Episode 66. Things are getting better.

Episode 66. Things are getting better.

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I saw Angela today.  I had a really good day.  I feel like marking it down on a calendar.  It’s been a long time.  I cleaned my bathroom on Saturday, everything.  Under the vanity, cleaned and wiped that down with Clorox wipes.  Cleaned the cupboard my sheets are in, and the shelving for my towels.  I through out a ton of garbage, and cleaned the fixtures.  I got the cobwebs.  It is just the bathroom, but I got that done.  

So I went into there today armed with my notebook of Karen-letters, and my review.  She began by saying that I look happier today.  (I think it was the perm, my hair is curly now, and curly may translate into happy.)  I always start with the easier thing, and I just handed Angela my review and she read it.  I explained about him waiting until the next day at eight, and that I did ask about goals.  I think I did mention it.  But we then got into Karen.  

I made her mad again.  I told her about the last visit.  About how early on, because of the fear of abandonment, she brought up borderline personality disorder, but did not think I was borderline.  But during that last session, she asked if we were going to work on the personality problems.  It wasn’t until I was out of there that it occurred to me that she might be talking about borderline again, because she mentioned it recently again, and she said I needed someone who is good with DBT.  I know that they use DBT to work with borderline people.  So I called her up, “just a quick question.”  Ok. “Were you saying that I AM borderline?”  You should talk about that with the new person.  

So I told that to Angela and she went off, first you do not mention a personality disorder unless you think that is what the person has, and even then, you probably should let them bring it up and then go over it with them and let them decide.  She whipped out the DMSR-5 and went over the criteria with me, giving examples of each, and we determined that I “might” have two of the criteria but you need 5 or more.  Anyhow, the fear of abandonment doesn’t count because I don’t make “frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.”  She explained that as if your boyfriend is going to leave you, you get in the car and pin him against the wall so he can’t.  No, that’s not me. 

I’m not stupid.  But it is so easy to believe bad stuff, partly because we avoid the question altogether because thinking about it makes it more real.  If that makes sense.  And, I really didn’t think I was borderline, but this person who worked with me for 15 months was thinking that — yeah, Angela said that by not answering, that is what Karen was believing, or at least, that is how I was going to take it.  

She thinks that maybe Karen was becoming overwhelmed by me, not being able to manage the level of trauma, and being worried about my harming myself.  We had talked about suicide when Angela was going over the criteria.  I told her I did try it pathetically twice when I was 14.  She said, what about recently.  So I told her about the day Karen chucked me.  It was bad.  It was the day before Mother’s Day, and I went to Mom’s and when Brian’s wife showed up, I went to my house.  I got out my gun, it’s a shotgun.  I wanted to know if I could work the trigger with my toe like Dad had said.  Well, I can’t.  My big toe doesn’t like the trigger guard.  But the barrel is short and I can work it and the safety with my finger.  I didn’t do it though.  I loaded the gun and unloaded it, and went out and took care of my dogs, then went back to Moms and stayed there, even though I knew Brian would be there by then.  I stayed there until I felt safe.  I connected with the people at RAINN, and after waiting 2 hours, and finally working with someone, my computer booted me out.  But it helped anyway. 

So Angela had asked if I told everyone.  I didn’t.   The thing is, if thinking and talking about suicide is my thing, it’s understandable because of that being Mom’s go-to.  But I know how hard that is to handle, and I try not to say anything about it to anyone.  And I am afraid they will throw me into a hospital, and if they get me in there, they may never let me out, and I will lose my dogs, and lose my job, and lose my house.  At least, when I am feeling way down like I was, that is what is going through my brain.  If I am going to be alive, I want my dogs, and my job.   It was just a really, really bad day, during a really bad time.  A build up of one bad thing after another.  That was two months ago.  Things are starting to get a little better.  

We did talk more about Nancy and Karen, and how it took me about six sessions to get past Nancy, and so Karen knew what she was dealing with early on.  Well, anyway, Angela thinks Karen really doesn’t have the skills, but she could have ended it a whole lot better.  

I didn’t read the letters, I showed her, I wrote one on the 27th, and one on the 28th and one on the 29th and one on the 30th.  She laughed.  I read the last paragraph: So as I see it, I have two choices: to believe that Nancy and Karen were right and proper, and I don’t deserve healing or health; or to believe that Karen was an abysmal therapist, and that way, I can throw my fragile and gullible soul back into the therapy cauldron, and maybe give this new person a chance at helping me get better.  

Angela said she wasn’t defending her, but she thinks that Karen realized she was over her head.  She thinks that if I do write a letter to send to her, it should be in an effort to give her feedback.   So I am thinking, a gift of feedback.  She can take it or leave it.  

I know this is a bit choppy, but she talked about connection and attachment and how normal that is.  She talked about the criteria for personality disorder, but that it is situational, and what happened can cause us to meet some of the criteria, and still not have a personality disorder.  I have attachment issues and abandonment issues.  If those aren’t one thing.  

