Checking In

At the risk of sounding repetitive, I apologize for vanishing off the face of WordPress. I have not been posting, commenting, or even really reading anything since right around Thanksgiving. The reasons for my absence are both that my schedule has really been that hectic with Christmas preparations and that some nights my depression knocks me so low that all I can do is crawl into bed.

There’s a lot that has been going on, things I’d ideally write my own posts about in a perfect world. But for right now, I’ll just stick to some basic updates.

My job has been taking up 90% of my time. We’re facing a big restructuring to part of our program, which will go into effect at the beginning of next year. My supervisor has had her mind on that, so she isn’t always around to answer questions I might have. As a newbie, that’s difficult because I’m making a lot of guesses and often I find that guessed wrong and then expend extra time to work to rectify my mistake.

My supervisor just keeps making changes that we can’t keep up with. There’s so much need and not enough staff, time, or energy to go around. Plus, she’s piling more on my colleague and I than we can handle.

I worry, because my colleague is pretty good at what she does, and she’s mentioned multiple times that she’s had job offers from other places. The more that’s asked of us, the more I worry that she’s going to take someone up on the offer. I’m just barely keeping my head above water there with her, I can’t imagine surviving if she leaves.

There’s just so much. So much to do. So much to know. So much to learn. I have a list a mile long of information that I’d like to read about more in-depth. I’d like to learn more about curriculum and the process of working with agencies and various disorders, but unfortunately there’s just not time for that. Not during the day at least, and then I get home too exhausted to do anything else.

So here I am getting thrown into situations that I don’t know how to handle and haven’t been properly trained in. I wonder if I’m picking up new skills fast enough.

Then there’s the fun part. Dealing with parents and teachers. It’s still anxiety-provoking for me and I’m working really hard right now on being comfortable in the discomfort of meetings, especially when I know we’re telling the parent something they don’t want to hear.

I’ve gotten through a number of different kinds of meetings and handled a few sticky situations with teachers, but it’s still a sensitive area for me. I have to actively remind myself a negative interaction isn’t indicative of negative self-worth on my part.

Imposter syndrome is a big issue. I’m still asking for reassurance that I’m doing an okay job (and then kicking myself for needing that validation). Mostly because I really feel like a little kid parading around in an adult’s job. I don’t know how these kids can ever look at me and expect that I know what I am doing.

News flash kids, I know about as much as you do.

My mental health has been all over the place. Right around, or maybe before, Thanksgiving, I was hurting myself at every opportunity I got. Then L and I decided I was only allowed to do that on Sundays (why did I agree to that?). So I’ve been trying to keep to this ritual, and I guess it’s worked pretty well because I am harm free for at least a couple weeks.

Still, the weeks can be difficult. I’ve had this recurrence of Tuesday and Wednesday being by far the most difficult days for a couple weeks now, where the shit seems to pile on until I’m just ready to give up. Usually by Thursday (therapy day), things begin to settle down. It’s a frustrating pattern honestly, one I don’t know how to break.

I still feel extremely empty and have periods of deep shame, but I’m mostly just pushing it all away when I can since talking about them with literally anybody just produces more shame. It’s to the point where I don’t want to share those vulnerable feelings with anyone, including J or L.

Speaking of therapy, , things have settled into a somewhat stable place. In what probably comes as no surprise,  at our first session back after Thanksgiving neither J nor I mentioned the ill-fated session that made me further question our relationship. I knew that she wouldn’t say a thing about it, because she never addresses any of our conflicts, and I certainly wasn’t going to propel myself back into perpetual misattunement and dysregulation. So…I guess we’re not returning to the letter at all. At least not right now.

The first week, I asked her to bring her DBT workbook.  I figured if we couldn’t solve our relationship stuff, maybe we could focus on solving some of the social issues I’m dealing with at work. There are sure enough of those to fill an hour.

It actually ended up going really well. I’d gone into session locked up tight, but as we dissected some of my interactions and I settled in, I let myself open up a bit more about what I’d been feeling during the week. We repeated this process again last week.

What I’ve noticed is that J seems more engaged with me and overall at ease than she’s been recently. I think that she’s relieved the focus is off of her for once.

It’s not a permanent solution, but right now I’m at least not dreading going to therapy. In fact, I’m actually feeling threads of a connection to her again. Maybe that’s because I’ve been us the space to let the relationship exist instead of harping on her? Like we can connect because she doesn’t feel under a microscope?

I don’t know, I’m not really questioning it too much.

However, while it’s nice that therapy has been helpful, it also makes me a little sad that for me to start feeling this way I had to essentially pack away the attachment stuff and all the feelings surrounding our last interaction before Thanksgiving (e.g. my anger about her breaking the eye-roll boundary again and my disappointment in how she handled the letter situation). To call that stuff into question would mean risking this sense of homeostasis.

Additionally, it makes me wonder what happens the next time all these issues float to the surface. Because they will. Right now, I’m able to compartmentalize because the feelings aren’t huge. But I don’t typically do middle of the road emotions for too long.

When that happens, will I be allowed to bring them up? Do I only get access to the kind, professional, and empathetic J when my problems don’t concern her?

I’ve considered that I may have to accept that the focus of therapy from here on out will have to strictly be skill-based and strength-based changes in my outside life, as J doesn’t appear comfortable or prepared to handle the relationship-centered work. I don’t know if that’s true, but it feels true, which isn’t necessarily fair to me.

I’m pretending not to care though.

I didn’t see L last week, but the week before my session with her wasn’t particularly great. I’m not sure it was anything specific that she did, but I know I felt myself retreating the more she talked.

She noticed it, and near the end of our time she asked me why I seemed to be withdrawn. I told her I felt disillusioned with therapy and questioned if anyone could help me. “I may not be able to help you, but I’m here for you,” she said.

She’s said stuff like that before. That we probably can’t make the cruel voices in my head go away, but we will try to turn the volume down dramatically. This statement felt differently though.

Perhaps her aim was to make me feel supported, but all I could think at the time was: J can’t help me and L doesn’t think she can help me either. She’s already admitted this, after only 5 weeks of knowing me. I’m hopeless. My disorder makes me hopeless. So really, what’s the point?

I’m supposed to let her know when she says something that hits me in a negative way, but it was the end of session, so I didn’t. I just kind of nodded and left. I guess we’ll see where that goes on Thursday.

I could keep writing, but I think I’ve rambled on enough for today. Plus, I’m ready for bed now. That’s my life, rearranging my schedule to maximize sleep.

I will try to get back into reading and writing, but for all of you who I normally comment on and have been neglecting, please know that I’m still rooting you on and celebrating your successes. WP is such an important place to me and I value all of you, especially those with whom I’ve interacted closely in my journey.

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Shame. So much shame.

I’m in that place right now. You know the one. The dark, cavernous depths of depression filled with sinister voices that remind me my life is useless and make me feel like nothing more than a hollowed out shell.  I post from that place every now and then.

