NO SCRIPT is sometimes the best way to untangle and tease out all the strands of thought that plague you…my thinking mind is on overdrive tonight so it’s time for a stream-of-consciousness post…every three dots a brief pause in the chaotic rainbow of mindless and forever rumbling emotional white noise…Apart from that, this is as it is and I am as I am, and I say and I do, and I will and I won’t, and I would if I could, and I know I most definitely WILL…won’t I? If only I did more living and less doubting…an alice in wonderland post of word heavy delight…sometimes the rabbit hole of abstract introspection is called for…pressure building now and fairly relentlessly…I’m a victim, not only of my traumatic past, but my own crushing expectations…the pigeons could roost in the eves of this lofty maison of sunshiney hope…I hope a lot…I strive even more…I back up my high expectations with motivated and purposeful goal directed behaviour…I am a person emerging from a metaphorical place of previous shit-ness to a phase which is mainly good but containing an element of regular and recurring shit-ness…just enough to remind me I’m not fully well, but not nearly enough to make me consider I’m actually un-well.Wellness versus illness, and the whole concept of personality disorders (PDs) in general was a major part of today’s therapy discussion.
“C’mon now, I’m doing great-I’m so much better-when do I get to say goodbye to the PD? It’s been a fun ride but I’m happy to part as acquaintances with this emotionally dysregulatory MO-FO with a secret wish to change my number and never allow this PD to make contact with me again”.
It doesn’t work like that, [says the clever psychologist lady who is senior and experienced and has worked with people with PD diagnoses for eons]….
…You have a condition. You were in-well with the condition. Now with what we’ve worked on in therapy, you have learned skills to help you manage the condition on a day to day level much better, plus you have developed insight into your behavioural and cognitive and emotional patternology to the extent you understand it all-you know how it all works and slots and bolts together-you know why your personality structure developed like this in the first place, and you have become able to manage your symptoms consistently so much better because of all the hard work you’ve done…. BUT just because you can manage your condition well, it doesn’t mean the condition has disappeared… as it still remains something you will always need to devote effort into managing in order for you to function ok in life.
BPD and PTSD are chronic enduring psychological conditions…that isn’t to say people who have them will be unhappy the rest of our lives…but you will probably, to some extent, always have to manage your symptoms. When your stress levels are reasonable then you will manage them well, but under extreme stress your old instinctive but maladaptive emotional patterns may remerge.
THUD….listen out for the sound of a mental health blogger falling back down to earth I was quite looking forward to telling my consultant psychiatrist on our last appointment that I don’t have these mental health disorders anymore and would she kindly remove them from my medical records as they’re cramping my style and prospects, and I don’t want to be tarred with the stigma brush anymore….After today’s conversation I think I’ll pass…
Is this me for life? Imani Summer, the writer with BPD and complex-PTSD?
Is this my lot? My identity?
I guess it is… if I pursue my goals to work in mental-health/charitable fields….
The stigma brush may always leave it’s coarse brush-strokes upon my olive skin, just like the fading but not fully disappeared self-harm scars. Silvery pinky lines that evoke memories of my previous hopelessness and sheer (sometimes suicidal) desperation.
So it’s here to stay…the PD thing…why did I ever think I’d get shot of it?
I guess the professionals and myself did NOT expect me to get this well/better this quickly. I think they had allocated quite a lot of time to my anticipated care, which will go un-used by me but benefit another patient who needs their assistance more than I do.
But let me tell you how I felt when my psychologist announced at the end of the appointment that she was unavailable now for THREE weeks…
…like a bomb had bloody gone off in my heart! [Picture shrapnel flying and plumes of dust billowing off the viscinity of the NHS chair I was sat on]. It was THAT VIOLENT an explosion.
In my child-like internal but private state, I was sat there, bottom lip trembling, wringing hands nervously, stuttering “w-w-w-what did you say? Three w-w-w-weeks??..please no.”
Instead, adult me said “ok, that’s fine…see you on the Xth April”…(!)
I walked out of the therapy building muttering the word ‘fuck’ over and over silently in my imagination as I waved cheerily at two admin staff who were returning back after their lunch break and would never have known anything was up.
So much of this PD is hidden. So much is masked behind smiles and small talk.
Three weeks of no mental health support pretty much amounts to CMHT discharge in my mind. To me, with my abandonment issues and difficulty retaining ‘object constancy’ and all that jazz, three weeks of no support is just that…N.O.t.h.i.n.g
I guess that leaves me a free citizen> A person learning to fend for themselves emotionally again after a breakdown.
Therapy is a crutch. Therapy is a pit stop. Therapy is a reality check. She is my reality check. I tell her the crazy thought processes I have and she tells me not that they are ‘crazy’-but that there are ‘more helpful and realistic/balanced ways of perceiving things’.
Left to my own devices who knows what psychological mistakes I will make in the next three weeks?
What things will I get wrong?
Is there even a right and wrong?
NO…. But my brain is black and white. The polarising filter is still my default even though she’s trying to install sensible factory updates in my head everytime we talk things through in therapy.
She is trying to repeat the same useful messages until I internalise them and start to begin to think more like she models me to think and respond.
She’s fucking good at her job. I can’t complain one bit. She’s ace. Her factory updates are getting installed and overlaying the crap I learned from parents and siblings, replacing it with healthier alternatives. She reminded me of my progress several times during therapy (which felt nice) and gave examples of how I would have dealt with difficult situations far worse in the past than I do now. A few times she looked genuinely enthused when I said something sensible, to the extent she’d write it down in quotation marks. YES, THIS IS GREAT THIS THING YOU JUST SAID AS IT IS EVIDENCE OUR THERAPY IS WORKING AS YOU ARE THINKING IN BALANCED REALISTIC WAYS-HURRAY FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL THERAPY AND THE BROKEN-RECORD TECHNIQUE!
[I love it when therapists get excited that their therapy is working. It must feel good to them, in an otherwise challenging role-bless x ]
But are the factory updates internalised enough for me to cope alright with three weeks of zero mental health support?
This will put me to the test. I know testing things will happen over the next few weeks. I know important stuff is coming up. I know I have a lot of hard work to do and people to meet and important and worthy stuff to do.
Can I do it all PD-less?
Can I defeat my PD and kickass regardless?
Will the next therapy sesh be a long listing of all the things I’ve psychological handled marvellously well- bish bash bosh?
OR, will I see her and say OMG HOW GLAD AM I TO SEE YOU and burst into tears of relief?…Who knows.
I don’t have a script for any of this, just as I had no prior plan for this post. Life just unfolds. We live each day praying for no major disasters and if we are jammy enough to get some successes, then that gives us the necessary boost to do further goal directed behaviour to attain yet more rewards, and so it goes on….but it’s all unscripted. There are no stage directions. Prepare to meet in life a whole load of narcissistic actors, enjoy the scenery, cue the music, don’t break a leg, the stage is set and all yours, hide behind the curtain if you must, but enjoy the gift of walking the wooden boards of life in whatever fancy costume you like, and for heaven’s sake ‘fuck the script’. An unscripted soc is where it’s at.