This week is going to be the fullest mentalist-related week I’ve had since September 2009. Today, I saw Paul (week 18). Tomorrow, I will meet my newly allocated CPN Christine for the first time. On Wednesday, apparently, I have to see NewVCB. I should have booked Lovely GP in on Thursday to complete the fucking set.
Someone called my mobile at 10am today. I ignored it, as I always do, especially given that it was from an ‘unknown’ number. I waited for the caller to leave a voice message, but same was not forthcoming. When they (for I presumed it to be the same person) rang again about 11.30am, I once again ignored it. This time, however, a message was left.
It was a secretary from the CMHT. She didn’t say what she wanted – only that she would like me to call her back. Thinking the CPN was off with ebola or something, I was happy to do so for once in my sorry life. I think that, in theory, Christine ought to be useful, but I’m still terrified of meeting her.
Anyhow, no such luck. The call had nothing to do with Christine; it was a request for me to come and see NewVCB on Wednesday morning.
This is annoying in a couple of ways. Firstly, there’s enough professional madness this week to do me for about seven years, especially when coupled with the stress of someone new in the equation. Secondly, though, I am irritated by NewVCB’s general behaviour. When I last saw her, she wanted to see me again in a fortnight (which, given the circumstances of the time, seemed reasonable). Then I received the usual shite letter telling me my next appointment with her was on 6 April – about a month after our previous meeting. That was unacceptable, but nonetheless, I let it pass.
Now this. It’s as if she thinks she can just summon me whenever she gets a cancellation, or she remembers that I exist (fortunately for her, of course, though perhaps less fortunately for me, I do exist. If I had done myself in after her failure to see me as agreed, then she might have found herself in a spot of bother).
Anyway. I’ll live, more’s the pity (actually, I’m in a fair frame of mind at the minute, but you know what I mean). A’s boss, Trevor, has very kindly allowed him time off to come to the CPN meeting with me tomorrow, as I’m terrified of going alone to engage with this new, unfamiliar quantity of humanity. Ordinarily, I’d have taken my mother, but she’s fucked herself off on a continental golfing holiday until Saturday. Fortunately for me, Trevor has a son who is mental, so he understands the difficult position that A is in.
This post was not, however, intended to be a general rant/update. It was intended to be about Paul. I shall try to get to the point.
My intention is to employ (relative) brevity in this post. Bear in mind that brevity, for me, is 3,000 sodding words per therapy session. So if it seems long, then let’s just hope that it’s not really
This session was characterised quite frequently by silence. I found this to be an unproductive use of both my time and Paul’s, and by the end of the session was apologising for it. To quote him, though, I was forcibly silent as a child, so apparently this is permissible. In any case, there was still a lot of relevant interaction.
- I told him about how unbearably, inexorably depressed I was, and had been. This session was in the wake of all that fuck with the Jobs and Benefits bellends, and shortly prior to my proposed dalliance with a helium canister.
- I also told him briefly about my medical notes, and about how I allegedly have “very strong narcissistic traits”. Paul said that he felt that I was the opposite of a narcissist, an analysis with which I didn’t agree. I said that I was self-obsessed and fantastical, and that I basically told (Old)VCB that I had NPD. He responded by saying that she must simply have taken my word for it, because there is – in his mind – no evidence for it at all.
- Apparently he is scared of personality disorder diagnoses, as they create pigeonholes for that which should be seen as perfectly normal in the context of historic abuse. I don’t entirely agree with this position, but I do think there is a certain merit in what he says. I admitted to being very frustrated to not have any official, written acknowledgement of a PTSD diagnosis,especially when BPD was splattered all over my fucking file. Once again, I found myself reminded of Seaneen‘s fitting comments: to paraphrase, the ‘good’ abuse survivor gets PTSD, the ‘bad’ gets BPD. I admitted to Paul that I felt like some mere ‘case’ or ‘number’ within NHS services, whereas I felt like a person with him at Nexus. He seemed pleased, and said that he enjoyed spending time with me. I don’t understand that particular plane of reality, but there you have it.
- His view, predictably, is that there isn’t something wrong with me; I have very extreme coping and defence mechanisms as a result of very extreme experiences. He pointed out that people with NPD need to be worshipped all the time, whereas I actively and instinctively cower away at the first hint of a compliment. Paul said that Paedo made me ‘horrible’ and ‘evil’ (in my mind), and that was clearly not what narcissists think of themselves, at least at a conscious level. I accused myself of “inverted narcissism”; yes, I was (am) highly self-critical, but I don’t have any altruism in me at all. I’m selfish and, further, self-obsessed, even if I’m not desirous of being put on someone’s misguided pedestal. He said that that isn’t true: my perceptions of myself in this light are clouded by the toxicity that Paedo has planted in my head.
- He asked why he had never seen my psychotic symptoms in session. I kept my gob shut for ages on that one, as I had loads of psychodynamic explanations therefore, but knew I’d be asked to stop turning the therapy into an academic debate if I voiced them. Eventually, I muttered something about it being “some sort of weird transferential shit,” a description that seemed to amuse him substantially. I continued by saying that I didn’t want to be seen as psychotic, but that in my very saying so I felt tremendously guilty, because no one should be ashamed of having a mental illness. “I want to be seen to be in control,” I concluded.
