Dissociative Healing

Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay

The past came back to haunt me yesterday
I thought I was over all that
It suddenly came flooding back
When opposite my counsellor, I sat

I cried a river of tears
As I remembered the sickening pain
I didn’t want to go back to that place
To experience everything again

The adult within me departed
Although I was sat in my seat
I could feel myself drifting away
As my heart skipped its regular beat

My thoughts were transported elsewhere
To a time so long ago
The world seemed unreal as time transposed
My agony completely on show

I had gone somewhere else in my mind
Somewhere distant and safe
I couldn’t be touched from where I was hidden
As I became the child, the waif

Gradually soft words broke through
It’s okay, you’re secure, you’re here
The voice, far away, waited patiently
Till the muffled speech became clear

Her voice brought me back to the room
My head cleared as she reached out her hand
The fear left and the pain abated
As I began to understand

My adult returned; it was time to go
Slowly, I walked to the door
I thanked her and smiled as the sun shone in
For I knew I was healing for sure.

CHAMELEON SKIN – TAKE 2

chameleon_2048x1152

I intended to write a post today about my son’s final court hearing regarding custody of his children which took place this week but I thought it appropriate, following on from last week’s post, to republish this poem because it explains so well how I feel so much of the time.

When I ‘depend’ on any given person, I become someone who moulds myself into whatever character I think that ‘given’ person wants me to be. In other words, I have become, unwittingly and unintentionally, a chameleon to fit whatever role I think is required. This is an instant response and not something that I have control over yet (although I’m working on it in therapy),  and it is actually totally exhausting as I automatically become an ‘actor’, albeit an unwilling one – it’s really hard work, mentally, pleasing and fitting in with everyone (people-pleasing in a way). This is a desperate attempt to ensure that the person on whom I depend likes/loves me enough that they won’t leave me because, without them, I don’t know how or who to be and feel helpless and abandoned.  I’m aware that this all sounds somewhat pathetic but, for me, it is not only a symptom of my BPD and DPD but the only way I know to survive in my world.

The biggest problem occurs if I find myself with more than one person that I know and they know me, which obviously does happen sometimes, my mind and my body (as in body language) don’t know how or who to be and I usually either end up confused, very stressed and muddled and find an excuse to leave the situation.

 

CHAMELEON SKIN

She is what she is … or is she, indeed?

She’s perplexed, befuddled, embroiled

Lost her mind along enmeshed journeys

She belongs, does she not to this world?

~~~

Is she real or a trickster, a fraud inside?

Not knowing her mind, too caught up in lies

Or perhaps, revealing her open wounds

You win some, you lose some, just look in her eyes

~~~

She’s not without fear though she’s scared of the thrill

The rollercoaster won’t come to an end

She writes her life’s story in ink, so black

You may wonder how her thoughts are penned

~~~

Innocence seen, and innocence gone

A fight in a nightmare; she holds her breath

The howls can be heard from far away

Will she ever return from the brink of death

~~~

You know her, you don’t, you think that you may

She’s a friend, a soldier, blood-kin

She lives or she dies; knowing the shadow side

Unknown, she wears her chameleon skin.

I’ve republished this poem with its image at the top of the page, not because I can’t be bothered to write a different post (as I will write about my son next), but because, as explained last week, this subject is playing very heavily on my mind at the moment and at times, I am very trapped by my own thoughts and need to write. Therefore, please forgive me for ‘rehashing’ a previous post, especially if you read it when I published it back in February 2016, but there is a specific reason (as explained) for doing so at this time.

A final thought: Is there a bit of a chameleon in each one of us if we look carefully enough at ourselves?

Edit: Taking the form of a chameleon is a very common aspect/symptom in people who have BPD or DPD.

THE THERAPIST (J.G.)

therapist and client

Having not having written regularly for some time due to family circumstances, I suddenly find myself writing again and recently this and the previous post (poem), both of which have a lot of meaning for me, are very serious topics.

As those of you who have known me for a while will be aware, I had, some years ago, an emotionally abusive and very damaging relationship with a therapist (who I am no longer with). This affected my mental health hugely and I was hospitalised for a while following this ending.

