So today I had my first session in “Coping Skills Group”. To be fair, it wasn’t much of a ‘group’ seeing as it was only me… It’s in a different psychiatric hospital to where my EDU is as there isn’t an eating disorder service in my local NHS foundation trust, but it is similar as its where all the inpatient units are for the area and stuff. The biggest difference is that it’s huge, in an area you can’t wait to leave and seriously confusing. The buildings have different names to the signs, it’s next door to a standard hospital so the site is extra confusing and there’s no one to help you.
I was super late, but once I’d finally found the IMPART building, there wasn’t even a receptionist. There was a reception, but no one in it. I had no idea where I was going and the hallways were massive and echoey and empty and I had no idea where I was going. I started asking the few random people I bumped into what to do, but no one knew. I eventually found someone willing to direct me to the psychological services reception and waiting area and a really kind woman walked me for about 10 minutes to the room I was meant to be in. That’s why there was no one else there. No one could find it. There were lots of messages and calls during the meeting with people saying they’d left with no idea where to go. Apparently the main receptionist at the hospital and the IMPART receptionist were all made redundant in the last round of cuts, which is actually a bit of an issue for a hospital that big. The group facilitator is going to try iron out these issues though so hopefully that’ll mean next week there’ll be a few more people there.
It was quite cute though. They had biscuits and Quality Streets and tea and herbal tea and coffee and lemonade and milk and hot chocolate and Fanta. They gave me a list of rules which included “if you need to take a break, feel free to just go outside for a few minutes. One of the facilitators will check in with you to make sure you’re ok” which I thought was sweet.
Regardless of who was there, it’s actually really impacted upon me. We basically went over what the diagnosis really means and how I felt about it when I was first told about it and how my feelings have changed over time and what I knew about the disorder in general. It was a bit weird because it was just me, but they asked me a lot of questions and things and I think maybe it was useful. I duno though.
Basically, they went through a few of the symptoms with me and explained them in a non-personal, but more explicit way than I’ve been told before. They basically laid out how a borderline mind processes emotions and think, then compared that to the way non-borderline people think. It finally really clicked. It was like they were writing out my entire brain on a white board, with charts and graphs. Impulsivity, negative ways of regulating emotions, constantly changing obsessions with people and ideas etc. It was all there. It was exactly me.
At first I found it kinda comforting. It was comforting to know that I really couldn’t have made this whole thing up. This wasn’t lies. It helped me put together stuff I’d never been able to understand or articulate. It was bizarre. I felt like I was being understood.
Then I started to freak out. I’ve been kinda hanging on to the hope that it wasn’t true. That I had made it up and I wouldn’t be so wrong. I know this isn’t true, but the label of ‘personality disorder’ makes me think I’m broken. Broken so far beyond how I’ve felt before. If I’m not borderline, then I’m just a bad person and being bad is better than being broken. Being bad doesn’t need to be fixed. Broken is something that just doesn’t work at all. I hate it. I know it doesn’t change things really, I just hadn’t taken in the reality of it all until today. I just hate it. I burst into tears whilst walking my pup. It was horrible. I’ve feel so fucking hopeless. I don’t want to be this way. It’s like I’ve suddenly seen just how different my thought processes and emotions are from what they should be and it hurts me. It’s actually physically painful inside my bones and organs.
So now I sit and wait and try to just ride it out. I’ve got therapy tomorrow so maybe that’ll help. Chain smoking and watching way too much Heroes and hoping that tonight I might be able to sleep. Again. Except I feel like dirt and everyone and everything makes me hurt. I don’t like this whole new treatment thing. I’m done with my EDU and I know that, but I don’t want it to change. I don’t want a new therapist and I know tomorrow I’ll have to talk about winding therapy down in preparation for change. It took me ages to like my therapist. Ages and ages. Most people in the world are kinda idiots. I know that’s a stupid way to look at people, but I think it’s true. The Psychologist isn’t an idiot. He’s really nice and really smart and he really tries to look out for me and he gets my humour and he’s not an idiot. He’s not a simp, he’s not at all new age-y, he’s doesn’t go on and on about all that “aww it’s so hard. Compassion, love blah blah blah etc.”
Except now I have to meet someone else and hope they’re not an idiot. The problem is that they probably will be. I don’t want to get to know someone new. I like who I have. Not that I’d ever tell him that obvs.
I feel so disgusting. I’m scared and lonely. I’m not sure I’m ready for all this. :(
Also, I’m going to add this. It might seem silly, but actually a lot of people have asked me this, or assumed it. Borderline personality disorder isn’t the border between a normal and disordered personality. It got the name a long time ago. Apparently it comes from the idea that BPD was thought of as the borderline between psychosis and neurosis. We know better now and it’s thought of as its own, distinct mental health problem. It’s not borderline anything. In fact, there is a movement at the moment to rename it as ’emotional and unstable personality disorder’ (in the U.K.) or ’emotional dysregulation disorder’ or something (in the U.S.). Just to clear that up for anyone who doesn’t know.