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.

Self-care strategies for the summer therapy break – Part 1

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Over the last eighteen months or so, I have found myself developing a number of strategies for trying to cope with therapy breaks, and in particular the long summer break, which for me tends to be between four to six weeks long. I recently summarised thirteen of those strategies in a two-part post for the therapy website welldoing.org, and this is the link to the first part, containing my first six tips. I hope you find them useful!

https://welldoing.org/article/this-is-why-self-care-makes-such-a-difference-in-mental-health

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15 thoughts on “Self-care strategies for the summer therapy break – Part 1

  1. Thanks! I need these as I’ve stopped seeing my therapist. I couldn’t email her or call her in between sessions without mucking up our relationship…. Last night she emailed me a loooong list of boundaries (half of which I never would have dreamed of engaing in!)….. The problem is our session causes so much despair and agony once I leave her room. And then I have to sit with it for a week….. Anyway, quitting therapy seems easier. So, thanks for these tips! I’m ready to use them.

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    • I’m so sorry to hear things are so difficult with therapy 😦 Rather than stopping, is there any chance you might be able to increase the frequency of sessions? It sounds as though you have a lot to try and contain between sessions, and perhaps a second session would help with that….I’m sorry this is so painful, and I know it’s particularly hard when boundaries are brought up, it feels so much like rejection. But perhaps she is doing her best to ‘protect the therapy’ (which is what my therapist calls it)? Not to protect it from you, but to protect the nature of the space, its uniqueness and its freedom from day-to-day-ness, which enables the work to happen and enables you to feel everything you need to feel, freely….Sitting with these horrendous periods is one of the hardest things you can do, but if you’re able to sit with it and turn up, and just tell her how almost impossible it is to turn up, but you’re doing it, you may be able to get through it together, and if you do, it is almost guaranteed to be a valuable learning experience. And if not….the option to leave is still there. Thinking of you….

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      • Thanks soo much for your kind words… My therapist said she is unable to see me more often, sadly. Anyway, her email did open my eyes. Time to fly solo….. (I’m determined not to need her and stay safe…..was in hospital recently after an overdose – for which I’m very ashamed…I think she needs me to stay away from her) Your blog is very encouraging and these tips will help me stay alive! Thanks so much!

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  2. It’s taken me years to accept that looking after myself is as important, maybe more important at times, than looking after other people. I do some of the self care activities you describe myself and have my own too. I have found that doing stuff that children do, or that I liked to do as a child, is a real boost so I also go to the cinema, a lot, and theatre, both with and without my small (and adult!) children. I visit the beach and dig sandcastles, bury small children (not entirely, that would be wrong!!) and they bury me, paddle in the water, climb up and down sand dunes. I play children’s games, usually with other adults, you learn a lot about your friends as well as yourself when you play mousie mousie or ludo with other middle aged people!! and I listen to music, usually 60’s classics, at a loud volume and ‘sing’ along, also at top volume. I was a very shy and quiet child but my small inner little person as an adult actually has turned out to be quite loud! and I dig, weed and plant, go for long walks when I am able to.
    i’m facing my final session ever very shortly, scary, and am having to remind myself frequently that actually it will be ok, I will be ok. a year ago I couldn’t have contemplated this, a month ago even I found it hard to think about, today it feels ok, not good, but ok. the coast is going to feature heavily in my children’s summer holiday plans a I suspect as its my favourite and most effective self help strategy!

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    • Thank you so much for your reply….I can’t imagine being where you are, you sound very brave, and I’m glad you know it will be okay, even if you are scared. It would be good to hear from you, if you want to stay in touch, about how it’s going, after….when you’re in that post-therapy place I can’t imagine, and dread being in. I’m glad you have lots of self-care strategies, and it’s interesting you also find it comforting to engage with children’s activities. My therapist likes gardening and it’s something I’m determined at some stage to get a bit more into – I love admiring the end result, but am completely impractical and ignorant when it comes to ‘doing’ 🙂 And I completely agree with you about the coast – I feel calmest and free-est and most contented and at peace when I’m by the sea. I sometimes wonder how much better my mental health might be if I actually lived on the coast (and had enough time to enjoy it!). My thoughts are with you, as you go through this….if you don’t mind my asking, are you in the UK too?

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      • Hi, Yup, I’m in the UK, a southerner. I’ve been at this for about 5 years so its been a long haul, very illuminating, hard, often painful work. the ending this time is not the first. I’ve been here before and it didn’t go so well as i’m hoping this time, not the ending as such, that was ok, but the aftermath. I don’t do loss well usually! but i’m in a place where i can believe it will be ok, eventually, this time round but am under no illusions that it is going to be easy. I’d happily never quit, and just keep my therapist on tap for whenever I felt the need of her, but realistically that isn’t going to happen and I am finding, during this final phase when the ending is looming ever closer, that actually i’m beginning now to put into practice more of the healthier survival strategies I’ve learnt over the years, ie relying more on my own ability to manage stress and crises etc rather than simply allowing myself to save it all up for the therapy room, which I am prone to doing normally. I never thought i’d be able to get here, even less that I would be feeling ok about it, ok about feeling sad, possibly a lot more than sad when we finally say goodbye. there has been a lot of angst on the way to here though! I shall hang around! I have been interested for a long while in life beyond therapy because so little is written about it. lots about endings, good endings, poor endings, from therapist and client perspectives, but virtually nothing about life after the door closes for the last time and how people then go on the live independently. it would be difficult to research because of ethical boundaries I guess, but the fear of the ‘after’ has kept me from leaving for a long time. i’m still afraid of the after, but am better able to believe now that it will be ok in the longer term.

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  3. I really need to read this right now. Thank you xxx

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  4. So glad you’re caring for yourself and spreading positivity

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  5. All good ideas, these six plus the next seven. A question: what of those who do not “have” an “inner child” or dismiss the notion? Of course, you’ve left them with a dozen other methods. I wonder if you also inevitably choose “calm” classical music? As you know, I’ve heard lots, and I dare say that much of what is in them isn’t calming. The idea of cello music, however, suggests chamber music more generally. I imagine your therapist might have suggested Bach’s Cello Suites. In any case, I hope you are the rare “physician” who can “heal” herself (or at least better bide the time) with your own suggestions.

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    • You’re right – it has tended to be calm-ish or sad or rousing in a sort of soaring strings sort of way 🙂 My favourite piece of cello music is, of course, the Elgar Cello Concerto, but you’re absolutely spot on with regard to the Cello Suites (which I mentioned to her) – she suggested them just before our long summer break last year, and I bought them 🙂

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  6. Elgar is wonderful. Another great Cello Concerto (you may know this) is by Dvorak, perhaps the greatest.

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