Any further questions?

My holiday is approaching and although I’ll be off the computer during that time, there will be prepared posts, so: If there’s anything you’d like to know, you want me to write about a specific topic or you have any other suggestions, I’ll be glad to read about it in the comments or via email: πŸ™‚

Thank you for your ideas!


Therapy: Session #43

Today was a preparation for things that are going to come. For now, that is a few week’s therapy break. And afterwards: The trauma. Confrontation. Imagination exercises. Chasing down the demons.
Until then I have some things to do, one especially, above all others: Around easter I’m going to see the relative my burdensome memories are about and his wife (who is the cornerstone of this sick system) and I will tell them that I need some time without any contact. Two months. At least. Already I can see them rage, I can see the threats and the guilt and the bad conscience. At the moment I’m calling them at least every ten days or so. Objectively, and for most people in my life that seems pretty strange but I’m doing it for the sake of peace and quiet. For almost twenty years I’ve had to call every day so today’s reality already seems pretty moderated. Furthermore, it’s not the present but the past that makes me shake. And my therapist thinks that we cannot work on that as long as both of these people still hold sway over me with their behaviour. Today we made a plan, step by step so that I can cope when they do what they always do when someone wants to set boundaries. I’m not exactly scared of the conversation – the feeling that the time has simply come, that something’s finally going to happen concerning this issue, my desire for change is so immense that I’m not going to let fear get the better of me.

We searched for a situation that’s bothering me but also isn’t the worst. Without too many details I told my therapist what it’s about and she explained exactly what the exercises would look like: Imagining the situation with my eyes closed. A scarf and each of us holding one end so that I can feel that someone’s there and that I’m still in the present. Emergency skills within reach. And then we will dive into the situation and sort it out as healthy adults.

The fact that I know exactly what I’ll have to expect and that we will do it slowly and safely makes me feel sure that I can do it. My therapist doesn’t have any awkwardness around these things…but also she’s not going to do more than I can handle.

Then we figured out what else I’ll need, what could help me and what could make things difficult:

Preparation-wise I’ll have to break off contact for the time being, I’ll have to have my emergency skills ready and also the list with situations that I ranked according to how troubling they are.
Helpful exercises that I can do during the time between therapy sessions are the safe place and the strongbox exercise – with those I should manage keeping the images from bothering me in everyday life and working on them only when it’s appropriate. Furthermore it helps me to have my colourful hippie-mum’s blessing – there is support from my family and that means I’m not a bad person.
Difficulties I could encounter are primarily the shame and guilt I feel. I can be told a thousand times that it’s not my fault, I will always answer that nobody knows what happened exactly. There are things I’ve never told anyone and that trigger immense self-hatred and make me feel like nobody who knew about them could ever love me. Things where I simply can’t see his responsibility. My therapist promised that she would not stop working with me, no matter what it is…in me there is this vague hope that I will manage to judge these things differently when I manage to tell someone – and then not be left.

What I’ve been working towards for such a long time without actually believing it would be possible, slowly seems to get into feasible reach…

From behind

Quite often I feel very uncomfortable in every-day situations. It can vary from a slightly stressed feeling right up to a panic attack and makes me feel like I just want to run away. Only recently have I noticed that these situations have something in common and therefore I can classify them better. Examples for such situations are:

Getting a haircut
Standing in a queue
Sitting at certain places in restaurants

What they all have in common is that someone is standing behind me. If people are only walking by it’s okay. Also, if there are seats in rows (like in a cinema) it doesn’t make me nervous (but still, last row’s my first choice, obviously). But as soon as somebody is standing behind me and maybe even restlessly waiting for something I start getting edgy, especially if there is no oppurtunity to turn my back to a wall (for instance by getting a corner seat in a restaurant). Since I’ve become aware of this I’ve been able to keep calm a little better – unknown triggers are always worst. Right now I can cope quite well using skills when necessary (at the checkout of the supermarket) or avoiding certain situations (getting my hair cut very rarely by a close friend instead of going to a salon every few weeks). But I’d still like to find out where this fear comes from. Of course, to a certain extent, it’s pure instinct that we don’t like to become aware of a dangerous-looking person with a knife in hand behind us but what I feel is more than just that. Even in my office I can hardly bear when co-workers are standing behind me because I have to show them something on my screen. In moments like that I feel like just springing to my feet, screaming hysterically and then running away would be a good option – so no concentration (at work), let alone relaxation (scalp massage at the hairdresser’s) for me…
I nearly wish there was a flashback accompanying this strong fear so that I could at least know what I can work on and why it bothers me so much. With other (every-day) situations I know exactly what triggers me and why, which makes it easier to calm myself. Concerning this I don’t have any memory that fits and therefore no explanation which is really frustrating.
Maybe it’s just one of these borderline-things like this phenomenon where I’m at the train station and suddenly feel like everyone’s staring at me and judging and whispering and thinking I’m a bad person. No grown paranoia but still…wrong…

Therapy: Session #42

First things first: I haven’t found the answer to life, the universe and everything – a little disappointing but that’s life πŸ˜‰

The topic was my family, or rather the fact that I’m not alone with the issue of trauma. Right now an important person in my life is going through the things I know all too well: Flashbacks, blackouts where memories start coming back and all the emotions that belong to these things. The fact that special effects like depression, BPD, fibromylgia, blackouts and panic attacks can be found several times within the tiny group of people of my closer family would get any outsider thinking but nevertheless certain events have always been pushed away so far, suppressed and unthinkable that we couldn’t even support one another.
Now it’s suddenly different. I am not the only one who knows things, sees things, maybe even talks about things. It feels like a huge burden is lifted from me – as much as it hurts seeing a loved one going through a difficult time, I am relieved because obvious things don’t have to be kept silent any more. It also encourages me to trust myself because I’ve wondered again and again if I imagined something, if I’m being unfair and if I’m allowed to call what happened abuse. I doubt my own perception every single day. And now, suddenly there isn’t just someone who believes me, no, there is someone who can actually understand what I mean and that means so much to me that I don’t even have the words to describe the feeling.

I chattered away about these thoughts so that my therapist hardly even had a chance to speak. In the end we decided to finally do some imagination exercises concerning the relative in order to clear up what happened and, above all, in order to erase my doubts so that I can reach a conclusion. I’m tired of brooding.

I could never have imagined getting to the point where this task seems manageable – and that it would also be like that for others in my family. My gratefulness for the professional support we’re getting is way too huge for one sentence – who knows what our life would look like without such help!

Filled the emptiness?

The BPD-symptom I have always been struggling with the most is inner emptiness. I still find it hard to describe that state because there is absolutely nothing to describe. Even during depression there is still something: exhaustion, sadness, loneliness…
Emptiness is none of those things. And this void is what used to make me think of dying so often. When everything’s grey and tastes of nothing and you don’t feel anything and therefore nothing matters at all you inevitably wonder if there’s any point in going on. I used to have thoughts like this all the time:

“At the end of the day I’m just a cluster of molecules. Nobody can tell me exactly when such a cluster of molecules starts to live. It doesn’t make any difference if I’m here or not cause even if someone’s sorry I’m leaving now, nobody will know about my existence in a hundred years. And maybe the truth is that we’re all not actually alive.”

I spent many hours and days thinking such thoughts without ever reaching a conclusion. When I get lost in something like that it’s hard to explain what’s going on inside me – it is so fundamental that nobody could tell me anything I couldn’t refute by saying “I’m dying anyway – why not right now?”
Now it hasn’t been that bad for months. The emptiness can’t catch me, I simply don’t get the kind of thoughts I’ve described here and therefore I can understand when people ask why the hell I’d think something like that instead of “simply” living. Right now I do simply live. There is my job which I love even during the most stressful times, there is the purring cat on my lap, there is my partner who recently served me breakfast in bed. My family where the part that matters is healing and the part that doesn’t want to heal is drifting away. The sun outside, the music on the radio, the smell of the oranges on my plate. And I don’t ask. I don’t ask if it makes sense or if anyone will know about it in a hundred years or if I’m even supposed to be here. In fact I don’t even get the idea I should ask. I do what they all talk about: Simply live.
There is just one big fear, one big question mark: What if the emptiness comes back? It unsettles me that I don’t know exactly how I drove it away – if I had that knowledge I could be sure that I could do it again but now I can only hope that emptiness has enough of me and simply doesn’t want to catch me anymore. And if it does come around again I’ll hopefully remember how to make it leave.

Until then I’ll be grateful for every day I don’t encounter emptiness.

Your questions?

Once more I’m mentally preparing for my spring holiday and I don’t want to neglect the blog during that time πŸ™‚
In order to enable me to prepare some posts I would love to hear your questions, suggestions or requests – last time you gave me lots of interesting ideas. So, once again: If there’s anything you’d like to know, just leave a comment or write me an email:

I’m already curious what you’ll be coming up with πŸ™‚

New tattoo


This is the draft for my new tatoo. As there is very, very much meaning connected to my therapy etc. in it I thought it appropriate to write about it here. From left to right there are three elements to it:

  • The semicolon is a symbol with a meaning many of you might now but just to be sure here’s a link to “Project Semicolon”.
    The idea that a place in a text where there’s a semicolon could be the end of a sentence but the author decided to keep going is a symbol for everyone struggling with thoughts of suicide or for people who’ve lost someone because of suicide and I always thought this was an incredibly beautiful idea. Deciding to keep going every single day has been a part of my life for a long time now and when I first read about the project I planned on getting a semicolon tattoo…but only at a point where suicidal thoughts weren’t bothering me every day and I actually had decided to live – and that point is now! As I love the written word, symbols and tattoos, this is perfect.
  • The second element is a part of a poem by Erin Hanson (and obviously she owns the Copyright for these wonderful words). Here, as well, it was love at first sight and I always read the poem when I’m getting in my own way by having doubts instead of trying things. It reminds me that I can accomplish something if I try and of the fact that the most beautiful things happen surprisingly. Seeing such a reminder every day can only be a good thing for me.
  • And then there is the swing. Using one has always been something special for me. A feeling of freedom and lightness and closest to the sort of flying I was dreaming of as a child. It also matches the poem nicely – the fact that there is the word “darling” there always reminds me of the Darling family from Peter Pan – and he was the character I was often thinking about whilst sitting on a swing. My inner child will smile about the picture every day.

What also makes the draft special is that I have put something on paper for the first time in years – after dropping out of my graphic design education I didn’t even touch a pencil for a very long time. A mandala here and there or some small doodling during a long phone call but never a picture with a meaning. Too present was the feeling of failure and of never being good enough. Now I got over that and filled the background with bright colours. I certainly hope that in the end it will look great – a beautiful watercolour tattoo like I could never draw it, but as a draft what I made is, above all other things: good enough. And that is progress as well.

As with all my tattoos I’ll find it hard when someone asks me “What is the meaning of this?” because I always choose motives with a very personal meaning which, like here, is not always easily to explain with one sentence. And for everyone who now feels inclined to inform me that this is going to last forever: Well I certainly hope so! Never again will I make a decision as important as the one in favour of life itself – and that is what this tattoo is all about.


Vitamin D Update

This winter is really, really cold right now but also the days are getting longer and the sun is shining through my window so I feel like spring is approaching and I can report about my first winter with vitamin D.

This winter was definitely much, much better than all others I have experienced during the past few years – I was less tired and less ill, getting up in the mornings was relatively easy and although I’m looking forward to spring it’s also okay right now. It’s hard to say if this is just because of the vitamin D or also because of therapy/wake-up-light/working less…but the combination of these things was a good one for sure. After a consultation with my doctor I’ll probably supplement the vitamin next winter as well – because there’s just too little sun during a middle-european winter.

Therapy: Session #41

We continued the exercise we started last time in order to find out where this demanding part of me that thinks I always have to achieve more than others and that makes it hard to take breaks had its origins. It is not as loud as it used to be – at its most intense times I thought that a six-day week, daily appointments in the evenings, a flat with turned-off heating (who needs that anyway?) and self-harm instead of time for myself were completely appropirate. Nevertheless it still is there strongly in stressful times and I have to fight in order to be able to just sit without doing anything “useful” for a few minutes.
Somehow we didn’t really find the one reason for the emergence of this part, rather several small options:

  • As I was able to read earlier than the other kids and liked learning stuff a lot I just got used to being early and thought it was “normal”
  • As it was hard for me to make friends at school I started doing all the homework during breaks – in order to stop feeling lonely and in order to be able to do more “important” things in the afternoons
  • As I had to cope with lots of changes and little repose I fear that everything’s going to fall apart if I have to much time to think – in the end I might get used to catching my breath!
  • As there were “bigger” problems in my family I never wanted to need anything or be a burden so I never learned to feel what I need

My homework is to write down why my co-workers might also like me if I didn’t give 110% – simply in order to see why that might be okay. The exercise is hard for me, I’m sitting in front of a white sheet that looks at me accusingly – ironically I am supposed to do something productive here without emphasizing how terribly productive I like to feel and that’s exactly what’s paralyzing me to the point where I’m not doing anything productive at all…you know what I mean :D?

Anyway, this is perhaps such a therapy-classic where it’s about self-care and self-love – so I’ll stop writing now as most of us probably know this one way or another.

I wish you a cozy, unproductive and relaxed Sunday πŸ˜‰

Unstable outside perception

Concerning Borderline personality disorder one can read a lot about the highly unstable self-perception but let’s be honest – the outside perception isn’t always that much better:

“Oh please – everyone is down sometimes, that doesn’t mean you’re ill!”
“You’re totally right – everyone is down sometimes and that’t completely okay. But there’s a point where certain things are not within a normal range anymore and then it might be an illness after all…”
“What kind of things are you talking about?”
“Well…self-harm or thoughts of suicide, for instance. Dissociation would be a good example as well…”
“Disso – what?”
“Dissociation. It can take different forms. For example I might suddenly stop feeling certain parts of my body or feel as if I’m leaving my body completely and just start watching myself from the outside.”

“What happens then?”
“The ideal case is that I can solve the situation using techniques I’m learning in therapy. The worst case would be self-harm.”
“So you actually hurt yourself on purpose?”
“Seriously?! But that’s totally sick!”

And that’s the point where I sometimes wonder if my self-perception is totally stable after all πŸ˜‰

Therapy: Session #40

“What did you do in therapy today?”
“I pitied a chair…” πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

As I’ve had quite a stressful week (which, for a change, was not my own fault) but have been coping amazingly well, we talked about the things that helped and how I can use them in the future and also how I managed to allow myself to do those things.
After that we did an exercise with chairs: On the comfortable sofa my therapist has there was the small part of me that sometimes just needs a break, likes being quiet or playing and on the hard grey chair there was the much larger part that constantly says sentences such as: “When it’s already stressful you have to do even more in order to keep things from falling apart. Breaks are for wimps. Everyone else is able to accomplish much more than you. Everything has to be perfect. You have to work more. You have to spend more time with your partner and your friends. You have to care better for your pet. You have to clean the windows even though it’s freezing. You have to polish the bathroom mirror before you go to sleep. You have to, you have to, you have to!”

We explored why this part used to be very important – I needed it in order to cope with the many changes, the many encounters and goodbyes and the overall speed of my life in general. By now I’ve managed to slow that speed down. I can see that I need breaks and that I’m not better when I’m doing so much stuff that there is no time for thinking. I can and ought to listen to the small part that simply wants to listen to some music. Or paint mandalas. Or look out of the window.

My therapist acted quite drastically after this realization and just grabbed the grey chair, put it in the adjoining room and closed the door. She thinks I don’t need it anymore – after all I wouldn’t just stop working or feeding my cat without it :D. I was able to breathe better, the pressure was suddenly gone and my shoulders relaxed. However, I felt so sorry for the chair. We actually laughed a lot because I pitied the chair or rather the part of me for which it stood, so much after being locked out although it surely didn’t mean any harm by the things it used to tell me. In the end I took it back inside and decided that it should not be fired but rather retrained – we put it near the cozy yellow armchair which I appointed the fun-part. There it can learn how to be motivational instead of demanding πŸ™‚

Maybe all this sounds pretty silly but everyone who has tried such an exercise will know how helpful it can be to see different perspectives that way and therefore realize which doctrines we have are not helpful (anymore).

