Not Getting Sectioned Just Yet – C: Week 19
I told him everything. Everything I could think of. I told him about the hanging attempt, and the self-harm of the same weekend. I told him about the carving of ‘HATE’ onto my stomach. I told him about the delusions I’ve experienced lately. I told him how I almost obsessively read pro-suicide newsgroups on the internet which provide advice on how to do yourself in in the most fool-proof manners possible.
It was about as easy to talk about as discovering that the person you love used to fuck baby seals during hate-filled orgies would be to experience, but I did it.
After apologising to him for wasting his time last week, and the usual grilling that induced (“why do you feel you wasted my time? What was it you should have said or done that you didn’t? Why did you feel unable to express that?” blah blah), I told him that if I was honest and open with this stuff that he would section me.
“To clarify,” C began, “I can’t myself section you.”
Oh, really? I do know nothing about the Mental Health Act, after all. I haven’t clearly researched it or anything, C. I had no idea!
“I know, I know,” I interjected. “But as a mental health professional you can easily find two doctors that will do it for you.”
“If I believed that you were in imminent danger of harming or killing yourself, or others, I’d have to contact either your GP or psychiatrist, yes.”
I fidgeted relentlessly, eventually stating that whilst I would not say any danger was imminent, I could not guarantee that it wasn’t.
I don’t remember what he must have said, but I just went ahead and just told him the bloody lot. Not all at once, but one way or another, I did.
There isn’t a great deal of point in detailing the bits where I told him what happened, as it would be repeating a lot of the material about which I’ve already written and to which I have linked above. The only thing I think I haven’t expressly detailed here is my perusal of the pro-suicide newsgroups, but there’s not much to say on that. I read them. It’s interesting. I know how to kill myself should I want to. I find morbid fascination in the pursuit. The end.
He did ask what I felt the causes of the mentalisms were. I blamed Venlafaxine, stating that I understood that if it was taken in many people experiencing any bipolar symptoms, it could increase mixed episodes, and that although my main diagnosis is BPD, Dr C does believe I have bipolar II as well.
C asked me when I was seeing her again and advised that I would have to tell her about all of this (no shit, Sherlock), but said that that wasn’t really what he was getting at. Apparently he wanted to know were there any emotionally stressful events that brought the madness on.
Aside from my belief that I had bollocked A’s computer on Monday – after which I carved the ‘HATE’ into myself – there was none. I just went mad. I apologised to C for this.
C laughed, but in a nice way, and said that it was OK; I didn’t need to have a reason. He had just been keen to know if there was one.
He probed me on how I felt there and then as I sat in his office about the various episodes, and how I’d felt in their aftermaths. I thought carefully about this, then responded that in a way I was regretful of them, because A had to bear witness to them, or at least live in knowledge of them, and that I was unhappy about that.
“OK,” he said, “but how do you feel about it yourself?”
I responded that I was mostly indifferent because I deserve it all.
“You deserve it?!” he exclaimed. “Why?”
“What’s my point in this world? Whose lives do I enrich? What do I do? Everything I touch, everything with which I come into contact, turns to shit.”
“Do you think I’ve turned to shit?” he asked.
“Do you think I have contaminated your mind with mine?” I queried.
“Do you think I cannot cope with you?” he returned.
It was like a game of verbal tennis, and I don’t remember who the game-set-match went to. Probably him, to be honest. But it doesn’t matter because at this point some fuckwit knocked on his door. C apologised and got up to answer it.
Fuck. I was furious with him, briefly. I don’t care if your fucking children (if he has any) have had their throats slit and their eyes gouged out and shoved up their arses, C, this is my time with you. Anyhow, to be fair to him he tried to fob the person off, was apparently unsuccessful, and turned back to me saying he’d be back momentarily.
During his absence, which seemed like 10 minutes but was probably about 30 seconds in reality, I imagined all the bile-filled rants I was going to post about him both here and on Twitter. However, when he returned he explained that it was some old broad who got lost looking for the hearing clinic down the corridor, and needed help to locate it. C did her the courtesy of showing her to the place so, even though the interruption was annoying, I did think it was nice of him to help the old woman. So I softened and forgave him.
He returned to the verbal tennis subject, but I don’t really remember any more about it to be honest.
My next recollection is that he asked me what was so terrifying about the possibility of being sectioned.
“Oh God,” I cried, “that means you’re going to do it! You’re going to phone them! I won’t do it again, I promise!”