She talked a little about the EMDR.  How with someone who has had a single incident and was mostly over it, but got triggered recently, he can come in, and go right with the EMDR, because it is science and she can be a robot, and it will work.  But with someone who has had multiple incidents, etc, it is much better to have someone I connect with, it makes it easier on me.  At one point, she did ask if I was ready to work on it.  We were still talking about Karen, and what a therapist’s role is.  I said, “yes.”  But of course now I am thinking about it, and am not so sure about the lights and buzzers and what that is going to do.  I know there is no magical way of healing.  And this sounds like magic.  So, I probably have learn a little more about it.  If it is science, I have a scientific mind.  I am an engineer, and math and methods and physics and chemistry and cause and effect are all right down my alley.  

I left there at noon.  I went to get a big salad from the grocery store, to take with for dinner, than went to the library, and then I went to DQ for a banana split before work.  I got to work early, and found they had assigned me 65 boards to troubleshoot tonight.  I got sixty of them done.  I was busy all night, and I was getting stuff accomplished and I actually felt good.  Coming out of there, Angela’s office, I felt younger.  That’s a good thing, because I have been feeling really old and broken lately.    


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15 comments

  1. mkyuellig Volunteer

    Hey solongago,

    It sounds like you are making really good progress, and I’m so glad that Angela is advocating for you! I totally agree that it is unprofessional to mention a possible diagnosis without knowing for sure. I obviously have never met you, so I couldn’t diagnose you, but you have never given me BPD vibes. I think it’s really awesome that Angela got out the DSM to show you the criteria and discuss it with you – I think she must think you are very smart and capable (which you are). I feel the same way about Karen – she was over her head, and that is not a reflection on you. Look at you! Cleaning, therapy, good work stuff, perms, salads. You’re rocking it!

    stay strong and be gentle with yourself
    Keight

  2. Marissa Day Captain

    Hey Solongago,

    Thanks for updating us. I’m so happy for you that you’ve found Angela. She sounds like she is exactly the person you’ve been searching for to help you unpack and work through everything, and that is amazing! I’m so excited to see the progress you make with her.

    I like hearing you talk about the steps you’re making towards cleaning up your house. I know how much better I feel when my apartment is clean and I really like that sense of accomplishment. No matter how small, it’s still progress. You’re making incredible steps in the right direction. Keep your head up! You’ve got this.

    Marissa

  3. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    I’m so glad you had a good day and that Angela was supportive when you brought up Karen! I think you’re making progress in a lot of areas in your life – cleaning, talking about Karen, work, etc. – and that’s amazing!
    I’m really sorry that the day Karen ended things was so difficult. I’m glad that you’re still here and that you were able to feel safe after some time. I agree with Roxie – if you have another really bad day, it could help to contact the Crisis Text Line or the Suicide Hotline.
    I think the EMDR sounds promising, but it could help to learn more about it so you know what you’re getting into. Sometimes that can help us feel less worried and more knowledgeable.
    Thank you for the update! I hope things keep getting better from here, and I’m proud of you. You’ve got this!

  4. Graciegrace22

    Hello,

    I am happy that you are able to accomplish and feel better through your sessions with Angela. I am glad you were able to get some rest and have a productive day at work. I hope things keep looking up for you.

  5. Solongago

    Thank you all. Not as good of a day at work yesterday. I started out good, and then wasted a lot of time on something I wasn’t getting. But overall, things are getting better. About the cleaning. It is daunting because I am not a hoarder, but a slob. My brother is a hoarder. My grandmother was a hoarder — she had paths through her house and five couches in her living room we didn’t know were there. But I have a path through my living room. Cobwebs. The ceiling is falling in in the sunroom/dog whelping room. Some of it is just so overwhelming, because while I can clean the clutter and take out the trash, I can’t fix that ceiling. My contractor got a sum of money for me to put a piece of rubber over the roof there, and then he disappeared. So I got stung for that, and I just don’t have the money to fix it.

    But, today I went after my bedroom. Cleaned out the closet and weeded and through out 6 bags of trash, mostly clothes and shoes from my closet. I got most of the clothes from off my doors and the free-standing thing in my bedroom into the closet. I am not done in there. I swept the floor and go the cobwebs and went through the receipts (dog business). But I still have to clear some clutter take out probably another garbage bag of trash, change the sheets. and wipe everything down. I think I can get it done tomorrow after the horse show.

    I also talked to my dad about putting a rod in next to my closet in a cubby hole area that isn’t big enough for any piece of furniture, but would be really good to hang the excess clothes on. And then I can get rid of the free standing thing. That will give me more room in my room. The thing is, just thinking about things to improve my house, even little things, is really good. It is progress that I can see.