I wish you all a super-relaxed weekend full of things that are good for you πŸ™‚


My 40th therapy session ist set for this week. When we started my therapist scheduled 80 which means that this is half-time. Contrary to my expections it doesn’t scare me. During the last 39 hours I got so much farther than I could ever have imagined. So 40 sessions more mean undreamt-of possibilities and by now I can envision a point where it will be okay, where I will be done with it. But of course therapy doesn’t only consist of these 39 hours – that wouldn’t even be two days and therefore way too little time to gain such a quality of life. Therapy is about the No I am able to say more often without thinking I’d have to justify it. It’s about the exercises I do every day and the ones I do when they’re needed. Therapy is about the bag full of chewing gum, ammonia and porcupine balls I always carry with me. It’s about the people around me whom I can tell better and better what I feel and what I need. Therapy is about this blog which slowly changes from a mere outlet to a record of my successes (and failures). It’s about my thoughts which differ so much from those I used to have. Therapy is about the answers I’m able to find easier and more independently and the questions I dare ask. It’s about the changes I make in my every-day life. Therapy is a safe place. A huge chance. And the beginning of everything that might happen afterwards.

3 minus 2?

In 2014 I got the following diagnoses: Depression, Panic Disorder, BPD. That’s also what I say on the start page here (I’ve been thinking about editing this and all the explanations I thought so important in the beginning for such a long time but somehow I can never find the motivation because I just prefer writing something new…it’s a good thing that this is not a business :D).
Anyway, I couldn’t really relate to the depression thing back then. I mean yes, I was in a crisis, yes, I showed many typical signs of depression and yes, it somehow did make sense. But basically what I felt was also covered by the BPD-term “emptiness”. The mood swings, the fear, the thoughts of suicide, the stress at work were so present at the time that I was simply extremely exhausted as well. To this day I’m not perfectly sure that it actually was a grown depression like I certainly had it when I was 14, 15 years old. For many months now I definitely haven’t been depressed (anymore). The difficulties I face are a different matter but it’s not depression.
And then, of course, there were the panic attacks. In 2014 they were massive and dictated my whole life – 2 to 3 half-hour attacks each day were completely normal. At work, in the supermarket, during the sound of the alarm in the morning. No wonder I was strung out. First I got used to it, then I learned dealing with it and with time I started thinking of my own needs and reducing many triggers (contact with too many people for instance). By now I get pangs of panic attacks so rarely that it doesn’t even count. It could even just be high tension which leads to BPD again.
Of the three old diagnoses it is the only one I still think is accurate. And it is the one that will probably stay because even if I don’t still meet 8 out of 9 criteria but just 7 I’m still there. They say personality disorders cannot be healed, one can only learn to live with them. By now I know that much can change and the symptoms are not as strong anymore (a sign of aging ;)?) but even if I managed not to self-harm for a year I wouldn’t say the symptom was gone if the thoughts were still in my head every day. The fact that I use skills successfully in order to not dissociate several times a day it doesn’t mean that nothing can trigger dissociation at any given time. And even though the things that happen in my head might look like some prominent character traits from the outside I often know pretty well where my personality ends…and the disorder begins. So I agree when people say that symptoms can recede to a point where one doesn’t meet all criteria anymore but I also think that a lot will stay which can return at any time.
But what this is about is: Two out of three diagnoses are not accurate (anymore) in my opinion and the third one is on a level with which I can imagine living for a long time and then dying a natural death. And that, my friends, is more than I ever dreamed of – and I thank you for the part you had in it with your comments, thoughts and advice πŸ™‚

“Do you think that’s ever going to change?”

She’s looking tired, the colleague who’s sitting in front of me. Usually she’s one of these people who always seem to be cheerful. A person who goes to every party and who is very successful at work. Not exactly what people imagine when they think about depression. But now, that seems to be exactly what this is about. Because the doctors can’t find any other reason for the constant tiredness. Because she’s always brooding and feeling like she’s unable to achieve anything. Because her friends say she ought to get her shit together when that’s exactly what she’s been trying to do for years.
And now she’s heard that I have this awesome therapist. That I, just like her, have tried medication and then stopped taking it. That I am also one of those where everything seems to be okay at first and maybe even at second glance.
That’s why we’re talking now. About looking for a therapy place, about anitdepressants, about light and yoga and the effort that is needed to tackle such issues. The things I say are small ones, sentences like “It’s okay not to get everything done in a single day!” or “If you didn’t feel comfortable with this therapist you don’t have to go there again!” – but still I feel like I’m finding the right words. She thanks me and says it helps; not just the phone numbers and points of contact but talking to someone who understands what she means by evil thoughts. And suddenly she asks this question everyone who’s opening this Pandora’s box for the first time is probably asking: “I feel like it’s getting worse the more I’m becoming aware of these things. And now I wonder if I’ll ever be able to live a normal life again. Do you think that’s ever going to change?”
And for the very first time I can say, with a conviction that only comes with an experience you’ve made: “Yes. It’s going to be different. Perhaps not perfect, certainly not as if nothing ever happened. But it’s not going to stay the way it is now!”

Therapy: Session #39

Yesterday’s session was a little weird, somehow it took quite some time until we settled on a topic. In the end it was about changes. I have mentioned before that short-term changes of plans and changes I can’t actively influence in general are very stressful for me. It hasn’t always been like that – when I was younger I was super-flexible, uncommited, open to everything and no change, no loss could upset me…I also had panic attacks but well, that’s life.
Now that I have comitted to some things I don’t want to lose anymore (relationship, job, new city, etc.) I often feel like I’m surrounded by people who constantly want to change a world that is perfectly okay for me. Please don’t tell me that change is a part of life, I am aware of that and it’s a good thing as well, after all, I’m not actually a fan of stagnation :D. But it does bother me when even small changes of plans immediately feel like the end of the world to me. For instance, it can happen that the small incident “My partner forgot to tell me that he wants to invite someone over tomorrow” results into the thesis “So he has also forgotten to tell me that he’s going to leave the country tomorrow” which obviously is only in my head. And that is inappropriate as well as exhausting. One of these cases where you know, rationally, that this is complete nonsense but you just can’t stop the fear. It also happens at work: “I forgot to mention a small triviality in an email to my supervisor” grows into “Tomorrow I’ll get fired”.
My therapist wants me to become more compassionate with myself – she thinks that after the many and constant changes during my childhood that were often linked to goodbyes it is no wonder that I’m reacting this way and might wish for more stability than other people my age. As if I was a seventy-year-old trapped in a twen’s body ;). She also thinks it’s going to help me cope with such situations when I remember that this kind of fear is an old one and that it’s not going to be the way it was. And she thinks that after all it is a good thing that I have something to lose – because as strong as I thought I was when I needed nothing and nobody…it’s way more beautiful now πŸ™‚

I wish you all a relaxed Sunday!

Ten things

…I want to tell you if you’re thinking about seeing a therapist for the first time.

I know that most os my readers already have therapy experience so perhaps this post doesn’t make any sense at all but I still want to write it as there might be some people around who haven’t seen a therapist so far but would like to try it. I remember reading lots of blog before starting my first (and second) therapy and I think it might have been easier for me if someone had told me these things:

1. Don’t waste time wondering if therapy could help you.
I know that I spent years telling myself that my problems were either too insignificant or that nobody could help me anyway and both of these things are bullshit. If you reckon that you have the sort of problems a therapist could help with – they probably can.

2. Don’t wait for it to get worse.
Many of us needed a sort of breakdown before realizing that we actually do need help but it’s really not necessary to wait that long – on the contrary, the sooner problems are recognized and tackled the easier they can be solved.

3. Educate yourself.
Fortunately we live in times where it’s extremely easy to get information – about doctors, about therapists, about diagnoses, you name it. I find that it has helped a lot to read about my diagnoses and to find out what kind of medical help and support groups there are in my area. It’s also useful to read a little about different types of therapy as some methods might help you better than others.

4. If the chemistry is not right – leave.
It’s not likely that you’ll find the perfect therapist (if there is such a thing) on the first try. I know I didn’t and if you’ve read older blog posts here you know how discouraged I was after my first therapy failed. Since then I’ve found a therapist whom I got along with straight away and that is the most important thing. So if you don’t feel safe with someone – don’t waste your time (and theirs).

5. Be stubborn when it comes to refund and insurance stuff.
Unfortunately mental illnesses are still stigmatized, even when you’re talking to people who should know better. So if your doctor or your insurance try to tell you that you don’t need therapy or that they won’t support it, continue asking and requesting and inquiring because they might give in. I know from experience that this can be really, really hard so if you feel you can’t do it on your own find someone who can support you with this stuff.

6. Allow yourself to try things that might seem weird.
Especially when you’re starting therapy, some exercises may seem pretty strange but if you trust the person you’re with – just try. I know that some stuff I have to do as homework seems quite quirky but everything that helps is fine. Period.

7. Take your time.
Obviously, therapy is a process but I don’t just mean that you will have to be patient before huge things start changing. Expect to be exhausted after sessions and take your time to rest. In my experience it’s not a good idea to schedule lots of stuff before or after a session. Also, you might need some time for homework and exercises and you don’t want to rush that kind of stuff.

8. Find out what you want to accomplish (and write it down).
Most therapists will ask you what you’d like to achieve so it’s a good idea to take a sheet of paper and write down the most important issues you want to tackle. If you get nervous or emotional, you can still read out what you’ve thought about and won’t forget anything important.

9. Tell them what you’re thinking.
Of course it will take time until you can trust a therapist but nevertheless it’s important that you’re as open as possible – if you’re not they can’t help you. So also tell them the ugly, uncomfortable or strange things. Keep in mind that they’ve probably heard lots of weird stuff before. They won’t be as surprised or taken aback as you’re imagining.

10. You’re so brave.
Getting to the point where you decide to see a therapist and opening up about painful stuff can be one of the bravest things you’ll ever do in your life. So, at least in my eyes, you’re a hero. And if anyone tries to tell you that you’re a freak, keep in mind that you are one of the few people who are honest enough to admit that some things need to change. Seeing a therapist is not selfish – on the contrary: it will not just help you but also the people you love and they should be able to see that. You’re awesome!

Therapy: Session #38

Today we talked more about the feeling that was so present during the last self-harm incident as well as the last therapy session: Somewhat lonely, fearing for the people who are there for me, confusion if I only imagined certain things, a sort of isolation when there’s nobody there to confirm what I see.
After the last session I thought about lots of situations where I felt that way just because I was a child who saw and noticed too much. The silence around me made me believe that I only imagined certain things – because, if anyone else could see them they would surely say something?!
My therapist asked me to find another situation like that and go back to what it felt like for me and then we solved it as healthy adults. It’s not important which situation it was exactly (for the first time we cautiously went into the direction of a relative encroaching my personal space), it’s just important that with every time we’re working on this I get a little more clarity about what confused me so much and why I could never know if my feelings were justified or not. We will continue working on various situations from the past and clear them up one by one but also focus on learning to set boundaries here and now – this is especially hard for me when someone only wants to be nice but I still don’t like being touched. I learned that one has to find everything okay that is not meant to harm anyone and I internalized that it’s wrong to say no when nobody else who’s there does.
The fact that I can see better where this weird feeling of me being the only one who sees certain things and that therefore there had to be something wrong with me, came from, helps me a lot with distancing myself from that very feeling and – lo and behold – therefore dissociation is happening less often as well as confusion about my own needs. Somehow I start feeling like one whole person – when we’re done with this topic I will be a lot closer to my goal!


Entering the mall. Going to the first shop. Looking for the stuff I need. Paying for it. Going to the next shop. Waiting in the queue. Taking a phone call. Going to the ATM. Putting the money into my pocket. Just like everyone else. Only thinking of a possible panic attack when leaving the mall. Wait, what?!

This is such a huge thing for me! For the first time in years I didn’t even start sweating! My heart didn’t race, my vision didn’t blur, my breath didn’t catch, I just did the shopping without even thinking twice! I don’t know what happened but I didn’t even have to try – I didn’t have any skills with me, I didn’t have to do any breathing exercises, I simply was okay. It was so easy, I never thought this was even possible after all this time πŸ™‚

Therapy: Session #37

Yes, in your system that might be called egoism. In another, it might be called health…”

We continued talking about the weird feeling I had prior to the last self-harm incident: As if I was a ghost, as if I was completely alone in the world and nobody could see me. As if I was paralyzed and couldn’t go to the telephone in order to call someone. As if I had just made up all the lovely people who like me. As if I couldn’t sleep out of fear I would just dissolve.
My therapist reckoned that this was an old feeling confusing me and she was right. Back then I didn’t notice it but when she asked me I could quickly recall several situations from my childhood where I’d felt that way. There were things that I experienced, noticed, saw, of which it was believed that I didn’t notice them…or expected that I didn’t talk about them. A huge silence, one could say, that confused me and made me doubt the realness of many things. With the oldest of those memories, we did quite a long exercise where I was supposed to step in and change something as a healthy adult…at some point my therapist gave up and assumed that role herself as I didn’t even theroretically have an idea what could be done (could have been done?). With her it sounded quite simple in the end…and we will have to do a lot of work on this issue in the future.
At least, when this feeling comes back again, I know that it is not real now and today – I think that will help me a lot. At the end of the session she asked how I felt. I answered that all this felt really good…but also kind of selfish. And then she said the sentence above – I had to find a special place for it, and now I have to think about it πŸ˜€

Wish you all a nice weekend!

Not a real post

…but rather a collection of stuff that has happened recently. For each of these things there was a particular reason for my not writing a post but now I want to at least mention them – completely unsorted.

I notice that I have been coping much better since reducing the hours at work last October. I would not want to lose the additional day off – it allows me to have more breaks, to run errands and to be a friendlier person. Simply fantastic!
Beyond this I am incredibly grateful for my work environment and I mention the office quite often in the positive section of my Diary Cards πŸ™‚

For the first time since I can remember I have exactly as many social contacts as I am comfortable with – I really look forward to meeting people and don’t contact anyone just because I think I have to. This is a whole new quality.

In my family a few very tough issues have been discussed and there is exactly one person I want to mention here: My Fiorellinchen who answered questions I never thought I could ever ask. Breathing has been easier since that, as has everything else.

Loki the cat had to get rid of some teeth and is looking like a schoolchild now…somehow he has been even cuddlier since that but I think he’s okay.

During therapy break I self-harmed…not a great thing, obviously, but it made me realize how rarely I get into such extreme states compared to the past.

For the first time in ages reading is more fun than writing…I can hardly put my books aside which might be a reason for the blog being so quiet.

And that’s it, just scraps without connections but at least most of them are pleasant πŸ™‚

Therapy: Session #36

This week was really, really difficult. Stress, tiredness, the long therapy break…my thoughts were out of control several times each day and I didn’t even have the strength to write or use skills. There was a strong sense of nothing around me being real and at the same time a huge fear of losing everything and everyone. I still can’t quite explain it although I tried in therapy today. The session itself didn’t make me feel that much better but the knowledge that there won’t be a therapy break for some time now does. It’s frustrating to realize that I really need these regular appointments in order to function properly and I try not to wonder if it will be like that for the rest of my life. I’m just tired and confused but also grateful because I can spend this weekend with people who make me feel good. Hope you’re all okay; I’ll try to write a little more next week.