“I just want to know what you fear about it, that’s all,” he replied calmly. It was an interesting answer; he wasn’t saying that he was or he wasn’t going to do it (though he was evidently trying to infer the latter) – it was presumably deliberately ambiguous as some sort of get-out clause if he later did feel sectioning me was necessary.
In any event, I was reluctant to tell him that the reason I don’t want to be sectioned is because I would miss him. That’s about the only secret I kept from him today, because that’s just too pathetic to even articulate verbally. Instead, I told him that I knew the kind of shite that went on in psychiatric institutions and that I didn’t “fancy it.”
This is true. A and I ran into G, our intellectual philosophising friend about whom I wrote here (interestingly, my most popular post to date) the other day, and he was telling us that his ex, a bipolar sufferer, spent a while in a psychiatric unit and that if she was fucked up already, she left in a worse condition. Apparently they all but force you to engage in group therapy, and the differing types of transference bouncing about the room turn the whole thing into a complete fucking nightmare. This correlates with stuff I’ve read and accounts I’ve heard elsewhere. I could perhaps cope with hospitalisation if I didn’t have to engage in this way with the other mentals, I think, but if I did have to do any of this arse, I am convinced I would be even more fucking crazy than when I was admitted.
The crux of this discussion was that whilst he accepts that I am largely terrified of being sectioned, he thinks a part of me would actually welcome a recommendation of hospitalisation, because that would be a recognition of just how indescribably fucking awful I am feeling at times. This was interesting, as it basically echoes a view that A holds. He continued that whilst I obviously didn’t want him to instigate any Mental Health Act shite, and would be very angry with him if he did, part of me would also feel that he cared about me if he did so. He then went on to say that perhaps in some ways the self-harm is about proving how terrible I feel, regardless of how much I try and hide it, as I don’t have adequate words for a description of the mentalism. He said that he believed that part of me didn’t feel the enormity of my psychological condition was being taken seriously.
It’s all true. It’s all fucking true. How does he know? How? How?! He fucking is Derren Brown, even if he looks less like him since shaving off his goatee beard (I’m sure at this juncture someone may think, “ah yes – Derren Brown. He’s a mentalist in the true sense of the word and you’re not, SI.” Well – I know this. But nevertheless, I think ‘mentalism’ works for us nutjobs too. So fuck that shit.).
Anyway, there is more to self-harming than just what he said, but it’s probably part of it. The rest of it is absolutely spot-on. I don’t like admitting it, but it’s true.
How. Does. He. Know.
He’d picked up on the fact that I’d said, “I won’t do it again,” which was apparently just said in panic and didn’t come across as remotely sincere. He postulated the position that part of me saw him as some sort of authority figure; in fact, he said, it was as if I was a child trying to satisfy her parent(s).
This resonated with me. I concluded towards the end of this post, reluctantly, that perhaps I do parentify C. I asked him if he felt that I did that.
He sort of shook his head, then told me that the therapeutic dynamic can be reflective of many of my outside relationships, not just those with parents. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but essentially the idea was that my transference towards him reflects, or at least can reflect, all my interpersonal relationships, whether current or past. He did, however, state something to the effect that perhaps my childhood had a stronger bearing on the transference than the here and now does, though again I don’t remember how it was phrased exactly.
He asked how I felt about people in general. I said I wished that they’d all go away and leave me alone. C nodded, though I saw his eyebrow quiver slightly cynically. I added, “but of course I don’t want them to leave me alone.”
He laughed slightly, and nodded more convincingly this time. “You hate the world but you fear it, in your words, abandoning you,” he said. Basically, yes.
I believe it was at this point that the silence returned. I turned round and looked at the clock and saw, to my surprise, that 10 minutes remained of the session. Once more I apologised for wasting his time and said that I hated sitting in silence, as it was a waste of his time and not helpful to me either. C went to challenge this, I think, but then I butted in and said, “where do we go from here?”
He asked what I meant, and I explained that I was aware that our contracted sessions were due to end. What happened next, therefore?
“How do you feel…?” he began
“No,” I said. “I’m going to bat that back at you.”
“How do you feel about it?”
To my amazement, he actually answered the question; in fact, he monologued for some time in response. The essence of what he was saying is that any termination of therapy has to be conducted over time and be mutually agreed; it will never just come to an end some week. Was that OK with me?