It’s pretty grim here right now. My waist is covered with fresh cuts. I’ve been making poor eating choices and spending money in the wrong places.

Why am I here? Why? I don’t really know. Little things. One of them flipped the switch, sent my world from light to dark. Who knows which one. It doesn’t particularly matter.

I think back to Thursday morning. Before that, the week had been pretty okay. Then small things began to build.

One of the first things I do that morning is to officially assign an evaluation out to different service providers for a student who is due to be tested. About ten minutes later, I run into one of my colleagues, who immediately wants to know why she had to test the kid. I’d mentioned this to her a few weeks ago, and I thought she was on board, but I’d misunderstood her response. So now she is annoyed, and is telling me that he’s not going to be able to get the services anymore after this evaluation and his teacher will be upset.

You fucked up. She’s annoyed with you, again. She hates working with you. She thinks you are an imbecile. And maybe you are. It seems like every time you try to do something, you piss someone off. Then you can’t even manage to stand up for yourself! You stand there stuttering, like a moron.

I don’t have long to focus on this, because the little ones are coming in the door. Preschool starts early, but there’s a snafu with scheduling today because of the weather. I follow my colleague around like a lost little puppy, as we try to figure out what to do. Or as she figures it out. She’s stressed, and I don’t know how to be helpful.

I don’t know how she handles it. I never know what to do in these situations. I’m useless. Why am I so useless? 

The day after that is okay-ish. At one point, my friend comes looking for me because one of my preschoolers is throwing a fit and needs to be calmed. I go, because I case manage him. I’m having trouble controlling him, and eventually my colleague is called in too, which makes me feel terrible. Between the two of us, we try to help him regulate. I bring over something that I think will help and my colleague shakes her head, as if to tell me no. But here’s the thing, he responds to it. After a couple minutes, he stops fighting us and returns with the calming object to the table.

Why was my idea wrong? It worked, didn’t it? Is she mad at me now? Does everyone think I’m so worthless at this? This is why I can’t trust myself with any of my decisions. 

We are on early dismissal because of the weather, so I get to leave school early. Therapy is cancelled, both my sessions with L and J. So I go right home. I’m so, so grateful to just be at my house away from the world.

I’ve asked for an afternoon check-in with J in lieu of our session, because it’s been a hard morning. I call her and we chat for a bit. It’s fine, and she does give me something helpful to say, but I just feel off. I ask her if she read the post about shame I sent her, which felt risky to do after she interpreted the last post I let her read so poorly. She says she remembers us having a conversation about the shame shields, which is something I’ve completely forgotten.

I know she doesn’t mean it this way, but I hear that as why would you have me read this? That was a waste of my time considering we’ve talked about this before. Why would you act like this is such a big revelation? You’re so dramatic, always seeking my attention.

When we get off the phone, I feel sad. I check my email. Turns out I have one from my secretary, who has something to say about me assigning out the evaluations this morning. I guess I fucked up the process somehow, even though I was just trying to stay on top of things. She says we’ll chat tomorrow. I know she won’t be too mean, she’s just going to let me know what I was supposed to do.

But instead, all I feel is more shame. I am a mistake. Everything I do is a mistake. Even my best intentions end up wrong.

I am slowly descending into shame. I know at this point that I will definitely cut myself, but I have promised L that I will go through the actions of my safety plan before I do that now. So I do. I text a friend from work, because I’m upset about the day and I want to vent to her. She’s kind in response, but I feel more dismissed than heard.

You’re doing it again. You’re being to negative and attention-seeking with her. This is a new friendship, do you really want to push it away by showing too much of your true colors? Stop bothering her with your whining. She’s going to think you’re high maintenance if she doesn’t already and definitely pull away from you. 

So talking doesn’t help. I light a candle. I eat dinner. I crochet for awhile. But eventually, hours later, I find my way to my razor. Then I sleep.

Friday, school is cancelled because of the weather. I sleep in late and then awaken to find I’m still in the same piss poor mood I fell asleep with. I kind of float around my room lazily, without much energy to do anything. I’ve been given the option to either babysit or cancel, and I’m really leaning towards the latter. But I know me staying home will not end well, so I force myself up and out the door.

My dad has been kind enough to clean off my car for me, but for some reason this makes me angry. I tell him he doesn’t have to do it as I trudge outside to clean off the snow from the back deck. I can’t even look him in the eye, which is a fairly common thing that happens to me around my parents when I’m feeling upset. He shrugs and continues working on my car.

You can’t even say thank you to him? He’s trying to help and you’re being a jerk. What’s wrong with you that him doing something nice for you infuriates you? You’re such an ungrateful brat. 

After the deck is clean, I leave to babysit. By babysit, I mean that I keep them entertained, considering both parents are currently home. I feel a little bit better being around the girls, but it comes and goes in waves. Lately, being there fills me with mixed emotions, because as much as I enjoy them, I feel like I’ve almost gotten too involved. Like I’m using it to fill a void for all the other things in my life I’m missing.

There are a few moments while I’m there that I say something and their mother has a different opinion. I chastise the kids for something that their mother excuses or vice versa. Every time that happens, I wonder, was I wrong? Is she annoyed with me now?

Suffice it to say, I go home and continue to feel bad. This continues all night and into Saturday, when I push myself to go to my grandfather’s even though I’m feeling more like laying in bed all day.

This is the general course of my weekend. When I am home, I feel that emptiness. My friends all seem to have plans, and I have none. I see these happenings on instagram and fall deeper into the pit of depression. Why am I such a loser? Why do I have no one?

One of the things that really triggers me is seeing my ex-friends from college hanging out again in a post. I don’t know why, but that continues to really bother me so much. It sends me into such grief, because part of me is saying well, they weren’t really the greatest friends anyway and the other part is saying yeah well, you can’t seem to hold onto anyone in your life, so maybe you’re the problem here, not them. Notice how you have no one left in your life from high school or college? 

I threw myself into more crochet. I watched an entire season of This Is Us. I played games on my phone. None of it helped. More cutting. More shame.

All the way into today, where I now sit dreading going back to work tomorrow. Where I now sit feeling so tired and lazy, frozen for periods of five and ten minutes sometimes as I look around my room, unable to process everything I need to do.

I’m drowning in shame all the time. So much shame. I just want to hide away from the world. The world is a scary place. Trying too hard or not hard enough, I can never seem to get it right. Don’t know how to set boundaries. Don’t know how to be around people. And it’s left me with this intense emptiness.

The shame is so painful, and I know that being in it alone is not helpful, but I cannot think of a single person I want to talk to about this. No one that I think could make it better. I don’t think it can get better.

Right now, I’m severely doubting the utility of therapy. I’m supposed to see J tomorrow night, but I doubt if anything helpful will come of that. I’m still not feeling the connection with her, which is impacting my ability to let the emotions out in a healing way. Instead, I sit, constantly bracing myself to feel invalidated or misunderstood or like things are lacking. I know that’s no way to go into therapy, but it’s just the normal.