Thanks for asking #2

As there have been lots of reactions to my last post and as I really had lots of fun writing it, I decided to do a follow-up of the same kind – identic style, different topic πŸ™‚

Yes, I said ex-girlfriend. No, by that I didn’t mean my best friend from primary school. Yes, we had an actual relationship. No, that wasn’t just a phase. Yes, we also had sex. No, that wasn’t like porn. Yes, I’m pretty sure (and glad :D) that most of us don’t act like we’re in some porn movie. No, you definitely couldn’t have watched. Yes, I would also have fallen in love with her if there had been a man around. No, I didn’t miss any body parts you seem to consider essential. Yes, that might mean that I focus more on a person’s character. No, by this I don’t mean to say that I’m immune to *insert name of random celebrity*’s visible charms ;). Yes, I feel attracted to people of different genders despite my happy relationship. No, the fact that this relationship is coincidentally taking place with a man makes me no more straight than my last relationship made me gay. Yes I’m aware that more and more people are living openly queer. No, that’s still not a fad. Yes, I’m also very happy that actually all people will be allowed to marry soon. No, I don’t think this is going to destroy the nuclear family. Yes, I have a different understanding of family than the catholic church. No, by this I don’t want to offend anyone with this religious confession. Yes, I am able to have relationships without the guidance of a dusty institution. No, my current partner is not my first relationship. Yes, he knows about my ex-girlfriend. No, he does not have a problem with that. Yes, I said ex-girlfriend…

…and so we’re going in circles.

Thanks for asking

Yes, I’m seeing a therapist. No, you can’t see that from outside. Yes, I’ve been dealing with problems for a longer period of time. No, I don’t take any meds. Yes, I was aware that you’d have an opinion about that, regardless of my answer. No, I don’t mind talking about it. Yes, during a panic attack you actually believe you’re dying. No, you cannot really die of it. Yes, it can happpen right here, right now. No, you don’t have to be worried. Yes, there are other symptoms I have to cope with. No, I don’t hear any voices. Yes, I have thought of suicide before. No, I wouldn’t have jumped in front of a train. Yes, that makes me the most considerate person on earth. No, that was not sarcasm ;). Yes, I’ve had depressive episodes before. No, in such a case one doesn’t just have to get one’s shit together. Yes, there were traumatic events in my childhood. No, I did not simply “become like that” because my parents are separated. Yes, I am an only child. No, that is not the reason either. Yes, I was unpopular at school. No, not every victim grows up to be an offender. Yes, I am completely harmless for other people. No, having a personality disorder does not automatically mean that you’re aggressive towards other persons. Yes, by “towards other persons” I mean to say that I might be aggressive towards myself. No, that does not make me an emo. Yes, I knew that you’d say you can’t imagine that. No, self-harm does not have to mean scars on the left forearm. Yes, adults might do that as well. No, one cannot “simply” stop doing it. Yes, it’s a little like you and cigarettes. No, that comparison is not unfair, the brain’s reward centre also works without chemicals from outside. Yes, I know that this is complicated. No, it still isn’t everything I’m talking about in my therapy sessions. Yes, I’m seeing a therapist…

…and starting to repeat myself.


It is okay if your christmas has not been the most beautiful time of the last year.
Okay if you don’t have any resolutions or huge plans today.
It is okay that you didn’t get through that exam and okay to take a day off.
Okay to eat this piece of chocolate and okay to leave the dishes be.
It is okay to go to a party completely underdressed if you have more fun that way.
Okay to put on your most beautiful dress although you’re just taking out the garbage.
It is okay to look into the mirror and smile at yourself and okay if you can’t do that today.
Okay to be horribly confused because you fell in love with someone where you didn’t expect it.
It is okay not to make that annoying phonecall today and even not making it tomorrow.
Okay if you just don’t have the strength for people who don’t take you just the way you are.
It is okay to call the people who don’t expect anything from you but just make you smile.
Okay if you don’t want to make a huge career and don’t want to have sex and don’t want to drink.
It is okay to go out for some fancy dinner with just yourself as company or to invite all your friends over for some frozen pizza.
Okay not to do what is expected from you.
It is okay to dream – no matter if the others dare to or not.

I just wanted to say this to everyone who might need it. This time of the year is especially marked by huge expectations and it makes me so sad to read how many of you are writing that they “somehow survived” christmas time, that they “got through” troublesome visits from family members and that they once more were putting up a brave front. This is not what any of you are here for!
If I have learned one thing last year, it is that one can breathe better after saying goodbye to other people’s expectations – because at the end of the day there are very few things that we actually have to do. Every “One has to…” is hurting someone out there, is making someone feel insecure and is limiting someone. I don’t particularly like New Year’s resolutions but I do like wishing people all the best for the new year. And this is why I wish all of you that you can get rid of at least one thing you regarded as a necessary evil this year. Because it’s okay to stop doing such things – because we are all okay just the way we are anyway.

Happy New Year!

End of the year

As a little review is simply a must I can seize this oppurtunity and announce a successful year – for me, 2017 was characterized by my experiences in therapy; basically all improvements in relationships as well as jobwise can be put down to them. The past is constantly in my thoughts at the moment but in exchange many symptoms don’t haunt me as strongly as they used to – I take breaks in time before I dissociate, this year I self-harmed fewer times than in any of the nine years before and the panic attacks seem far, far away to me.
For me in my microcosm I don’t really wish for any changes in 2018 – some processes that have started need to be completed but otherwise I am where I want to be and I am incredibly grateful for that.
I want to mention my wonderful therapist, my awesome partner, my ever-evolving hippie-mum, my dad to whom I’ve found a new connection this year and the people at work who give me a new chance to develop every single day.

But in spite of all these good news I worry when I think of the new year. I strongly believe that I have a responsibility as a part of society and as I can reach more than 400 followers here things have to get political for once. In my country, this year’s election has strongly shown a swing to the right and now positions of power are held by people who more or less openly admit to their racist, homophobic and inhumane views. This has to do with the topic of mental health I usually write about for two reasons:
Most people here know what exclusion can do to our mental state and the more a government gives the impression that it is acceptable to harass minorities, the more it is going to spread in every-day life. It affects groups that are, for instance, more likely to develop depression even more deeply when they are being attacked without any inhibition.
The second point is that only days after the swearing-in this government has started to erode our social system step by step – this, too, hits mostly the “weak”, the poor, the sick. In a country where the suicide rate is going upwards and three times as many people die that way than in car accidents, labour conditions are about to be worsened and minorities are treated in unfair ways. Instead of this we need more humanity and also a better psychiatric care for “weak” groups such as children, refugees and poor people.
I, personally, am scared due to these tendencies – as a mentally ill, not-heterosexual woman with a small income I don’t feel represented by this kind of politics…and I say that although I am unbelievably privileged compared to many others who will be hit much harder by the upcoming measures.

Along these lines: Stay alert and stay caring in the new year and keep in mind that we are all born free and equal in diginty and rights and that these words must never be allowed to be just a phrase.

I wish you a happy start into the new year – in which I will be writing again πŸ™‚

Safewords for everyone

What I, personally, regard as the largest benefit of #metoo is not that some idiots who used their position of power now have to account for it (although this is great, of course) but rather that people have suddenly started talking about consent. I think that this is a topic that is utterly important for survivors of abuse as well as for their partners. I’ve had countless conversations with friends as well as with people at work who seem concerned and confused as to whether their behaviour is okay and as to how consent can be recognized.
And that’s why I’m writing this post: I get furious when people start pretending that consent is some sort of complicated science and that you need to read thousand books to grasp the concept. Simply put, consent is a euphoric YES. It’s clear and above all it’s simply sexy. Now I can hear all those worried people who’ve asked me stuff like: “What if my partner doesn’t send clear signals and is just someone who doesn’t react so intensely?”
And again, I don’t see the problem: Just ask them for fuck’s sake! I am convinced that a question like “Are you okay?”, “Is this feeling good for you?” or “Would you like me to continue?” has never ever ruined the mood – quite the opposite!

Apparently it’s really hard for us to communicate when it comes to encounters that (might) have a sexual touch. I think that’s because many of us (and this applies to survivors of abuse especially) have never learned to say “NO!”. We can’t even say the word when we’re invited to a party we don’t want to go to – most of us might rather make up some other appointment, a headache or whatever just so that we don’t have to actually say no. If it doesn’t even work with stupid dinners – how is it supposed to work in much more intimate settings where it’s even more important for us not to hurt our partners’ feelings?
I think we can all learn a great deal from the BDSM-community. You may think of certain practices whatever you wish but it’s a fact that no other group of people discusses the importance of consent as much as persons who like kinky sex. The credo “Safe, sane and consensual” is utterly important in this community – but I think it can also be applied to really anyone’s sex life. Safe and sane might be words that don’t come up as often when you’re a total vanilla but the keyword “consensual” is obviously something we all have to discuss.
I’ve mentioned how hard it is for most of us to say “no” and that’s where I think the BDSM-community has something to offer: Safewords. In the community it’s quite common to use a traffic light system: Green for everything’s great, keep going; yellow for I’m starting to feel uncomfortable, let’s take it slowly; and red for stop immediately, something’s wrong! Another option is to just find another word for the “red” which can be really anything but should be short and easy to remember.
The reason these words are used is because “no” can mean something entirely different in certain scenarios (and only there – apart from roleplay no ALWAYS means no!) in the BDSM-community. But for everyone else, it might still be useful to use this traffic light system in order to make it easier to tell your partner(s) to stop. It’s not necessary to actually use the word “no” and when a safeword is established you know that there will be no need to justify that, that nobody will be insulted and that it gives you the possibility to explore what exactly went wrong and how you and your partner(s) can continue in a more comfortable way. Especially when you’re still in the process of getting to know your partner you might not know what works and doesn’t work for them – I know that my triggers are things that most people would definitely not recognize as problematic and before I told him my partner couldn’t have known that.

I guess what I want to say is that we all need to talk more about consent and how to negotiate with our partners. And in my opinion, safewords are a great way of doing that without making a situation uncomfortable. By the way you don’t need to restrict this just to the bedroom: I know a family who uses the traffic light system in everyday life – for example the children might say “red” when they’re playfully tussling and one of them feels it’s too much or the parents might say “yellow” when it’s just getting too loud around the house etc. etc. – that way they’ve all learned that a “stop” does not have to mean rejection and that it is okay to set and important to respect boundaries. I’m pretty sure those children will also be more confident and respectful than most when they’re having partners later on.
And that’s what we all need – especially when we’ve experienced how terrible it is when you can’t say no.

Therapy: Session #35

My therapist asked me what has been present for me these past few days and I had an answer ready for her immediately: “As I apparently was not important enough to be protected I constantly think that I am not enough as a partner, friend, employee, or whatever today.”
She asked me to elaborate and it just poured out of me. That I am often angry because I just can’t wrap my head aroung the fact that certain things were allowed to happen in the past. I can cope with people falling ill and with relationships ending and with school kids being assholes. It is okay. I am not angry that nobody tried to protect me from painful experiences; I am even grateful because most of these things have allowed me to grow.
But then there is this one thing, this one relative of whom everybody has always known that what he does is objectively not okay. All around him there were people who suffered from his crossing boundaries, his treating women like shit, his showing his body and regarding other’s bodies as his property. And it’s not even this behaviour that’s bugging me this much. People like him exist, that is sad but after all it’s true as well.
What I just really can’t grasp is that these exact people who have been suffering from this for decades enable his behaviour. Due to dependencies and fear of accusations this sick system is working and working and working. Of course it would have been great if the people who were responsible for me hadn’t exposed me to this, knowing that it would not be good for me. But I can understand that this is virtually impossible when you’re so trapped in such dynamics. Instead it would have helped if someone had taught me to set boundaries, to say no. What happened as an alternative was that I was being told why I had to accept his behaviour, that he would not change and that it is an inevitable fact that one has to put up with it. And what this does to my head is the following:
His needs were more important than mine.
His needs were even more important than questions of respect and decency that are much larger than just me.
So I was less important. Not important enough to be protected. Just not important.
And if I was so unimportant that nobody could surpass themselves for me in spite of old habits and fears and simply judge matters rationally there has to be something wrong with me.
There must be something about me that is fundamentally wrong and makes me so unimportant and worthless.

I won’t elaborate on this any further – don’t worry, I’m completely aware that these thoughts are super destructive. Not helpful, so full of self-pity and anger. I’m also not looking for guilt, neither do I like accusations, nor do they help, nor is it relevant. I have tons of understanding for the people this is about. I know their stories, I know exactly why they can’t see or can’t scream or can’t act. I understand every little detail, it is a crytsal-clear picture. But the problem is: This understanding is what’s destroyed me. For twenty-five years I have understood and understood and understood…and in the process I first joined the end of the queue and later lost myself.
I don’t know how to continue with this issue as I’m now torn between the old understanding I can’t keep up anymore and this new anger that sounds like an accusation all too quickly.

For now, I’m just glad I got rid of this poison in the old year; we’ll see what my therapist intends to make of it with me in the new year as we don’t have another session this year. This has been incredibly challenging for me and I had to fight the worst thoughts of self-harm in months after the session. Now I’ll turn off the phone and shut out the world. I wish you all a fluffy weekend.

Finding from a desk drawer #4

He head, she heart.

She loud, he quiet.

He anthracite grey, she multi-coloured.

She dreamer, he realist.

He focused on success, she on enjoyment.

She impulsive, he controlled.

He discreet, she cheeky.

She idealistic, he steady.

And me – somewhere in between. A bit of both and also a little more. None of both and yet everything. He can hear her in my laughter, she can see him in my gestures. Both so good, just so different, both know me although I am a stranger. Always looking for points of commonality – because if I can find any I might finally know what I am made of.

Finding from a desk drawer #3

No idea how old this is…it’s not particularly sophisticated but I just wanted it to stay like that:

How can it be that some days are just grey, with muffled sounds and cold hands and stale tastes, if the sky was too blue and the blood to red and every breath too loud and every touch too much such a short time ago?

How can I miss something I used to hate?

How is it possible that I will not be able to get enough of life tomorrow when today it just seems to be empty and cruel and meaningless?

How will I be able to gasp for breath when I’m underwater all the time?

How is it possible that I can feel your hand in mine although my wounds never hurt?

How will I be able to enjoy life tomorrow if I answer the question of the meaning of life with “Dying” today?

How can anyone just assume that all this is real when nobody will know we’ve been here a hundred years from now?

And how can it be that I still want to get drunk on life with all these colours and sounds and the warmth and the feelings and maybe even the people in it?



Just some breaking news I want to share because I’m incredibly happy:
My country’s constitutional court just decided that all couples can marry with equal rights from 2019 on! Although it’s a pity that this legal step was necessary due to the many right-winged politicians in my country who have prevented this from happening so far it is such a huge success for the LGBT+ community. And the fact that marriage for everyone will be legalized the year my city hosts the Europride is just amazing timing πŸ™‚
Wish you all a very nice and rainbow-coloured day πŸ™‚

Therapy: Session #34

We talked about last session’s after-effect – which has mostly been anger: On one side, anger with myself because I can’t manage everything and be there for everyone the way I’d like to (notorious) but also anger with others who haven’t been there for me the way I would have needed (very, very new and unfamiliar).
Then we went through some situations from my past – from little Nina’s view and the perspective of a healthy adult in order to find out what I would have needed back then. It is not important to describe these situations in detail, the only thing that’s important is that they were cases where various grown-ups haven’t performed their tasks as the healthy adult my therapist likes to address would. I was not protected, not being taken seriously or simply not being seen. What I liked about the exercise was that the goal was neither feeling self-pity nor blaming the adults from my past. It was just about allowing emotions I’ve had to exist: Frustration, powerlessness, anger, incomprehension and a “I have to endure this!” and then finding out what I can do as a healthy grown up when these emotions dock on in the future. In the situations I imagined this guardian as a big brother – because that was what I longed for back then: Somebody who is older and stronger and can look out for me without being as patronizing as a parent or a teacher. The fact that I felt really sorry for this guardian during the exercise says a lot about the quite huge things I would have needed support with. In so many situations I was unable to learn that the things that had been done to me were not okay so I assumed that there must be something wrong about me. But when I look back at the child or budding teen I used to be I know today that I was quite a cool kid. Really. And that’s exactly what I’ll write into a letter to my past self which will probably end up too personal for the blog. Over and out for today.