“Of course,” I said flatly. “But I am ever conscious of you telling me once that as this therapy is on the NHS, it will be finite. Just how finite is finite?”
He laughed. “It’s a good question,” he said.
I pointed out that I was aware that a borderline personality can be difficult and time-consuming to treat, but I accepted that what was right for Person A was not necessarily right for Person B.
“Exactly,” he said. “It’s difficult to say, I’m afraid – I’m sorry I can’t be more definite than that.” He said that we will discuss in the next session the exact time-frame for which we want the next contract to last, though the next contract isn’t necessarily the last anyway, presumably. Or at least hopefully.
“OK,” I responded.
“But how do you feel about that?” he pressed. He should get that printed on his fucking business cards.
It was at this point that I turned into a gibbering wreck, and I fought against it…but he knew. Eventually I gave in and just blubbed like a fucking baby in front of him.
Through my tears I explained that I was, naturally, reassured by the fact that the therapy was to continue, as I was perpetually terrified of him abandoning me. He nodded in acceptance, but recognised there was some sort of ‘but’ coming. The ‘but’ is that I am simultaneously frightened of the therapy continuing.
“Frightened?” he remarked, surprised.
“Yes,” I wailed. “This is so hard. So hard. I always expected I’d have to get worse before I got better, cos I have to confront stuff I’ve been repressing for years, but I didn’t expect that it would be this difficult. It’s so intense.”
He paused for a minute or two, then asked if I had gotten worse since I met him. I tried to bullshit about the medication having an adverse effect on me and not him, but the reality is that yes, my condition has been aggravated quite demonstrably by psychotherapy. I think I apologised to him and said that it was not him – it was nothing personal – it was me and my reaction and repression and defences.
When I finally raised my head I could see that he was upset. He wasn’t crying or anything, but there was something about his facial expression that was horribly sad and dismayed. I don’t think he felt that I was insulting him or anything; I think he was just kind of taken aback by my unusual candour and concerned that I felt everything was so utterly bleak at present that part of me didn’t want to see a future for myself, either in or outside therapy.
He said, “I want this to be a safe place for you to talk about everything. I don’t want you to feel you have to repress anything because you think I am going to panic and get straight on the phone to your GP…” At this point, he acted out making a phone call to LGP, and I accused him of over-dramatising.
“OK, I am a bit,” he admitted, apologetically. “But I don’t want you to think I’m going to panic and do that, I’m not…”
“Thank you,” I interrupted in a pathetically grateful whisper.
“…however,” he continued, “I don’t want you to think I don’t care. If you are feeling suicidal, please phone your GP at once.”
“What if it happens at night?” I asked. “My GP is married with three young children.”
“Then you take yourself to casualty.”
“But what if I don’t have the mental faculties to be able to do that?”
“That’s my advice to you,” he said authoritatively. “Take. Yourself. To. Casualty. OK?”
“OK,” I agreed.
And then, once again, it was over.
It is two weeks until I see him again; after that next session, he will then be on leave for a fortnight. Part of me welcomes the break, for the process is exhausting, demanding, hurtful and intense as fuck. But overall I am dreading it. I rely on him so much. He is the only person I can begin to openly talk to, and I mean that in no offensive way to anyone. It just is.
I had asked him before about what would happen if I go mental whilst he is off, and he said we could discuss that. I’ll be sure to bring it up in a fortnight’s time, because nothing is surer to cause me to go batshit mad again than being parted from him for three weeks.
It’s feeble and lamentable beyond measure that he and his imminent absences elicit this reaction in me, but I will try and end on a more positive note by remembering that this is temporary in nature. So is the therapy itself, but it is in no imminent danger of drawing to a close, and I still find myself a free, non-sectioned woman tonight, and this morning I really wondered if that would be the case. Ho hum.
This entry was posted on Thursday, 16 July, 2009 at 7:52 pm and is filed under C, Moods, Psychotherapy with tags anxiety, bipolar 2, bipolar 2 disorder, bipolar disorder, bipolar II, bipolar II disorder, borderline personality disorder, bpd, clinical depression, countertransference, cutting, delusions, depression, insanity, insomnia, madness, major depressive disorder, mania, manic depression, mental health, mentalhealth, panic, panic attack, psychiatry, psychology, Psychotherapy, sadness, self harm, social anxiety, suicidal thoughts, suicide, suicide ideation, 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.