I still carry a lot of anger about this although I have tried to deal with it in my current counselling. I wrote this poem which I feel, is certainly ‘telling’ of what was happening during those years with her and why I am finding it hard to deal with my anger and find forgiveness as I, perhaps, as I should for my own benefit. 

I lie amongst the shadows

The new born of the old

Such innocence destroyed

Yet, none of this foretold

~~~

The tales we spun together

Which she led me to believe

Magnified reality

Their purpose to deceive

~~~

The I Ching books and Angel Cards

Were poetry in motion

* William Blake’s descriptions

Assured of my devotion

~~~

My identity was stolen

Soon a puppet on a string

I learned to tell more stories

And I wrote of everything

~~~

She pulled me to her bosom

She offered me affection

A love I thought forever

Then came the cruel rejection

~~~

I wonder where she came from

As she led me down the lane

Leaving me abruptly

In excruciating pain

  • The reference to William Blake refers to the fact that his book, ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’ was the poetry book that JG gave me as the first of many gifts

It has taken me a great deal of courage to write this and I know much can be read into this poem so if you have any comments or views, I will happy to reply to them. Thank you for taking the time to read this, Ellie.

THE TOXIC THERAPIST

On discussing my relationship with my two children (yet again) with my therapist, T, yesterday, I realised that the reason they dislike/mistrust me so much is because of my past reckless behaviours during the time I was seeing the therapist, J, referred to in my last post, ‘Killing Me Softly’. They are blind to the fact that my mental health was so poor then but is now much improved and that I do not indulge or need to take up these behaviours again (those being my drinking, anorexia, all the self-harm I did to my body both by cutting and by abusing medication and all the risky overdoses I took, some of which were very nearly fatal). I do also recognize that she didn’t literally force me to drink, cut or OD, and that we all have our own free will. It was the influence she had over me when I was very vulnerable and the abusive responses during that eight-year period which made me react in such a dangerous way. Having said that, there was one occasion when she did literally say to me at the end of a session, “Why don’t you go home and kill yourself then?” Unbelievable, I know but I state that in all honesty which I then proceeded to attempt.

This, amongst other reasons such as my disability, I think may be at the core of why my children do not want anything to do with me. After all, how awful of me to put such young, vulnerable minds through such experiences of nearly losing their mother so many times etc. You see, the toxin within J was being transmitted as toxin to me which I absorbed like a sponge which then became the sting that hurt my innocent children so much (and I think still does to this day). So, basically, in summing up, J’s inner toxin was transferred to me which then acted like a cuttlefish or jellyfish sting to *Tom and *Clare, thereby poisoning their minds.

I wish I could put this past experience (along with others) in a box, leave it there and move on from it but however hard I try there are always the tentacles of the cuttlefish or the entrails of the contents of the box climbing through the gaps or hanging out of the lid that won’t quite shut. I have not, however, yet given up on hope:

I need to shut you tight into a box
with all the hatred I have for you.
It is a sturdy box, high sided,
but still the viscera ooze
through its seams and corners.

I long to seal the lid
but it is too late
for you have contaminated my world.
How on earth do I contain this filth
when you have sullied so much of my life?

The toxin within, still seeps out
like cuttlefish tentacles
that strike out upon contact.
Your viciousness intended
unlike the sea creature’s act of survival.

And will one day, the damage you have caused
be healed by some miracle or other?
Can so many negatives be transformed
into even one miniscule positive?
Well, I tell you, I will fight.

I will fight tooth and nail
to right the wrongs you created.
There is simply too much at stake
for me to allow you the victory
of trampling me to the ground.

jellyfish1

SKELETONS FROM THE CLOSET

happiness1

I’ve been offered a new course at college – it’s called ‘Telling Your Story’. At first I was keen….I wanted my story to be one of finding some positives from so many negatives in my life. The idea behind the course is that I would look back on where I’ve been (mentally and emotionally), through various ages and stages of my life and then work out what helped me to move on from the darkest places (where I still find myself on bad days) to the better place that I am in now, in general that is. I’m not saying that all my worries and gremlins from the past have disappeared, far from it. They will always be there. My past will always be a big part of my life…my past will always be my past – it’s just that I don’t choose to live there on a permanent basis anymore. I am in good therapy and that is where I deal with any gremlins and Grinches when they do arise. I don’t want to carry them round with me like a great big sack of potatoes.

