Flogging a Dead Horse with C – Week 35
Christmas and the arrival of 2010 have seen some disruption to your usual service from SI. It seemed impossible to get a chance to write on the latest C session, given as these post seem to be the most ridiculously detailed.
This post shouldn’t be overly detailed, as a lot of it was repetitive bullshit regarding the annoyances of the previous week. Nevertheless, here we go.
Upon leaving C’s company the previous week, we had agreed that we would use week 35, the last week before a break of three weeks owing to Christmas, as a session to discuss how I would manage the so-called festive season. In reality, that bit ended up taking approximately five minutes at the end, and although it was ever so slightly more helpful than some of the nonsense he’s come off with at other breaks (“breathe!”), it was still not entirely helpful. But then again, he’s not my guardian, is he? Much as I would like it that way.
I say we were flogging a dead horse because the majority of the discussion centred around the same crap we had discussed over the previous week (leave a comment or get in touch if you need the password) and the week before that, ie. my anger and distress about his decision to cut short my treatment, and my general disgust about the NHS’s abject failure to adequately treat me since I first sought help for my mental health problems. I do understand that in some ways maybe C sees exploring my reactions to this as a form of projection or transference, and maybe in some ways it is: perhaps I feel so rejected and aggrieved because that’s how I was meant to feel about my father, uncle, ex, etc etc.
However, it endlessly frustrates me that I cannot just simply be angry because I have been so horribly fucked about by the health service. Again, in this session, C reiterated that the 24 week limit (starting from tomorrow) was his decision; he said he was “not a robot” controlled by the NHS.
It completely contradicts all the stuff he says about my right to be annoyed and about how BPD should really be treated, and we went round and round in circles on how I could not reconcile his two contrasting views, and about how he either couldn’t or wouldn’t explain it properly.
I also, having decided as a result of the preceding week that he hated me, went to find out whether or not this was indeed the case.
I said, “if I ask you a question, will you promise not to answer with a question?”
He shifted uncomfortably, then admitted that he was unsure as to whether or not this was achievable.
I asked him anyway, on the proviso that if I thought he was “blagging” his way through his answer I would pull him up on it.
He did come off with the form bullshit such as, “why is it important for you to know that?” and whatnot, but I was pleased when he finally admitted that he too had found the preceding week “frustrating”. So he is a human after all!
He said that I had been “very angry” with him, which I thought was unfair. I told him that I genuinely hadn’t been angry with him, merely the system, until he confessed to having been the one that decided on the time limit.
“But you were angry with me then,” he pointed out.
“Yes,” I said. “You had seemed so supportive of me prior to that; you agreed that my situation was wholly unfair. Then you completely contradicted that by admitting to this arbitrary limit crap.”
And so back we went to flagellating that deceased equine. More questioning demands from me, more bullet-dodging from him, no progress from either of us.
He had asked me in week 34 to seriously consider whether or not to continue with therapy, as I “had” to agree to the time limit as part of the contract (which strikes me as being quite unreasonable, as contracts are meant to be negotiated rather than forced in this type of setting). Apparently if I don’t accept the limit, I cannot continue treatment.
“On that note,” I told him, “I am prepared to accept it, but only if you accept – because this works both ways – that I am going to fight it.”
He asked what I meant by ‘fighting’ it, prompting me to withdraw a copy of the letter to the advocacy groups out of my pocket.
“It’s only fair that you read that, given that you’re going to be involved,” I told him, handing the document over. He took it and began reading.
I sat there and watched him reading it for a minute or two, then stood up and walked to the window, knowing perfectly well that he would almost certainly comment on this, as he had done two weeks previously. Indeed, he didn’t disappoint.
“I’m wondering why you got up, SI…” he pondered, as he continued reading the letter.
“It’s not reflective of anything,” I spat cynically. “I’m not denying my hurt or failing to face up to my problems. I’m simply looking out the window whilst you are occupied with reading that. Am I not allowed to get up, C?”
He shrugged and muttered something along the lines of that I was, in fact, allowed to get up, then continued reading in silence.
He eventually looked up and said, encouragingly, “it’s a good letter. Who all are you going to send it to?”
I was astonished – and delighted – when he then proceeded to actively encourage me to also send it to both the Chief Executive of my Trust, and the head of the mental health directorate of same. In the end, he forgot to give me the person’s name, but as it turns out it’s been passed to him anyway (more details on how the letter has progressed in a future post).
C said, “you’ve also made reference there to people I think are in England – perhaps it would also be worth adding information about provision for personality disorders in other Northern Ireland Trusts.”