Things are resolving, I think, but very slow. I still very much feel like perhaps my therapist is over me, or at the very least out of things to say, and it’s putting me at a distance.

Tomorrow, we are supposed to write the letter I asked for together. I’m not feeling very confident about it. Vulnerability is frightening.

Plus, it’s the 4 year anniversary of my grandmother’s death tomorrow. I have three of those anniversaries in three months and they are particularly painful to me. I want to talk about it in therapy, because I don’t feel like I can talk about it elsewhere, but I feel like I’ve shared too much about it even there. Aren’t I supposed to be over these feelings by now? I never hear any of my friends still pining over their lost grandparents.

So many feelings and no where to put them. No one wants to hear it, and I don’t blame them. It’s annoying. I’m annoying.

Why won’t it ever stop?

Therapy feels pointless. Nothing seems to stop the voices in my head. I think that I am just expected to deal with them, but I don’t want to. I don’t want the voices or the intense emotions. I don’t want any of it. I want to not exist.

I don’t have a good place to end this, but I’ve run out of things to say, so I’m just going to stop here. I just want to sleep. The thought of waking up tomorrow and going back out into the real world just fills me with dread. And shame.

So much shame.

What I’ve Learned…

I’ve completed nearly two months of my job now. It’s hard having a borderline personality, a disorder built of its fluctuating emotions, a harsh inner critic, and difficulty managing relationships in a job that’s full of stress and talking to people! Here’s what I’ve learned about life in this position so far.

It’s hard. Like really fucking hard. I knew it was going to be, because I’m new to the position, but I was not prepared for how really intensely difficult this job was going to be. There are a lot of different things I’m expected to manage. Case management. Testing. Social lunch groups. Consultation with teachers. Phone calls to parents. Documentation of everything: reports, phone logs, progress monitoring, education programs.

It doesn’t matter how on top of things I feel at the end of one day. The unexpected is coming, whether it be a concern about a student or a new referral. I’ve learned I need to get used to the fact that it’s never all going to get done in a day, my to-do list is just going to be a revolving door.

Closing my door is a boundary. It lets people know that I’m busy. Boundaries are important. You don’t always have to answer the phone when it rings. You don’t have to answer an email right away. You can wait a few hours, regroup, and call back.

I’ve learned that you can ask a question four different times and get four different answers, depending on who you ask. Administration isn’t always cohesive, and everyone has a different agenda. You need to be careful of what you say to who, and avoid throwing someone under the bus.

The nature of my job and the nature of my age puts me on my own little island. Sometimes what I need to do for a student goes in line with what a teacher wants or perceives the student needs. Our values do not always align. I’m not there to make friends, I’m there to do a job.

I’ve learned that the rumor is true: high school never ends. Especially when you work in a school. There are cliques, there are loners, there are politics to navigate. It’s confusing as hell.

I’m really bad at this, by the way. Put me in my office writing reports all day and I’m fine. Put me in classrooms and offices asking for missing surveys or making a suggestion for a kid and I’d like a hole to appear in the ground and swallow me up.

The minions constantly want me to believe that other people think badly of me. For example, I’ll stop in during a teacher’s lunch to ask for something and walk away feeling insecure and anxious. They’re talking about me. They’re annoyed at me.  They hate me for asking for that. I might be right and I might not be, but it doesn’t really matter.

When I’m there during the day, it’s about everyone else. It’s about my students. It’s not about me. My problems get put on a shelf and will be returned to later. However, it does need to be about me during lunch. I need to eat, need to drink water, need to take bathroom breaks. Otherwise I’m of no use to my students. This is not always easy to remember, and days have gone by where I have forgotten to eat lunch and then wonder why I’m cranky come 2:00.

I’ve learned you can go down to the cafeteria and ask for pizza at 1:00 on a Friday and they’ll give you leftovers. And if you bribe the technology guys with candy, they install programs on your laptop when you can’t figure it out yourself.

It’s really easy to compare myself to the girl who came before me, the one others thought highly of. She had five years experience on her way out the door and I have two months experience. I want to be as good as her, and I find myself inserting myself into situations and trying to make comments just to show that I know things, to try to justify why I was hired.

It’s okay not to know everything. It’s okay to sit back and watch, to examine the dynamics and absorb more information. These things do not make me worthless in the position, they show that I’m interested in learning.

I don’t always believe this, but other people say it, so it’s probably true.

I’ve learned that work follows me home each day, even if I don’t take any physical reports to write or try to update my calendar. The kids come to me in my dreams. I find myself thinking about them in the shower. I’m so obsessed with the notion of being effective and making a difference that their needs bleed into my world and overshadow my needs to get a break.

For this reason, I’m working on setting timers to limit work outside the walls of my office. I’m working on affirmations to share with myself when I feel like thoughts of my students crowd my brain.

I’ve learned that 6:00 is really early, but that I can survive being among the conscious world at that time.

And, as it turns out, 9:00 feels quite later than it ever used to.

I’ve learned that when all eyes are on me, I panic. When we are sitting in a referral meeting, my brain refuses to concoct questions or make connections between what’s being spoken and the things I’ve learned. I may as well be useless.

I try to make lists to compensate, so I have something to refer to and can develop enough information to make a decision. This helps in some ways, but doesn’t in others.

Without a doubt, I love my students. I am 100% positive of that part. They have their unique challenges, but I am learning them. Their histories, their mannerisms, their needs. I want so desperately to help them grow. I celebrate them as often as I can.

Most importantly, I’ve learned to adopt the mantra of one day at a time. When I want to stress about everything coming my way, the multitudes of spring evaluations on top of referrals, and our program’s growing number of needs, I immediately feel panic rising.

But then I remember, that’s not today. Today, I have X number of things on my list to tackle. The rest is coming, but it’s not here yet. I’ll focus on what’s in front of me.

I’ve learned that this job is stressful. Not just hard, but stressful. I was afraid from the beginning that it would tear me apart. Sometimes I still fear that, like the nights where I break down crying because there’s so much to do or because I’m so tired.

When people ask how my job is going, especially my friends working  the same job, it’s easier to just say “It’s fine” or “It’s a lot, but I’m getting through.” Sometimes I just call it a challenge. No one knows the true extent of it, except my one friend C, who I told just the other night in the middle of a panic episode.

The truth is, I wish I loved my job with the same passion that my friends do.

I’ve learned that I don’t know if I want to do this forever, but it’s what I’m going to have to do right now. It’s a job and it’s a salary, and that’s what I’ve worked for. Acceptance is still iffy on this front, but I get up and go in each day.

One day at a time.

The BPD in Me

How often do those of you with Borderline Personality Disorder (or any other disorder!) use the actual phrase in conversation with real people in your lives?

