The great unravelling
I feel no shame in admitting that I find motherhood extremely difficult mentally. All of the coping mechanisms I've developed over the last 25 years are now next to useless, because I've effectively become two people. My BPD didn't conveniently ebb away in the haze of the newborn weeks, but rather it decided to accompany me like some sort of bad smell. Being unable to deal with the moment without some sort of intellectual stimuli is not a quality that fits well with being a parent.
I no longer get to say "I need time out to write/compose/think" (delete as appropriate), because a child relies on me to engage with him every minute of every day we are alone together. That's my job - and it's a really bloody satisfying one at that. BUT, it's something that brings with it a multitude of new reasons to fight my own mind on a daily basis. This unique relationship - the only one of its kind I'll ever have - is the only reason I'm going back to therapy. Google 'parents with borderline personality disorder' and you'll see why.
Let's skip back to a couple of weeks ago, and my first group session of DBT. I was told it would cover mindfulness, a way of being wholly in the moment, but in a non-judgemental way. So in a nutshell, it's something that goes against the very core of being human. We like to judge, we love to worry about the past, the future and everything else inbetween. Due to some 'fuck ups' (their words) by the therapists, we only did 30 minutes of mindfulness, and the rest of the 2 hours was spent on 'emotional regulation' (Actually, I'm not sure if it wasn't 'recognition' or another word I can't remember). You may recall the penis drawing I mentioned in my last post. That was me attempting to use humour to squash emotions of course. They have a money box which we all have to add money to every time we say anything judgemental - "It's not fair"; "I couldn't"; "I should" are all included in the naughty list. My first thought was 'I'm not giving any more money away - this is costing £60K as it is!'. Yes, but it's going to a charity you terrible cunt.
Before the first day, I'd spent a considerable amount of time pondering over who the other group members might be, and whether they'd fit my expectations. I was the only new person; I'd been let into the room early and was sitting alone drinking from my plastic cup of tea when some people I'd seen earlier smoking at the end of the driveway showed up. I saw myself at various stages of my life in every single one of them. I decided immediately that this was going to be hard work, and exactly the kind of hard work I generally don't want to do.
Having set myself up to fail from the very beginning, it came as a huge surprise when during my one to one session yesterday, I experienced what I think should probably be known as 'a fucking awful realisation'. Every single time I've seen her, my therapist has described me to a tee. Just from watching how I am in the group. I couldn't have done it better myself - and guess what? It really annoyed me. No longer was I this elusive, aloof character with a multitude of secrets and an affect that can change with the wind; rather I've become a textbook case with the same emotions and salty tears as everyone else.
A very long time ago, after a lot of very painful things had happened in quick succession, I'd unconsciously made the decision to suppress my emotions (again, as mentioned in my last post). But it also became clear that at regular intervals, when traumatic things have happened in my life, I've flipped back over into 'emotional mind' and then swung between the two in a way about as seamless as a pair of Spanx. One comment; one bad word; one misguided perception is all it takes for me to flip. At this last appointment, I could literally feel my therapist chipping away at my sea wall - the one I use to keep those tidal waves of emotion from turning me into a sandy beach. I have to be tough; I have to appear in control at all times, but give me a drink (or ten), or better still try and stop me having a drink, and I'll melt down like a toddler. We were talking about a smell. A SMELL. And I could feel the tears coming.
So now it's like the bile (again, read my last post) is just millimetres away from the surface, and I feel like a sort of semi-dormant volcano, smoking away whilst an unsuspecting village goes about their daily business not realising they're about to be petrified forever by molten lava for the humans of the future to marvel at in an immersive tourist attraction. Sounds a bit grandiose I know, but that's about the magnitude of the fear for me at this point and I feel very foolish admitting it.
God only knows how they teach therapists to pick up on the most miniscule of clues and then map out your entire psyche as if it were as simple as the tube map. I definitely don't remember the 2 psychology degrees I sat through covering a module in mind reading. I guess that's what the money they obviously haven't spent on the decor goes towards - the best damn therapists around (and a mysterious massage/torture chair I've glimpsed through a door). The amount she's unpicked in me in such a short time is nothing short of genius, but so far it's only added problems, not taken them away. I went in with BPD, and now I have a healthy dose of PTSD on top.
Maybe I'll tell her next week that I find it triggering every time I see the women from the EDU (eating disorders unit) wandering around with bags of liquid food strapped around their waists and tubes taped into their noses; thinning straw-like hair and layers and layers of clothes. As my body gets smaller, so do my eyes it seems. Of all my self-harm mechanisms, that has to be my favourite friend and they make me feel I'm not doing it properly somehow.
The more I give away, the 'better' I'll be. But that in itself is pretty terrifying.