Agoraphobic Persecutory Delusions of Familial Evil and Seroquel. Etc.

In the absence of Paul – I know I’m still catching up on writing about my final few sessions with him, but they did in fact finish about three weeks ago – I’ve been seeing Christine at fortnightly intervals. The last appointment was last week.

Although things have been generally going OK, as testified by this blog throughout recent months, over the last week or so they’ve taken a slight downwards turn. As things stand, I can manage it;I suppose it could perhaps be a mild depression (by my standards – I think that probably equates to moderate by official scales? [EDIT: I am correct, apparently. I just took this test again and scored 52, which is within the bracket of ‘moderate to severe’ depression. Well, it’s better than having gotten 82 back in February, I suppose..!]), but we’ll see.

I guessed that the whitecoats would claim that my mood dip was reactive, for the following reasons:

  1. the cessation of the treatment with Paul;
  2. the burglary; and
  3. the fact (as yet unmentioned on this journal) that FuckBitch Queen of All Levels of Hell Aunt of Evil arrived in the country on Wednesday morning (more on this anon).

Appointment With Christine

I guessed correctly. It didn’t come as massive shock to the system when Christine carefully opined that it was “hardly surprising” that I “wasn’t at” myself. In my view, my moods are, by and large, non-reactive (I’ve always maintained, and I continue to maintain, that my particular blend of clinical depression is melancholic rather than atypical), but I can see why she came to the conclusion she did. I’m not saying the above has not affected my mental status at all, but I think this goes in cycles too. Interestingly, NewVCB seemed to primarily agree with me, but I’ll get to her later.

I was with Christine for quite a while, though not quite as long as the last time I saw her. In a supposedly surreptitious fashion, she kept glancing at her watch, which mildly irritated me, but I do appreciate that she has other people to see. Anyhow. We discussed how I’m feeling in the wake of the end of therapy (fine, though I’m not sure she was convinced of that, given that she kept bleating on what a “big deal” it apparently was for me), how I’d dealt with the burglary (relatively well) and medication.

Seroquel has been a wonderful drug for me. It really has made my life a lot better. However, predictably for an anti-psychotic, it has sent my appetite completely out of control, and a lot of weight I’d lost has piled right back on. It wasn’t always like this, though; I’ve been taking Seroquel for about a year and a half now, and it’s only since the dosage was increased to 600mg daily that this has happened. I did a fair bit of whinging about it to Christine.

The long and the short of it was that I should discuss the issue with NewVCB (well, I’d never have thought of that…), but – reasonably enough – Christine thinks that this would be the wrong time to reduce my dose of the stuff. I agreed that I’d like to retain this level of relative stability for several more months before I’d seriously consider reducing it, particularly if there are likely to be stressful events hovering about.

She kept emphasising how important it was that I remained free from psychosis. In light of our last meeting, where she said that NewVCB was reconsidering my previous diagnosis of BPD, I am now wondering if they think that I actually have some sort of specifically psychotic illness – Christine, at least, puts very heavy emphasis on that side of things. She’s worried that if I started reducing my intake of Seroquel that all the voices and visions would come flooding back. Her concern troubles me, because when she heard that I had suffered from command hallucinations and hadn’t been sectioned (or voluntarily admitted) at any point in my life, she was utterly stunned. So if I go mental again, if ‘They‘ come back or some other(s) turn up, will she recommend the bin for me?

Am I Still Proper Mental?

She asked me if I was still free from the voices, and I was pleased to respond in the affirmative. But then she asked me about possible delusional thinking. I denied any, but I must have shifted my eyes suspiciously because she kept probing me about it. I admitted, then, that yeah – I might just have a little bit of paranoia hovering about. Might. Just maybe. Perhaps.

In an admission of narcissism that shocks even me, I blathered on about how GCHQ read this blog, and about how people still have cameras up watching me. The funny thing about the cameras is that they go wherever I go. Yeah, I am really that important!

Naturally, Christine enquired as to the strength of these alleged delusions. I said that I rationally knew they were a load of bollocks, but that…well, that I still had the fear that the “paranoia” was grounded in at least some truth. For example, I have a friend, William, who’s a policeman. None of us know exactly what it is that he does, because it’s some shady, cloak-and-dagger, national security-esque thing that requires his utmost discretion and a solemn vow never to speak about it in detail to anyone. What he has told us, though, is that the amount the security services know about people, their movements, their online habits, etc is truly shocking. He also confirmed that yes, they probably are scouring insignificant online bullshit like this blog – though he contends that it’s probably based on keyword searches, patterns and the like, rather than some agent sitting in a dimly-lit room in Cheltenham reading every word that people like me are typing.

You see? As the old adage goes, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not watching you.

I told Christine about all this, and of course she pointed out that, given that this is a public blog, it probably could be read by GCHQ and their kin. However, she picked up on William’s point that it’s unlikely to be in any detail, unless something suspect comes up. She laughingly asked if I had somehow threatened national security in my writing of this blog, and I had to concede that I haven’t. She sorted of tilted her head as if to say “I told you so,” and then started quizzing me about the cameras.

“I know the cameras aren’t there,” I said, exasperated with myself, “but I just can’t shake off this stupid irrational belief that they are.” I’m a walking conta-fucking-diction.

As I said to her, in a way having this kind of insight is almost worse than being completely under the control of a delusion. Not that I’m saying the latter is nice – far fucking from it. But when you know that your beliefs are (potentially) psychotic (is it even psychotic at all in that case?), then you have the added pressure of arguing with yourself about the damn thing all the time. You might as well have one of those tossers that doesn’t believe in mental illness with you at all times, telling you to “wise up” and “pull yourself together”. The rational, ‘well’ side of my mind isn’t particularly sympathetic to the sicker part.