As often as I tackle the topic of BPD on my blog, I am generally not very open about it with those I interact with face-to-face. I’ve used the actual diagnosis in conversation with my parents and a few friends, but I discuss it seldom. As it passes my lips, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, the bitterness of words that are so stigmatized in our society. I often cringe immediately once I’ve said it, because I know what other people believe about BPD and I fear judgment.

On the rare occasion I have discussed it, it was often because I was trying to explain its meaning in my life. I was trying to take that demonized diagnosis and paint a picture of how it has colored my thoughts, my feelings, my actions. I was trying to put it in perspective for another person who was bewildered by my extreme mood, trying to educate a friend, or trying to quell someone’s anger after a regretful action on my part.

The problem is, I struggle to articulate further what it means beyond reading the DSM criteria verbatim. When I first started blogging, I published a number of posts that reflected upon how each of the nine borderline personality disorder criteria applied to me. I did this during a time where I was still learning about which parts of my identity were mine alone and which parts perhaps that of my disorder. It was useful, but those posts were expansive, and I haven’t looked at them in many months.

I’m very much in a phase of making everything “comprehensive” right now. Organizing the information in a way that communicates it most effectively. This is what I want to do with my disorder. I want to to highlight where the BPD exists within me, so that the next time I try to explain it someone maybe I can do it in a way that really gives justice to my experience.

The BPD in me comes out through intense emotions that cycle up and down at the drop of a hat, from the highest of high to the lowest of low. I feel my feelings at the extreme, even the positive ones. When I feel well, I am excitable, motivated, and have hope for my future. I feel productive and proud of myself for the work that I am doing. I can look back at the past and feel empathy for myself and the mistakes I’ve made, and even begin towards acceptance.

Unfortunately, I am triggered easily, by very trivial matters that wouldn’t upset other people: a small mistake at work, a perceived slight from a friend, or anything that might disrupt my routine. When that happens, my world plummets. I’ve seen the feelings described this way “grief instead of sadness, humiliation instead of embarrassment, rage instead of annoyance and panic instead of nervousness.” That is the truth. I don’t get just a dose of the feeling, I get it all, turned up to full volume.

The BPD in me takes those emotions and projects them into my perceptions of myself and others. The same way my feelings are extreme, so are my thoughts. If I’m not careful, I will paint my whole world into black and white, a series of all or nothing.

Usually, I’m at the negative end of the extreme, because the voice in my head is so harsh and so cruel. It calls me names and refuses to give me any credit for my success. I’m unlovable. I’m a loser. I’m “less than” everyone else. I’m a failure. I deserve to be punished. The good things are external, specific, and unstable; I see them, but I assume they are a short-lived manifestation of luck. The negative is internal, global, and stable. That is, it’s my fault, it will be my fault for every situation, and this will never change. I treat myself worse than anyone could ever treat me.

Because of of the BPD in me, sometimes I’m not sure what is the truth and what is not. So I tend to stick to the negative assumptions, so that if they end up being true, I’m not disappointed.

I know this is a fallacy, but it feels safer.

My BPD causes me to have trouble trusting anyone. In truth, the only people I trust not to leave are my parents. Everyone else? I assume you are going to leave and I assume it’s because of me. My flaws. My wrongdoings. My insecurities. You need to remember that I’ve had many friendships end before you, and I played a large role in it. So when you’re trying to tell me things are fine, I’m remembering the pain of those losses instead of listening to you. I’m not hearing your reassurance, especially not at first. You may need to reassure me, over and over, that you aren’t going anywhere. Eventually, maybe it will stick.

Of course, I hate to ask you directly for your reassurance. If I have to ask, then how do I know you really wanted to give it and didn’t just do so out of obligation? No, the BPD in me can’t accept your validation of our relationship unless you offer it freely, so that I can be sure it’s genuine. The BPD in me expects you to be attuned to that need at all times, to magically know when I need your reassurance. The voice is there, telling me that if you cared, you’d know and you’d ask.

Even when you do reassure me, even when you do so wonderfully, I’ll think I’m a burden for needing your support. In general, the BPD in me makes me hate myself for having needs at all. I don’t know how to prioritize myself and set appropriate boundaries because I’m so busy worrying about everyone else liking me.

The thought of someone not liking me feels personal. It feels like a strike against me as a person. Nevermind the fact that no one in the world is universally liked, I’ll still push to break that barrier. I’ll eviscerate the emotional and physical boundaries I’ve set for myself to please as many as I can. No one has asked me to do this. It’s a choice I’ve made for myself to try to maintain my own sanity.

When people do overstep a boundary, I let them right on in. Even though I should kindly lock the door, tell them to come back later, I’m too worried about appearing selfish and instigating feelings of anger.

The BPD in me shines through my recurrent thoughts that I am a burden to others and doomed to ruin every relationship, platonic or romantic, that I enter. Because of this, I struggle to maintain a connection with others when we are not together. We could have a fabulous time one day, laughing and forming a tight connection, but the second you are out of my sight I will begin to doubt the relationship. I may fear you are upset or angry with me based on the way you respond to a text message.

This is more about me than it is about you. It’s not about negative opinions I have of you; it’s about the negative tirade that’s happening in my head. I’m trying to hold onto the sense of trust and connection between us, but sometimes it slips right through my fingers and gets lost in the chaos.

You might notice that I shy away from disagreement, and will say things like “it’s fine” or “it doesn’t matter” the second I start to feel opposition from you or any sort of tension and anger on your part. I will invalidate my own needs and values, stomp them into dust myself, if I think that’s what you want to hear.

Or, more likely, I’ll just stay quiet and say nothing at all. Because if I speak in opposition of what you believe, I’m worried you will think I’m criticizing your opinions. I’m worried you will be upset with me. I assume if we disagree, it will lead to conflict, and that conflict will be the end of our relationship.

The world is full of disagreements and that’s scary to me. Remember that thing I said about not knowing what’s the truth? Well, how can I fight for something if I’m not sure my truth is the real truth? Or worse, if there’s no right opinion? Navigating all of that is fiercely confusing. Being around groups of people exacerbates these fears, because there’s a greater chance of differing opinions. The BPD in me makes me want to hide away from it all. When you see me withdrawing, it’s usually because nothing feels like the right thing to say, everything too risky.

You might notice that I apologize, repeatedly, for very small infractions. It might be something small that barely even bothered you, and here I am holding onto it with numerous apologies even once you’ve told me it’s fine. I know it’s probably annoying but I literally cannot help myself. Even the smallest of mistakes feels fatal to me, so I do everything I can to compensate for it. Everything I can to keep you with me.

The BPD in me makes me a perfectionist. I want to do everything right, to say everything right, be everything right for everyone. If I do all that, then I am in control, and I need to feel in control of my life. The expectations I’ve set for myself are beyond what anyone could ever reach, and yet I tell myself I need to aim for it anyway. I tell myself if I just try hard enough, be good enough, I can do it.