I asked him what such provision existed, knowing that people with the most serious PDs are in fact sent to specialist units in England as there are no facilities to treat them here at all.
C said a self-harm team exists in one of the other Trusts here. “Although not everyone who self-harms has BPD, and not everyone with BPD self-harms, they would probably see a disproportionately high rate of people with your diagnosis,” he said. “No such team exists in this Trust at the minute. There’s discussion ongoing about making the existing team a regional, cross-Trust one, but it hasn’t yet come to anything.”
He talked on for a few minutes about plans our Trust has for action on personality disorders, and how they don’t seem to much be coming to fruition. But the best part of the session was when he asked me if he could have a copy of the letter.
“I think it would be good for my line managers to know how you feel about all this,” he said. He went on to say something (I don’t recall what) indicating that there might be some benefit to me in this, but was very quick to point out that it was my choice as to whether or not he did take a copy for them. I readily agreed, of course, delighting in his apparent desire to act as my advocate to the bureaucrats above him.
Now, of course, I am convinced that he took the letter so he and his twatfaced bosses of evil can formulate some plan of self-defence in advance of hearing from the advocacy groups. It was not in my interest at all – merely their own. No doubt over the next few weeks we’ll see which way it actually is.
Eventually – I don’t remember how – I said that he must get sick of his job, what with all the whinging he would have to listen to. “I accused you of being a sadist a few weeks back,” I said. “Now I think you’re a mashochist.”
He accused me (sympathetically, to be fair to him) of splitting, which on reflection makes me slightly irritated, but at the time I agreed and called myself all the names of the day for employing this “silly psychological process.”
C leapt to my defence. He said he knew that I had long since known I was guilty of splitting, but that it’s now “emotional for [me]”, not just something I recognise intellectually. And it is OK, I do not need to berate myself for it, because I have suffered serious traumas, apparently, that have caused this defence mechanism (which is not silly, he contends) to develop.
On that note, as I recall it anyhow, we moved on to the discussion about the dreaded Christmas.
C’s advice was basically to get the fuck out if I felt anxious or overwhelmed. I said that was easy to say, but he didn’t have to listen to my mother’s wrath if I did so.
He advised me to talk to her in advance, but I protested against this as well. “When I told her about what happened with my uncle, she said I made it up to avoid going to his house,” I reminded C. “So how can I justify my anxiety?”
“Blame your crowd phobia,” C said. “She can’t be critical of that, can she? There will be a crowd there, won’t there?
“Yes,” I replied. “And they’re all part of the problem – it’s not all about my history with my uncle. I have nothing in common with them and it’s a weird matriarchal set-up, where about 18 different generations all live under the same roof. They’re freaks.”
He said, “are there children living there?”
I was horrified. He was obviously wondering if anyone else is presently at risk from Paedo.
“Now you’re angry with me for putting the baby and all the other generations in danger. I’m sorry,” I raced, in a bizarre panic.
C looked at me, his eyes wide-open. “Where did that come from?” he enquired, surprised.
“Oh, you’re not angry with me? Then I’m using you as a board for my anger at myself, am I?”
“OK, you’ve lost me,” he admitted. “Just…just remember – get out. Talk to your mother in advance, blame your crowd phobia if you have to, but if you feel yourself becoming tense, get out of there, even if only for a few minutes. Allow yourself to be anxious about this. How could you not be?”
And that, folks, was really that. Of course, you know how ridiculously awful Christmas turned out to be, but I did remove myself from the others when I went so horribly mental, so I suppose I did at least follow the advice given.
As I was leaving, I wished him a Merry Christmas. He said, admittedly cautiously, “you too,” causing me to laugh bitterly. I think he knew that it was inevitable that the season would be utterly shite.
So, the three week gap is due to be over tomorrow. Of course, I am convinced that C is dead again; either that or therapy will be cancelled due to the stupid, horrible, pointless fucking snow, and I need him so desperately at the minute. Though I have not heard anything about a cancellation today, and I suppose I would have expected an advanced notification were the snow to fuck everything up on the monumental scale that it has in Britain.
The last time he was on holiday, in August, I didn’t miss him that much. But this time I have, and I need him to help me pick up the pieces of the last few weeks.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, 6 January, 2010 at 7:23 pm and is filed under C, Everyday Life, Psychotherapy with tags anger, anxiety, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, bpd, clinical depression, countertransference, depression, insanity, madness, major depressive disorder, manic depression, mental health, mental illness, panic, panic attack, psychodynamic, psychodynamic psychotherapy, psychology, Psychotherapy, social anxiety, the NHS is shit, 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.