Life in a Bind – BPD and me

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

Memory Monday – “Hope”


As I think about resuming therapy tomorrow after a two and a half week break, I am thinking back over what has been one of the hardest but also one of the most encouraging therapy breaks I have had. My sessions over the period January to March were difficult and mixed – starting off with a great sense of disconnection, then a ‘repair’ and reconnection in the therapeutic relationship, only to find myself in the same disconnected state a few sessions later. At one point I felt as though I had taken ten steps back and no steps forward; and that I was back in my pre-September state whereby my view of therapy and my therapist was changing and alternating from one extreme to the other, on a session by session basis. Then, a few weeks before the Easter break, as happened before Christmas, a seemingly small or chance occurrence took place that uncovered a wealth of intense and valuable therapeutic material that transformed the course of sessions for a while.

Over those three months, my experiences often felt disjointed. We ranged over many topics, some feeling still incomplete even though the conversation came to a natural end and we moved onto other things. But taken as a whole, it was an immensely important period for my therapy, and each and every part of those three months contributed in its own way to the work that we did and the realisations that I came to. As my therapist noted, my posts on ‘BPD and testing those we love‘ and ‘Progress can be painful‘ showed how far I have come since she and I first started working together, and although the work has been ongoing for eighteen months, I think much of it has only started to come together since January.

As I think back over the last three months I am reminded of my post ‘Hope’, from July of last year:

I remember a friend telling me she had done a ‘happy dance’ when she read it – it was the first time I had really expressed hope and a sense of feeling cared for, within my current therapy. I had struggled greatly with not feeling cared for or understood by my therapist, as described in ‘Waiting‘, and so ‘Hope‘ marked a significant turning point for me. It was a turning point, not a destination – and so I continued to struggle with this issue for some time, and sometimes, to a (much) lesser extent, still do. But it was a vital milestone nonetheless, just as the experiences of the last few months (and particularly the last few weeks) have been vital for me as well.

This break has been difficult because with a greater investment and attachment to my therapy and therapist, and a greater immersion in our twice-weekly sessions, comes more pain and greater feelings of loss, upon separation. But this break has also been encouraging because despite the gap, I still feel connected to her, and that in itself feels like a huge achievement. I don’t think that sense of connection and of her ongoing caring is something I have sustained in any other previous break. I think it’s partly a function of changes within me, and partly a function of trying to receive what she gives me – in terms of a limited degree of email contact between sessions, for example – and using it to remind myself that despite not being physically present, she is still real, and she hasn’t changed.

I have no idea what the next few months of therapy will bring. Thinking about tomorrow, I am at a loss to know where to even begin, given the vast number of things I would like to talk about, including not just what happened over the break, but topics that came up in the few sessions before the break that were not fully explored. But given my recent experiences, I am no longer as nervous about the possibility of skipping between issues and then coming back to them;Β or of the pace and intensity of sessions changing at different times; or of sometimes not having a plan of what to talk about and at other times having a long list and covering only a fraction. Given my recent experiences, I dare to hope that my next few months of therapy will be as productive as the last. I dare not hope, yet, that my next therapy break will be any easier, or will be just as encouraging.

But hope I do.

6 thoughts on “Memory Monday – “Hope”

  1. Therapy sometimes works in a disjointed way. Plugging along forever and then jumping two or three levels all at once. In any case, your news is great! I’m happy for you.


  2. Still feeling connected despite the break, is real progress. It always feels difficult to get our minds back into the swing…hope it goes well


    • Thank you so much πŸ™‚ It did go well – I tried to put in place lessons learned in January, when I decided not to talk straight away about how the break felt, but talked about my husband instead, and ended up feeling more and more disconnected because we weren’t processing the stuff between us first. So this time I started with the break, and then moved on to other things, and it was good πŸ™‚ I felt rather overwhelmed and shocked at the end of the last session because we ended up at a place I hadn’t at all expected to be, and it really threw me (even more than me being ten minutes late, which really unsettled me at the start -I’m never late, and I hate missing out on any time with her). But that’s for next session to pick up on, if I can face going there. We had started talking about self-harm and ended up talking about my children, and the subject of me as mother is one I’m not sure I’m ready to delve into….


      • Talking about the break issues first is most definitely progress and will probably contribute to you moving forwards. Sometimes those unexpected turns are the most unsettling, but they can also raise some of the most important issues. This happens whenever I go to my session without a planned agenda. Talking about stuff before we’re ready can be just as damaging as keeping them locked away. I’m sure you’ll know when to move forward with this.


      • Thank you for your comment Cat πŸ™‚ It’s taken me a very long time to become comfortable talking openly about my marriage, and I think it will probably take a while before I can fully talk about myself as a mother. I went to therapy without a plan a couple of days ago – we had a lovely, meandering discussion, where she said some important things, though we didn’t cover any particular topic in depth. But it was definitely a session to treasure, I just need to let myself enjoy those kinds of sessions without feeling as though I’m wasting time, or disappointing her by not knowing what to talk about, or feeling like I’m not pleasing her….I DO have a sense, and did during the break as well, that I need to take things slowly at the moment, or quite why that is the case, I’m not sure. So maybe this meandering, and turning up without a plan, is part of just plodding along and getting to know each other better, and feeling even more comfortable and bonded, so that I can enter into something deeper and go to places that may be very uncomfortable….who knows!


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