I know that it makes me look a little frazzled sometimes, when I’m obsessing about getting it all right. I’m aware that it’s frustrating for others when I’m going on and on about everything on my plate. This is why. That voice in my head, telling me I have to handle it all perfectly. That voice in my head, telling me I’m a failure each time I don’t. I get stuck in that space, trying desperately to find ways to feel like I’ve fulfilled my expectations for myself .

The BPD in me makes me impulsive. My intense emotions can feel overwhelming and I’m not always so good at sitting with them, Usually, it’s because I feel wronged and am putting pressure on myself to communicate my pain with others.  I may make assumptions about what others are thinking. I may say or do something in a flurry of feelings based purely off of my misguided belief. In those moments, I’ve forgotten to lay situations out and look at the evidence against the emotions and assumptions. I’ve forgotten to consider the consequences of my actions.

BPD has told me to act now and get it all out before it’s too late, so I do. Unfortunately, that usually hurts someone. Afterwards,  I see all that much more clearly, and I regret it immensely. It’s a pattern I’m still digging my way out of. When I’m impulsive, it may hurt you. I’m sorry for that.

My impulsivity takes other forms. I’m notorious for eating more calories than one person needs and asking you not to judge me for it. Mozzarella sticks, pizza, macaroni and cheese, ice cream, candy. These are my weaknesses, because they are a comfort, at least in the moment, and I’m often looking to soothe sad feelings.

Then there’s the financial impulsively. I will buy something frivolous: new clothes, a figurine from Amazon, Packer’s tickets. I’ll tell myself I deserve it. I’ll tell myself I need it. These are rationales used to cover the unhealthiness of my decision. The truth is, I’m trying to fill a void, because the BPD in me makes me feel empty too.

I’m grieving over absences, things I wish I’d had that were never there and never will be. Accepting that loss feels dismissive. I yearn to find ways to compensate for the things I was missing, but how can I ever make up for what was lost? Living with that knowledge just spurs resentment at others.

I resent my parents for not teaching me the skills I needed to identify, verbalize, and regulate my emotions or to build and maintain appropriate relationships that include disagreement; for instead teaching me how to get angry, to yell, and to bury everything else. I resent my friends for having the skills that I don’t, for knowing how to cultivate friendships and not missing out on those positive experiences in high school and college. I resent people with confidence, people know who know who they are. I resent people who have the life experiences I want to have: travel, weddings, families.

I feel ashamed of my resentment, a difficulty tolerating that my parents could have tried their best but still didn’t give me enough of what I needed. I feel ashamed at the way I compare myself to others. Still, the feelings continue.

At the core of me, I feel like my life has no meaning, like I’m not connected intricately enough to anyone to make a difference. In a way, I lift right out. I wish that my relationship with my parents was more solid. I wish I had siblings. I wish I had a boyfriend. I wish I had a friendship group where I was the first pick to go out on holidays, birthdays, and other occasions, instead of being the afterthought or backup. I don’t have these things.

I know that it is on me to overcome the emptiness. It’s on me to take the steps to overcoming all of this. I’m trying to fight the BPD in me, I really am. I’m no longer sure if it’s part of me or another entity, but I know that is causes distress. So I’m trying. I have to repeat that as an attempt to convince myself because I don’t believe that I’m trying hard enough.

Again, I need the reassurance.

Taking care of myself requires herculean effort sometimes. The depression makes me dread waking up in the morning. It breeds hopelessness. The anxiety has me fretting over every interaction in my path. Sometimes, the most I can manage is to light a candle, take a shower, or read a book. Usually, I just sleep.

I feel all the negative feelings and it culminates in self-harm or suicidal thoughts. Sometimes even suicidal plans. I can’t remember that last time I went longer than a day or two without at least considering suicide. I truly believe this will be how I meet my end one day, even if it’s not today.

Then perfectionism swoops in and blasts me for not being better, working harder. The BPD in me reminds me I’ve learned the skills and should be able to use them more effectively by now. I should have some of the things I so desperately want, and I’m not making progress quickly enough. Then I’m back in the space of feeling fundamentally flawed again.

This is how I’ve been for a long time. I ask myself again and again why I’m like this, and this is what the research has told me: The emotions may be out of my control, but I cling to the negative judgements and the poor coping responses because it’s what I know. It seemingly serves me to protect me from being hurt, even though it really doesn’t. It’s seemingly comfortable because it’s familiar, even though it’s also miserable.

As soon as things start to get better, the BPD in me has a tendency to jump in and self-sabotage. The truth is, I never feel at ease. I am always on guard, ready for things to implode. I am expecting that they will, because they always have.

I wrote this elsewhere before:  My mind refuses to accept that the other shoe won’t drop, refuses to acknowledge that things might just maybe be verging on okay. It’s like driving around with my check engine light on constantly. I keep checking the engine only to discover that nothing is wrong. The car is running fine. But the light stays on just in case. Just in case something really is wrong with the engine and it’s about to blow.

This is the BPD in me. It’s something I work hard against daily. It’s something that sometimes gets the best of me. It’s something I hate and wish would go away, because it makes everything more difficult.

I wish that people could understand better the totality of my experience, but I can recognize why putting yourself in my shoes wouldn’t be easy or desirable. Maybe this piece at least did a fair job of explaining the unique combination of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are common to the borderline world.

I hope I can break free of the BPD in me, but for now, I’m just working on getting through.

A Letter to My Suicidal Self

This prompt was suggested to me rather emphatically by J after I told her honestly just how intense and difficult my suicidal ideation has been in the last couple weeks. I had, for the first time, moved past simple thoughts and into actual plans. I think this admission scared her, and it has scared me too. The depth of my challenges has always been formidable, but lately it has felt insurmountable. 

I hoped to wait until I was in a truly stable and perhaps even positive place to write this, because I wanted some true light to contrast the darkness I feel when I am suicidal. However, the difficult days continued to linger. In fact, I spent most of the weekend in bed, chained by a depression that refused to let up. Finally, finally some relief has come in the last day, and I am hopeful that it will be enduring. Since I know the course of my disorder, I know that the pain will return at some point. When it does, I hope that this will help me in avoiding giving into the voice of temptation, as a fervent reminder about what remains here for me. 

To the part of me that is suffering in a grievous pain, whether of the past, present, or the future, I have some things I want to say to you:

I know your pain is huge. It’s a great big mammoth. Always present and easily aggravated, it threatens to spear you with its giant tusks, to step on you and squish you, at any given moment. Even when it is quiet, it is always there walking beside you. Following. Stalking. And you never know when something else will set it off into a frenzy again. It really takes so little.

Day to day living is not easy for you, I know this too. You think you’ve damaged your life with mistakes that cannot be corrected for. You look around and see the friends that you could have had, feeling a loneliness that cannot be extinguished. You feel anxious at the thought of trying to begin new friendships, and even the premise of a real romantic relationship makes you want to run in the other direction. Conflicts happen, people leave; I know you struggle to trust them because you see abandonment as a rule of relationships.

