Angry Therapy – C: Week 16
Yesterday was the first time I lost it with C. I have been wry with him, played mindgames with him, slagged him off to others – but never yet have I actually exhibited annoyance directly at him.
Anger is the wrong word, really. It wasn’t as strong as that, but it was certainly the first time I’ve raised my voice to him and openly displayed annoyance directly at him.
The session started in the usual stupid way of both of us sitting looking at each other. I wish he would just take the lead sometimes, but he always wants to know where my mind’s at. Eventually he gave up staring at me and asked how I was feeling. I stated that I had felt better, but had felt worse.
“But how do you feel here, right now and in this moment?” he probed.
I didn’t want to convey how anxious I was about the meeting after last week’s disaster, but eventually I said, “I’m wondering what mental pain you’re going to put me through this week.”
C seemed a bit surprised by this statement, but maybe that’s my imagination. I said that I sometimes found therapy very difficult. (Yeah, cos it’s meant to be fucking easy, right?).
In this particular instance, given the timing, it would not take a genius to work out why therapy was hard, so he himself brought up last week’s altercation about this blog. I admitted that I still thought he was angry with me and that he would abandon me and leave me in a (metaphorical) gutter (that’s a metaphor I’ve used too many times, but I can’t think of anything else).
For once there is not a lot to say about the session in terms of specifics, because basically the same thing was discussed throughout. But there are a few moments worthy of mention.
I defiantly told him that I had blogged about last week’s session, to see how he would react. He responded by asking me what I had written.
I said I had written, in part, an analysis of what he was doing by probing me about the blog. Of course C wanted to know what form that analysis had taken.
I said, in a challenging fashion, “I believe that you were trying to explore the transference I experience in this room. Would that be a fair comment?”
I felt quite smug in observing his reaction. He screwed up his face in thought for a few moments and was, in my estimation anyway, taken aback by my candour. Eventually he said, “yes, I suppose so.”
He reiterated that he didn’t have a problem with me blogging about our “work” but that he did want to reinforce the idea to me that “there had to be some boundaries.” I asked him what boundaries, specifically, did he mean. Was he simply referring to the fact that the blog had to be anonymous?
He said that he was and there were no additional boundaries.
“I’m not stupid!” I raged at him. “How patronising! Do you think I go and write, ‘hello, my name is <my full name here> and I am in psychotherapy with a clinical psychologist called Dr <his full name here> who is based at <name of hospital here>?’ Do you actually think I do that?! Who does that?!! I have an IQ of 148, what do you take me for?!”
It was a compulsive outburst, which was perhaps unsurprisingly then followed up by a, “that wasn’t fair. I’m sorry,” at which point I bowed my head in submission.
Then I asked, more diplomatically this time, “why do you feel that you need to continually reiterate this position? You know I know this, so what is your reasoning?”
He yet again screwed up his face in thought, but this time he appeared more uncomfortable. I realised that I was reversing the roles a bit, and guess what? I apologised yet again, hurray! “I’m playing mindgames with you,” I admitted. “I’m sorry.”
C said that after my previously feeling that he was seeking justification from me, that I was now seeking justification from him. He didn’t say this exactly, but I felt his view was that after believing he was punishing me, I now wanted to punish him. Of course this was followed up by more ‘sorry’s.
Although the ensuing discussion was wide-ranging in the sense that I discussed others with whom I experience outbursts, it all came back to the same thing. I get angry (or at least irritated) then revert to submission (not with others in general, though I do tend to curb my rage with them much more than they realise, which in some ways amounts to the same thing). It was exemplified a couple more times in the session, but I don’t remember exactly what I’d said that required apologies. But apologise I did, and indeed at one point he pulled me up on it.
I apologised for apologising, then apologised for apologising for apologising, until C started trying (and failing) not to laugh. I waved my hand about and said, “you know what I mean.” I proceeded to enquire as to whether or not I spent half my time apologising to him.
“Well, not half the time,” he began, at which point I interjected with a mildly irritated, “that was a deliberate hyperbole. You know what I mean.”
C half-smiled at this, then proffered the view that yes, I certainly spent “some time” apologising to him.
It all went back to the same thing. Defiant and challenging and annoyed versus submissive and scared that he will abandon me and I will have to kill myself. He wants to know from whence this dichotomous position comes, but feels it needs more exploration. Then there was the usual bullshit about how much I protect him and that therefore, how much I avoid confronting stuff (not that I don’t have other ways and means of doing this, however).
We went on and on and on about these things, so again didn’t get talking much about DBT and the fact that I had sought extensive philosophical arguments for it. At one point I did contend that my anger related to radical acceptance.
C asked why, and I opined that I still opined as exemplified by still becoming annoyed and that thus I hadn’t radically accepted anything and that I had therefore failed.
