Life in a Bind – BPD and me

My therapy journey, recovering from Borderline Personality Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I write for welldoing.org , for Planet Mindful magazine, and for Muse Magazine Australia, under the name Clara Bridges. Listed in Top Ten Resources for BPD in 2016 by goodtherapy.org.


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How do we come to know things?

experienceI am suffering post-therapy confusion. Rather like being sure that you have forgotten something, but are not quite sure what it is, I feel as though I am missing something fundamental about human interaction, but I can’t quite put my finger on what it is.

My therapist believes that I should come to know certain things through experience, rather than through words. “Do you care about me?” “Are you interested in the ‘grown-up me’ as well as the ‘child me’?” “Is it okay that I have these feelings for you?” “Do I annoy you sometimes?” 

So many questions on my part- so much verbal reassurance needed from my therapist, but not always given. When I raise the question – “why is reassurance not given?” – the answer is always that I will come to know the answers for myself, by experiencing them.

But I don’t understand why this should be the case. I don’t understand why it is so important that I learn the lesson of coming to know something through experience. Words are so important to me – I feel I need to hear something, in order for it to be unambiguous, and in order for me to remember it. For me, actions and events are open to interpretation, and the memories of them easily lose coherence and details fade. In contrast, I store up words in my mind, and play them over and over again to reinforce a message or a belief – to remind myself that something is true (or, at least as true as the words themselves). Once committed to memory, the words are always there, always powerful, always reassuring.

Is it really the case that ‘knowing through words’ is but a pale reflection of ‘knowing through experience’? What about that deep sense within me, that firmly believes, “how can I tell what someone thinks, until I see what they say?“.

Before I can learn the lesson of ‘knowledge through experience’, do I have to understand why the lesson is important? And is that something that I can be told, or just one more thing that I must come to know through experience?

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