Worst of all, I know the awful names that you call yourself. You know them too, so I won’t even give them the power of speaking them aloud. I know they’re on repeat in your head, those minions telling you that you’re destined only for failure and continued pain. They retreat from even the slightest glimmers of positivity, refusing to let you feel good for even a second, instead clinging like super-glue to those terrible names.

Right now, you want to die. You want to take yourself out of this world. You have plans for this, because it feels both like a comfort and penance. It makes sense to you, I get it. But living makes sense too. There are the reasons you need to stick around and stay in the battle, even if persistence means keeping your sword drawn and hiding behind your shield for awhile just to get through.

It’s understandable that you want to escape your pain. Anyone would. But here’s the thing: There are safer ways to do that the ones your mind invents.

Think of the things that make you happy. Like how completing a difficult run is exhilarating. There are still self-imposed running records for you to break. Once, you thought you’d never be able to complete six consecutive minutes; now, you can run thirteen. You know what else brings you joy? Animals. There is a homeless cat or the dog (or both) that is waiting for you to adopt him and smother him with love. Don’t let him miss out on the chance to know you. Don’t forget how much you cherish the holidays. There’s almost nothing as special to you as the process of decorating a Christmas tree or the magic of a fireworks show. These moments are perennial; they come back to you every year, a guaranteed piece of happiness to look forward to.

So many other things go on this list. Old home videos. An apple-scented candle. Pretty much every country song on the radio right now. Sunflowers. Snoopy. Your absolute favorite meal at your favorite restaurant. Lighthouses. The Green Bay Packers. Any of those cute videos of a puppy. The moment when it just clicks in your brain and something makes sense. All of these things spark happiness.

The pain may be intense, but so is the joy. You need the one to know the beauty of the other. And you do know that beauty. Think of how proud and excited you were when you got the call with the job offer, how truly spectacular it felt to reap the benefits of your hard work. That was a joy that the pain can’t touch, no matter how hard it tries. It happened, and it’s a memory to hold on to, ammunition to fire back at the pain.

You are not alone in this world. You have people, to whom you are connected to intricately. Your parents, who really try so hard to support you despite not always understanding the way you wish they would. Your grandfather, with all his charm and humor. Your aunt and cousins, who care and check in. Your friends from graduate school, who have known you at your worst and are still there. A few friends even from undergrad, with whom the relationship is fun and silly and strong. You have H & S, who you absolutely adore. You have J too.

I know that it doesn’t always feel like enough for you. I know you long for a certain type of connection and reciprocity among your friendships. I know how much you yearn for a real intimate relationship. But what you have here is something. It’s a chance to work on feeling comfortable with people. It’s proof that you are capable of cultivating lasting relationships in a positive way. It’s evidence that you are worth the love you don’t believe you deserve.

Being with people is hard, I don’t dispute this. But you cannot discount the skills you are learning to make existing in a social world more manageable. Every interaction is an opportunity for you to learn. There are so many more people out in the world for you to meet. People who will like you for your good qualities: your kindness, generosity, and empathetic heart. It will get easier, but you must not give up. Not everyone is a winner, and not everyone can appreciate or understand perfectly, but there are many fulfilling relationships awaiting you.

I’m not encouraging you to live for them, I’m encouraging you to live for the hope and happiness that your current relationships and these potential relationships can bring you, if you keep working for them.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with your current situation and even easier to believe the cruelty of those minions.  Their voices are the loudest, because they’ve been with you for years. They tell you that you are fundamentally flawed, but we are all flawed. Your humanity doesn’t make you deserving of death.

And just because they are the easiest voices to hear, doesn’t mean there aren’t other kinder voices back there hiding. Waiting to be encouraged forward.

What you deserve is kindness. I know you don’t believe me right now. You believe you deserve punishment, for any number of reasons I’m sure. But remember that you’d never say that to anyone else on this planet. You’d try to offer them kindness on even their darkest day, to find the glimmer of hope for them, so you must do this for yourself too. And if you can’t get on board with that, remember a general rule of psychology is that positive reinforcement is so much more effective than punishment.

Be kind. Please, please, please find room for kindness and care. Look at your safety plan, because it has everything outlined to keep you safe with your feelings. Fight back against the minions with whatever you can throw at them. Meditation. Music. Running. Wrapping yourself up like a burrito in your blankets and sitting through the emotions. The intensity will pass because it always has. You’ll thank yourself  for not acting impulsively in the darkness when the clouds begin to let light in again.

When it does begin to pass, recognize that you are allowed to feel better. You are allowed to feel happiness, relief, and even hope. Especially hope. The minions will fight it, they will try to remind you of all the reasons to slip back into pain, but screw them. Take each moment of the good, however brief, and live for that.

Then curse out the minions, if you’d like. They are wrong. Don’t let them persuade you back into suicidal thinking. They’d make you live there if they could, but you can stay housed faithfully in a place of healing.

Remember that healing is not linear, and that feelings of stagnancy and struggle may precede patches of growth. You may feel very differently in a few days or weeks, if only you give yourself the opportunity to get there.

Remember that your feelings are not facts; you may feel worthless and like a lost cause, but there is so much concrete evidence to the contrary.  It’s here and here and here. It’s in the way you keep trying to be better and do better. It’s in every kind gesture you show to everyone else. It’s in your sticking with therapy, even when you want to quit.

Remember everything you want out of this life: a home, a husband, kids, travel experiences, pets, participation in your community, the ability to make a difference, and know that these aren’t doors that have closed indefinitely. These aren’t far-fetched fantasies, you can achieve them. They just may be further down on your journey.

You have spent over two years getting to know yourself and building a better life for you. I know it can really fucking suck, but its worth the fight and you know it is. Now is not the time to prematurely cut it all short.

You are worth life and all it has to offer you. Plan out the next goals you have and the steps you’ll take to get there. . Plan out a recipe for the meal you probably need to eat. Plan which shows are on the docket for tonight’s viewing. Plan a playlist for tomorrow. Plan an outing with a friend. Plan a trip to Ireland or Italy or Nashville, even.

But please, stop planning to die.

You have survived everything before this and you can keep going. You have the power to keep going. You, not the minions, are in control.

Keep fighting, okay? You’re stronger than the pain. You’ve got this.

Celebrating Success, Not Squashing It

So a funny thing happened recently. I may have actually found…a job?

It was a crazy situation. I had an interview on Tuesday morning that went really well.It was for a high school position and only a year-long substitute appointment (although with the potential to become a long-term position). By lunch, I had received an email informing me that he was going to recommend me for the position.

I felt excited, but not crazy excited, because I also had a second interview in a different district that day for an elementary position that I really wanted and am still waiting to hear back from. Still, I had this news when I went into see J that afternoon. I showed her the email and we were discussing my mixed feelings when the phone rang.