There are days…

…where this is all that keeps me going.
My treasure trove full of emergency skills, a string of beads I don’t want to shorten and a cuddly cat than can be warmed in the microwave like a cherry pit pillow (just without the weird smell). Sometimes the stress level can simply go through the roof and there is not even a little time to prepare. Everything is reduced to a craving that is impossible to talk about without having to explain way too much. What happens then is this mode of function where everything that has been learned in therapy is done automatically. And then one can only hope that it’s enough to get through another day without doing anything stupid. Let’s go!

Therapy: Session #33

The session was really interesting. We worked with schema therapy cards. They show pictures of people in all kinds of situations and moods and my task was to select all cards that trigger any emotion. With the dozen cards I chose we made little groups – situations and feelings that have (had) a connection, things I could use as goals etc.
It would be very difficult to explain how moving the cards, talking about past experiences and finding connections slowly made us realize things – in order to do that I would have to describe every single picture and many things from my past that would just go too far here.
Anyway, to cut a long story short we realized the purpose that self-harm originally had for me and the purpose it has now. My experience seems to be that I have needs and worries that were regarded as less serious than the challenges people around me had to face. As a child I patiently waited for my “peanuts” to get some attention if only I could help the grown-ups solve their problems first. Later, as a teenager, I started getting really angry as it seemed that it was never the right time or place for my stuff but as even little “mistakes” made me feel like I was burdening everyone further I started feeling guilty eventually. And in order to cope with that, self-harm started. My therapist thinks that my anger was justified in most cases and could have been useful – for instance in order to scream for once “You can all kiss my ass, now it’s MY turn and I don’t want to do this anymore!”. I don’t know how often she has already explained that I need anger in order to set boundaries but yesterday when I saw all these cards with situations I went through I realized that it’s true for the first time. Unfortunately my head seems to think that anger is not useful anyway because it’s either not taken seriously or viewed as a burden. Therefore the consequence of anger is a mixture of resignation and feelings of guilt and this mixture is something that strongly drives me towards self-harm in order to “endure” it.
We will keep working on this but I definitely found it extreeeeeeeeeeemely interesting how such connections can be discovered using the cards and how my opinion about getting angry has changed slightly πŸ™‚


So…the assessment is over. The doctor I had to see was quite a…quirky person. Not unfriendly, just a little gruff I guess. The appointment was over after ten minutes – if our statutory health insurance thinks that this is a proper amount of time for a psychiatric evaluation they are even funnier than I thought ;). Anyway, the doctor fired away and asked lots of questions – nothing too detailed, nothing too uncomfortable. He seemed pleased to hear about my progress with skills and not as irritated by the fact that I’m not on meds as many other professionals. Also, he seemed to see a person who needs treatment, not a supplicant which was great.
In the end he decided that we would probably meet again in a year which I see as a sign that he will tell the insurance that I actually don’t just see my therapist for fun. I’m glad it’s over but still really tense – I guess it will take some time to relax but that’s okay.
Also I want to thank you all for your constant support in kind words in that matter – I really appreciate that nobody here ever tells me to toughen up πŸ™‚

Got it!

It kept bugging me: What is it that upsets me this much about the evaluation on Thursday?
It is not the fear of the doctor.
It is not the fear of possibly not getting any refund for therapy anymore.
It is not the anger I feel because I actually would have a lot to do at work that day.
It is not even the sadness I feel because mental illnesses are still not treated the way they should be.

So what is it?
Once again, intense concentrated thinking was more effective than constant, week-long brooding – surprise, surprise. Whilst running (because growing numb is never good in situations like this) I imagined how my therapist would guide me towards the answer if she was there. And step by step I figured out what the answer I needed was: It upsets me that I need this. For all my life I wanted to need less than others. And above all I didn’t want to cause problems – not for my parents who had lots of other things to worry about, not for my relatives who were glad because I was so “well-behaved”, not at school where nothing but good marks counted, not in various jobs where I should have protested at the way I was being treated. It was important not to need anything. It was important not to cause problems. It was important not to burden anyone.
And that is the whole point: The letter the insurance sent is screaming at me that I’m a burden on the system, that I should be able to deal with this on my own and that, for this single time in my life I have brought myself to ask for help it has to be determined whether I deserve that help first. Making me feel like I’m impertinent is such a massive trigger for me – I can hear a thousand voices from my past that urged me to do things that were just too much and I hear the silence from my past that was there when I would have needed support…

The fact that I’m aware of this now helps me a great deal – because this is not at all about the appointment itself. I can go there. I can answer the doctor’s questions. I can deal with any possible outcome. And above all I can discuss the issue above with my therapist as I finally know what the problem is.


On Thursday I finally have this stupid evaluation my statutory health insurance forces me to attend. I start shaking every time I think about it and as it has been that way for weeks now I’ll be so glad when it’s finally over. I just called the doctor in order to ask if I need to take anything special with me. Interestingly he answered the phone himself, not an assistant as I was expecting. His answers were pretty curt but not unfriendly. I had hoped I would be less nervous after the call but I’m still the same. And it upsets me that I’m so nervous – after all, the worst thing that can happen is that the insurance tells me I won’t get any refund anymore which would make therapy even more expensive for me but it’s not like I’m not used to spending a lot of money on it anyway. They can’t keep me from seeing my therapist so I really don’t know what I’m so fucking scared of. Anyway, just a few more days, one more person I’ll have to tell about the stupid things my head is doing and perhaps a ton of paperwork more about my mental state…how very pleasant -_-

Therapy: Session #32

Nothing too interesting today – it was a quiet kind of session. Topics were: Self-care especially when dealing with stress and/or fear of loss. The more stress I have the less I am able to treat myself well which is something I have to work on. So we are trying to find little things that can give me a break in difficult times and also ways to deal with my permanent fear of losing people I love. I’m quite tired and not in the mood for a long post today so I’ll just leave it like that and wish you all a nice weekend πŸ™‚

One year of therapy

Unbelievable but true – I have been working with my therapist for slightly more than a year now and with each day I am more gratefeul to have her. This is just a little brainstorming about what has happened in that time:

  • I trust my therapist. I have often imagined what it would be like to have a therapist whom I could tell anything, where I didn’t have to wonder if it is okay but simply know that everything can be discussed and it is possible to find solutions together, no matter what – I just never thought that I would ever get there and be able to speak and not be disappointed.
  • For the first time in my life I can say that I’m not giving more than I am able to – there have always been schools, people, jobs or other circumstances that were too demanding. It’s not like that anymore. Finally I have time and energy for my own needs.
  • I can understand where my problems are coming from. Ten years ago I thought that the things that were happening to me couldn’t be talked about, that I was alone with this and nobody could understand my worries. Today I can see that there are many others dealing with the same stuff – and that this means that things that help have been invented.
  • I perceive many of my symptoms as something that can be influenced. The things that make me feel totally helpless are getting less thanks to skills, all kinds of exercises and the ability to recognize warning signs. I used to think I could never trust myself – this is slowly changing.
  • And that leads to my seeing myself as one whole person. I don’t change my behaviour that much anymore depending on whom I’m with, I don’t doubt my preferences and the things I can do (or can’t, after all). This makes it easier to cope with changing situations and adjusting when there’s a transition from being alone to being in company (used to be a huge problem).

When I see what has happened within a year I can vaguely imagine the person that will step out of my therapist’s office after many more months. The gratefulness I feel is hard to describe – apart from the fact that many people don’t even get a chance to have therapy it is by far not self-evident for it to work that well when it finally happens. And before I can type and delete the following sentence five more times I’ll just publish this post: I am a little proud of myself πŸ™‚

Therapy: Session #31

As the whole week has been pretty hard concerning tension, a feeling of being overwhelmed and the urge to self-harm and it all has been quite unclear (many small possible triggers but nothing that really made sense), me and my therapist just tried to find out why my head is so fond of the idea of cutting right now. Today I could talk quite well about how it feels when I think I could hit the ceiling due to about anything, when silence is too silent and music is too loud, when I start crying due to a full laundry basket and everything’s just too much. At times like this I actually believe that I could be a better version of myself with self-harm, that I would have stronger nerves and get more things done and stay calmer. Sounds pretty dumb but that’s what it feels like for me.
My therapist thinks I started to glorify self-harm because I made the experience that it used to be the only thing I could do in order to function. It’s not anymore but getting something like that out of your head when there’s nothing else as “effective” is really hard.
Then we talked about the old and the new way: My old way is a sort of motorway where I made the experience that there is a lack of time and energy for myself and that I have to function and that self-harm keeps me going somehow. And then there’s the new way – a bumpy dirt road I don’t know at all and where I need an appeal that makes me want to go there.
And this is probably the sticking point: I still, after all this time, have not found a reason to stop self-harming. It is a terrible thing to admit and I know that every person who likes me will disagree with me but the thing is: Right now I don’t do it because I want to do “well” in therapy, because I delay it from session to session but always know that I’d start again immediately without my therapist. Of course it can’t stay like that, that’s not the point of therapy and I am completely aware of that. But I personally don’t regard self-harm as such a terrible thing that there is any appeal in stopping. I fight it although I’m not convinced I want to stop. That makes it so hard although I know how important it is for the people around me.
The next exercise was actually kind of fun – my therapist played the “new way” and I the old one. I love discussions and rhetorical challenges. You can imagine what kind of stuff came up – my therapist said lots of things of which I know that they are healthy and make sense and I was allowed to give the destructive voices in my head some space and say stupid things that make sense in my twisted perception. My therapist prescribed self-care – first she suggested 2 hours each day but I was able to negotiate so that she made it one – how the hell am I supposed to do nothing purposeful for 2 hours every day?! It is important to say that self-care starts working on the good days. Then I am able to leave dust and work be and just relax. But the more tension I feel the more it’s likely that I’ll start doing what my surroundings used to do when I was younger: I make sure that there is no time or energy left for anything pleasant. After all my life is a spa treatment compared to what it used to be – I don’t work full-time anymore and above all I work in a job where I’m treated well and get enough sleep (in contrast to previous jobs). I reduced contact with people who steal my energy, I even turn on the heating when it’s getting uncomfortable and not only when it’s really necessary. I kind of blabbed this statement and it made my therapist swallow. I think it was only then that she realized how hard it is for me to do something good only for myself. When my partner is there – no problem: turning on the heating, watching movies, lying around…but none of these things are okay if it’s just me. Until the next session I have to find things that I could allow myself even on bad days.
At the end I showed my therapist my scars – after a whole year where she has not betrayed my trust I finally was there. Furthermore I kind of wanted to “rehearse” it in case I have to do it in the assessment. Sure my partner sees me and I go to the sauna and everything but I’ve never before shown someone my scars on purpose. I was shaking like mad and didn’t really feel anything anymore. I would give a lot to know what my therapist was thinking. Does she think it’s ridiculous that I think so much about self-harm but only have so few scars? Am I ill enough although it all was okay without stitches? She said she was surprised by how visible it all is after the time that has passed but I guess it’s her job to say something like that. Maybe I’ll ask her next time…
In this shaky state it kind of sucked that somebody had locked the front door and I couldn’t get outside for some fresh air. Brief panic, then “I’ll just sit here and wait for someone to come”, then: “No, self-care! Go inside again although it will interrupt the session after yours and ask for the key!”. I did that and nobody was angry with me. And then finally weekend.

Relationship (yes, possible ;))

Finally, as announced, this is a post about my current relationship – about what’s helpful for me and my partner and how it all works out despite, or maybe sometimes even because of my loose screw. As it obviously takes two to tango here I am very glad that my wonderful partner supported me with a lot of ideas and thoughts – it was very interesting for me to ask him questions concerning this post as I was curious about them anyway. Especially as it is often claimed that borderlines are incapable of having relationships this post is so important for me.

My perspective is that it all works so well because my partner never limits me to my loose screw. Although he knows my diagnosis and a lot about it he always sees me, often better than I ever could see myself and that gives me a huge sense of security. Many partners (or relatives in general) of mentally ill persons can only see the difficulties, the relapses and are so occupied preventing unpleasant situations that they forget how many other traits the person in front of them also has. My partner is not like that. I have no idea how he’s doing it but to me it seems that he never forgets who I am and who we are just because I’m freaking out occasionally.
Nevertheless it is and has been important that he is educated about my diagnosis. Knowing, for instance, what is happening during a panic attack and how one can deal with it is useful for both sides – it gives him the chance to stay calm and I can feel sure that he knows what to do in case of an emergency. The fact that nobody can make me laugh as easily as my partner is a bonus of course but I guess that’s not good advice as you can’t influence these things.
The third thing I regard as very, very important is, that he’s never tried to save me. Yes, he is there for me when I need him and yes, he often shows consideration but the most important thing is that he never tries to play my therapist and that he does his own thing. He makes it impossible for both of us to completely occupy each other (which probably is a classic BPD-thing).
This might sound quite obvious but everyone who has been living together with a mentally ill person knows how quickly one is tempted to devote oneself and to forget one’s own needs and to stop thinking about other things than the illness. This has always been my biggest fear when I started talking about my problems with my partner but up to now he has managed more than well – and perhaps that’s the reason he has steadier nerves than most. During proofreading he especially emphasized how important it is for him to take some time for himself, even when, if not especially when I am having a hard time. At the beginning this has often hurt me (which probably happens in many relationships but we borderlines really tend to feeling rejected) – but skill comes with practice πŸ™‚

So these were the things my partner contributes and that make it possible to have this relationship in spite of my special effects. However, none of it would make sense if I wasn’t working hard on getting better – after all it is my speciality to go right from loving glorification phase to devaluating ending phase. The fact that it has been different for us is probably about having known each other for a long time beforehand and getting into it veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery slowly. Especially as borderlines in love like having 110% it is important not to overshoot – when I hear that people move in together after a few weeks and expect that there won’t be any problems if only they love each other it makes me smile in disbelief even if both of them are healthy (no offence).
My partner has answered many of my questions and what I could see within all the answers was that it helps when I talk to him. For example he’s been able to give me a better sense of security since I honestly described how serious I am when I ask him if he will ever come back when he goes to the supermarket – if I hadn’t explained he wouldn’t know and probably think I was joking. Likewise it is important for me to speak up when I need a break – and not when I would have needed one hours ago. I had to learn the hard way that he cannot guess everything and also that he cannot always understand how important good planning is for me in order to function even when something’s going downhill inside my head.
My partner notices that things are improving since I’ve started seeing my therapist and he understands many things I don’t like talking about since he can read them here on the blog. I always had this fear of talking about stuff but in fact nothing I tell him can be as bad as the things I’m keeping from him. The fact that he knows me extremely well and often notices when I start tensing up long before I do is one side of the coin – the other is that I learn how to control it with skills, for instance, and I think it’s good for the both of us to see that something can actively be done.
I also was curious what would have been a good time to talk about the diagnosis if we hadn’t known each other when I got it yet. My partner reckoned that the first three dates would have been a little early – and he said that although he hadn’t known anything about BPD before I got my diagnosis and therefore didn’t have any of the horrible prejudices that are floating around out there :D. I have never started a new relationship since the diagnosis so I can’t really give any advice here although I have been asked about this a lot…your experiences?
What I, personally, regard as the ugliest thing my partner has to deal with are my anger attacks which is why they are a huge topic in therapy. They are a thing of which I can’t understand how he can put up with it but he seems to be good at focussing on the fact that it’s usually passing quickly. And I have never scared him so far. It is a thing that might be an issue for many couples but as a pacifist who’s only 1,58 meters high I’m probably not as intimidating as I would like to be :D. None of us is prone to physical violence which is a huge pro compared to other couples for sure so I don’t want to say anything about an issue I just have no experience with.
My partner also said that he’s worried when I talk about self-harm and thoughts of suicide and I am sorry to hear that. If he was the kind of person who crushed me with constant worrying I would run away quickly so I am grateful for him being honest but not making it my problem at that moment.
I can only encourage him to find counselling himself if there’s something he can’t deal with. My therapist also offered that he can accompany me if there’s something to talk about.

