The BPD monster peeped out for DBT therapist, Monica, in my last appointment (that’s Part 1). Later in the same appointment the PTSD ghost wanted acknowledgement too.
I don’t know how we got on to the subject but I think it came from me expressing my frustration at not being able to enjoy my life. I have a fantastic life. I couldn’t ask for more and yet there I was, in therapy. The only thing between me and enjoying my life is me. It’s bloody maddening but then the more I beat myself up the worse I make it. From there, I think, M got me to describe the person I am now. I used words like adventurous, that I saw a world full of potential. Monica was surprised. So I explained that I am haunted, continually pulled back to 20+ years ago and that stops me being the person I think that I am. Naturally she asked me to describe that person. Well…scared, invisible, wants to die but can’t because she has to take care of her brothers, powerless, has no voice, doesn’t trust because people say they will help and they never do. This is the person that Monica knows now. It’s not me. It was me; once upon a time. She wonders how the younger me became the adult me given they are so vastly different. I explained as best I could about going to university, meeting new people, going wild, achievements and finally a name change.
Gradually that younger version of me was eradicated. To the point that she was barely a memory. She was gone but, unfortunately, not laid to rest. I am haunted by the ghost of myself.
Now that I can see she kind of gets it the words come spilling out of me. I sometimes see her at nighttime, I know that what happened to her is really sad but she needs to be gone now, I need to make her be gone but I can’t. It’s like she wants me to do something to giver her peace but I don’t know it is. I try and pay attention in dreams and hallucinations: what is it? I know it’s strange to experience ‘her’ as a separate entity but that’s how this thing is playing out. It’s me – I get that. Although if I stop to think about that it’s terrifying so, for now, I’m thinking of her as a ghost that needs to be laid to rest. Trouble is that I don’t know how. Monica said we would continue to explore this next time.
That night at my Body Balance class (mix of tai chi, yoga and Pilates) when we were doing the meditation bit I had to keep my eyes open. Whenever I tried to close them my eyelids fluttered and in my minds eye I saw her. I imagined holding her hand and reassuring her – it’ll be ok, we’ll sort this. I’ve got to admit though I don’t know if that’s a good thing or further descending into madness!
Maybe the monster and the ghost are the same thing? I don’t know but I do feel relieved that my therapist now seems to have a better grasp of what’s going on with me. Do you know what? I’ll happily leave it to her to figure it out. I’m exhausted enough just managing the two of them.
Well, that’s why they call it complex PTSD! They got that right!