Life in a Bind – BPD and me

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

Anniversary

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Two years ago, on 6 August 2013 at 6.50pm, I walked out of Jane’s office (my ex-therapist) for the last time. I have included this clip, because this was the song that I played over and over again for several months after that day. It was our ‘break-up song’, if I can call it that. I have written about our brief therapy relationship, what it meant to me and how attached I became to her, in the ‘All about Jane‘ section of my blog. Losing her meant feeling the grief I had never let myself feel over losing anyone before. It was intense, often overwhelming; it took up the majority of my first eight months in therapy with my current therapist, and it wasn’t until eighteen months after that August day, and one year after I knew for certain I would never see her again, that I felt I had actually grieved her loss fully, and had finally accepted it. To realise that was painful, but also comforting at the same time, because it meant that I had grown closer to my current therapist.

The sixth of August 2014 – the first anniversary of that loss – was a very difficulty day for me. I felt let down that my own therapist had not remembered the significance of the date and had not contacted me by email. Although I had tried to exercise ‘self-care’ by watching a film and having a glass of wine, I had ended up giving in to the urge to internet-search and google Jane, and that made me feel incredibly bad about myself, and as if I had betrayed and sullied the memory of our relationship.

And so it was with some trepidation that I was ‘looking forward’ to the second anniversary of that loss, this year. But I am surprised. I am surprised at how much better I feel than I expected. I am surprised that Jane was not the first thing on my mind when I woke up this morning. It didn’t feel like I was grieving anymore. I thought of Jane – but not in a way that caused me pain. I loved her and her smile – I still do. But the only feeling I was conscious of today was missing my current therapist. Wanting to be close to her – to see her again. Wanting to see her smile, and hear her voice. What a difference to last year, when I simply felt betrayed and let down by her. What a difference to when I was still in anguish over the loss of someone I had idealized and still missed dreadfully.

It’s encouraging to realise how much things have changed – to realise how attached I have become to my current ‘therapy’ (as my therapist would say – and I feel like saying: “No! Attached to you! To my therapist! Let’s tell it how it is!“). But at the same time it is scary – progress in general is scary. It would almost feel more comforting if I was in bits about Jane, as I was last year. Or in bits about not having my current therapist around at the moment. I don’t like being okay. Change is difficult to handle – but most difficult to handle is the thought that change means that this current therapeutic relationship, which I am so incredibly attached to, will eventually need to be grieved as well. Maybe not in quite the same way as I grieved Jane – because that relationship ended prematurely, before we were done, before I had made much progress. But it will be grieved nonetheless. And yet…..

I had a lovely phone conversation with one of my best friends yesterday. And part of that conversation involved talking about some of the things my therapist and I had discussed, and the impact it had made. It was part of a wider conversation on the topic of children growing up, and the discussion I had had with my therapist just naturally came to mind. And I thought: is this how it will be, in years to come, when I no longer have her physically with me in session, but I carry her and her words with me, internally? She felt woven into the fabric of my life; it felt natural to recollect her and her words. It felt comforting, and real, and special. That, in itself, was a big surprise, given how difficult it normally is for me to retain a sense of her reality and her presence, particularly during a therapy break.

When I thought about it later, it felt wonderful – but frightening at the same time. I’m not ready to say goodbye. I know it will be a long time yet before I do. But I am so so not ready to say goodbye. SO not ready, that I am crying as I write these words. Even to glimpse that goodbye, from a distance, and to acknowledge its inevitable reality, is painful. But there is hope in knowing that her presence can still feel wonderful in her absence.

Because one day, these will be her anniversaries that I will be writing about – and I need to know that I won’t feel cold and alone, but warm and in her company. That one day we will reach a point where she can never really leave, and I can never really be left.

But not yet. Not yet.

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11 thoughts on “Anniversary

  1. Gosh I relate to this a lot. I think that she absolutely will become part of your story and live within you forever for that.

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    • Thank you Andi 🙂 She keeps telling me that is what will happen, but most of the time it’s hard to believe, as often she feels so unreal between sessions. And then there’s the fact that the thought of an ending if just completely impossible to accept at the moment. But although it’s very scary it’s also comforting to have these glimpses of what internalizing her could mean in the long run…..thank you for commenting, and it’s good to know you can relate x

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  2. Thank you for your bravery and honesty in your posts- I can so relate and you speak of things which I am feeling but often cannot put into words

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    • Thank you – that really means a lot….knowing that what I write might be helpful in that way, is a big motivation in being able to put down ‘on paper’ things that are so personal and difficult to write. It makes ‘taking the risk’ of being open, really worthwhile…Thank you again for reading and for commenting….

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    • Thank you – it really means a lot to hear comments like this. Although I’m sorry you can relate (in that you are going through tough experiences), I’m also glad you can relate, in that it’s good to know we are not alone and to find others who feel as we do. Thank you for reading – take care…

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  3. Very wise. Brava on your progress!

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  4. Oh yes. I can’t imagine not having my therapist around anymore either. One day I mentioned to her that I’m not looking forward to the day we say goodbye, and she told me we’re not there yet, and I shouldn’t think about it too much, we’ve still got a long road ahead. I can’t remember the exact words, but it was something like this. Strangely, that reassured me a great deal and I felt safe with her again.

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  5. Pingback: How things have changed | Life in a Bind - BPD and me

  6. Wow, I thought I was alone feeling that way about my therapist. It feels good that I’m not because I thought there was something wrong with me for feeling that way about her. My therapist retired a few weeks ago and I fell apart. She was such an important person in my life. We worked together for sixteen years and she saved my life. I am a changed person. I miss the time I had with her. I love reading your blogs I wish I could write like that. It’s like you put your whole self out there.

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    • I can’t tell you how much I feel for you and wish I could help in some way. Sixteen years is a long time, what an amazing gift to have that relationship for that time, and I’m so glad she was so important to you. Which must make losing her more horrendous than I can imagine. But I know my therapist would tell me that you have her inside, that you have your memories, you’ve internalised her, she is still with you. At the moment that may not seem like very much, but it’s the only way I can cope with the thought of losing my own therapist one day. The grief is horrendous, but one of the best things I ever did was opening myself up to feeling the grief of losing my previous therapist, awful though it was, rather than burying it. Massive hugs, do keep in touch. This is so hard, but you will get through it, and you will honour and remember and treasure your relationship, in doing so xxxx

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