It was the superintendent of the district. He told me that things had unexpectedly changed. Instead of the original position, someone had just vacated an elementary school position within the last hour. He wanted to know if I was interested. I told him I was. He’s going to call me with more information tomorrow.

As an aside, can I tell you that I was so extremely happy and felt it so fitting that I was in J’s office when I got that phone call? She was really excited for me.

It’s crazy how fast it happened, and I’m still waiting to hear from the other district too. If I were offered that position, I might still take it. But either way, it looks like I may have finally found a full-time position and can feel some relief.

Which is really exciting!!!

But.

You knew there was a but, I pretty much told you in the title there would be one.

The minions are at it in my head. When I first got the news, my first reaction was literally tears of joy. I got off the phone and just cried. Feelings of extreme go both ways for me. While the pain feels unmanageable, the joy is also sometimes so intense that I could burst. J and I both sat there while I reveled in my happiness, because I couldn’t concentrate enough to produce full sentences. It was a really nice, good moment and I haven’t had a lot of those lately.

Unsurprisingly, that pure happiness was short-lived, as other thoughts and feelings have been creeping in. Or maybe they never really left, but were overpowered by the joy for a little while. They don’t want me to be excited. They want to push their agenda, by making sure I know loud and clear I’m still all the terrible things I fear.

It goes a little something like this.

Me: I got a job! This is such exciting news. 

Minions: Is it though?

Yes? Why wouldn’t it be?

Well, it sure took awhile. Weren’t you like the last one of your friends to get a job?

I mean, yes, but —

And didn’t you get passed over not once, but twice, in favor of them choosing one of the other interns from the district where you trained?

I did. But that doesn’t change that I got a job now. 

Yeah, but only after all the better, more skilled and capable people were already taken. Like all your friends. Funny how they always thought you were the smart one. when actually you’re just like the best of all the leftovers.

I’m skilled and capable too. I’m smart. I’m a hard worker. I’ve got great initiative. 

You can keep telling yourself that, but you’re really just the reject. Look at all those districts that didn’t want you. If all those things you said were true, one of the first places you interviewed would have hired you.

That’s not necessarily true. It wasn’t that I wasn’t good enough for those districts. It’s just that someone else was a better fit or had more suitable experience. I found the district I was meant to be at. 

That sounds like something losers say to make themselves feel better about being losers. A better psychologist and a smarter person would be able to make any district like them and want them.

No one has the capability to make everyone like them and want them. It’s more complicated than you’re making it.

It’s not. You just didn’t have the charisma or the skill to have made those districts want you. Simple. It took you so long. 8 interviews?! You should be ashamed.

You’re wrong! I’m allowed to be happy about this! I worked so hard for it and I want to celebrate it!

Reject. Loser. Not good enough. I bet that the only reason this district wants you is because there’s something wrong with it. Your friends are all working in respectable districts, but there’s got to be something messed up here.

There isn’t. It’s just a school like any other school.

There’s something wrong. There is. You’ll find out eventually. Only a reject school wants a reject psychologist. Because they’re desperate.

My friend is working here too! It will all be fine. It’s a good job.

Well, you realize that even though you got a job, it could still fall through, right? And if it doesn’t, then you still have to actually do the job and be good at it. Which you’ll probably fail at. Are you sure you still want to be excited?

I can do it. I can figure it out. I’ve learned so much and I’m motivated to put in the time and energy to be the best I can for my students. 

But will it be enough? How can you be sure?

Can you please just SHUT UP?

Never. You know I’m right. That’s why you feel that uneasiness.

It goes on and on and on, but that’s a little bit of the internal war waging in my head. There’s a message being so clearly communicated to me that because I didn’t secure one of the first jobs, and because I didn’t earn a job before my friends, that I’m not allowed to be excited about this job opportunity.

It’s my perfectionism kicking in and a little bit of the black or white thinking. Success means I have to get the first job I interview for, before anyone else, otherwise I can’t celebrate it. If I don’t succeed within those parameter, I fail.

So to the minions, I have failed. They’re trying to make sure I know it, trying to introduce as much anxiety and shame as they can, and I’m fighting back.

The truth is, I have worked so damn hard for this position. To get better. To learn more. To be more efficient. To be good at the job. Even though I’ve had my doubts, I still showed up every day and put forward the effort to be the best intern I could possibly be. Before that, I put my heart and soul into my classes, of which the workload was stressful and taxing. And the interviewing, which has been some of the most terrifying and awful times of my life as I sat among panels and tried to sell myself.

It’s been hell and it seems now (although not officially officially) like I achieved the ultimate goal of my program. 20 years of schooling coming down to this.

Whether I got my job first or last, whether it took 1 interview or 19, I deserve to be able to celebrate. Because the end outcome was the same, a goal achieved.

Even as I type that, I feel like I need to make some sort of statement in opposition of what I’m saying, because what I’m saying doesn’t feel true. I don’t feel like I’m allowed to celebrate, I feel like I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

But regardless of what I feel, I know that I am allowed to be happy and proud of myself. Earning this job is evidence that all the good things in the lists J forces me to write. Minions don’t like positive evidence, but screw them. I am a hard worker. I am persistent. I am capable.

I got a job and I’m happy. I GOT A JOB AND I’M HAPPY. Scream it from the rooftops!

I sense that the minions are going to keep sticking around, but I will keep fighting them in celebration. Whether that be telling my friends, which I haven’t yet because I’m still waiting on complete confirmation of the job (I was honestly even afraid to blog about this, because I’m afraid that’s jinxing it) and also because it still doesn’t feel completely real, or going out and doing something really fun. I deserve the opportunity to rejoice and put myself and my hard work front and center for others to celebrate as well.

It feels weird, but I can learn to accept the positive attention.

Success is success, period. Embrace it, don’t squash it.

You’re Wrong

J,

Right now, at this moment in time, I really want to quit therapy.  I want to text you and tell you that not only will I not be there on Tuesday, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever go back again.

This isn’t the result of a rupture. You didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, I think its the opposite of that. You’re doing everything right and I’m still not feeling any better.

I don’t think I’m ever going to get better, no matter what I do. I can’t escape my emotions, I’m just going to cycle through them as long as I continue to exist.

I don’t blame you for this. I blame myself, because I’m simply beyond fixing. You’ve told me you don’t like that word, but what word fits better? I’m broken; my illnesses broke me long ago and I can’t find enough pieces to put myself back together.

We’re trying, but it’s not working. Maybe we are doomed to fail.

I’ve been in this place before, felt stuck before. Many times in fact. But there’s something different about the way I’m feeling lately, the specific brand of hopelessness that I’ve become twisted up in.

You’re trying so hard to get me to see my progress. You’re trying to sell me on this life that I can have, on these goals that you tell me are good goals. You’re so insistent that I can have a happy future.