C laughed in my face (in a nice way) and said, “you have failed because you haven’t implemented the suggestions in one basic handout?!”
“Sorry,” I said. What else?!
A lot of the session was also spent in silence. We would look at each other for what seemed like ages without speaking, or we would just simply stare at the floor. Guess how I reacted to this? “I wasting your time by not speaking here. I’m sorry.” Bet you’d never have guessed that.
In any case, at this juncture there are no real answers. I am scared to tell him that my rational, intellectual view is that my transference is about V. I am not sure what I think ’emotionally’ anymore. I don’t know if I do think emotionally. I still abstract so much of myself even in front of him and I really do believe coming to grips with everything is going to take time.
In relation to that, he reminded me that our ten contracted sessions are due to come to an end in the next few weeks and we would need to discuss the way forward. I do not recall how it was he phrased it, but after saying all the usual cack like he would need to seek my views, see how I dealt with our sessions when they were over blah blah blah, he did say something about seeing if we were going to continue our bizarre, asymmetric relationship in “the long-term”. It wasn’t a promise, but whatever way it was phrased it did suggest to me that he was willing to do this. This, obviously, is most reassuring because my fear of him rejecting me overwhelms me at times, which is why I think I spend so much of my time apologising to him.
We ended the session with a brief discussion about last week’s meeting with Dr C, my friendly neighbourhood psychiatrist. Apparently C hasn’t heard from her (more NHS efficiency, then) so I was forced to tell him what my shiny new diagnoses are. Bizarrely, I found it difficult to confess this information to C, despite the fact I’ve been almost bragging about it online and to (some of) my ‘real life’ acquaintances, family members, friends etc. Perhaps it is because C as a psychological professional is bound be fully cognisant of the nature of BPD, and the fact that it is traditionally hard to keep clients in therapy. I don’t want him to think I hate him but don’t want him to abandon me; I don’t hate him and dont want him to abandon me.
But anyway, I eventually managed to tell him about both the BPD and the bipolar II as diagnosed by Dr C, and about how she’d changed my medication and would be willing, if necessary, to add mood stabilisers to the equation.
C asked how I felt about having these ‘labels’. I said, that as my own self-diagnosis had been largely correct, I partly felt vindicated and affirmed, though (to his surprise) I said that I sure had all the cluster B and C personality disorders (it was partly a joke, but as I said to him, I do have features of most of them). Moreover, though, I said that I felt that being mental would at least be easier to confront in some ways now that I know the specific form of the mentalness. It doesn’t make being mental any easier to cope with, but at least I know what I’m dealing with, and isn’t knowledge supposed to be power? I concluded by saying that I thought my meeting with Dr C had been helpful, which as readers of this blog will know was indubitably the case.
So that was that, and next week it will all be back again for more fun and games. I remember saying to bourach, who regularly comments here, that I wanted to start a fight with C, but she said quite rightly that I’d only feel bad. I didn’t particularly start a fight, but I did expect to be annoyed with myself for even raising my voice to him at all. The thing is, I’m amazed to report that I’m not especially. Had it been right at the end of the discussion, or had we parted on bad terms, I certainly would have done and would probably have done something that the normals tend to call ‘stupid’. However, I felt the discussion was useful – if a bit samey – and I think C is beginning to learn where he stands with me, as I hope I am with him. We shall see.
I had much more to write about the rest of yesterday but I will have to leave it here for now. I have to meet the fucking SSA medical people this afternoon to discuss my ESA – basically I need to prove to them that I am actually mental. I am really worried because, for various reasons, I have to go alone. Time for a little Valium, methinks. I also heard yesterday from the office of significant evil and malevolence, but all this and more will have to wait for its write-up. It’ll probably be Tuesday, because I am going to Dublin with A to see AC/DC this weekend. A trip away will hopefully do me good, but unfortunately I don’t even like Dublin, because it’s so fucking busy all the time, which when you fear crowds is Not A Good Thing. Still, a change of scenery and a good blasting of rock will hopefully cheer me up a little.
(Forgive any errors in this post but I really don’t have time to proof-read it. I will do so later and make any necessary corrections).
This entry was posted on Friday, 26 June, 2009 at 1:38 pm and is filed under C, Mental Health Diagnoses, Moods, Psychotherapy with tags anger, anxiety, bipolar 2, bipolar 2 disorder, bipolar disorder, bipolar II, borderline personality disorder, bpd, clinical depression, cutting, depression, insanity, insomnia, madness, major depressive disorder, mania, manic depression, mental health, mentalhealth, panic, panic attack, psychiatry, psychodynamic psychotherapy, psychology, Psychotherapy, self harm, social anxiety, therapeutic relationship, therapy, transference. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.