grinch

I’ve thought carefully about doing this course and have spoken to my college tutor about it at some length. There is something about it that I find strangely attractive and yet, if I am honest with myself and after speaking with my therapist today, I have found myself thinking, do I really want to drag that old pile of skeletons out of the closet again? Do I really want to dig through all that sh*t again? Is it worth risking how far I’ve come just to prove something to others and to myself? And…..I think the conclusion that I have come to is no. There is just too much at stake.

Having said that, there is something to be said for making a neat little (or large in my case) package from my not very neat life, ‘telling my story‘ and sharing my feelings. Equally, there is also something to be said for not recounting my story or doing anything with it for that matter, other than letting sleeping dogs lie.

However, I am still very affected by what happened to me, mostly as a child or as a direct result of that, and I still have awful memories, flashbacks, nightmares, thoughts, reminders, triggers that I’d obviously rather not have. But I am a human being and that is just reality. Then, on talking with my Support Worker, we struck upon the idea of a black memory box. Sound strange?! It did to me at first but then the more I thought about it, the more things I thought of that I’d like to box up and put in there.

black box

Things like the first book I had published which I dedicated to my first therapist who turned out to be very dangerous and has since been ‘struck off’ the accredited list of counsellors in this country. I won’t go into detail about the content of this book other than to say it is morbid to the extreme. There are books and gifts she bought me at the time which are still kicking about my house. The song lyrics to REM’s ‘Everybody Hurts’ which I used to play over and over on repeat which just drove me further into my despair. A photo of my father who abused me for all of my childhood. A piece of classical music that reminds of my further abuse, an empty bottle of alcohol from my drinking days, a razor blade from when I used to self-harm (not that long ago) etc…..all things that I’d let to literally and metaphorically shove somewhere where they can’t hurt me anymore. I’d pack it up and put it somewhere like the attic or the back of the garage where it wasn’t on constant view. I just don’t want to live in that place any more. I want and intend to move on.

SUCCEEDING IN UNJUSTNESS

For those of you who have been following my story of my nightmare therapist and the damage that she has done (see my last post https://elliethompson.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/formal-complaint-in-at-the-deep-end/ ), this is an update although not quite the update I had envisaged by any means.

I have been consumed by this whole issue and the unjustness of it all for some time and laid out in my above-mentioned post,  quite clearly what my intentions were. I had applied to have access to my medical records and was prepared to search for any evidence I could find in my favour, i.e. going through eight years worth of diary entries, digging out gifts and cards that this therapist, J, gave me and getting statements from family members and my GP etc to back up my case.

Yesterday, I had my therapy appointment where we talked at length about this whole situation. After a lot of discussion about what type of feelings would be evoked in me by delving into the past again and about what the long-term gain would be; also listening to the feelings and opinions of my family, I eventually came to the conclusion that, in actual fact, going through this process would have an extremely negative impact on my mental health which I’m not prepared to risk, having fought hard to get as well as I am. She just isn’t worth it and even if I succeeded in my goal of having her struck off the BACP register, It wouldn’t stop her practicing privately which I have no control over.

Sometimes, winning the battle can have negative consequences. As a wise old Indian Chief quoted:

Image

 

FORMAL COMPLAINT (IN AT THE DEEP END)