The upshot of the conversation, though, was that the “paranoia” isn’t too intrusive. It doesn’t stop me from doing things I want to do (no, anhedonia, avolition and agoraphobia are the culprits there), and most of the time it’s operating at a fairly peripheral level rather than being right in the middle of my conscious mind. Christine seemed mostly satisfied with this, though I suspect she’ll be coming back to this issue at each session for the next foreseeable future.

Rant: Aunt of Evil is on this Landmass!

We then moved on to an issue about which I was, according to her, “very angry”. I thought I’d been speaking perfectly reasonably and rationally, but Christine did not concur. The topic in question was the arrival of Aunt of Evil in this country. Those of you that have been reading this in the long term may realise that this means that this is the third time the stupid fucking bitch has been here in less than two and a half years. If you’re not so intimately acquainted with this blog, or indeed if you’re a normal human being who doesn’t have a photographic memory for bullshit, I have a long running dispute with the woman and her immediate family. They reside in the USA, and frankly their existence in Ireland makes me wish that air travel had never been invented (other than for the flight that sent them across the pond in the first place, that is).

The story of my feud with Aunt of Evil, Georgie, is a protracted and convoluted one that I’ve never discussed fully here – not because I have a problem with any of you knowing about it, but simply because other people’s familial dramas are really not that interesting. Indeed, most of it is not that interesting even to me, so I’m not going to waste my time or bandwidth or put myself at even greater risk of repetitive strain injury by detailing it all. You can see contextual posts here, here, here and here. There’s probably more, but those links should give enough information, and I can’t be arsed going through any more archives.

Now, of course given my history with Aunt of Evil and her spawn, I am not going anywhere near any of them. In that way, their presence doesn’t particularly bother me – but what does is that I know that (a) Aunt of Evil (AoE) has a skewed perception of why it is that I loathe her, and have no time for her family and (b) I will be talked about between them all, behind my back, despite my express fucking instructions to my mother – and to AoE herself – that I am not a suitable subject for their conversation.

My ma told me the other week that AoE has been going around whinging that V, the deceased lump of shite that forcefully donated his sperm in order to facilitate my conception, “has achieved something in death that he didn’t in life – the breaking up of the family.”

This fucking enraged me. AoE has always been a wanker, and I’ve never liked her. However, given that she purports to be a Christian and should therefore have a corresponding set of morals, I did expect her to at least behave honourably when V snuffed it. I did not expect V himself to behave thus, in life or in death, so her contention is completely erroneous. V was a cunt. I expected him to behave like a cunt. I did not expect her, her offspring and her offspring’s mate, to be have like cunts. And they did.

What is so fucking difficult to understand about that? It’s not fucking about V. It’s about them. Simple.

I advised my mother in no uncertain terms to appraise AoE of the above – but I don’t think that she will. My mother is lovely, but she is, in this instance, also a hypocrite. She agrees with my position on AoE and her twatpack, yet she has quite happily arranged to see them, have them stay with her, etc etc. In fairness to her, she has this idea that [cue best EastEnders-esque put-on accent] faaaahhhmmmlaayyy is one of the most important things that an individual can have on this Earth. I respect her view, but I fundamentally disagree with it. One of our friends, G (of intellectual fame, waaaaaaaay back in 2009), put it best:

Family is genetics; friendship is earned.

Quite. I don’t get this societal obsession with family for its own sake. If the people concerned are nice, if you have something in common with them, if they’re a laugh, whatever – fine. If not, why bother? Seriously. I don’t understand it. What ties do you have to such people other than DNA?

I so wish I could show you my cousin’s wife’s blog, so that you could have a laugh (or, indeed, recoil in repulsion) at her utterly nauseating nice-middle-class-ism, and pictures of the nice house that they bought with the money that should have gone to my mother and me (tangential point of amusement: she has 23 blog ‘fans’ on Fuckbook. I’m not exactly some bigshot on the hateful service myself, but at least I have over 670. Mwhahahahaha! :D). I see from said blog that she’s up the duff again. I wonder how they’re funding that brat Gift from God?

No, no, no – I’m not bitter or anything 😉

Aaaaaaaanyway, I gave Christine a redacted version of the story, and as I said, I thought I’d been fairly calm and reasonable in my narration thereof. It certainly wasn’t a rant like the last few paragraphs here were! However, when I’d finished, she said, “you’re clearly angry about this.”

Well…yeah. I sort of am. I then proceeded to rant a good bit about V, justifying my view that he was a knobend of Rupert Murdoch proportions by referencing his actions towards my mother during the joke that was their marriage. I said that I was furious with AoE for believing that my problem with her and her family was about him because, as noted, no one expected V not to be a dick.

She was curious as to why I care about what someone I can’t stand thinks of me, which was a fair question. The answer is that it’s not so much about what AoE thinks of me – she still “loves” me according to My Mother the Messenger, but I really couldn’t care less whether she adored or despised me – but, rather, about her consistent and unwavering failure to accept responsibility for her actions. She still thinks that what she and her family did is right. It was legally permissible, I’ll give her that. It was, however, ethically repugnant.

None of this, of course, even acknowledges my more general, more long-lasting disdain for AoE. She is self-righteous, patronising and a Queen proselythiser (she’s one of the key reasons that I had such a profound and blanket hatred of Christians until I met lovely people like Phil Groom and bourach). Once, when she asked Mum why I didn’t like her, my mother – bless her – was honest, and told her exactly that. AoE affected to be shocked by this information, but honestly – on this side of the Atlantic there is no one in this shittily sprawling dynasty of mine, including my mother and the other Bible bashers like Suzanne, that strongly disagrees with my stance on that.

Back to the Fucking Point, Pan…

To get back to the original point of this post, Christine feels that it is a positive thing that I am avoiding these people; I know my limits, apparently, and “not everybody does, you know.” Nevertheless, given my levels of resentment, anger and general frustration towards them, she also thinks that this is a massive stressor for me. Perhaps it must seem that way – the rant above would appear to be clear and present testament to that – but I actually don’t think it is. I’m staying out of their way, and as long as my mother does not provide me with a running commentary on all the inevitable back-biting, I am happy to sit here at A’s in my blissful ignorance until they all sod away off again.

