I am person. About 90kg of person. I have green eyes, brown hair and freckles. I’m nothing special. I have my own unique DNA and my own unique fingerprints. I have a date of birth and a name and a National Insurance number and an NHS number. I have qualifications. I have a driving licence and a passport. All of this information about me. Me! But I have no identity.
Sure I could show you ID if required. Some document to confirm facts about which human I am? Yes, I’ve got that. That’s not the identity I mean though. I mean about my personality. Who am I? I honestly don’t know. I really don’t know. Trying to figure it out is like shouting into an empty cavern and just hearing who am I…am I…am I…am I echoing back to me.
I’ve been at my DBT one-to-one with Monica today. I cried and I felt bad. It was a difficult session. I could see she was trying to puzzle me out and I felt guilty for being whatever way I was being. Bleurgh. I told her that I am just wrong and no amount of DBT would fix that. As far as I could see it would just give me skills to hide it. I used an analogy. I said that DBT was like training me as a boxer and I just had to get used to (or accept in DBT language) being punched. Well, maybe I do need to just accept being punched a lot but, at the end of the day, being punched over and over and over again was still really going to suck and forever was too long to spend being punched.
Picture from Hyperbole and a Half
She tried lots of different approaches with me and I rejected each one. No no no no NO! Why won’t anyone see?! She wanted to get to the bottom of what I felt was wrong about me specifically – as if it were that simple! I could have torn my hair out in frustration: EVERYTHING! My entire core is rotten and none of you will even try to see it! “So tell me” she coaxed. “Absolutely not. I cannot discuss how rotten I am. It is too difficult.” I replied, crying. When I composed myself I sniffed “You see that’s why I try so hard to be good because I know that I am bad and I have to work really hard to balance it out. So I try to do the right things. I try to show positive traits, like kindness…and…stuff like that. I try really hard to be good because I am so bad”.
I think that might be what they call a breakthrough.
I felt the first realisation: I do it for them, for my parents. I just want to be good for them. I’m so so sorry about being born and ruining their lives. I know I was a really bad baby and I couldn’t choose my behaviour as a baby but as soon as I could choose I chose to be good. Really fricking good.
Then came the second realisation: No matter what I do it will never be good enough.
So, I asked Monica “Where does that leave me then?”
Instead of any sense of self, my identity, I just have this empty cavernous space. Who am I? I’m scared to find out. Monica told me that DBT would help with that. Well, that’s something at least.