Well……that’s decided it! I’ve spoken to the BACP (British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists) about the aforementioned, nightmare therapist, J, and they have said that yes, indeed, she is accredited to BACP and they advise me to make a formal complaint against her for the damage she did to my life and is still responsible for lifelong and ongoing damage as a result of her abuse. And yes, I know ‘abuse’ is a frequent topic in blogs, but this isn’t physical or sexual abuse (both of which I’ve been subject to in my lifetime), but professional and emotional abuse. It has left its legacy of destruction in that my body is now badly scarred because I was cutting at that time, my liver damaged due to the excess alcohol intake, goodness knows what damage has been done to me from taking so many cocktails of pills in my many attempts to kill myself. I’m relieved to say that I no longer drink, takes pills or drugs and have been clean and sober for nearly two years. Unfortunately, I still struggle with self-harm which I had hoped J would have helped me to overcome, instead of which, she worsened this to a great degree. I still have an ongoing battle with anorexia which I had hoped would improve, instead of which it deteriorated to the extent that whilst under her care, I was admitted to hospital twice, for six months each time at a weight of 5st (70lbs)!

Worst of all, is that because of my mental health deterioration at that time, I have alienated my two adult children, so rarely see my daughter and granddaughters and I don’t have contact with my son and therefore my baby granddaughter and they all are my greatest loss of all.

I have received a formal email from BACP this morning enclosing thirteen pages of necessary information for me to read and reply to. I have to say that although I have chosen to go down this route, I am, nevertheless, terrified of the whole situation. She wielded so much power over me, the thought of possibly having to face her again is extremely frightening and I feel sick at the thought of going through with this but I just cannot knowingly allow her to continue to destroy other clients’ lives.

Unfortunately the Foundation have advised me that my eight year’s of official notes for that time, disappeared at the same time that J left the Foundation. They, and I, find it more than a coincidence! These could have been used as evidence in my favour. 

I’ve never done anything like this before and feel I am really jumping in at the deep end. I know these cases can take many years to resolve and there are always consequences. It is possible that I may lose my current therapist who is really helpful because she works in the same Counselling Foundation where J was a member although is no longer. That would entail having to start all over again with someone new and I really don’t like having to be passed from pillar to post.

Image 

                                                                                                                                                                                         

INCOMMUNICADO

I am writing this post by way of an apology to you all.

Image

I am sorry i have been so out of touch recently; that i haven’t read or replied to your blogs; that i haven’t said thank you for all the kind comments you left on my last blog, which i have only just seen; that i haven’t been of much use to anyone really. In addition, i found a crass, sarcastic comment from some sick pervert which i didn’t ‘Approve’ so that it didn’t appear on my page to upset anyone else. I seem to attract perverts. I think i have done so ever since i was a small child.

 

I have very few friends and most of those have buggered off since i’ve not been well! I know i have my blog friends, here, who i value highly even though i’m never likely to meet any of you and we are all, to some extent, incognito.

 

I really crashed after that experience i wrote about in my last blog. I’ve been getting so many vivid flashbacks that i’m scared to hardly breathe. It seems as if they appear directly in front of my eyes in glorious technicolour and i inhale them one after the other until i go to pieces altogether, break down and feel like i am losing my mind  I can’t seem to function at all. I am unable to concentrate on anything, including my blog, finishing my book, reading, phoning family or catching up with many emails. I am so exhausted all the time and I just want to be curled up in bed permanently.

 

I’m not interested in food and am only eating the bare minimum; at the same time telling myself, firmly, that this is not my anorexia returning although i have lost weight. 

 

My therapy sessions are fraught with memories, anger and tears. Thankfully, i’m not self harming, nor have i gone back to the drink and drugs or overdosing although i have felt tempted many times.

 

Well, i think that about sums up where i am at at the moment. So, i’m very sorry if i have hurt any of your feelings and all i can say, with the scrap of humour i have left is ‘normal service will resume as soon as possible‘.

 

Hugs xxx

Image

I CAN’T DO THIS ANY MORE!