These were a lot of thoughts, just things about our relationship I could think about regarding my illness and maybe it’s not helpful for anyone out there. My conclusion is that I haven’t mentioned anything I couldn’t talk about with my partner and I am convinced that communication is even a thousand times more important than usual if on part of the relationship has a mental illness. My partner couldn’t live with me if he didn’t know where my behaviour is coming from, how to deal with it and how to make me feel safe. And I couldn’t live with him if I had to worry about him suffering unduly from my issues, if he lost his nerve every time something was happening or if he wouldn’t honestly tell me what he can deal with and where we might need support.

This is also supposed to be a thank you – I am incredibly grateful for getting a chance with such a wonderful person and since I commited myself to it I have gotten so much joy that I am a more relaxed version of myself than I’ve ever been before for sure. Thank you!

Therapy: Session #30

Today we talked a lot about the Letter I got about the refund from my statutory health insurance. We even practiced the conversation I might have with the person who will evaluate my mental health status. I feel a lot better now that my therapist told me what kind of questions they might ask and let me figure out what my answers could be. We also talked about my fears, mainly that I would have to talk about certain things from my past in depth or that I might be asked to show them my scars. My therapist encouraged me to tell them if something doesn’t feel okay for me and told me again and again that I am allowed to tell them to stop. I’m still not looking forward to the evaluation but I feel that I can survive it now which is pretty good.

And then we talked about the few days I spent in my hometown last week. I had a kind of fight with my mum. It was about my abusive relative and his wife. As I don’t intend to wash my family’s dirty linen in public this might sound a little vague but basically me and my mum are not happy with the way things are dealt with in our family and the way my relative never acts responsibly because his wife will always defend him with bullshit like: “If you continue this he will surely die from it, you are so selfish, you are making this all up, you are ungrateful etc. etc.” – it sucks that this nonsense is affecting my improving relationship with my mum and I am so angry because I constantly wonder what my mum might have been like if these people hadn’t treated her like this for her whole life. Anyway, now we have an issue that could easily be resolved, that wouldn’t let room for the usual excuses and that I would love to see cleared up, if only to stand up to my relatives for once. I feel stuck in these structures and I’m trying so hard to respect that I can’t make things happen quicker than they are supposed to happen but I can’t help being a “Grit your teeth and get into it!”- kind of person. I don’t want to put up with this bullshit anymore and I don’t want anyone to protect these unfair people any longer.


This is a post I’ve been asked to write – a very kind reader wanted to know if I could write about the topic of past relationships and presented me with quite a challenge. As I really appreciate people asking questions or even requesting posts I did my best though.
Especially as BPD is a disorder that manifests itself strongly in interpersonal relationships it also totally makes sende to speak about the topic. Furthermore I hope to appear human enough to convice some ex-partners of people with BPD that we definitely aren’t monsters.

The reason I haven’t had the idea to write about past relationships here is that they are over. Probably sounds quite uncreative but that is exactly what I feel: When something’s over it’s over. Period. You can let go before the actual ending is there and afterwards there’s nothing left to do. I have never mourned after breaking up with someone. I am a friend of clean cuts (not literally in this case ;)). One of the questions I’ve been asked by my own ex-partners as well as by those of other borderlines is: “Is there really nothing left anymore? From one day to the next?”
Of course I can only answer this question from my own point of view: Yes. My thinking and feeling are absolute. Over is over. And above all: Black is black and white is white. What I mean by that is that usually for me, there is a short phase of devaluation before a break-up. When I leave someone the following sentence will probably be said: “I have to go before I start hating you.” The fact that this came of out the blue for people in the past is not easy to understand for me – you know if it doesn’t work anymore and if it doesn’t work there’s no point in making an effort and if you can’t make an effort it is better to stop, short and sweet. I would say the exact same thing about (former) jobs or flats.

For this you have to know that the “classic borderline relationship” (is there such a thing?) has a pattern:
The first phase is this kind of melding. For me, all that can be said about this phase is just about falling in love but if I can trust observations from ex-partners of other borderlines, relationships with us seem to be more intense more quickly. I guess that is due to the fact that we are quite sensitive and can quickly see what our partner wants from us. Adaptable, enthusiastic, intense – those are the words borderlines in this phase are often described with. It is also the reason for our ex-partners being so hurt when we leave – such an intensity is hard to find without mental special effects. What I would also mention about this phase is a strong fear of loss that can be accompanied by huge clinginess. My whole world revolves around the partner.
Then there is the phase that didn’t last long in any of my former relationships but is the main part for most people: The middle. Once again not my favourite topic. For other people it means that you know each other better, the rose-coloures glasses vanish, you get used to your routine. I now have this phase for the very first time in my current relationship and want to write a seperate post about it. In my former relationships I’ve always experienced this phase as boring and/or oppressive. As if I would cease to exist because the partner was taking over my life, being torn between fear of losing myself…or the partner. At the same time boredom because the intense feeling from the beginning could not be sustained.
Yes and then, sooner or later, there is devaluation phase. Here the smallest things can cause a fight, the partner can’t do anything right anymore and before you know it only hurts. I, personally, keep this phase short. I know myself – as soon as I’ve thrown someone off their pedestal I cannot bring myself to giving anything anymore. And I know how…cold I am then. Cold is the right word I think. Proud, mocking, maybe even cruel. I just don’t care anymore. And as I don’t want to do that to anyone, I leave. Quickly. Astonishingly (for me) often unexpectedly for the other one. I even feel like I’m doing the person a favour because I would inflict more pain if I stayed.
To my knowledge there are people with BPD who wish to hurt the other person in this phase or even after the relationship is over. I read it often. I find it difficult to say anything about it as I, like I said, actively try not to hurt people unnecessarily. The opposite of love is not hate – it’s indifference. As long as I fight with passion there is still a chance.

What I read often about ex-partners is that they accuse us borderlines of having only one goal in life: manipulating dear people. This is yet another topic where I find it difficult to say anything as I think that we all manipulate our environment to a certain extent and that we do it more often when we are afraid or feel cornered. The fact that borderlines feel that way more often than others might be a possible explanation for our reputed manipulation. I also think that this phenomenon can be countaracted by looooooooooooooots of communication – if I feel safe in a relationship and know where I stand I, personally, will never knowingly or even maliciously manipulate anyone. Concerning ex-partners I would say that every time I did manipulate I had been hurt or there had been a lack of communication or I had been scared first.

This post is getting rather long but there is one more question I’d like to address: “How do you feel when you meet someone you once had a relationship with?”
I feel exactly like when I’m visiting my old school: Grown out of it. When I walk through my old city I have the strong feeling of being a ghost who doesn’t belong there anymore, who knows everything there is to know and therefore is searching for something new. Former workplaces, vehicles, pieces of clothing make me feel like that…as well as former partners. They don’t belong to me anymore, I don’t belong to them and that is somewhere between astonishing, creepy, relieving and nice. I’ve never had a desire for revenge. Nor feelings of guilt. Over is over.

Thanks to the person who gave me the idea for this post – if you, dear person, or anyone else wants to know anything specific, please just ask πŸ™‚
As my present is a premiere (several years in the same relationship, the same job and the same flat) I want to dedicate a seperate post to this status. The special thing about it will be that my wonderful partner has given me lots of input with his own thoughts and will therefore be actively helping me work on this blog for the first time. Working on the thoughts of two people at the same time is an unusual task for me which is why the post might still take some time to write but I hope that it will show that, and also, how relationships with a part that has BPD can work πŸ™‚


Just saw that people with beauty channels on various platforms get lots of trade samples and money.
Think about creating such a channel especially for people with BPD. Possible products include:

  • Heat cream, either as a skill or instead of blusher (ever tried it on your cheeks, guys?)
  • Make-up that covers scars properly
  • Stylish first-aid kits
  • Ampoules filled with ammonia – the modern person of today’s smelling salt
  • …and many more

If you’re interested in a sponsor contract, please contact my assistant πŸ˜‰

Letter and help and progress

Little update as I was so terribly agitated yesterday:

  • I didn’t manage to call statutory health insurance. Each time the wait loop started telling me how everyone there was eager to support my health I started hyperventilating and hung up.
  • What I did manage though was asking my therapist for help outside of a session. That would have been totally impossible a few months ago. She inquired but couldn’t do much for the time being but she was there and that was so good to know.
  • Additionally I managed typing yesterday’s post. And you all have been wonderful. Nobody told me that I was weak or should get my shit together – quite the opposite! Within the first two hours, one email after another arrived full of nice words, understanding and digital hugs which is all I could accept right now. Thanks, just thanks!
  • And just because you’ve all been there and I managed asking for help I could get through the night without self-harm. Never, never, never would that have been possible some time ago, never! But today it is and that shows me that there is progress. That things can change. And although I still can’t read the letter without shaking and thinking the world is going to end I am…calm apart from that. Because I know that there are people who will reach out to me without crushing me. Gratefulness is such a nice feeling.


Statutory health insurance wrote me a letter. It says that my extension request will not be processed until I go there for an examination on the 23rd of November. Until then I won’t even get the small refund for therapy that I’ve been granted up to now. The letter sounds about as friendly as a subpoena and includes a threat of sanctions if I don’t show up as well as a telephone number which I can call during exactly 3 hours per week (no joke!).

It has to be determined whether I am ill enough for therapy – that makes total sense for the minimal refund I get if I keep in mind that a colleague of mine has a therapy place that is fully paid for by statutory health insurance although she only sees a therapist in order to relax – she doesn’t even have a diagnosis but still doesn’t have to justify that she can see her therapist for free every week. I’m happy for her, I just don’t get our (Social) system. Statutory health insurance has been informed of my diagnoses by 3 therapists, 2 psychiatrists and one of their own doctors so far.
Paperwork stresses me even on my best days and if all goes well; my fear of authorities is one of the strongest reactions I might show. I don’t know what I have done wrong, I don’t know if my further therapy will be supported (what do they care that we are at a difficult, important point), I don’t know how sick they want me to be, I only know that I have to live with this insecurity for a whole month.
What I have to find out until then is: Do they want to see injuries; if yes – how many and how bad? Should I come to the appointment in hot pants as I belong to the part of the mentally ill population that has visible evidence of their illness?
I seriously consider referring myself to the next psychiatric hospital just like I am now (shaking, crying, using skill chains over and over again, dissociating, rocking back and forth). Maybe that will make clear how important therapy is for my functioning which I use to pay insurance contributions. The clinic would be for free as well so why try so hard to keep going outpatient?

In case anyone wishes to observe that this post is not at all constructive: Correct! I don’t do constructive tonight. It’s enough that typing keeps me from self-harming (is there a 6 in Diary Cards?), that’s about as constructive as it will get for now.

By the way my therapist is yet again the very best: I swallowed all of my pride and contacted her. The fact that she doesn’t get it either supports my impression that this is not standard procedure. But still she was able to calm me down a little (she wants to keep working with me even if statutory health insurance doesn’t pay anymore) and she will inquire there – maybe she can put in a word for me.

Therapy: Session #29

My therapist asked me what I feel like regarding the fact that we decided to work more on trauma stuff. I told her that I was kind of relieved that we’ve finally arrived at the topic but that I was naturally really scared. She wanted to know what I was most scared about and I could immediately answer that: Being ashamed. There are so many things where shame overwhelms me, for me it’s one of the most uncontrollable feelings. I have this deep-rooted conviction that if any person knew everything about me they would definitely leave me which is why I have to conceal thousands of little things others could hate. This is a very typical BPD-thing so my therapist wasn’t surprised. She says that we need to start with small things and work on controlling this intense feeling of shame before we can continue. There are three things I have to try until the next session:

1: Use emergency skills when the shame is too strong, especially as I tend to dissociate when I’m really embarassed.
2: Use the safe place exercise more often. This one works great for me, I can always visualize my safe place within seconds, I just have to actually think of it more often. My therapist wanted me to describe my safe place and was quite surprised by how detailed I can see/hear/smell/feel it in my mind. She is the first person I’ve entrusted with this knowledge, I always thought my safe place might be a little weird but when she told me that she actually has a client who imagines being inside a huge mountain of cotton candy I felt that mine was actually pretty ordinary πŸ˜€
3: Make a list with things I find embarassing on a scale from 1 to 10. Just so you can imagine what we’re talking about – breathing loudly when I’m climbing stairs would be a 3, someone hearing me sing when I think I’m on my own would be 7, if not 8. And those are totally trivial everyday things, not traumatic events. I’m so scared of this, there are just so many things of which I think nobody can see them…but I also really hope that if I can work on this with my therapist, I will be less stressed by stuff that just happens. We’ll see.

Sunny vitamins

Today I had an appointment with my psychiatrist. As I’m not taking meds I don’t go to see her very often although I feel that I’m in very good hands. She has this kind of caring personality, a little like a kind grandma – just without cake and exaggerated worry. She seemed to be really pleased that my therapy is going so well and promised to let me know if any medication that prevents dissociation was invented – that would be something even I could be persuaded to take πŸ˜€
I appreciate that she never tries to force any meds on me and also that she totally hit the mark when she recommended some herbal sedatives for my panic attacks and tension many months ago.
Today we decided that I would try vitamin D this winter – like most people in this part of the world I get too little sun at least half of the year and would like to fight the tiredness and dejection that come with every winter (actually I usually only notice it when this burst of energy comes with summer, before that I tend to deny the fact that winter can do anything to me).
So now I’m prepared with a wake-up-light, a daylight lamp at work and vitamin D – winter can come πŸ™‚
To all of you who have tried it before: Did you notice a difference with vitamin D? If I recall how huge a difference some iron made when I had a lack of it my hopes are quite high…:)

Therapy: Session #28

…a little late as I spent two beautiful days in sunny Budapest πŸ™‚

At first we briefly discussed how the mindfulness exercises help me quite well with staying in reality and how I’m happy about “little” things since I’ve started doing them – colourful leaves, wind in my hair, interestingly shaped stones…it’s a sort of childlike amazement that feels very nice.

And then we talked about last Wednesday. I had dance class which is a wonderful thing and the teacher explained a pose with me which usually is okay…except that he was unfortunately wearing a certain perfume. My physical reaction suprised me as well as my partner – without having a panic attack I just started shaking and didn’t stop for several minutes. Really weird. The following days were…mixed. All in all I was well, just the physical feeling of being crushed or choked…and then flying away stayed and came with the smallest things, certain songs etc. as well as the urge to self-harm.

It’s not a huge riddle where from the past these feelings stem from: My relative, again and again. When someone groans while sitting down, when someone smells of perfume or even of peppermint toothpaste. When somebody says certain words or makes certain gestures. The list is endless.
For the first time I told my therapist what it was like when I wrote a letter to this relative in which I tried to talk about my memories. At that time I thought it went pretty well. After the initial turmoil everyone agreed that the matter was settled and that it would be okay to start over. But for me it’s not settled. I see a thousand little power games that were being played: How the relative’s wife stood in my way, came to his defence and even got my mother involved. How my request for a conversation was fulfilled – under certain conditions. I wanted to talk on neutral ground but I was compelled to come into his flat, sit at his table, talk about the issue in his comfort zone. Although talking about the issue might be an exaggeration – after all I was just being told that I shouldn’t destroy the family and above all that I imagined all these things. Truth be told, I have to say that I sort of backed down in hindsight.