The appointment was basically left with her saying that if my mood dips any further before I see her again (next Friday), I can contact her, presumably to arrange an emergency appointment. NewVCB (after this week) is off for about 408 years – Christine says that all the consultants just disappear over the summer – so it’s good to at least have some professional support, especially when I don’t have Paul to bleat to. I better not go really mental though, because if it were to come to the bit and some SHO or other had to assess me, he or she would inevitably take advice from Christine as the only present person within the CMHT that knows me. And as I noted above, Christine is stunned I’ve never been binned.

So. I must retain a modicum of sanity at least until NewVCB is back from her summer gallivanting.

Speaking of her…

Appointment with NewVCB

This is Friday (albeit only into its early hours). I saw NewVCB first thing on Wednesday morning (9.30am) and felt that the appointment went fairly well. I told her that things weren’t quite as positive as the last time I’d seen her (which I didn’t record here at all, because I was in and out within minutes, and all was deemed to be well), but also said that I was happy to leave my medication as it was, and that if the downer got worse or, indeed, if it lengthily prevailed, then we could possibly reconsider this at a future appointment. She seemed to think this was a fairly sensible course of action.

I did raise the weight gain on my current dosage of Seroquel issue with her however, whilst stressing that I didn’t want to reduce the dose right now. She agreed that this was something we could think about over the coming months; according to her, a standard maintenance dose of the stuff is usually 300mg. That said, I wouldn’t like to whack the dose in half at any point, even if life was absolutely fucking amazing, so if that’s where we ultimately want to return to, then I’d have to insist that we slowly taper it down. She’s not stupid, though, so I’m sure she’d agree with that.

I told her that I was worried that, if we go ahead and do this at some point, the voices would return. “At the end of the day,” I said, “I’d rather carry some extra weight that be persecuted by ‘They’.” She nodded her assent to this, and added that in a case like mine – where the mental illness may remit at times, but usually returns in some fashion – it would be fine to have xmg as a maintenance dose, but that it would at times be necessary to whack it back up.

It sounds odd, but I was quite pleased by this statement. I took it as recognition on NewVCB’s part that my mental health problems are chronic and recurrent, and not necessarily the reactive issues that Christine had perhaps suggested (though I’d add that I don’t think that Christine thinks it’s all reactive – just that that, to her, is probably part of it, and maybe it is). This isn’t me saying, “yay, it’s all biological,” because clearly it isn’t (even if it was then that would be pretty shit – therapy would be an utter waste of time, would it not?); would I be so fucked up were it not for the ‘trauma’ I experienced? Probably not to this degree. But I’ve always maintained that I hold to a biopsychosocial model of mentalism, and she seems to concur with that.

Of course, therapy has helped me a lot, hence the ‘psychosocial’ bit. But, as I am forever banging on, I don’t believe in cures. Therapy – and medication for that matter – may help to reduce both the severity and frequency of episodes, but that doesn’t mean that the whole sorry business is dead and buried.

Anyhow, this led onto a conversation about suicidal ideation. Christine is usually concerned when I say something like, “but of course I still have suicidal thoughts, how could I not?” NewVCB, on the other hand, says she wouldn’t even believe me if I went in one day and said that I absolutely wasn’t suicidal in the least. As she says, the horrific intensity of my preoccupation with ending my life that I’ve often experienced will not always be present, but she believes – in the short to medium term, at least – that there will be probably always be some level of it.

That’s a pretty poor prognosis, I suppose, but I’d rather she was honest with me. I’ve always respected her for her candour, and even if she’s not painting the rosiest picture in creation, better that than false hope and lies.

She said that I should use this period of relative stability to think about what I can do when things go tits up again. Well, I’ve thought about it, and I haven’t a fucking clue. One thing NewVCB suggested was that I should keep the idea with me, for the next time I’m standing on the edge of some cliff with a bottle of gin and 20 packets of Zopiclone, that I have come back from the absolute brink (remember the 4th October plan, anyone?) and that therefore I don’t need to take the jump. “Use this period as a reminder when you’re that low again,” she instructed. “You can, and you have, recovered from very severe suicidality.”

Spot on: I have. However, I know from bitter experience that the mind of a person at that kind of hideously low ebb does not think like this. Well, the omni-present rational narrator in my head would certainly say, “but look, remember how well you did in mid-2011?” but the depressed side is always going to dominate that with responses such as, “yeah, but that was then, this is different. I can’t recover this time,” or even “so what? I don’t want to recover anyway.” You might very well think that both of these (and other possible) responses are thoroughly illogical, but that’s how severe depression works I’m afraid. Indeed, continuing my standing-at-the-abyss scenario, I could look down over the cliff, knowing that The Rational Narrator was right and that everything else was a crock of shit. And it wouldn’t make an iota of bloody difference.

Still, she has a point, and I’ll try to do as she says. One thing I have now that I didn’t have when I had a major crash-and-burn in the past is this blog; one crucial thing about it is that for the first time I have a proper record of something that approximates recovery, or at least a road to relative wellness. Perhaps those positive words, penned (typed) by my very own hand, could make a difference? I’m not convinced of it, but you never know.

We spent some time discussing this journal actually. NewVCB alluded to it in the context of it being one of the things that had helped me when I felt at my worst, but was careful to remind me of the dangers of becoming too immersed in the online and mentalist world, rather than in the supposedly real and sane one.