    Anyhow, you guys have been awesome through this transition. It would have been good to have a group for survivors, that I was hoping to put together with my pastor. But the CRCC said they were going to do one, but it is August now. So June came and went. In reality, because I was not eligible to partake in the group in Mentor, and there is nothing locally, so you guys are it. I told Angela how I e-mailed Karen between the session that she told me and the last session that she offered, and asked her to leave our sessions that were already set up, in case it takes a while to get into a new person. But Karen e-mailed back and said, the last session would be May 24, or whatever day it was. She was not willing to budge an inch. I’m still pretty mad at her.

  6. Lizzi Volunteer

    Hey Solongago,
    I’m glad to hear that you had a good day! Even if things are tough, those good days are so important to break up the hard times. I believe that everyone in this world will always have bad days, but when the good days start to equal or outnumber the bad days, that’s when things are pretty great. I’m glad that you’re alive, and that you didn’t go through with your attempt. It sounds like you had a really good session and were able to express a lot of your feelings about Karen. I agree with Angela that Karen likely realized she was in over her head. If that’s the case, it wouldn’t have been ethical for her to keep trying to help you knowing she couldn’t. I don’t believe there is anyone in this world not deserving of healing and health, so if those are your only two options, I have to believe that Karen just wasn’t the best therapist for you. Hope you keep having good days and feel younger.

    Lizzi

    P.S. That banana split sounds amazing… I may have to go get one tomorrow!

  7. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi Solongago,

    Let me celebrate your good day with a little *happy dance* for you! It sounds like Angela is a much better fit. Sometimes it really is the therapist who has the problem, and not the patient themselves. I’m so sorry the way Karen ended her sessions sent you into such a dark place. I’m glad that you were able to call on your healthy coping strategies and pull yourself out of it. Visiting your mom, contacting RAAIN, spending time taking care of the dogs were all excellent grounding techniques. Of course you deserve to heal. Everyone’s path is different, and there is no time limit. You’re doing great, and I hope there are many more good days in your future.

    All the best,
    Becca

  8. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi Solongago,
    I’m happy things are getting better. I’m sorry that Karen was trying to misdiagnosis you, but its good Angela knows what she is talking about. She sounds like she is really helping you. It sounds like she is a really good therapist. You are doing a great job recovering. Thank you for updating us.
    -Alyssa

  9. Leximcclelland Volunteer

    Hey!
    I’m happy to hear you are doing well.
    I first want to say good job on cleaning your bathroom. It’s never just the bathroom. Cleaning in general can seem so daunting, but deep cleaning everything? That should make you proud, and I’m sure it feels good to have it super clean!
    It seems like you’re having a pretty good period of time, and that is wonderful. Angela seems to be helping you and she does well validating what you’re saying and really working through things at your pace.
    Thanks for coming back to us, we are always here. I hope you have good weekend!

    -Lexi

  10. rkr18 Volunteer

    Thank for the update. I am so happy that you felt good and younger and stronger. Its a day to day process, but it does get better.
    Please keep us updated, we are here for you.
    -Marie

  11. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    I’m glad that working with Angela is going so well. She seems to be really supportive of you and willing to work with you on a lot of things. Thanks for coming back to share-glad you feel like some weight has been lifted!

    Erin

  12. Jess Volunteer

    I’m so glad to hear that Angela was able to validate you and you both were able to have some laughter. It sounds like you felt so much better after that session and that’s so amazing to hear! If you don’t quite feel ready for EMDR, make sure to tell her next time. Definitely don’t want to move too fast. Keep building your relationship and moving forward. If researching could be helpful, definitely do that. Keep working on you! Keep moving forward as best you can. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3
    -Jess

  13. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    This post put a big smile on my face!! 😀 You sound so much better! I am glad that Angela was able to give you some validation and that she has a sense of humor that is similar to yours. Hopefully, now that you are connecting more, you will be able to get to the work you want to do. Keep doing a little bit of those awesome things for yourself every chance you get. Just an FYI, if you do have one of those really bad days again, contact the Suicide Prevention hotline or the Crisis Text Line and tell them how you are feeling. You won’t have to wait two hours to be connected to someone.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  14. Silver Volunteer

    Hey Solongago,

    Always nice to see an update from you! If you think that marking today as a good day on your calendar would help you, then I say go for it! I just want to say I’m so proud of you for cleaning your bathroom and I’m so glad that you’re still here with us after all that you’ve been through. It sounds like working with Karen had a pretty negative impact on you. It’s definitely upsetting when someone we trust to help us does the opposite. I’m so happy to hear things are starting to look up now that you’re working with Angela! We’re here for you!

    – Jenn

  15. Julia Mandel Day Captain

    Thank you for keeping us updated! I am so glad to hear you are feeling better and are on a good path to healing. Angela sounds like a much better fit for you and someone that can really help you continue to get and feel better everyday; she seems to have some great advice. Let us know, as always, if we can help and support you in any other way you may need. Keep on staying strong <3