I had a really, really tough session with Therapist today. The way I’ve been feeling the last few days I knew it was going to be hard, but the extent of it still managed to catch me by surprise. It’s been a long time since I left her office in tears, but today I was barely able to see on my way out. The tears continued out in the street, all the way back to the carpark, and then turned into barely contained sobs once I hit the safety of the car. It was all decidedly unpleasant and I would have been mortified if I wasn’t so busy trying to avoid eye contact with half of Galway.

Something I consistently have difficulty with is naming my emotions, so last week she had sent me links to a couple of feeling charts to see if that would help. It didn’t, none of them were right.

Image credit: Paul Elmore

I haven’t counted, but I’d hazard a guess there are at least 100 words there, probably more. How can none of them be right??

I finally managed to put a name on it on Friday, and told Therapist about it today, a conversation that ultimately led to the above snot fest. But, it’s nothing that features on that fairly exhaustive list above. I felt empty, hollowed out, as if there was a great gaping hole right in the middle of me where my stomach should be. Bigger even. It’s impossible to describe, it almost felt like I was collapsing in on myself. It brings with it a feeling of the most profound loneliness and longing, but for what I do not know. It’s horrible, and overwhelming. She knew straight away what I was talking about – she said it’s what I’ve got, and that she’s heard it described it as feeling like an easter egg. Guess what? It’s a hallmark of bpd – ‘According to the DSM (Diagnostical Statistical Manual), chronic feelings of emptiness are one of the criteria in the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder……………..experience of emptiness comes as a result of not having a strong sense of identity, yet another symptom of BPD.’ **


Every time I think I have a handle on this insane disorder, it throws another curve ball at me. The above two tie in so nicely with each other, and have been really causing problems the last few days. It’s funny, along with the many, many things I fret about before every single session, one of the most ridiculous is the wardrobe crisis. Yes, really. I tie myself up in knots over what to wear, what shoes, hair up, hair down…….today I actually got as far as the car then came back in to change. This has been happening for years, but today is the first time I thought to mention it to Therapist. Her thoughts? It’s because I don’t know which version of me to be when I’m with her. I constantly, constantly, shape myself to my surroundings. It’s so deeply ingrained I don’t even realise I’m doing it 99.9% of the time. The only time it becomes apparent is if I find myself in a situation where I’m either under or overdressed compared to who I’m with. Then, the intense sense of not fitting in borders on unbearable. With her? With her, I meet a blank slate. How can I fit in with a blank slate? 

It’s all incredibly frustrating, and incredibly textbook. I’m not feeling great but I don’t know why, so I focus on her as being the only one who can fix it. But of course, she can’t. She can help me to understand it that little bit more, and for a time, that brings relief. Yes, the intensity of emotion today was hard to handle, but at least it was feeling, which is so much better than nothing, because I can do something with all that feeling, even if that something is just cry my eyes out for a good half hour. With nothing, with empty, I don’t know how to fix it or what to do with it. And now there’s another whole week to be got through before she can help again……

** Healing from BPD

This article has 5 Comments

  1. I hope sending a virtual hug is appropriate but just wanted to say that the emptiness is familiar to me too and putting a "name" on it did eventually help in that I could see it rather than just sense it creeping up on me. I know the week seems long now but it will go quickly and you'll collect more insights in the meantime. I hope it doesn't need to be said that you are marvellous in what you write and the hope and insights you give to others. Hope you are ok xx

    1. Thanks so much Lucie, and apologies for the shamefully slow response. I'm sorry that you can recognise the feeling too, but at the same time it does give me some comfort to know I'm not the only one. I hope that doesn't sound really weird!]

  2. I’m really new to this thing called BPD but you have completely put into words how I feel constantly. Thank you, it’s a relief to know I’m not alone but it’s very scary to know this is unlikely o change. Feeling lost

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