I laughed, and told her that since I’ve been feeling better, the amount of visitors here has gone way down. I still get about 200 hits on days on which I don’t post and often over double that when I do. This is far more than I ever could have expected when I embarked on this narcissistic but cathartic pursuit, and don’t get me wrong – I’m grateful to and for every person that takes an interest in this bollocks. Compared to my hits when I was posting my most morbid, morose material, though, things are definitely much less popular. I don’t mind that – I just thing it’s an interesting statistic.

In any case, I assured her that I think I’ve achieved a good balance between being here, being Pandora, and being there, being me, in the “real world”. She asked me if I was getting out much.

Ha! As if. I’ll go out alone for little errands, such as buying milk or something, if I’m feeling game. Otherwise I won’t leave the house without A, or at least without the promise of meeting someone I know well. Even then, there’s some difficulties.

I was due to meet Brian, one of my close friends, on Monday evening. Realising, however, that I would actually have to go out and, shock horror, talk to Brian, I backed out and made a frankly idiotic excuse to avoid him. (Contrast this with my intended meeting with Aaron on Wednesday, which I was going to until fate intervened. I bring this up because never, never, never ever ever ever, have Aaron and I been able meet based on our original arrangements. Something always comes up. Famine or feast, eh?).

I admitted to NewVCB that I’m sometimes genuinely scared of seeing my/our friends. Naturally she asked why, and naturally I said that I didn’t know.

She said, to paraphrase, that I need to really take some time to work out the specifics of this social and agoraphobia. I agree that the roots of it need to be uncovered, but I thought that was what therapy was for. Oh, wait. The NHS won’t fucking give me therapy, and Nexus deals with sexual abuse issues rather than this sort of fuckwittery. So basically I’m screwed.

Maybe I’ll try and look at this through writing in a future post here. I can’t seem to get the thoughts that need to be…er…thought…into my my head with any modicum of coherence, and sometimes writing about thoughts can be more revelatory than thoughts in themselves.

And that was pretty much it. Since NewVCB is on holiday now for a good while, she said she’d see me again towards the end of August or start of September. That’s a little longer a gap than I usually have between my appointments with her, but not too much so. And it’s still a fuck of a lot better than the erratic scheduling her predecessor afforded me.

Meh and Blah and Yadda and Etc and Such

If you’re still reading this, you really must have a strong interest in self-flagellatory pursuits  – but seriously, thank you. I don’t know if anyone has the lack of wit to care about me, but if you are thus afflicted, please don’t worry. I’m OK. Really, I’m mostly OK. People have downers, whether they’re mental or not. It could be a mild ‘episode’, it could be the start of something more serious, or it could be just one of those things that happens from time to time. Indeed, I’m feeling a good bit better than I was on, say, Wednesday, so it’s probably nothing much – I mentioned it to Christine and NewVCB on a ‘just in case’ basis, I suppose. I’ll be fine.

As you might imagine, sleep is an issue for someone whose blog is entitled Confessions of a Serial Insomniac. Generally, one of the most positive side effects of Seroquel has been its soporific effects, but the downside of same is the hangover the stuff gives you the following day.

The fact, therefore, that I’d been up really early from Monday to Thursday inclusive is probably not insignificant. After the burglary, we had to replace the two doors that the robbing cunts smashed through; one was in a room that has a second (undamaged) door that we also decided to change for the sake of aesthetic consistency. The bloke we got to to do the work arrived each morning bright and early, and I had to be up to greet him, make the obligatory cups of tea and share the obligatory cigarettes. It hasn’t been a particularly unpleasant effort – he’s a nice man – but it has resulted in severe fatigue. That, in turn, can be a major issue vis a vis mentalism.

Next week sees Northern Ireland’s Lovely Loyalist Love-in, the Twelfth (or, as one council is trying to politically correctly re-market it, “Orangefest”), come to pass. I have nothing particularly against the occasion despite my unionist-nationalist ambivalence (although, of course, I do loathe the contingent of wankers that set about causing trouble around this time of year – utter cunts), but neither do I care for it either. There are two days’ holidays, though, which from a practical point of view means that our door-hanger – soon-to-be our painter and decorator – can’t come out next week. So, in this way, Orangeism has done me a favour. It will allow me and my Seroquel-addled mind to rest.

Anyway, this is the abrupt end of this stupidly but predictably long post. Cheerio.

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Validation, Faces and My Purpose in Life – Paul: Weeks 13 and 14

Yeah, I know, I know. I asked at the end of the last (random and lazy) post that you castigate me aggressively if this material was not published before midnight on…Tuesday? Wednesday? Meh. I failed. You failed too, readers. Only two or three of you had a go, and 227,000 of you have read these absurd writings from my perverted mind. (Admittedly that figure is over nearly two years rather than the last two days, but if you don’t care for my gross generalisations, then sue me and see if I care). Nuh-nuh-nuh-NUH-nuh!

Since I have four psychotherapy sessions to catch up on here, I have elected to write minimally (*chuckle* – as if I know the meaning of the word) and mash a few together. I hope that normal service will be resumed after next week’s meeting. That I feel capable of wading through this bollocks at all is testament to the fact that I must be feeling better than I did a few weeks back. I couldn’t have done this a fortnight ago.

I’ve often been asked how I retain memories of these sessions, and nowhere is such a question more pertinent than in this post, where one of the discussions was over a month ago (and the second not far behind it). This is the answer:

Scribble-Scrobble-Scrubble

As soon as I leave the Nexus building and get into the car, I scribble down everything I can remember. I used to type it all onto my iPhone, but to be honest I’ve found that random scrawls are quicker than two-fingered on-screen typing, so here we are. If I later remember something else – which is frequent – then I go back to the notes and scribble it on the side of the relevant area (or at the end if it’s unrelated to anything else I’ve noted). Not hi-tech, but certainly functional.

Anyway, enough procrastinating around the issue. ***Beware of child sex abuse and related triggers, as always. Some of the following is fairly graphic***.

