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.

What I want to play

11 Comments

Many months ago, I asked my therapist what her favourite piece of piano music was, as I wanted to learn to play it for her. She (of course) asked me why I wanted to know! And she also said that her choice would vary, depending on the moment. But most importantly, she said that what she really wanted to know was what I wanted to play.

At first I think I saw this as just some kind of psychotherapy avoidance tactic – just another way of ‘getting out of’ personal disclosure. But we talked about it several times, and it became clear that this was another instance of her being genuinely interested in me, and in what I like and need, and in what those things can tell her. She was very keen to emphasize that my sessions are my space, and very much about me, and this was another example of an occasion where it would be most helpful to think about came into my mind when I said that I wanted to play for her. She also made the very valid point that one reason why I was asking was because I might feel as though I had to please her, and so focusing on what I wanted to play, was another way of demonstrating that I didn’t need to do that.

I told her that I didn’t know what I wanted to play. Which was one reason why I asked. However, a few months later I came across Ludovico Einaudi’s ‘Giorni Dispari’ and immediately knew it was what I wanted to play for her. It was beautifully simple and moving, and it moved me to tears on a number of occasions.

I immediately came to associate this piece with her. And in the run-up to the therapy break it was intimately tied up with feelings of impending loss and separation, and both the playing and the listening were often accompanied by heavy crying.

I am learning this piece for her. I am practising it more diligently than I have practised anything in a long time! Not because I want to please her, but because somehow, I want it to be fitting for her. I want it to be a task that I undertake with her in mind, and I want to put the effort in to make it sound as beautiful as I can, just as I want to give of myself and put all my efforts into our sessions.

I am still practising. I’m not quite there yet. But by the end of the therapy break, or soon after, I hope to be. I may fear therapy breaks immensely, but I want to be able to look back on this one, and know that I learned to play, and shared with her, the piece that I really wanted her to hear. The one I chose. The one that’s all about me, at the same time as being all about her.

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11 thoughts on “What I want to play

  1. This is such a moving and beautiful piece of music and so is this post. What a truly beautiful and authentic thing to do, to learn a piece of music which connects you both.

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    • Thank you so much Sirena for the kind words and I’m really glad you liked the music (and also the words) πŸ™‚ Apologies for my delay in replying – I’ve been away for a few weeks with minimal internet access (I’d scheduled posts). It’s really helping me to have something both that reminds me of her, and also that helps me when I have intense feelings (sadness, frustration etc) and gives me somewhere else to put and express those feelings, rather than using self-destructive actions of various kinds…

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  2. This piece of music is beautiful! As is the writing in your post. I love Einaudi’s Due Tramonti, have you heard that piece? Good luck with the practising! X

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    • Thank you so much πŸ™‚ I’m really sorry for my delay in replying, I have been away…..I’m glad you liked it and I’m very grateful for pointing me in the direction of yet another beautiful Einaudi! I haven’t heard a recording, but I found it in the back of my piano book, and so am now learning this one as well πŸ™‚ x

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      • I wish I could hear you play! Here is a link to Due Tramonti if you’d like to hear a recording. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxTyxfgzvWw

        X

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      • Thank you! I am hoping to record myself and post within the next few weeks, a bit like my previous ‘piano-playing selfie’ πŸ˜‰ However, this depends on three things: 1) being less perfectionist and not stopping recording every time I make a small mistake! 2) getting the children to be quiet enough or out of the house for long enough, to actually get to the end of the recording before being interrupted! and 3) remembering how on earth I managed to do it through You Tube – I can’t remember my account details and it took me ages as it didn’t seem at all intuitive! Thank you for the link, will listen in a moment πŸ™‚ xx

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  3. Good thing you didn’t choose Feldman’s “Triadic Memories.” About 90 minutes! πŸ˜‰ But seriously, a very different type of beauty you might enjoy. He does marvelous things with quiet and silence — the space between the sounds.

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    • Good thing indeed πŸ™‚ I will look it up as my first thought was that it might be a musical representation of the insights and comfort I have found in poetry and prose in terms of ‘waiting’, and that that would be wonderful. I might, however, have to listen to it in more than one sitting, and I’m not sure how that would impact the impact on the silences!

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  5. Wow, the music is stunning. It really stirs the emotions. I’ve always found the piano fascinating, the sounds are beautiful. Once I’m in the financial position to do so, I’ll definitely be taking lessons (something I’ve always wanted to do). This is also a lovely thought… Learning to play something for your therapist, and deepening the bond you share.

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