The last time I wrote it was to ask you to help me fund private therapy. Since then, I’ve been an emotional whirlwind. In less than 24 hours you gave me enough money to fund a year of therapy. You have quite literally given me my life back. I’ve found a therapist, and had an assessment session with her. We click (I think), and I feel like she really, really gets me, as much as Therapist did. She even gets the emotional shitstorm that is trying to get to grips with not having access to Therapist any more. (I’m really going to have to come up with a better way of differentiating between the two of them………how about Therapist and Therapist 2? I’ll work on it. Let’s stick with that for now)
Anyway, the prospect of a real, definite direction, of someone who can help, who isn’t going to pull the rug from under me at the last minute has had a huge impact on how I’ve been feeling. I’ve been far more optimistic about the future, I’ve been much more able to do what I need to do, I’ve even begun to think that I might be ready to get back to work. All of that, all of it, is down to you guys, and your incredible support. I’ve also managed to draw a bit of media attention to the loss of the Galway dbt programme and that gave me a lift, because I feel like I’m doing something productive.
But of course, bpd doesn’t like me to be happy for long, and I lost it quite dramatically this week. I’ve talked about the ridiculously frequent swings in my mood before, and sometimes, when I swing up, I lose perspective just as much as when I swing down, just in a different way. I can get really hyper, really happy, and it feels awesome. I’m on top of the world, I can’t imagine ever feeling bad again, I’m cured, I can be anything, do anything I put my mind to……….There’s a downside though, because when I’m like this I can also very easily convince myself to do things that in a more rational moment I know are at best just plain wrong, and at worst, dangerous.
Like last Tuesday. I decided, not for the first time unfortunately, to mail Therapist. I wanted to tell her about how things are starting to turn around for me, about how much you’ve helped, and that I now realise that although it’s been at times unbearably hard without her, I know we made the right decision. I wanted to thank her for having the strength to see that decision through for me. I knew as I was writing the mail that I shouldn’t send it, but hyper, happy Bitchface is just as loud as her shitty, critical counterpart. I wrote it, I reread it a few times, I managed to convince myself that regardless of how or if she responded, I would be totally ok with it, and I sent it.
Funny story. I wasn’t ok with it. She did respond, the next day. Brief, pleasant, kind, and very, very boundaried. The message was clear – I’m glad things are going well for you, but I’m no longer your therapist, nor am I your friend. I will not be engaging in email chats. I will never send more than a cursory response, if I respond at all. Look after yourself.
Punch. To. The. Stomach.
Actually, repeated punches. I knew that this was how it would turn out. I’m grateful to her that she bothered to reply at all, she could have just ignored it. I had somehow managed to convince myself that we’ll be friends some day. Galway is a small town, it’s not beyond the realms that our paths will cross in the future. But it’s just not possible.
I know I’m not the first person to feel like this about an ex therapist, I’ve found countless articles and forums discussing just this phenomenon. After all, a therapist is someone we bare our soul to. They know our most closely held secrets, and support us through the toughest times of our lives. The offer empathy, and space to feel whatever it is we feel without judgement. For most people, that relationship serves a purpose, and when it comes to an end that’s it, they can accept it for what it is and move on. But for people like me? Not so much.
Contacting her has become a form of emotional self harm. I know no good can come of it, I know I’ll most likely be left reeling for days. I also know there’s a distinct possibility that in an effort to cope with the pain that comes with the rejection that I will resort to physical self harm, because when I get that overwhelmed, my emotions are beyond my control. And yet still I do it. I know it will hurt. I know it can’t end well. But I do it. Bpd makes zero sense.