Week 13

As is usually the case, this session opened with Paul asking me how I was, and my responding with “OK.” Apparently this was the wrong answer. He claims that I go in and proclaim myself to be fine most weeks, when I’m clearly more off my head than Charlie fucking Sheen (I wonder, will someone read this as an archived post in two years and wonder what I’m on about? Probably not, but just in case: clicky). I was told that I use the term “OK” as the easy option.

That may well be the case, but it seems thoroughly odd to me to sit down and scream, “everything is fucking shit!” As has always been the case in psychotherapy, I need prompting from the professional in the room.

This session was in the wake of the fuckery with the twatbags at the Jobs and Benefits office (Christ, that seems like millennia ago), and so I admitted to being highly pissed off, mainly in relation to that. Then, predictably, I launched into a full-scale attack on myself for being unable to work. Paul asked me why I couldn’t.

I remember mumbling some drivel about my pathetic concentration, complete inability to socially interact and my pathological fear of the phone. For some reason, he started banging on about what he called “ego strength” and my demonstrable lack of it.

He said, “I have ego strength. I’m self-assured, I feel confident in my abilities. I think you find it difficult to maintain that sort of thing.”

Slap me sideways with a dead fish. Revelatory stuff, Paul! 10/10 for observation!

I’m being unfair. It was obvious, yes, but of course he was using the point to lead elsewhere. In any case, I agreed with him, adding that whilst I was at least well aware that I have a moderately decent brain (ooh, listen to my ‘strongly narcissistic traits‘, ooh!) inside my skull, that possession seems kind of redundant when it’s rarely, if ever, put to any proper use.

He seemed to disagree with that, referencing briefly my perennial penchant for analysing and intellectualising matters that he feels should not be analysed nor intellectualised. Of which more later. He went on thus: “ego strength is based on our value as a child. When I was a youngster, I was – and, crucially, I felt – loved, cherished, protected and safe.” He cocked his head questioningly at me.

I responded in a rote, but honest, fashion. “Those words are alien to me,” I said, laughing nervously. I instantly felt guilty about this admission, though, and said that thinking that was grossly unfair to my mother, who had tried her best for me. And she did. None of this is her fault.

Paul accepted that point and nodded, but continued by saying that regardless of my mother’s love and good intentions, I still hadn’t been safe or protected.

“In your case,” he told me, “interpretations of a lack of worth seem to me to directly correlate with a lack of safety. Tell me – when did you last have any sense of self-worth?”

‘Strong narcissistic traits’ aside, I admitted truthfully that I could not ever recall such a state of being, at least internally (to an external observer, I was extremely self-assured and confident as a child. Not that that’s necessarily mutually exclusive with a lack of self-worth, mind you: I didn’t feel I had any worth, but I wasn’t un-confident nevertheless). I thought about this for a few seconds, and was reminded of something I mentioned briefly on this blog a few weeks ago: that Paedo had once raped me with some sort of pole (I retrospectively assume that it was the end of a mop or some such). I made the connection with this discussion because to rape someone with an inanimate object is to see them as someone not even worth fucking properly – I had no worth to him, just like I have very little to myself.

I started trying to tell Paul about this incident, but of course as ever the words stuck firmly in my throat. Cough, cough, splutter, splutter. Eventually I managed to say that “a pole [had been] used against me, if you know what I mean.” He did.

I gave him my analysis – ie. that in whatever twisted way, someone had to give a fuck about you in order to make the effort to rape you in the more conventional sense of the word (I was quite pleased that I managed to use the word ‘rape’, but of course this was my sitting back and reviewing the matter rather than talking directly about my experiences). For someone to rape you with a pole, they don’t have to give any sort of damn. It’s the ultimate in degrading, because it completely dehumanises the afflicted individual.

Paul agreed. “To put it crudely,” he said, “he couldn’t even be bothered to get a hard-on.”

“Exactly.”

“Which completely validates the idea of ‘worthlessness’ in your mind.”

“Quite.”

He paused for a bit, then asked me how long I’d be carrying that memory for. Had it just emerged, had it always been there, what?

I found this hard to answer. As you know, a lot of my memories of the abuse are skewed by the dissociation I invariably experienced at the time. This was one of those memories that had been on the periphery of my anamnestic consciousness – I’d sort of always ‘known’ it, but it was pushed away and compartmentalised. I estimated that the actual visual recall had solidified in my brain maybe about two months prior to this meeting, but it’s really hard to put a timeframe on this kind of thing. It sounds odd, but it just is sometimes.

There followed a discussion surrounding my recollections of the abuse. I complained that whilst I understood the science behind dissociation, the fact that certain memories just randomly appeared sometimes merely served to reinforce my long-held belief that I’d made the whole thing up. I have written on the notes that I said that it was “odd” to ‘forget’ things, then just remember them out of the blue 20 years later. From an academic perspective, it actually seems obvious – but from a I’m here, I feel it point of view, ‘odd’ is the understatement of this entire geological age.

Paul said, “it’s like you have a cupboard. It occasionally opens, and something falls out. What stops the rest emerging?”

Forgive my naivety, Paul, but I would have assumed that was rather obvious. As he himself has said in the past – why would I want to remember?

I reminded him that the previous week I’d told him about my hallucination of a fucking peccary (of all fucking things – how creative my subconscious is), and how terrified I’d been by it.

“This concerns me,” I told him. “That terror was so strong, so visceral…it was overwhelming. I wonder if that means I’m blocking something utterly horrific out of my mind. What more is there to discover?!”

“But of course the terror is immense,” Paul replied. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s reams more to it – terror is an entirely appropriate response to what you’ve already described to me. And in my view it makes perfect sense for your mind to externalise that in the form of a hallucination. It’s a massive internal cross to bear, so it translates itself into psychosis.”

He went on to opine that psychosis is also a “clever way” of me showing myself that what happened was, in fact, very real indeed. My mind constantly terrorises me like this. It’s trying to communicate something.