My therapist wanted to know more about the way he does what he does – that is constantly crossing boundaries of all the women he’s surrounded by. I talk about the victim role he adopts when someone tries to enforce their boundaries. The whining that can last for hours because everything is a terrible rejection a grown-up man can’t deal with. And if that doesn’t work there’s still his wife: She wants to leave him once a year because she’s perhaps the person who suffers most from his behaviour but as soon as someone dares to criticize him she comes to his defence and breathes fire and brimstone – very dramaticalls that is: Traitor, lunatic, do you want to kill him – those are the words one who tries to enforce boundaries hears.

For the first time ever I heard my therapist utter her own personal feelings: “How can you stay so calm? This stuff makes me furious just by listening to it!”
I smiled. And told her that this was pure resignation.
Now my therapist decided that due to the abuse (that was not abuse, maybe you’re mistaken, maybe you got something wrong, you still don’t know if he meant it that way) she wants to work more on trauma (too huge a word, you’re probably just over-sensitive, other people had to make much more horrible experiences). And as scared as I am of what will come with that, as much I am relieved that we’re finally coming to a point where there is space for the topic.

A name for it

A lot of people seem to benefit from naming their disorders, I’ve even read about therapists who suggest finding a name for an illness in order to deal with it. There are depressions called “Gertrude” out there and eating disorders that go by the name of “Monica”. Also, “Ana” and “Mia” might be examples of this although pages that refer to eating disorders like that are usually very very harmful.
Anyway, I’ve noticed two things about this: One, I can only find people who have given their illness a female name. And although I’m totally aware that relationships with women can be very complicated I think it’s a little mean that nobody seems to think that a mental illness could also have a male name. So if there’s anyone out there who named their illnes “Hubert” or “Richard” – please let me know so that this doesn’t have to be so one-sided πŸ˜‰
Now, on a serious note, the second thing I’ve noticed is that I only know of people who named illnesses that “started” at some point in their life. Be it depression or an eating disorder – the people who live with those conditions seem to perceive them as something that came into their life and could possibly go away again -something seperate from their identities. So what about those of us who have a personality disorder? Would it make sense to name an illness that is utterly linked to your very personality? Unlike someone who first enocountered depression when they were in their twenties, I don’t really remember a “before”. I don’t know what it means to be totally sane and although it is possible to get better with the help of therapy and maybe even get rid of some symptoms most experts agree that BPD is not curable in the traditional sense. It didn’t start at some point in my life and it won’t just go away later. There is no before and there is no after, it’s a part of me and it’s often difficult to tell where a symptom starts and where my character ends.
This is why I can’t name my disorder – although everyone would be too polite to say that my whole personality is disturbed, my illness is still not a seperate thing that could have its own name. I don’t know if what I say here even makes sense to anyone but I just found it interesting how different people perceive the things they’re dealing with. I can imagine that it’s helpful to name your illness and therefore view it as something that, while it may impact you, is not an inherent part of yourself. I can imagine it makes it easier to remember what it was like not to deal with it and what it might be like when it’s gone again. I’d just love to find a way to apply this to my own illness but whilst I’m able to remember a time before certain symptoms started there are others that seem like they actually are parts of me. So I guess there is no name for my disorder but my own.

Note to all Gertrudes, Monicas, Huberts and Richards out there: The names above (apart from Ana and Mia which aboviously have a background) are just examples and I didn’t mean to insult anyone who happens to be called one of them πŸ˜‰

(Social) system

He tells me that he used to have a contingent of therapy places. It has been reduced steadily and now he can only allocate one every four months. He hates to make that choice, keeping in mind how many people come to see him. Apart from that he can’t help me anyway if I want to keep working with my current therapist.

This is how my consultation at an advice center for people who can’t perform fully in their jobs due to an illness went. As I’ve been working less since October in order to have more energy for therapy and my social life, paying for therapy has obviously not become easier. I have tried many things during the last few weeks in order to make this issue a little easier to cope with:

  • Statutory health insurance in my country contributes a small part of the costs. What remains is about as much as the rent for my flat.
  • It would be possible to wait for a fully financed therapy place which would mean that I’d have to wait for quite some time until I would get one of them. The most important disadvantage here is that I was sent to people who weren’t even willing to “work with a borderline” when I last tried. One is not popular among therapists with therapy places that are paid for by statutory health insurance when the diagnosis is a personality disorder (this is just my impression).
  • In order to get any refund from the statutory health insurance you have to waive doctor-patient confidentiality which makes the comfort zone “therapy” even more cozy. They want to know quite a lot from your therapist.
  • Also with organisations that offer affordable therapy for people with low incomes there is often a lack of experts for certain diagnoses or they only work with methods I’ve tried and not been able to benefit from. Therapy especially for BPD is mostly inpatient in my country so the fact that I’m in the middle of my career in spite of everything and that I don’t have an acute crisis is not helpful here *sarcasm off*.
  • I also tried to get into additional insurance so that a part of my costs would be covered. Understandably, insurances want to make money so all treatments for current diagnoses would have been excluded. The insurance person let me know that it would have been wise to get the insurance when I was still healthy. When I pointed out that I’m not sure if my problems started in primary school or even before and therefore I would have had to think about this insurance thing really early they didn’t respond anymore.
  • 7% of psychiatrists in my city have a contract with statutory health insurance. The poor, overloaded bastards.
    In the same city with about 2 million inhabitants there are 20 psychiatric day clinic places for childen and adolescents. In one of the richest countries in the EU.

Now this post sounds awfully like whining which is why I want to emphasize that I am in a happy situation as I have low fixed costs and a little nest egg which means I can fund my therapy despite everything. Nevertheless the financial burden isn’t small and my understanding for the lack of insurance-paid therapy places isn’t huge. I am angry with a system that abandons the weakest – all those who can’t work, who don’t attract enough attention for a hospitalization and who could never afford outpatient therapy or wait for an affordable therapy place. They are the people we sadly read about in the newspapers because they were so desperate that they jumped from a skyscraper – simply because there is no extensive, quick, and for many VITAL care. I don’t except myself when I say that you only notice these things when you’re dealing with it yourself. Until then you assume that everything’s fine.
I’m also angry because meds are so terribly easy to get your hands on in my country – I only have to see my general practitioner in order to get painkillers or sleeping pills without any problems. A 15-minute conversation with a psychiatrist who had never seen me before caused him to prescribe 3 (!) meds that can possibly be addictive without thinking twice. I had to ask both doctors about psychotherapy. Both couldn’t give me a satisfying answer, let alone help me. In the middle of depression the few vague colourful leaflets overwhelmed me just as much as the huge amount of phone calls that inevitably followed in order to get information. Statutory health insurance is willing to pay for all kinds of meds, regardless if there even are meds for the current diagnosis – always hoping that this cheap device keeps you inside the system and that you will continue to work like a robot and that’s that. A helpful therapy that works on the cause of problems (and obviously can be supported by meds) takes much too long for our achievement-orientated society. And although I am grateful to live in a social system that helps with a lot of things, I just don’t understand when people claim that there is no stigma surrounding mental illness – if that was the case, there would be more therapy programs, shorter times of waiting, less bureaucracy and arbitrariness…and maybe, just maybe, a lower suicide rate.

Note: Obviously these are just my experiences – neither do I claim that it’s like this for everyone nor am I an expert. And I am grateful because I’m very lucky to have the support I have and completely aware that there are many countries with a much worse health care. Just to be sure…

Therapy: Session #27

My therapist is moving. Within the few seconds it took her to explain that her new office will be even closer to my flat then the old one I went through the whole scenario of “SHE IS LEAVING ME!!!” – stupid head. Whatever, everything’s just fine :D.
The slight scepticism this left behind might be the reason for another weird feeling. It seems to me that my therapist is actively avoiding “big” issues that would take several sessions at the moment. The only reason I can find for this is that the extension request has not yet been authorized. She always assures me that it won’t be a problem but of course I don’t just believe that. The fact that we’re only talking a little bit about this and a little bit about that and my feeling of being stuck enhance my impression of “She also isn’t sure if the request will be authorized, that’s why she doesn’t want to get into anything bigger…”

Apart from that the session was quite okay. My therapist is still trying to understand where my “drifting off” is coming from, which purpose it used to serve and if it still has a purpose now, also why emptiness is so hard to handle for me and what dissociation feels like for me. As it’s so important for me to be able to influence these things she proposed some mindfulness exercises. They always seem quite banal to me in the beginning but I can see how they increase my quality of life when I use them everyday – to consciously perceive colours, smells or textures throughout the day and also give names to those things keeps me in reality pretty well. When I’m already completely “gone” I need stronger stimuli but when I manage to do the exercises regularly I don’t drift off as easily in the first place. As so often the case, preventing something from happening is much easier than acting when it already happened.
When we talked about relaxing we also mentioned meditation. I always thought it was great of me to be able to just sit and think nothing for long periods of time, as if I had a gift for buddhism…if only it wasn’t for the fact that this is not actually an achievement when you’re not really there anyway. So my therapist prescribed the oppsite of the usual “don’t think of anything-meditation”, that is: focussing on the outside and consciously perceiving sensory impressions. It’s nearly a little embarassing how hard this task is for me and it makes me realize just how often I simply “zone out” in everyday life, as if a vital strategy has turned into a bad habit at some point…

Of the same kind

If I think back I can’t recall a time when I didn’t feel drawn to people with mental “special features”. Neither do I mean to glorify illnesses nor do I strife to be a little helper who likes to engage in other people’s problems. It’s just that there is a certain…tenderness, a kind of compassion I feel for people who struggle with their own heads. Again and again I wonder where this comes from:

Is it because honest laughter from a person who has depression has a special value?
Is it because I appreciate how cautious traumatized people often are with their choice of words?
Is it because I can’t bear when someone rants about vanities for hours and others who have thought of suicide often feel like me in that regard?
Is it because nobody understand longing better than an addict?
Is it because I feel like people with anxiety can sense boundaries better than others and are more careful about them than “normal” people?
Is it because I’m good at seeing the soft core under the hard shell?
Is it because I’ve somehow always known that I’m “different” and felt where I would be understood long before I got my diagnosis?

Whatever it is – do you know it too?


Do you know that? This moment when you just feel alive – not tired, not spacey, not uneasy but simply alive? Full of energy in a strong body that breathes without having to struggle. A body that you can feel without it having to hurt and lips that just have to smile when there are goosebumps all over you as you glide into the freezing plunge pool after the sauna? I love it!

Damn stupid idea

Sometimes I wonder just how dumb a person (in this case I) can actually be. I really have a lot of practice at dealing with my disorder, I have skills I can use, I have a supporting environment…and yet I make total beginner’s mistakes. Today was a good day. Actually very good but also very emotional. And emotional always means that I’m a little more vulnerable than usually. Furthermore I am on my own – which can be nice but also is a factor that means I have to be extra careful. So one could assume that I’d think of going into self-care-mode, treat myself cautiously and take things slowly in the evening. Instead I think I have to get things done that I don’t have any energy for, listen to songs that are never good for me and submit search requests that show me pictures that would trigger me on the best days. Why do I do that? Automatic self-destruct-mode. Of course I only notice that when my thoughts are pretty much out of control. The only intelligent idea that keeps me from getting down to some self-harming business is “But I want to enjoy the sauna the day after tomorrow!”. So a skills chain is necessary after all. Once, twice, three times I’m through with it by now. And now I need distraction so I write and afterwards I’ll watch some sitcoms. What annoys me isn’t the fact that I nearly couldn’t withstand but that I drove myself to that point. I know my triggers. Why am I still so dumb and deliberately go looking for them? Why does my borderline brain still think I have to make things even harder than they already are? Why isn’t there just a little angel that’s holding skills unser my nose but also a little devil that tells me that being healthy would be really boring?

Therapy: Session #26

An uneventful session, we talked a little about this and that but nothing too sepcific. We also had to go through some morw paperwork for the insurance, fill a few gaps in my biography we hadn’t yet had the oppurtunity to talk about. No big emotions, no big realizations. And now I’m really starting my holiday πŸ™‚

Gone again

After last week’s high it has been difficult again for the past few days. I constantly feel like im underwater, somewhat subdued, not really there, sometimes I also can’t feel my hands. Depersonalisation and the urge to cut that results from it and that I can barely fight right now. When I feel like I’m dead already some skills that usually work fail. Occasionally I struggle with a sort of overstimulation, as if every few hours somebody was turning up all colours, lights, noises and touches to the utmost. Whatever, I only have to keep going today and tomorrow, then I’ll have made it through my last five-day-week at work. Next week I’m on holiday and afterwards I’ll only have 4-day-weeks and more time to relax. Perhaps it will get better then.

“Just” talking?

Although I had a vague idea of where I wanted to go I couldn’t imagine how change would, or even could happen when I started my therapy. I trusted in the fact that psychotherapy is scientifically proven and that I had the will to change things but I simply had no idea how “just talking” was supposed to do anything. I guess that many people feel like that – after all we all know how it can be good to speak about something that makes us unhappy but such a conversation is not yet a therapy session. So what is it that helps me so much?

For me the most important thing is the perspective from outside. My therapist can assess things much better than any friend ever could which is why I believe her when she says “But that was really awful!” or “You should take that seriously!”. If she says it from an objective point of view I can accept it.

This acceptance allows me to think about certain things in the first place. I am really, really good at trivializing things. While this can be quite funny at times it doesn’t help with actually working on problems. My therapist doesn’t give me any oppurtunity to belittle anything but at the same time she doesn’t dramatize (friends tend to either being deceived by my humour or worrying horribly).

So how does this thinking help? After all I used to brood a lot before therapy as well. But this is different. For example I slowly start trusting in my ability to find triggers for certain symptoms. Everything used to be blurry, I felt like symptoms just “happened” to me and I experienced them as unchangeable. Most times that’s still the case but not always. Too often have I seen how things suddenly became clear with the help of my therapist and how I suddenly knew where something came from – and therefore what I needed for it to go away (keyword schema modes). It feels incredible! At this point I hardly ever manage it without help but at least I know that it’s possible. And therefore I think, ask myself questions my therapist usually asks, write down which situation has occured before a certain symptom set in or where I know the feeling from. And sometimes I can find a solution.

The word “solution” leads to my next point: Such a solution can look quite unconventional. Therapy encourages me to simply do stuff that helps me even if it comes across as weird. Nobody has to understand why I’m talking to myself or why I run up and down a staircase or why I sit down with lots of colourful modelling clay and listen to nursery rhymes. The only thing that’s important is that it helps. Everything that helps without harming is good. Period.

This summarizes what therapy has changed for me in general. And I could never have achieved this by “just talking”.
Very important for me is that I connect with my therapist – without that it wouldn’t work. If I didn’t feel safe with her or we had a different sense of humour or I would feel pressured – no way!
Furthermore it’s important for me, personally, that it’s not “just talking” after all. If we can’t make progress by talking my therapist has lots and lots of exercises that help with working on a problem: describing interpersonal relationships by using coloured buttons, sitting in different chairs that symbolize different parts of me, imagination exercises…. I think there wouldn’t be any progress without these exercises. This also applies to the exercises, questionaires etc. I get for home – for me, personally, behavioural therapy is much more suitable than other approaches simply because I have the urge to do something instead of constantly asking why. It’s important for me to learn how to live with my disorder and for that I definitely need to know where it comes from. But exercises that help me handle my life are more useful than the “just talking” most people think therapy consists of.

As most of you who are reading this might have some experience with this I’m probably explaining things that aren’t new. But in my life I often meet people who can’t imagine how exhausting therapy can be, what is different from a “normal” conversation – and why it helps. And as I felt exactly like that I’m writing this for everyone who hasn’t dared try therapy so far or who (like me) was disappointed by the first try. When therapy works you can feel things click into place and change. For real.