- Paul said that my hallucinations are ‘contained’ (a word I loathe) in therapy, and that “the weird transferential shit” was indeed responsible for that. My transference towards him reflects my past needs, which is then of course met with his counter-transference. He postulated the position that I needed someone to essentially be nice to me, which he then did (‘nice’ being my word here, which grates on me, as it’s so fucking trite and inadequate. Nonetheless, I cannot think of something more descriptive and/or appropriate for that which I am trying to convey). My unconscious fear, therefore, would be that ‘They‘ wing themselves out of my mind and into my vocal chords, insulting and hating Paul, at which point he will no longer be nice to be. Of course, in reality Paul would have a fucking field day with ‘They’, and there is no danger of him abandoning or discharging me if they happen to show up. But that, I am told, is an adult reading of the situation. The child part of myself merely sees herself as being constantly rejected, and cannot fathom that she is safe from that happening again.
- Somehow the meeting turned to a question of who I am really am. He said that I was certainly intelligent and analytical, characteristics that I seek to amplify, but that he felt that somewhere there was more to it. I responded by saying that anything other than intelligence and analysis was profoundly weak and of course he jumped on this straightaway; I do not (usually) cry or openly show fear, anger, etc etc because my abused child self realised very quickly that (a) it achieved the sum total of fuck all, and (b) that it was easier to just quietly ride out the storm of rape and degradation without complaint.
- This led to a rudimentary analysis of my first (known) experience of penetrative rape, in which I was “instantly changed forever,” apparently. Paul alluded to the fact that my behaviour in its immediate aftermath – even something as simple as walking – should have been noted to have been strange by my care-givers, and that it wasn’t. I protested that this was not my mother’s fault, for it seemed to be primarily her he was on about (my father was probably drunk in some ditch somewhere, so he wasn’t exactly much use). Again, Paul told me that this was my adult head talking. The abused child just wanted her mother to comfort and protect her, he claimed.
- I conceded the point, but then added that no one tells you when you’re a little kid that adults aren’t meant to have sex with you. You’re generally not meant to understand anything about sex (although I did have some vague knowledge of it), so you aren’t ever going to be party to that information. To that end, you don’t know that the paedophile’s behaviour is in any way wrong, and the whole situation becomes normalised.
- I said that I couldn’t connect to the sadness that I should feel. Paul contends that this is because it would threaten to overwhelm me completely. On the occasions on which I begin to get close to it, I withdraw into my own world – I dissociate, I hallucinate and I self-harm, because anything is better than the enormity of the feeling.
- He asked me how I felt our work was progressing, and I responded by saying that overall, I thought things were going well, but that I wished I could speed up myself up in terms of ‘feeling’. I talk much more openly to Paul about my abusive history than I ever did with C (though if I had not done what I did do with C, maybe I would not have been able to get to this point), but I still dance around things an awful lot. He knows this, of course. He said that he found working with me “challenging” because of my innate abilities to deflect any potentially threatening material, but added that he “enjoyed a challenge”. He wonders if I unconsciously protect him in some way (as I did with C in the early days of our relationship), and I think there is some truth to this hypothesis. Everything I can say to him will be something he’s heard before but perhaps he hasn’t heard it from such an evil bitch? Will my disgusting, fetid nature poison his mind? If so, he must be shielded from it. Yadda yadda. He said that whatever the case, he genuinely enjoyed my company.
Someone commented on the blog a few weeks ago that Paul’s willingness to compliment me at times was vaguely disturbing to her (amongst other things). Given his broadly dynamic/analytical standpoint, I can certainly see the rationale for holding that view. However, any time he does this, it is not done in an inappropriate or intense sort of fashion at all. I think the thing I didn’t realise about therapy until recently is that some therapists are just like some other people and that they’re not extraordinary, all-powerful alchemists or something – they’re actually just ordinary, and they’re just nice. They’re friendly. They put personality and client welfare before supposed best practice, at least within certain appropriate relationships. Such is the case with Paul.
It is such a different experience from the one I had with C. Through no fault of C’s particularly, things with him were inherently asymmetrical, and I sometimes wonder if it was that that allowed the breeding of my complete and probably desperately unhealthy obsession with him. I am not in any way obsessed with Paul, and I’m beginning to feel that that’s really quite beneficial (although I haven’t always thought so). We feel like equals – not as friends as such, but at least two people who can be honest and direct with each other. The only one-sidedness of it is that he is there to help me, and I can’t return the favour in any way, other than to donate £20 to his employers once a week.
I will review week 16 done as soon as possible. Of course, with this week being as ridiculously full of mentalness as it is, I will have a fuck of a lot to write about. Así es la vida, and anyway it’s my fault for being too fucking lazy to have written even this until now. I’ll write something tomorrow, regardless of which hopefully-maker-of-sanity-professional may be the subject…