I made tearful, hysterical phone call to V on Friday. Afterwards, I felt better for having expressed my rage, fear and frustration, but felt terrible about placing myself in such a vulnerable position as well as for being so out of control.
I spend so much of my life behind a facade of stoicism. Trying hard not to express any emotion on the outside, because deep inside, I still feel the fear of having that emotion criticised. I grew up in an environment where any outburst of emotion, or even display of emotion was seen as wrong, or weak. I learnt very quickly not to appear too happy, because I knew my mom would tear me down soon enough. If she wasn't happy, she would made damn sure I couldn't be happy either. I tried not to appear sad because I would be told to snap out of it, or that there was nothing to be sad about.
All these things unfortunately lay the foundation of my borderline personality disorder. I know that now. I know I have trouble regulating my emotions. I know I hide my emotions, or ignore them, until they become all consuming, and then I explode in an act of self destruction. I know I use self harm as a way to regulate my difficult emotions, and I know this is not something I want to do for the rest of my life and so I am in therapy, learning new skills to better deal with these.
Several things emerged in therapy yesterday as we discussed the Friday incident. I've been beating myself up over it because I hated the way I sounded on the phone, I hated the way I was so totally out of control. I should have at least apologised to V, but didn't. I was wading too deep in shame.
But there were valid reasons for the escalation of my emotions - I was physically, mentally and emotionally drained from battling a deep depression. I wasn't sleeping well, I wasn't eating well. I was driving myself to exhaustion with negative intrusive thoughts and voices.
There were surrounding fears - about my inability to function at work, the fear of that situation going on endlessly until I would be fired from my job (what V called "catastrophising").
There was the fear of being all alone as a consequence of my perception that V didn't truly understand what was going on with me (who would understand me if V didn't?).
I felt better after the session yesterday. It cleared the air somewhat, and my level of shame probably decreased. V confirmed that she wasn't mad at me, that she didn't have a lower perception of me due to my behaviour on Friday. I think what it reinforced in her mind was that I needed to learn how to regulate my emotions on my own, even though she currently has and can help me do it. And one more thing she said which comforted me was that she said she was glad I had called her on Friday because things had gone out of control and if she hadn't helped me deescalate it, it's highly possible I could have done something self destructive.
Therapy is such hard work. You put yourself out there and it can be such a huge risk with so many uncertain consequences and impact. Exposing your raw emotions like that puts you in a position of vulnerability. The person you trust your soul with could so easily exploit you. But I do trust V. She's been consistent. She's been consistently validating. She's acknowledged possibilities when she could have been wrong. She's applied the right formula with me, and it appears to be working.
I've learnt a lot from her. As for Friday's incident, well... it's not something I'm proud of, but it has given me an opportunity to learn even more about myself and hopefully be better able to deal with situations like that in the future.