I looked out the window behind me and avoided his stare.

After a few moments, he said, “you’re uncomfortable now. This is too close for your liking.”

He was perfectly correct, of course, but I wondered how averting my gaze gave him so much information.

“Do I have tells?” I asked.

To my astonishment, he didn’t know what a ‘tell’ was. I explained that it was a poker term, denoting subtleties that gave away clues to a player’s hand.

“OK,” he said, playing Dr Freud on me by over-reading my use of a poker analogy, “do you feel that your hand is becoming exposed?”

“I want it to be exposed, but my mind never lets me co-operate.”

“You need to cut yourself some slack, girl,” he said (which sounds hideously patronising as I type it, but it wasn’t delivered that way). “You’re here, you’re talking to me – your mind co-operates as much as is possible.”

I was reminded briefly of my 63 sessions with C, and how I didn’t even admit the extent of the abuse until…*checks archives*…week 46 (I knew this blog was useful for something). Yet here I have been, in a mere 13 weeks, discussing the finer, horrible minutiae of it with Paul. Admittedly, I went to Nexus with that clear mandate, which was not the case when I met C – but still. This stuff is A Big Deal.

He asked me what kept me coming back each week. “I’m guessing it’s not my animal magnetism,” he joked, which made me chuckle. With every respect to him – no, it’s not 😉

I provided him with my old disclaimer about not believing in cures for psychiatric problems, but added that I felt that therapy was the only proper means to “get back on track. Or, rather, get on track in the first place.” I added that I felt the only promising path to resolution of the issues was to go there, face them, and ultimately process them.

Paul nodded, seemingly encouraged. “But the first part of that resolution process is acceptance – accepting that it really happened.

“I have another client,” he continued. “Her life has been ruined by mental health problems. There’s an overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence for her abuse – but she can’t and won’t believe that it happened.”

“I empathise,” I muttered.

“I know.”

“Well, I don’t know about her – but rationally, logically, I can fully believe that this happened to me. But I just can’t always…feel it. So how does one accept it? You can’t just flick a switch, Paul.”

“But what’s the benefit in making it up?”

I hypothesised that I knew that something had happened (which he proclaimed to be a good start), and that my imagination had spiralled out of control since.

“Right,” he said, definitely. “I am certain that you were abused. It’s absolutely unequivocal in my mind. You doubt, but I accept. You criticise yourself, and I defend you.”

“Sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry – I think you need me to.”

“Yes…I suppose so. It’s certainly nice to be validated. Thank you.”

“You needed validation then, and you didn’t get it, so you certainly need it now.”

True enough. I thought of my mother and her denials of what happened, and ended up banging on about this to Paul.

“She had one friend that went psychotic and had to be sectioned,” I explained. “During her psychotic phase, the woman alleged that she’d been abused by her mother, but later denied this. So whether that was true or not, my mother is of the view that anyone as mentally unstable as myself cannot legitimately make such claims, because we can’t tell fiction from reality.”

As you know, Paul does not adhere to the medical model of psychiatry. His view is that all mental illness somehow relates to trauma. That I disagree is temporarily irrelevant: his response to my anecdote was, predictably enough, that psychotic people are, in a sense at least, the most qualified to make such claims.

Of course, I hadn’t developed any psychotic symptoms when I told my mother about (some of) Paedo’s activities, but if I tried to tell her now – well, she’d be even more convinced that I was just “away in the head” and ergo incapable of reliably telling the truth.

“Well, I believe you,” Paul concluded. It is nice to hear it validated by someone not directly involved in it.

This saw the end of the session. His final comment before we said our goodbyes was that it was his challenge to help me see the certainty of what happened, and take ownership of that (or some such). I felt a passing draft of DBT in this statement, but I’m pretty sure it was just a turn of phrase and furthermore that he’d have been horrified if I’d likened him in any way to a DBT therapist. Paul is very much an analytical/dynamic practitioner, not at all a behavioural one, and I thank my lucky fucking stars all the time for that. Fuck behaviourism!

Week 14

Remember the depression rating scales? This week was in the wake of those. This time, I didn’t go in and tell Paul that I was OK. Instead, I told him that I was, apparently, extremely depressed.

“Apparently?” he queried.

I told him about the dichotomy of these apparently scientifically verifiable questionnaires versus my internal sense of utter normality. “Is it possible to get used to being severely depressed?” I asked, mostly rhetorically. “My blog readers seem to think so.”

Before he could formulate an answer, I trainwrecked my way forward to the rest of my week, telling him about how I’d burst into tears over the recollection of my old ragdoll, Mr Friendly. In doing so, I unwittingly strayed into one of Paul’s favourite areas of psychology: that of early attachment patterns, and how they affect the subconscious mind.

He banged on a bit about transitional objects and about how they serve as a means of healthy attachment. Whilst true of children who do have healthy relationships with their parents and/or other caregivers, he claims that their effect is especially amplified in abused kids: in such cases, the transitional objects are the only form of healthy attachment.

Which makes sense, but then – aside from Mr Friendly, as a child I mainly regarded cuddly toys and suchlike with complete derision. Now the fucking house is falling down with them. Am I trying to live a robbed childhood?

I told Paul that my first reaction when I started bawling about Mr Friendly was to consult Detective Inspector Google about obtaining a new version.

“Hmm,” he said. “You know it’s not about the doll, don’t you? You can’t search Google for a new parent.”

“Who knows these days?” I interjected, trying to be droll.

Paul laughed briefly, but then asked me why I had been crying.

I must have employed a lot of phrases such as “I was trying to work out…” and “I hypothesised that…” because he told me to stop it, and to just ‘feel’.

“At the first hint of emotion [would someone please ban that fucking word from the English language], you wrap everything up in intellectualising, in analysis. I can do that – but that’s because I’m not you.”

