this moment of fragile and honest grief manifesting so calmly stood out.  There was more unsaid in the silence before she spoke. It felt like she took my hand, but I know she didn't. She simply looked me in the eye and gave me hope.

    A far cry from "Perhaps therapy isn't right for you."

    I went home and pulled out the photos. I pulled out my writing. I posted here.

    The evidence piled. But I wasn't convinced until this morning, as my husband drove us to the store. I was revisiting the empty chair situation in my head. Play by play. As an outsider. This wasn't out of ordinary; I always playback situations afterwards, chattering with myself about what it all meant, reprocessing every detail.

    Oh, my god. I was chattering with myself.

    There she was. There we were. There I was. This is how I did it. Isn't it? Decades of neglect and abuse.. this is how I survived. She took on the emotions, I took on the thoughts, and afterwards we got together and shared notes from a safer place. We soothed each other.

    Immediately I remembered us, shaking alone in the woods in the middle of winter while everyone else enjoyed dinner inside. Aged 14. I remembered going to bed at 5 pm and talking the day over. Aged 12. I remembered my glands being so swollen I couldn't breathe. We barely got through the night. Aged 20. 

    I guess Truth really is a Spectrum.

     

  • im feeling very alone

    by torchwood fan on 19 December 2010

    hi i know its a while since ive used this part i usually just use the mental health part but im struggling no one else seems to have BPD and i hoped someone would read this and reply. i cant be the only one can i  the empiness is crushing me and i cant pick myself up this time the self harm is getting worse and i just need someone out there to understand im going to blog on the other site too but please if youre out there let me know im not alone

  • I am having one of those days where I seem to have very little energy. Sometimes I just wake up exhausted and can't seem to get myself going. I might have a list of things in my head that I want to do but the physical oomph to do them is just not there. I also keep experiencing sudden waves of nausea.


    Sometimes the exhaustion is mental as well as physical, where any suggestion of what I could or should do, feels like I am being asked to get up and run a marathon. I don't know why this happens. Maybe it is an actual physical problem...some kind of long term underlying virus perhaps?


    Or maybe it is something to do with DID. I can't help but wonder if it's my body's way of expressing the impact the bad news of this week has had on me, when my actual emotions about it seem to have switched off.


    Does anyone else experience this? It's annoying because I have a day in the house (I'm snowed in) and a million things I need to get done, but after dragging myself out of bed not long ago and very slowly and lethargically managing to pick up some dirty laundry, bring it down stairs and put it in the machine, I then ended up slumped in a chair staring vacantly at the Christmas tree. Sigh.


    I feel my mind wanting to drift off and be vacant and requests from my husband (he wanted me to film him playing saxophone in the snow...as you do...) are making me feel anxious and upset because I don't have the energy to do them. Now I feel selfish because I know this is something he really wants and the snow will melt soon, but when I say I'll do it anyway, he now doesn't want me to because he says he knows I don't want to and he's lost his confidence. Sigh. Now the guilt is just adding to the exhaustion.


    My T suggested that when I feel this way I should stop trying to force myself to do things and just do what I feel like. This is fine if I am on my own; if the house is a mess and I don't eat that's just my problem, but when you live with someone else it then becomes unequal. My husband is now making lunch and I feel I am not pulling my weight.


    Does anyone else experience things like this? Anyone any theories about it?


    Hopefully I'll snap out of it soon.

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