I know that you feel like this is the truth. You are not intentionally lying to me. Bless you for thinking that I actually have any amount of worth sufficient to muster up some success in this unpredictable, confusing, and scary world.

All the same, I think you’re wrong.

Sometimes, I’m angry at you, even though I don’t want to be. I’m angry with you for having all the things that I want: a job that you’re great at, friendships, a husband, a life. I’m angry with you for being happy. Not just angry, jealous.

Every time you try to reframe something, ask me to see it from a more positive light, I want to scream because I feel like you just don’t get that it just can’t be that way for me. You assume there can a positive spin because you’ve experienced the good things in life. You assume because you’ve achieved it that I can too.

But I wish you’d stop offering me hope, because I don’t think I’m capable of achieving things in the way you think I am.

I am an angry jealous monster and I hate myself for that. I hate myself for getting stuck in the loop of thoughts about how unfair it is that you and so many other people have these things, and I don’t.

Why can’t I just be grateful for the things I do have? Why can’t I just see all those good things you want me to see? Why do I have to feel so strongly to the opposite?

To me, this is all evidence that supports me being the spiteful, fundamentally inept, awful person I believe myself to be. Why won’t you believe me? The more you tell me I’m good, the more you offer me kindness, the more I want to resist it.

You’re wrong. I know you’re wrong about me. It’s like I’m trying to prove it to you.

The problem is that in my head, it just doesn’t add up. I am learning skills that are supposed to improve my quality of life. I am supposed to implement those skills and my symptoms will decrease. This should mean that I can function in an effective manner.

Except, right now, I’m not.

Somehow, it has to be my fault and I feel like you just don’t want to admit it to me. Either I’m not working hard enough when things get tough to remit the emotions and other symptoms, and I need to do more, or I am doing all I can but I’m falling short because the emotions are just going to keep being stronger than me.

If it is the case of the former, why should I be kind to myself in the face of that? Isn’t being kind in absence of using skills just reinforcing me being destructive and feeling miserable?

I’m not trying to be argumentative. It just literally does not make sense to me. Maybe I’m using a case of absolutes again. I sense that might be true, but I can’t be sure.

Like I’ve said in other posts, and during many sessions, I feel like I’ve maxed out on my quota of complaining about the same problems. Let’s be honest, you’ve heard it all so many times. How many times do I have to tell you that I’m thinking about suicide? How many weeks will I recount the same painful emotions? How many times will I find myself in the same situations, battling the same behaviors?

What else can you say in response to me? You’ve taught me what to do and I should be doing it. I feel at this point that you might be at as much of a loss as I am.

And if all this is true, then what are we even doing anymore?

I think of going to therapy and I’m hit with a wave of dread. She’s going to try to get me to see the positives about myself but the good is not enough to compensate for the bad. She doesn’t understand how it could not be enough, but it isn’t and I don’t know how to explain it. 

I don’t know how to make it be enough for me. I want to, I swear I do, but my emotions keep betraying me. They keep swelling with intensity all the damn time.

And then I feel dramatic and whiny for saying that at all.

I’m sorry, because sometimes I can sense that its frustrating for you that I can’t see my progress like you can. You tell me again and again and again, and all I do is argue with you.

Sometimes, I wish you would just give up on me now instead of later.

Of course, I also don’t wish that, because the emotional attachment is so strong at this point that I can’t bear to break it. Because as much as I want to quit right now, I’m terrified of losing you.

Even a slight modification in the typical therapy schedule fucks with my emotional state. I’ve never once successfully cancelled a session. How the hell do I think that I could actually say ‘screw it’ and stop coming to therapy?

You’re the only person who has ever really seen me for who I am and still believed so resolutely that I’m a good person. You listen, empathize, validate, and somehow still make me laugh. You’ve treated me like a person, not just a client, and have been invested in me getting better. Never judging, always encouraging. I didn’t know how much I needed that until I had it. How much I needed you.

But the emotional attachment I feel is equally breaking me.

You expect me to come in every week and be so vulnerable. To talk about the tidal wave of feelings I experience daily. You think that it will help. You want it to help, and so do I. But it hurts. It’s bleeding me dry, to be so brutally honest and feel supported for a brief moment, only to have that come to a crashing halt as the clock strikes a new hour. My emotions don’t operate on a timetable like that. It continues for me, even after I walk out the door.

When I left your office on Thursday, I sat on the floor of the building’s bathroom for almost twenty minutes staring at the wall, trying to will myself to move. All my emotions were at the surface and it was so painful. I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole, so that I didn’t have to go back in the world and contain all of it again.

In short, it sucks to keep reliving that.

In that moment, I was angry at you again. For being able to detach and go home while I was in hell. She doesn’t care, I thought, even though I know you do. Replaced by the thought she doesn’t care enough. 

But what would be enough? Caring enough not to leave me alone when I’m as low as I was? Caring enough that you somehow manage to take away all my emotions. Caring enough to fix me?

Nothing is enough for me. That’s on me, not you. It’s not your job to extend your boundaries, which you already do enough of, to help me contain my feelings. You cannot singlehandedly cure me. You can’t be more than you are without it hurting us both. But I can’t figure out how to both recognize these truths and accept them without feeling rejected and alone.

Yet over and over in my mind, the words are on repeat without my consent. She doesn’t care because you pay her. Or she only cares because you pay her. This is not real. This is an artificial relationship produced only by your weekly co-pay. That’s why she wants you to keep coming, so you’ll keep paying her

I feel extreme guilt and shame for these thoughts and feelings. I try to banish them, but they keep coming back. The minions like to feed wherever they find fodder. I’m so embarrassed to admit any of this, because it feels so needy and childish and I don’t want to have these stupid thoughts. 

Anger, primary emotion. Shame, secondary emotion.

What do I do? How do I escape the pit of catch-22’s that I find myself perpetually trapped in? There is no winning for me. The minions will not let me and I don’t know how to escape from it. They’re pushing me away from everything good in my life, and now they’re making me feel like I’m failing at therapy too.

The minions are telling me to quit. Loudly. Repeatedly. Intensely.

I feel like at this point I should just hold it all in and deal instead of talking to you incessantly about my dark and difficult feelings. Maybe that would be more effective for both of us?

Maybe therapy can’t help me, because my BPD makes me therapy resistant. I’m scared that I’m starting to believe it again.

Maybe you’re ready to be rid of me too.

I don’t know. Things have been so tough lately, seemed so bleak, that I feel like I’m going crazy. My thoughts are a fucking mess.

I know this. I believe that you’re wrong about me. I don’t feel like I have enough good, enough worth, and I’ve let it ruin my life beyond any measurable repair. I want to believe you, but I don’t, and it’s just making me hate myself more. Not only do I feel like I’m failing me, but I feel like I’m failing you.

How do I keep coming to therapy if that’s the case?