I defended myself on the grounds that going through therapy was pretty useless if I couldn’t make sense of the issues in my own mind.

“True,” he admitted, “but that has to come after. You have to feel first.”

I know this to be true, but it disgusts me nevertheless. I sat in silence for a very long time.

[Cue random memories of therapy with C (again). I used to sit silently every single week with him, and it was something I had fervently sought to avoid – mainly successfully hitherto – with Paul. I hate it; it feels like such a complete and utter waste of time…and, further, a waste of time that is hugely limited].

I apologised for my quietness, and he asked me if I disliked silence. I told him that as a general rule, I welcomed it – but not in this circumstance, where I am trying to do something productive. He admitted that “the pressure [was] on” to get things done in a measly 50 minutes.

I told him about my frustrations about my medical notes being delayed, and how raging I was with those responsible within the Trust for their continued incompetence. I also told him how a blog reader, Faith, had asked why my fury was directed at them – and not at Paedo.

Of course (as you’ll see if you follow the link) I responded with all the form bullshit – they are a public body breaking the law, they’re an arm of government who should comply with their responsibilities, yadda yadda, whereas Paedo is just some miserable individual git. I still hold to all that, I have to say, but on reflection Faith did make a fair point, and I should have acknowledged that in my reply to her.

I told Paul that I felt nothing other than indifference towards Paedo. This is absolutely true. A detests him and I can see why – but I simply don’t. He’s just sort of there.

“What did the little girl think of him?” Paul asked. [I really wish he’d stop calling her that].

I shrugged. “I don’t know. A lot of my memories are in the third person, so it’s hard to access my then-thinking. At other times – you know, those times where I was trying to sustain a continued existence on this plane, like when I felt I was choking to death etc – I was investing all my energies in just surviving it, so it’s impossible to tell what I thought about him.”

“Why not hate him? It’s not dangerous to do so – not now, at least. I think it’s because you transfer that hate to her [Aurora, or my younger self, whatever] – in some capacity at least, you feel that it was all her fault.”

I nodded. “That’s true – additionally, there’s the issue that I didn’t realise that it was somehow an abnormal way to live until I was a lot older. I mean, I had a rudimentary understanding of sex from the offset, but probably didn’t really realise that it’s not supposed to happen when you’re five.”

“It became normalised,” Paul confirmed. “Just like you were saying about your depression at the start of the session – it becomes a standard part of your life.

“So you have plenty of anger – not so much at the girl who was sexually abused, but towards the girl that had sex. Do you see the subtle distinction?”

I did. “It’s ridiculous,” I replied, referring to my objective view that blaming the abused child is an absurdity.

Of course, as is so typical, the word ‘ridiculous’ sent me off on a tangent.

“Last night, I told A that GCHQ were reading my blog,” I said. “I think he thinks that I’m delusional. But they are reading my blog, narcissistic as it sounds,” I protested. “Is that ridiculous?”

“No,” he assured me. “Nowhere is safe, is it? You didn’t have any safe place to turn to as a child. You have super-strength barriers up against all the dangers you perceive around you even now. Why should your blog be any different?”

It shouldn’t. Therefore: HELLO THERE, GCHQ! WELCOME TO MY LIFE! (Actually, would you mind giving me a job sometime when I’m feeling vaguely sane? I can do corruption with the best of them and I am good with codes. I was a master codebreaker as a child – at least when I wasn’t being a pretentious little fuck, or, indeed, being fucked).

He asked me what made me feel safe, and I responded by saying that I had to lock myself in the house with all the doors locked.

“And in here?”

“Metaphorically speaking, the same thing.”

“Exactly,” Paul said. “It’s the fact that everything is ‘locked’ in this room – we have boundaries, confidentiality, and everything’s enclosed. Believe me, if GCHQ are bugging this room, then I’m in deep shit!”

I laughed. Shame I can’t keep to the confidentiality bit given my reckless blabbering about everything here, meaning that GCHQ will find out about it all anyway.

He said, “psychiatry still describes psychotic people as ‘being out of touch with reality’. I say, ‘that’s crap; psychosis makes total sense to me’. If you were sitting here after all that happened to you and were happy or what society regards as ‘normal’, that would be out of touch with reality.”

We engaged in a short discussion about societal conformity and the nature of (in)sanity. Paul referred to the author or Going Sane – Adam Phillips – and how he contended that we are all born ‘insane’, but that convention dictates that as we grow, we learn to kowtow to certain prescribed behaviours and thought patterns. For my part, I ventured that when you considered the so-called bigger picture nothing was sane or insane: it just is what it is, and it all boils down to a pathetic case of moral relativism.

“So,” Paul concluded, “all those diagnoses you have – they’re time-structured, and constantly subject to re-evaluation. Therefore, the only real evaluation is that of your own experience.”

Paul and I don’t agree on the discipline of psychiatry, nor on the medical model. I don’t like psychiatry, but I do think it can have value. However, he’d got me on this point. Once before he’d exemplified by stating that homosexuality was once a DSM diagnosis, which of course it (quite rightly) is no longer. So whilst it’s unlikely in the short term, in time it’s quite conceivable that BPD will simply be regarded as a perfectly normal state of being – a reaction to something, rather than an illness.

Another silence ensued. I wanted to respond, but I couldn’t think of anything to say, so I sat there playing with my hair and chewing my lip absent-mindedly. Eventually, his voice broke into my thoughts.

“This is going to sound awful, but…was there any part of you that enjoyed it?”

It does seem like a horribly inappropriate and grossly insensitive question, but that was not how I took it. I saw (and see) it as perfectly valid. Sadly, I am aware of a few people who were abused as kids that did enjoy parts of it. Not because they’re bad people, never that, but because they reacted as they’re supposed to in a purely physiological sense.

I consider myself fortunate not to have felt such ‘enjoyment’ – or, if I did, that I don’t have any recollection of it whatsoever. I told Paul so.

