Last week I had my second therapy appointment which I was quite nervous about. Although my initial thoughts after the first appointment were that it went really well, I had a bit of a delayed reaction to it all for the few days after. One of the things that kept playing on my mind was that she said she thought my experiences did fit within the borderline personality disorder diagnosis (or EUPD as she called it). This was what I had been worried about as that label has caused me nothing but problems throughout the years. I said I didn’t agree that I have a personality disorder because of the ways I’ve learned how to deal with trauma, and explained how that diagnosis has effected me in the past. I feel as if it completely invalidates all of my trauma and instead makes me feel as if I’m being blamed. I have always felt Complex PTSD is a better diagnosis for me (which my previous psychologist had said I have) and she did understand this. She said she wasn’t there to make a diagnosis anyway but I couldn’t stop thinking about what she’d said.
I was worried this was going to create a barrier in her understanding of my experiences and in feeling I was able to trust her. But she didn’t mention it this time and I didn’t either, so I felt better after this appointment. Although it is something I am going to continue to challenge in the future! This appointment was still part of the initial assessment but wasn’t as intense as the last one as we had covered a lot. A few days before the appointment I had met with the Independent Care Review to share some of my experiences and had been to a Care Review event the day before. This started a conversation with my therapist about my experiences growing up with social workers, the police and some of my experiences of abuse. The details I shared are not something I’ve ever really felt comfortable sharing with mental health professionals as I’ve never felt like they understand, or that they will judge me. It really surprised me that she did understand that the way I was behaving and my involvement with these services was a consequence of the trauma I’d been through. It was a relief to feel I could be open about all this without feeling judged or shamed for it all. About time!
In talking about my experiences with the care review and in therapy, I have had a couple of weeks of thinking/talking about things I haven’t went into much detail about before. I feel like I’m already taking steps to really integrating all of my experiences and move past the shame I have felt in the past. I’ve been able to start looking back as an adult and realising that I was still a child when many of these things happened. I don’t deserve the shame, or blame. Yes I have made mistakes, but I am learning to be more compassionate to myself and understanding I was reacting to what had happened to me. This compassion and understanding of trauma was what I needed back then from all of the professionals involved, but it is not too late to give that to myself. I hope it will be an important step in my future Community Education career too, where I aim to show that compassion to other young people.
Next week will be the end of the assessment period where we will be coming up with a plan and looking at my goals for the therapy. I am really feeling hopeful that this is the right psychologist, at the right time and is the next step in truly moving forward and learning to heal from trauma. I will continue to blog throughout the journey!