Therapy: Session #25

Once again, I’m amazed how many things can be talked about within one single hour. We started the session by speaking about the fact that I’ve been so much better since last week and how I wish I could do on my own what my therapist is able to do with me.

I can’t quite remember how it happened but we moved on the the topic of anger. My therapist seems to have a hard time understanding how anger affects me and how I (can’t) deal with it. So we tried to find situations in which I get unreasonably angry. There are situations where it’s okay for me to get angry – for example if something unfair has happened. But then there are these situations where I feel a burning rage due to…nothing. Due to a clove of garlic I can’t peel properly. Or due to a key I can’t find immediately. When I feel this kind of rage I think that it’s highly inappropriate to throw a tantrum so I tell myself that it’s really not a big deal. But the rage I feel can be so intense that I can’t think clearly anymore. Unfortunately the only way I could allow myself to let it out is a way of self-harm: For example I picture myself stabbing my hand with the knife I’m using to peel the garlic. Or I feel the urge to hit the wall beside the door I’m trying to open…but only in order to harm my hand.
My therapist noticed that many of these situations seem to be about impatience and she was right about that. I only feel this kind of rage when I’m well by the way. When I’m down, depressed or dissociated, the rage doesn’t come. So we talked about the kind of “well” I meant. Because it’s not a relaxed “well” but rather a kind of overexcitement. I remember feeling like that a lot as a child – especially when there were visitors. I would talk and talk and have red cheeks and laugh and ask questions until all the grown-ups were annoyed. It can still happen. Most times when I have a longer conversation either of two things happens:
One – I start feeling hyper like I used to as a child. It’s such a great feeling of excitement. Until something interrupts me – than the rage comes. And after a meeting where I get this excited I always doubt myself: Have I talked to much? Did I annoy the other people? Did I laugh too loudly?
Two – I start feeling overwhelmed and dissociate. This mostly happens in restaurants or other surroundings where there’s too much stimulation.
My therapist asked why I can’t bear being interrupted when I’m in my happy place and why I always have to finish things immediately. I reckon it is due to the fact that I used to live with my mom for one week and with my dad for the other for so long: I always felt like I only had limited time to do things in one place. This extended to school as well – at some point I just stopped taking any homework home and simply did everything at school. Once again, my therapist asked if anyone ever suspected I might have ADHD and also if I ever had to take any intelligence tests. Neither of those happened but she still thinks I was unchallenged at school. She also was suprised by the fact that I wasn’t as introverted as a child as I am now and that I never wanted to go to university (which is mostly because I wanted to be independent and actually do work instead of being judged for theoretical stuff I can still learn without having to stay at school).

Anyway, then we also had to talk about my accomplishments and my goals in therapy as we have to file an extension request for the insurance.

  • Self-harm less often
  • Start to see myself as a human being
  • Panic attacks happen so rarely that I view them as done


  • Stop self-harming for myself. At the moment I just don’t do it because I don’t want to disappoint my therapist and my partner. If I was on my own I would immediately start again – that has to change
  • The last session showed we have to work on my ability to tolerate the thought of my parents meeting ever again
  • Dealing with rage
  • Talk about the shame I feel about many things concerning my body (which will also include talking about abuse by a relative)
  • Reducing suicidal thoughts even further (not suicidal at the moment but thoughts still occur)

I feel that this was a very productive session, I’m so satisfied. Hope you all have a nice weekend πŸ™‚

“Everyone wants me to go to a psychiatrist!”

I am not a doctor but nevertheless I know when somebody screams at me that they have (had) depression. For a long time. Untreated. Unseen. I would never presume to diagnose anyone, never say the word. But too well do I know the feeling someone told me about today. The inability to handle every-day things, the huge meaninglessness, the impression that nothing could ever change.

The person I’m writing about here is important to me. For a long time I have tried to address the fact that it can’t go on the way it is now. Always just giving, always just hassle, always just thinking of others. Now there is a point where one has been sent from the doctor for the body to the doctor for the nerves to the pharmacy with the antidepressant. Pardon, not antidepressant, that includes the evil word. Mood lightener. Because one is annoyed all the time. And so that it is easier to deal with annoying people. I think it’s good that help like this exists. Really. But not if it is used to bear (obviously unbearable) circumstances.

I take it slowly. Try it with “relaxation exercises”. Sure, stuff like that doesn’t work, after all one doesn’t suffer from stress, one is just annoyed by other people all the time.
I understand, nod, listen. Then I drop the bombshell. “What about therapy? I have been seeing a therapist for a long time. There’s so much one can do, it’s really helpful, even when the people who annoy you don’t change.”
“Everyone wants me to go to a psychiatrist!” Set aside the difference between “psychiatrist/psychotherapist”. And also the fact that nobody asked what I’m doing there. I don’t dare ask who “everyone” is and can’t decide if I feel resigned due to the devaluing tone of voice the or relieved that others seem to notice what I see as well.

The person tells me about the neurologist who listened for so long and was so understanding and who said that it was time to defeat the fear. But no – why see a therapist? After all, there’s no such thing in our family…

Therapy: Session #24

If I hadn’t been convinced that my therapist is able to perform magic already, the session today would have shown me that there is no other explanation for what she’s doing.
After two weeks that mostly consisted of dissociation and sadness I came to her at the end of my tether. It didn’t even take three minutes until I started crying.
What’s making me so sad, she asked. I couldn’t tell. Nothing happened, no incident that could explain the emotions. Fuck emotions.

So it had to be something from the past, an old thing that surfaces now. Where do I know the feeling from? Or when was I supposed to feel it but couldn’t allow myself to?
And then the dam burst: My parents. I am annoyed when therapy looks exactly like you imagine it from cliches. Well, at least it wasn’t about the fact that they divorced – concerning that I can honestly say that it’s okay. No it was about the brokenness I started to feel a while after the separation. For us there was no fight, no drama, no feud. There was just a before, than a cut and then an afterwards. And I get that one can need a clean break when a relationship ends. But it’s possible that we kind of overdid it. Now, for this you need to know that my parent couldn’t be more different from one another. My father, totally head, my mother, totally heart – not compatible. Me? Maybe a decent mix of both. After the divorce they started developing even further into opposite directions. Me with them. A mama-version and a papa-version of myself. Both real, both authentic – and both never whole. Nearly as if I could only be with my dad if I chop off my right arm and only with my mother if I amputate the left. Being whole only when none of them are present. I used to have this “world problem” in every aspect of my life but I got rid of it everywhere save for the parents. If I imagine them being in one room…well that was exactly what I had to imagine in therapy and then had to say what I felt. But I couldn’t even utter the simplest of words. Is it possible to dissociate and have a panic attack at the same time? I still don’t have words for my feelings, I can only say what my body did: shake, hyperventilate, roll eyes, cramp, feel headache, gasp for breath, not see…
“It is the ninth of September. We are here in therapy street number so-and-so and there is no one here but us. Nothing can happen. Take three deep breaths.”
A down-to-earth voice that was sure about what it said. Indeed, there was my coffee cup and there was sunshine.
“Let’s stop doing this today,” my therapist suggested, “Can you remember a time before it used to be like that?”

I had to smile. Yes I can. And before I noticed what was happening I started talking about a thousand little every-day things. About cooking and being read to. About cake and board games, about hikes and cartoons. About being together and about safety. About “before”. My therapist addressed how my gestures started being more animated and how my eyes started to shine and asked how I perceived myself at that time. The answer was easy. “I was just…being me.”
My cynical side has often tried to tell me that all that had just been an illusion – after all it stopped working at some point – and that bubbles just tend to pop. Everytime I thought of this beautiful time I told myself that there is no good in holding on to past things. My therapist was able to convince me that it’s possible to draw a lot of strength from such memories. Like a Patronus Charm πŸ™‚

I’m sure we will continue to work an my getting whole again and maybe on being able to face both parents at the same time. But my homework is much easier: I have to play board games and take my teddy bear into bed with me and go swinging. That my therapist mentioned swinging of all things…the only thing that has given me light-heartedness in the hardest times. She is just awesome! Whatever, I have to take care of “little Nina” and give here something of which today made me realize that I would have needed it after the divorce: A constant, a point of reference that just stays in spite of all tha back and forth that life can bring. And as difficult as I often find it to enjoy when there is still much left to do, as easy it will be now that it’s an official useful task πŸ˜‰

And now…I am cheerful. Powerful. Inside my body. And not sad at all.

2 years!

WordPress was kind enough to tell me that my blog has been existing for two years now. As I always just recall that I started blogging “some time in September” I was quite surprised that today is the day.

Although it’s not about that at all I find it interesting to look at my statistics on the occasion of my anniversary – again and again I am amazed when I see how many people are reading and commenting here and supporting me. Many things about blogging have surprised me but what’s most touching for me is how friendly the big, wide internet can be. I haven’t had to delete a single comment although I always expected unkind words.

I want to thank you all for that – your comments give me so much strength and stability and I feel honoured when I see just how many of you are reading here:

  • 2 years
  • 291 posts
  • 9.437 visitors
  • and unbelieveable 30.389 views!!!

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you πŸ™‚

Space travel

Some time ago I had a dream about a person who once meant very much to me. This person had a history very similar to my own but she had already made far more progress on the road I’m currently travelling on. I always used to look up to her because I could never imagine getting to the place where she was – in so many matters. To this day I am grateful for the time she gave me.

My dream reminded me of something she always said. She believed in a kind of karma in the same life. I can’t remember the exact words but it was something like “For all the shit we’ve gone through we deserve a future twice as awesome. And we will get it.” She really believed that some sort of fairness would grant us a reward for all the dark things in our lives and she never doubted that she deserved beautiful things to happen.

Now I don’t know if I can also believe that but I have to think abou these words quite often anyway. Who knows, maybe she was right and I’m allowed to harvest all the fruits that the hard things in my past made grow. Maybe these fruits are going to be sweet and beautiful. It’s worth a try.

But that also means I have to do something I’ve always admired about this person: I have to stop relativizing my past. By that I don’t mean that I’m going to stand there and wail because I had such a hard childhood, no! That is definitely not going to happen – nothing is worse than self-pity. But maybe I have to stop telling myself and others that “stuff just happens” and that “we all have a cross to bear” when the truth is that I know I’ve beared a cross some adults wouldn’t want to bear a long time ago.

So I go into the bathroom and stand in front of my mirror. And I start talking. Very calmly I talk about all the illness in my family – mentally and physically and all the guilt that you’re burdened with if you’re born into such a set of relatives. I talk about a light-heartedness I’ve never known because something was always hard and about what it feels like to be thrown into a world that doesn’t understand what it’s like to never be carefree. I talk about how my world was torn apart into many little planets and how I learned to float in space. Although I’ve always longed for gravitation I never had a home on any of these planets – always just a guest, always a little strange, always a little misunderstood. After some time I stopped believing in a planet where I would be just right. I talk about my travels – there were cold planets and also ones that were like magnets that didn’t let you leave, even if you wanted to. There were planets where I was obliged to spend time even when everyone there made it clear that I wasn’t welcome. Of course there also were beautiful planets but I couldn’t stay on them either because I felt like the ugly ones had tainted something inside me that I wasn’t allowed to bring to the bright places. Then there were planets where neither my body nor my thoughts actually belonged to me, although they say that thoughts are always free.

My therapist has many names for the things that happened on these planets: There are terms like “emotional neglect”, “lack of validation”, “bullying”, she even said the word “abuse”. I don’t like these words. They sound way too agitated. They don’t match my floating travels between all these worlds. And also not the tiredness that comes with them.

My reflection looks at me and waits for me to continue. So I talk about the astronaut symptoms that came flying towards me amidst the stars. It’s so abstract. When I look at a nine-year-old child I can’t imagine how they’re supposed to cope with the mortal fear of a panic attack but I know I coped with it. It’s equally difficult to look at young teenagers – it makes me sad to know that I’m definitely not the only person that age who truly wanted to die. On the other hand it’s not surprising that a child would be scared out in the black vastness of space or that you would just want it to be over when you haven’t found a place to land in a very long time. It’s not surprising that I started to simply let the stars float past me and that it often made me angry to be out there on my own. My reflection is still looking at me and asks about black holes. Because they also exist in space and I often feared being swallowed by them. Until I discovered that it’s enough to pay a toll in order to get past them. That I had to spill my own blood for that toll didn’t seem like that biggest problem.

While I’m talking about my travels I start feeling sad and angry and I feel that it hurts. But there is also a feeling that tells my I just have to go over my travel story often enough until it will just be a simple story some day. And above all I feel a huge gratefulness – after all I didn’t cope with these things just like that.

So I make my reflection smile by talking about the warm planets that welcomed me with hot chocolate and cookies. About the space stations that offered me a place to rest and about all the beautiful places I’ve seen during my travels. I talk about friendly earthlings who supported me although they didn’t always understand my language and about the love that kept my engine going somehow. Gratefully I tell my reflection about how lucky I am to be able to afford therapy that helps me with settling in on the planet I chose. The beautiful things, the lovely people and my own fighting spirit are still here although I don’t have to float in space anymore.
Maybe I just advanced strength as a child which I can now recharge as an adult. Maybe I will travel again but voluntarily and with a map that warns me about black holes before I have to pay a toll. Maybe I will have other astronauts as company so that I won’t be alone if I encounter yet another unfriendly planet. And maybe the person from my dream was right back then when we talked about the future a lifetimo ago…

Emotionally unstable

…that has been an official term for describing BPD over the last few years. I’ve never been able to relate to the term so much as for me, personally, the illness has been rather dominated by my inability to connect to any emotions or just a few of them. It has never been about mood swings as you’d imagine them generally because in my range some emotions were simply missing. I often just felt an “I’m not fine” without knowing what it was exactly and I had no words for different “kinds” of positive moods. Solely rage has been the one I always knew and recognized.

These past few weeks I’ve come to know why the disorder is called like that. I’m feeling all kinds of emotions, so strange and unknown. Rage doesn’t overwhelm me like it used to, maybe that’s because I notice it earlier when it’s still just a Rageling. And then all the other things: tender, little feelings that are somewhat fluffy inside my chest, black holes in my stomach that are trying to absorb me and also a lot of palpitations of which I don’t know where they’re coming from. I don’t have names for it. I’m not sure if this tearing I’m feeling inside my chest is sadness. Or if there are official names for different kinds of happiness – is the fidgety kind where you want to jump the same emotions as the one where you have to smile because a ladybird just landed on your desk?

My therapist always says I should just write down what it feels like and what happens in my body. And I feel so incredibly dumb because I hardly ever know what an emotion is called. It makes me tired because what follows every single emotion is a mixture of fear, pain and the urge to self-harm. Simply because they’re all threatening. Every one of them makes me more human, softer and more fragile than I’ve ever felt before. And even if you all tell me that this is progress – right now I just want to hide behind my cold, smooth and impenetrable facade.


That’s the word I’d use to describe my current state – everything inside me is changing so quickly that the word “mood swing” doesn’t feel strong enough anymore. It confuses me:

  • How many feelings I have right now and that none of them is knocking me down. It’s nearly like my therapist always describes it: Different emotions come…and then they go away again, just like that. Until now my range consisted of very few feelings that, if they came at all, used to come so intensely that I just had to lose control.
  • How understanding the people around me are. Since I started seeing my therapist I’ve opened up about my symptoms more and more and that has lead to so many good things in my interpersonal relationships. I still can’t believe it but what I’m experiencing right now is that there are people who like me just the way I am…even without my facade.
  • How much I “need” my therapist. Once again we have a two-week break and it’s upsetting me quite a lot. Especially because I feel like we’ve stirred up a hornet’s nest during the last session, the next one seems ages away.
  • How much I’m struggling with every-day trivialities although the big picture is moving in the right direction – I mean, how is it possible that stuff like grocery shopping, making an appointment with a doctor, cleaning up etc. feel like Mount Doom while I’m coping really well with much more difficult things?!
  • How time is flying. It’s just been New Year’s?! And now it’s time to make the extension request for therapy (red tape, authorities, evaluations – FEAR), time to unpack the long trousers, time to get used to low season at work again.