“It’s just that it strikes me that – although you ‘disappeared’ a lot – maybe you had a bit of acting to do,” he suggested.

The honest answer to that is, again, that I don’t know. I don’t recall ‘acting’, but then I don’t recall a lot of stuff. It’s entirely possible. In a hideous but sensible sort of way, it holds a twisted logic; play the part, make him enjoy it, get it over more quickly.

On a related note, I admitted to Paul that I was “…doing…um…sexualised…er…things…” at quite a premature age (I made brief reference to it here ((back in the days where a Pandorian post could be less than 2,302,227 words long)), but I didn’t and won’t discuss the specifics). I thought about Paedo, and suddenly felt utterly nauseated.

Good? Feeling the disgust of it all there, Pan? No, not really – or at least, not in the sense one might expect.

I said, “it’s not because I hate him – it’s because having sex with someone who looks like that is abhorrent to me.” (Paedo is very ugly).

“Interesting choice of phraseology,” Paul observed. “‘To have sex’. Adults ‘have sex’. Children don’t ‘have sex’. Children get raped.”

I ignored him and continued. “I’ve told you several times that the occasions that were worst were those where I was choking and so on. In my never-ending quest to contradict myself, I might now say that that wasn’t so bad – I mean, at least I couldn’t see his face.”

“You’d rather choke than see his face.”

“Yes,” I confirmed, and he nodded acceptingly. “But now my mind is pervaded with disgusting images of his face contorted in orgasmic delight. It’s fucking repugnant.”

“How was your face?”

“Probably completely blank. Well – not the first time, I suppose. I was so bemused, so confused, that I probably looked appropriately mystified. But after that came resignation. Reluctant acquiescence. Simply a wait until it was finished.”

He again picked up on my terminology, blathering on about how I never ‘acquiesced’.

“‘Tolerated’, then,” I chanced. “The first time he touched me – as opposed to the more serious stuff – I tried to push him off. But after that I didn’t. I just let it happen.”

“You’ve fallen into a trap of thinking that ‘fighting is helpless’ equals ‘I have to let him’ equals ‘I do let him’,” Paul said.

“Yes, but I was meant to be intelligent, strong and decisive! I epically failed to use those tools.”

“As a five year old?” he said, witheringly.

I looked away and neglected to answer, but inside I was completely enraged. Yes, as a fucking five year old! I wasn’t like other five year olds. I was precocious, determined and stronger-willed than Maggie fucking Thatcher (who would have been at the height of her power at the time. Maybe she subconsciously influenced me). So yeah, of course I should have been able to do something about it. I don’t get why he doesn’t understand that. I don’t get why anyone doesn’t. I’m not saying that I deserved it, but I could have done a fuckload about it, and I didn’t. Not all – not even most – five years could (or should) have done, but I could (those pesky ‘strong narcissistic traits’ rear their ugly heads again, but I’m actually serious. I was a vicious little brat. I could have done so much, but instead I just lay there and took it).

“I was at a training course the other day,” Paul was saying. “One recurring theme was about how abused kids, by about the age of six, can become very good not only at actual sex, but at masturbation. It serves as a ‘tool’ to make them better at sex the next time their abuser wants to rape them.” He looked at me probingly.

How else can one respond to that but with abject disgust? It is unspeakably vile that someone so young should be in that position.

Evidently, my repulsion was palpable. “This is your world, Pandora,” he urged. “Of course it’s disgusting, but it’s not all about third parties. It’s about you!”

[Eyes down, lips curled, brow furrowed.]

“I have this lovely memory,” he went on, “of when I was a little boy. I can’t remember my age, but I was old enough to have been out walking alone, so I can’t have been that young. I was dandering up this road, and suddenly, from nowhere, I realised that boys and girls were different [biologically speaking. I don’t think he’s a raging closet misogynist or anything]. I remember that moment with such fondness – I had this gentle way about me – such a lovely childlike naivety.

“You didn’t have that, did you? And you were far younger than what I was at the time. You knew that men and women were different and you knew – or thought you knew – what you were for: your purpose in life was to have sex.”

This was deeply disturbing. Not the concept, but the way he phrased it. I had literally been within half a second of saying, “my purpose in life is to have sex.” Had he read my mind?

I stared at him goggle-eyed for a minute, then told him why. He hadn’t read my mind, he claimed – he just knew that that was what the circumstances dictated. Your purpose in life is to have sex. Yes.

So, knowing my purpose, I decided to deflect the apparent seriousness of the moment away by stating, again, that it wasn’t that bad. “I know of one woman whose mother prostituted her out to the highest bidder each time,” I said. “That poor girl was made to think her purpose in life was to have sex. So if it was mine – well, at least it was generally the same fucking person each time.”

“In a way, though,” Paul replied, “it’s almost worse – you had a pre-existing relationship with this man, you continued a relationship with him throughout, and you still have a relationship with him.”

We discussed the fact that I still have to see Paedo from time to time. I stoically grin and bear it; A sits and seethes and tries not to rip his cock off. I confessed to being terrified of getting into one of Maisie’s notorious and epic fights or getting pissed or something and blurting it all out.

“I don’t particularly care for my cousins,” I said, “but I wouldn’t wish this on them; they haven’t done anything wrong. It’s moot I suppose – they wouldn’t believe me anyway.”

“That’s the thing with abuse,” Paul sighed. “It’s always the victim’s ‘dirty little secret’. It’s you that would destroy lives. It’s you they wouldn’t believe. It’s you that would be persecuted.

“But,” he added, nodding pointedly in my direction, “they’d still never look at him in the same light again.”

And on that note, things drew to a close for another week.

M. E. H.

I have absolutely no idea how to end this post, so I won’t try to develop some prosaic / pretentious / uplifting conclusion to it and shall instead just fuck off. Cheerio.