07 November 2009

Outpatient Therapy, Day 7, the Gift Bag at My Door, & My Attempt at “Radical Acceptance”

I do not have much to say about today’s session. The therapist is concerned that I am not eating except a small snack to take with my Geodon. She is also concerned about my insomnia. I did not have much to share. Not much had changed from Wednesday, but I was able to report that I was not having any suicidal ideation Thursday night. Very depressed, yes, but I was able to leave it at that. She pointedly asked me if I could remain safe through the weekend and I could only tell her that I have demonstrated successfully one tool, and that was all I could promise her. I also told her that my psychiatrist has requested me to call him for a check-in call on Saturday and Sunday. She seemed rather pleased with that.

In actuality, my blogging has actually helped me with the ideation Thursday night. I spent a good deal of time writing, reading others’ blogs, and keeping up with my LGBTQ-oriented Facebook account (OK, a translation for you straight folks: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer/Questioning), along with my Twitter feeds.

Something weird happened at break. One of the folks in my small group came up to me and wanted to know why I ignored her after trying to say hi two times. I had to honestly tell her that I really had not noticed her (remember me; I am all about blinders around other people). She started crying and I did not what the hell to do as she did this in front of everyone. Then everyone stared at me. Well, I am sorry that I must have hurt her feelings (I can recognize that from classic BPD symptoms), but I am not responsible for her feelings, only my own. I felt, with everyone staring at me, that I at least had to apologize. I really didn’t want to have to interact with her at all, but what was I to do? It is not as if I go around intentionally trying to hurt someone, or be rude or uncaring. I just simply want to be left alone. Soon enough, break was over so I went inside where both groups join and found my seat on the far wall. I also asked the therapist if I could crack open the emergency door right beside me in case I had to leave the room (I do not want to make a spectacle of getting up and walking by everyone to leave through the normal door). She said that was fine (no alarm attached to the door)

I came home and found this gift bag by my front door inside my porch. Curiously, I picked it up and brought it inside. The attached note said, “For your walks around the neighbourhood…a few things I thought would come in handy.” It was signed from the only church member (outside of my pastor and his wife) that I had been relatively honest with about some things. Evidently she has been reading my blog and noticed my entries concerning with my dissociative states while walking or driving. Inside the bag was some pretty neat stuff. It contained an atlas with very detailed set of maps of my city along with a street index finder. I found my house (conveniently already marked with an icon as there is a large city fire department up at the corner. Nevertheless, I am going to put an X right where my house is anyway because with a past dissociation, the fire department’s presence did not mean anything to me. I’ve even post-noted my relevant pages). It also marks subdivisions and schools—things I pass by on a regular basis. In addition, there was a device with a red blinking LED visible to one km with a range of 180˚. It came with a strap and three batteries. I can attach this to myself to make me visible when I take my late-night walks. There was also an LED pen light with a magnifier lens that only weighs 38g and has a metal clip attachment. The last thing in the bag thrilled me to no end—a new tool. This seven-in-one tool is only 12cm long. Get this—it contains an LED light, compass, thermometer, clock, safety whistle, safety mirror and a 2X magnifier. It comes with a lanyard I can wear around my neck. Now I can be all decked out in LED!

OK, time for an honest reality check here—my perception vs. my reality. This person does want to be close to me—not because of the gifts, but because of the intentions behind them. I wrote her a long email thanking her (I did not feel prepared enough to actually talk with her at that point). In the same email, I told her everything. I even attached two documents on bipolar and borderline personality disorders to help her understand the effects these have on me. She responded with such a kind email; it gave me some contact with another person who now knew me the way I wanted her to know me—no pretence about anything. She let me know that she clearly knew what my boundaries were and that she was not going to be in my face, but essentially would let me make any contact. Fearing that I would lapse into my normative state of isolation, I told her that it was OK to call me, but if I felt I was not capable to talk, she could leave me a vm. I was OK with that, so after reading the email, I actually felt better prepared to call her. I am trying so very hard to reach out, but I can only take baby steps. I fear rejection; I fear abandonment.

Now, onto my next hurdle—trying to use “radical acceptance.” The principles are 1) solve the problem, or, 2) change how you feel about the problem, or 3) stay miserable, or 4) accept the problem. It takes away the “judgements” and removes the “shoulds.”

The hurdle—all of the anger and resentment I have felt toward my pastor for placing the 911 call and coming by the house to show the police my text message. My perception? That he was disappointed with me, angry because I did not call first and ask for prayer before I got in that state, and that he would think less of me. Therefore, I took a very deep breath and wrote down everything I wanted to say before I called him so I could focus and concentrate on what I really wanted to say.

I called his house and thankfully, he answered. I am not really sure what I would have said if his wife had picked up instead…I wasn’t prepared for that scenario. I told him who I was not knowing if he would recognize my voice. Then I told him I had something to say and would he listen to me without interrupting me until I was done. I asked him if he would meet me because there were some things that I needed to say to him alone, that we could meet in a public venue of his choosing as long as I would not be seen as making a spectacle of myself if I got emotional, and it had to be a place where I could smoke (damn these city ordinances banning smoking to even include many outside venues). We settled on standing in the church parking lot (right across the street from me) for this Tuesday at 1630. When I finished what I said, he asked if he could say a few things. I hesitated momentarily—this wasn’t a planned two-way conversation. I wanted to say what I had to say, set the time and place and get off the phone, but I ended up saying OK. He helped fill in some more of the blanks. Evidently there were already three or four police cruisers and the EMS there across the street in the church parking lot before he arrived (I had been told earlier by one of the first responder cops that they parked there with no lights flashing on purpose so as not to alert me in case it was a situation of “suicide by cop”). The cops asked him who he was and he explained that he had placed the 911 call as a result of my text message. They asked to see the text message, but they would not let him cross the street to my house at any point. He told me that the only reason why he came over was that he was very concerned and worried about me. He said he had tried to call me after receiving the text message and I did not answer. Again, the problem with my perception vs. reality.

Am I ready for this conversation? I do not know. I have to find a way to let this anger and resentment go. While it is by no means my only trigger, I have obsessed over this a lot—primarily because I have always respected him. He is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get for you non-computer geeks) kind of guy—shoots straight from the hip with no guile. From the very beginning, he has accepted the fact that I am a lesbian and never has judged me. I owe him the same respect.

Well, I still have two days to process this. I am also going to discuss during my group therapy session on Monday. I also have my second appointment with my individual therapist on Monday afternoon as well. My question is am I sufficiently prepared to handle this type of conversation at this point so soon after everything has happened? I need to protect myself and not set myself up for failure. I am trying so hard to reach a point in my life where everything is in balance, but I have to put my needs first—a concept that never existed in my “I don’t give a damn” mode.©2009


  1. I'm sure don't need me to tell you this, Alix, but even considering the stuff you have detailed in this post represents such a shift from some of the stuff you were writing a few weeks ago. Do you think that in some ways the therapies and medications maybe could be having an effect?

    I'm glad that your Pastor was able to fill in more blanks for you. Although I was guilty of a few critical remarks on him re: the suicide call, he does sound like a good man.

    Take care x

  2. I have experienced a couple of *light bulb* moments in which I attribute to trying a couple of tools. Every once in a while, they work to some extent. Most times, I fall back into my default mode about DBT being bullshit [yeah, I’m sure that’s really helping things along :/ ].

    My pastor has a good heart and has shown compassion; our friendship (one of only two I can count on right now—but, hey, that’s two more than I had before) mean very much to me. I just cannot handle going back to that church, at least as far as I can see right this moment.