I just can’t do this any more. Today has been the day from hell and i am totally exhausted and wanting to sleep but am too afraid too. I need to share today’s experience with you, then maybe i’ll be able to get some sleep tonight. Last night was a night of nightmares which ended at 3am when i got up because i couldn’t take any more. After yesterday, i thought things would be a little calmer and a little quieter today, but how wrong i was. I want to say so much. Chloe is screaming. Caroline is trying to charge of us all but is fighting a losing battle. She doesn’t want to make this post too long because that makes it difficult for others to read, but i so need to get this out.

 

I went to therapy today with Chloe trying to hide in a corner. My therapist *Lucy* surprised us when she asked why Chloe was hiding. “I’m hiding from the crack in the door where the light comes in”. Instant trigger into huge flashback! WTF?! “I’m back there in my bedroom, in bed, clutching my bear tightly to me. I hear the attic stairs to my room creak. I know he’s coming; he’s coming to get me; he’s coming and he’s gonna hurt me again. I’m waiting for the crack in the door to appear cos i know he’s coming, i know he’s coming. The crack in the door that lets the landing light shine in, just for that moment until he closes the door quietlly behind him and i am plunged into darkness againbut i hear a voicee telling me not to make a sound…his voice. I’m rigid with fear. I can feel the blankets being pulled back and i feel the cold air rush in. Then his breath, his smelly breath, stinking of his pipe and the sherry he had befor dinner tonight. He’s starting to take my jamas off, it’s cold, help, go away daddy, please go away daddy. Peter doesn’t want you to throw him on the floor again, he’ll get cold, i want to cuddle him. Daddy thrown my bear, Peter onto the floor and now he’s climbing into my bed. Noooooo, pleeeease, nooooooooo”.

 

‘Ellie, Ellie, come on back, it’s safe now, you’re sfe now. It’s ok. I’m here’…I hear Lucy’s voice. I’m sitting in my wheelchair, shaking violently, unable to catch my breath. Chloe won’t stop screaming despite Lucy’s assurance. ‘Breathe, Ellie; take a deep breath and trying and come back. Look at me. You”re safe now, Ellie’. 

 

I’m staring out of the window at a tree, tears sstreaming down my face, my nose running. I’, trying to breathe. I try and ground myself, looking around Lucy’s room, at the laamp on the desk, at the chair Lucy is sitting in, at the fluorescent light on the ceiling, anything. I’m breathing but i’m still shaking. I’m having trouble talking anymore, i’m exhausted; but i wrote this poem many years ago, but it wasn’t like this when i wrote it. I was calm, matter-of-fact, almost nonchalant. It was called ‘The Killing’…

He came at first, meekly

Then more than thrice weekly
Before he got into my bed
He attacked in the dark
Like a large, hunting shark
‘Cos he wasn’t quite right in the head

 

My breast-buds he’s licking
His conscience not pricking
When he came and demanded his fill
And I dared not to cry
Though had just reason why
When he came in and went in for the kill

Was I naughty or bad?
‘Cos he was my dad
When he stole my life from me
And still I am paying
The price for not saying
And him taking my liberty

I was young, bone and skin
He’d no morals, just sin
And I was his just for the taking
And when he had fled
Leaving mess in my bed
I lay there and couldn’t stop shaking

And the landing light shone
From the back of beyond
And I knew I was caught in his noose
And mum, she’d be sleeping
Although she’d be peeping
When, with me, he had no more use

And I was so small
And he’d come for it all
I knew then that I couldn’t fight him
And never a tear
Left my eyes with him there
Till the crack in the door let the light in.

 

I don’t want to re-read what i’vee written, i’m still shaking so sorry if there’s mistakes. I just wrote what came out but i can’t write any more. I can’t do this any more. I’ve got to go to bed with Huggy, my now bear. I need to hold him tight to me.

 

SURVIVOR

Image

 

Today, I feel different! Today, I feel good. Don’t know why, considering yesterday I was ready to throw the towel in. I guess it’s partly BPD (I can be suicidal one minute, and the next, as high as a kite, to say nothing of impulsive and emotionally all over the place and around and around i go)! Nevertheless, i’m making the most of it while it lasts. My therapy went well today; I received a publishing contract for my third book; I’ve made a great new blog/email friend; I’ve been happy; I’ve been angry: I’ve laughed; I’ve cried; I’ve shared my feelings (important) and that’s why i love these blogs of ours; I’ve been a loser; I’ve been a fighter. Most of all, I’ve been a survivor.

 

I know many of my friends here will be feeling low and down and desperate and I understand; I’ve been there; I’m more often not still there and may well be back in the mud again by tomorrow. But for now, I want to send you all, my friends… my love and many big hugs and want to share this YouTube clip of Katy Perry’s “Roar” which gave me a ‘lift’ today xxx 🙂