There’s so much happening although I’ve been trying to let as little as possible happen for weeks – I try to keep all appointments away from me that aren’t necessary, I don’t call anyone, I save all ressources that I don’t have to use because I fear I’ll just lose it otherwise. The fact that the panic attacks are coming more often again shows me that I really have to get as much peace and quiet as possible. Maybe it’s just time for a holiday (in September) or rather my reducing hours at work (from October on). Maybe I have to come to terms with the fact that I’m simply not as tough as other people.

Not enduring, not fleeing

A year ago I wrote about how stablity is really good for me. All the things I mentioned in that old post are still up-to-date except for therapy which is not a “maybe” anymore but a huge, important part of my life. What’s special about my job, my relationship etc. is that I haven’t had them for such a long time because I’m enduring anything but because I want to be exactly where I am.

Earlier in my life there were just things I endured and things I ran away from. Somehow I never felt able to change my situation in relationships/jobs/schools/whatever when something wasn’t working for me. Practically speaking, that meant: Endure it or leave!
I just never saw that I could have the right to say when something was making me unhappy in a relationship. Or that it could be okay to tell a superior that certain tasks were difficult. But that’s changing slowly. I’m still good at ending things that just don’t make any sense – after all that’s not just a bad thing. In fact it’s one of my biggest strengths. But by now I’m also able to see that one can work on existing situations.

I guess that’s only something special to me and totally natural to anyone else. But in my past I often felt a certain powerlessness and therefore I assumed that there was, once again, only black and white: Enduring or fleeing. No in-between, no grey, no change. When I look at the fact that there is one thing that unites all the women in my family that’s not surprising. This thing is that one could say the following about nearly all my female relatives: She endured and gave and bottled stuff up until she became depressed. The one or two exceptions to that rule are being labelled as “crazy” or “deviant” by the way – so in this case “crazy” is definitely desirable by the looks of it πŸ˜‰
Maybe it’s also an explanation for the fact that I’ve always been looking for male role models and never really wanted to be a girl but that’s a whole other story.

Whatever, during the last few weeks there have been lots of positive changes in my life and I am incredibly grateful for them. The only thing I wanted to change when I was younger was the whole world and that task was a little too huge for me. My new target is to change my own little world which I can actually influence and which I didn’t really see or rather perceived as unchangeable until now. And the fact that these changes give me more stability might be paradox but it is definitely great.

I also want to thank some people here who support me with all these changes and are always there for me: My partner, my wonderful colourful hippie-mum, my boss and my therapist are especially important in that regard. THANKS!

Same yet different

Depersonalisation is the same as always, as is dissociation. This strange feeling of not feeling anything. Numb hands and blurry sight and physical weakness. Being a little shaky, clumsy even because the body I’m supposed to navigate doesn’t feel connected to my thoughts. Having difficulties following a conversation because it’s so hard to remain present. Everything’s too loud and somewhat muffled at the same time.

BUT what’s new is that I don’t feel like it came out of the blue. Usually dissociation was something that just happened and if it wasn’t due to some immediate obvious trigger I was often unable to see where it came from. And that’s something that’s slowly changing with a few months into therapy. I know that today’s dissociation is connected to last week. Not just the therapy session itself because it wasn’t the reason all these emotions came up. It started after the awesome, wonderful, amazing concert last Monday. All the jumping and screaming and feeling euphoric smoothed the way for all sorts of emotions. And that made me so open and at the same time vulnerable in therapy which was a good thing. But of course my pretty little head has been trying to tell me it’s not good at all since I left my therapist’s office. All these emotions are just too much right now. So I just turn them off because…well that’s what I do best.

Right now I can’t change it. I mean there are things I can do: Using my skills, for instance. But they only work for short periods of time. So I’ve been falling in and out of dissociation since Saturday. And although that’s not actually a good thing it’s okay. It’s okay because it’s the best I can do right now and above all it’s okay because the fact that I can see the reasons for it is definitely progress.

Therapy: Session #23

I can’t write much about today’s session…the target was to learn how to discern different emotions better. My therapist chose sadness and helplessness. The exercise was about thinking back and finding a situation where I had felt one of them (or both). And my goodness…it’s probably great and some sort of progress and whatever but right now it just feels like I spent a whole hour wallowing in self-pity only to dissociate horribly afterwards and cry my eyes out. I’m really not amused right now but I guess this thing that feels like weakness also has to be a part of it.

Wish you all a fluffy weekend!

Are you sure you actually want that?

People frequently tell me that I should talk more about how I’m feeling. That I should speak about what is going on inside me and that nobody would be bothered by it. Nevertheless I don’t like to speak about my personality disorder and the unpleasantries it includes without being asked to. Why? Just imagine:

Question: “How are you?”
Possible answer: “Right now I can’t feel my arms because there are just too many people in this room. It feels like everyone’s staring at me and I can hardly breathe. That’s why I would like to grab the butter knife from the next table and stab my thigh. How are the kids doing?”
Satisfying answer (smiling slightly): “A little tired but otherwise okay, thanks!”

Question: “Why are you never there for our Saturday brunch?”
Possible answer: “At that time I usually practice with my therapist and discuss traumatic events in a safe manner.”
Satisfying answer: “Oh, you know how I’m always so busy, most Saturdays we’ve already planned activities in order to get outside a little…”

Question: “Have you heard? So-and-so is seeing a psychiatrist every week!”
Possible answer: “If she’s going there every week it would probably be a psychotherapist, usually you don’t have to see your psychiatrist that frequently.”
Reaction: “Well it amounts to the same thing! Anyway, she has a screw loose…”
Possible answer: “I see. So do I have a screw loose as well, then?”
Satisfying answer (not too convinced): “Well I think it’s a good thing when people get help…”

Question: “So, how are things going with your…Saturday appointments?”
Answer: “Hmmm…it’s going really well all in all. Sometimes it’s exhausting. But I’m very glad to have my thera…”
Abrupt interruption: “You don’t have to tell me if it’s uncomfortable for you!”
Possible answer: “Does it make YOU uncomfortable?”
Satisfying answer: “No, no that’s alright.”

Talking about these things without being asked to can give the impression that you’re attention-seeking or even wanting to shock people. It can make people feel uncomfortable or actually get really awkward. Contrary to the general assumption that I have a problem with giving details about my illness the truth is simply that I’d rather answer specific questions where a person can decide how much they’d like to know instead of just rattling on and upsetting someone.
I noticed what it does if you “know too much” very early on in my life. In the schoolyard I was (among other things) unpopular due to the fact that I was often being too honest and nobody knew what to do when I started to talk about the things that were happening. That’s why I assumed that nobody could help me for quite some time. Even today I am amazed when I can just utter things I’ve been thinking for years with my therapist without her reactioin being worried or shocked or incredulous.
One cannot judge problems. Something that feels like hell for one person may be a piece of cake for another and I try to take other people’s problems seriously. But when the conversations during lunchbreak are about lost marbles and the newest favourite TV show and forgotten gym bags – how do you casually announce that you feel like your existence doesn’t make any sense? How do I do it today when I’m having coffee with someone? It feels wrong for me to take people by surprise that way. Radical honesty is amusing in the best case.

“Simply” talking about it is not simple because you always have to explain so much. Because you have to swear that no one has to worry. Because you’re not being believed. Because you’re being questioned for every smile (depressed people don’t smile, remember?). Because you’re suddenly being asked how you are in a completely different manner. Because you’re a spoilsport. Because nobody ever tells you just how much information they would like to have. Because thoughts you might regard as rather fluffy can shock other people and you have to stop before you’ve even really started talking. Because you can see what people really think on their faces. Because problems are being judged after all.
Because you’ve learned the rules in the schoolyard: There are satisfying answers and you’d better be giving them in order to avoid an unforseeable chain of reactions. “Simply” talking is often just possible with those who know “it” themselves – “it” being a specific symptom, for instance. But it is so important to talk to each other – also to people whose screws are neatly tightened and polished. If you actually want that…?

Therapy: Session #22

Today’s session was about the voice that is telling me about my needs and things I have to change. That voice exists – it made me talk to my superior, it screamed that I had to go to the other end of the world for a few months…it is there. But unfortunately I only hear it when I’m already in a crisis. Before I’m down on my knees I don’t think about the fact that I (am allowed to) have needs. I endure. I remain silent and build walls and bite through things until I have to flee. It has always been like that.

My therapist wants me to hear the voice earlier, to recognize warning signs and react to them. But that’s really difficult for me because like always I’m thinking that things have to be absolute: Either something works (totally) or something doesn’t work (at all). When something is basically working but a small problem comes up I don’t know what to do because I can’t classify the whole thing anymore. Then I fear that it doesn’t work at all anymore and everyone but me knows it – and that I’m going to be left or fired, for instance because I haven’t seen thatΒ  a certain thing went from “works” to “doesn’t work”. And as long as I classify something as “works” I don’t allow myself to change anything.

This enduring is quite exhausting, I used to be better at it. I took everything that was being thrown at me, I bottled it up, I endured. Always hoping that some day something would happen that would be the straw to break the camel’s back. I wanted to take it so far that I would have to lose control at some point. Go mad, crack, roar like a dragon, throw dishes, explode. It just somehow never happened. I always control myself. Even when I’m drunk I’m mostly occupied with trying to appear sober. I don’t destroy. I don’t scream. I can’t even bring myself to hit a cushion because I feel sorry for it – after all it hasn’t done anything to me. I inhibit myself before I even get started. I am the opposite of a rockstar smashing their hotel room without even thinking about it.

Now my homework is to wake the dragon after all because my therapist says that the dragon is my power and that I don’t have to fear it. I’m supposed to go into a tunnel and scream or hit a cushion after all…whatever. She says that nothing bad is going to happen. I’m not so sure about that…

Soooooooo glad!

First things first: I love my job. I love my tasks because they are quite varied, I love my team because it consists of colourful and open-minded people and I love the purpose our work has because I believe in it.

Nevertheless it’s a 40-hour week and nevertheless I notice how I can’t handle as much as a person who doesn’t do therapy additionally. At this point I’m working Monday to Friday at usual office hours and until I started therapy that was quite alright. But since November I’ve noticed how my power reserves have been shrinking. The fact that I can see my therapist on Saturdays takes a lot of pressure off me because I don’t have to work when I’m exhausted after therapy but it still feels like a six-day week.

Now, there is a very loud voice inside my head: You are a wuss. Others work 60 hours a week, have five different hobbies and an intact social life. These are first world problems. You have to handle this. You have no right to whine. You are in no position to make demands.

But guess what happened: I told the voice to please shut the fuck up…and then asked my superior whether I could work a little less. The reaction I was scared of (namely that I would be judged as unmotivated and ungrateful) didn’t simply not happen. My boss was really wonderful. Sie thanked – thanked – me! Because she thinks it’s resposible of me to come and talk to her before a longer sick leave could become necessary. And she said we would find a way.

In plain terms that means: From October on I’ll have every Wednesday off. A whole day just for myself! And in order to really use it well I’ve already made a plan with my therapist: The morning belongs just to me and I can use it for anything that’s good for me – be it cappuccino in the sun or yoga or simply sleeping in. The morning will be blocked for anything I don’t enjoy. And the afternoon can be used for everything that stresses me now besides work or simply doesn’t get done: Repairs in the flat, doctor’s appointments, buying new socks and so on. And in the Wednesday evenings I have dance class anyway – at which I’ll arrive well-rested from now on and not completely rushed after a long day at the office.

The voice I’ve mentioned above still wants to be heard by the way – right now it’s telling me that I’m definitely going to starve due to the reduced salary – but I know it’s not right and I can’t do anything but feel glad. Glad to have my wonderful superior, my team that supports me and above all to finally have more time and energy for the things that are important to me: My partner, my friends, my cat, my flat and my hobbies.

Sending you lots of positive energy!

Therapy: Session #21…this time for real

As my therapist was first sick and then on holiday we continued after a four-week break today. And I am sooooooooooooo glad that she’s back! That she’s still here and hasn’t decided that she doesn’t want me anymore in the meantime (yes, my sick brain thinks stuff like that). Above all it was a catching up kind of session – I had much to talk about after the last few weeks. The successes, the failures. Interestingly we touched an issue quite intesely that I hadn’t even had in mind for today but it is a topic that’s not suitable for here. I cried but I also laughed heartedly, it was a bit of everything.

What I can learn from this session above all is that the most dangerous thing for me is my “Nothing matters”- mode I like to adopt. It comes when I feel guilty, or resigned, when I lose my faith in humanity.
On the other hand it’s good for me to look for things I can change in difficult situations and then do exactly that – as little as I like changes that just happen to me, as much I enjoy taking matters into my own hands and that’s something I have to keep in mind more often.

I wish you all a nice weekend!

String of beads

The great blogger ElΓ­n (her blog is in German) commented on my post Relapse (the German version) and gave me an idea.

She wrote (I’ll try to translate): “…And yes, it is a huge success that you have lasted this long and an even huger one that you aren’t mad at yourself. Because there is no reason to as the counter doesn’t actually read zero. Imagine days where you self-harm as little stones that you carry around in a bag and for every day you’ve lived without self-harm you can put aside one of them. The bag has been getting lighter since November. And now you had a relapse so you put one stone back into the bag. But only ONE. What is that compared to all the stones you have put aside already? What you have achieved is not worth less than before just because one stone has been added again. You don’t start from zero. You keep going. And it will get easier as time goes by…”

I think this image is beautiful and I will alter it a little in order to celebrate my successes. My plan is to dig out the huge box of colourful beads that has gone unnoticed since my handicraft-phase a few years ago and to string one bead at a time for every day I stay “clean”. That way I can (hopefully) watch the string of beads grow day by day and enjoy it. And when a relapse happens I can see exactly what ElΓ­n described in her comment: That I don’t start at zero and that I have achieved a lot already.

It is really wonderful to have readers like that – thank you thank you thank you!


Somewhere I read that everything feels worse and more dramatic as a teenager because the brain is still evolving and cannot yet relativize that well – so you can’tΒ  actually feel that things pass.

The brains of borderlines also show more activity in areas that are connected to “drama” and less in places that regulate emotions – this is a very un-scientific way to put it but Latin is a little bulky for my purposes πŸ˜‰

Therefore I continue (still very un-scientifically) by saying that it makes perfect sense that I often feel like I’m still 14. I know in the hard moments that they won’t last forever but I just don’t feel it. When I’m fine I can never believe that I will ever fall again and when I’m scared it feels like I’ll never be happy again. That makes it hard to cope with strong emotions such as rage or despair. When everything feels incredibly bottomless and terrible it doesn’t help much to know that the sunshine will one day not feel like pure scorn anymore. It also makes possible consequences of dysfunctional behaviour seem irrelevant – when I feel as if the pain will never stop a few more scars don’t matter…even though of course I do rationally know that this feeling is not forever as well.

The past few days I have been telling myself several times an hour: It will not hurt forever. I will not be scared forever. I will not feel like a walking failure forever. It will not be hard forever.

And even though I don’t feel it: The truth is that nothing lasts forever.

The wrong songs…

…at the wrong time.

The wrong pictures that are never good.

The wrong people who are calling me.

The wrong places I’m going to.

The wrong smile I put on my face.

The wrong week in the diary because it’s still not therapy time again.

The wrong bustle that keeps me from listening to my thoughts.

The wrong clock that is going backwards and catapulting me back into the past.

The wrong things I only do because I don’t know what’s right at the moment.

And still the thought that someday everything will be just right.


Last weekend, the time had come. The counter reads zero again. I have persevered since November, and since April I have come to terms with the fact that the issue of self-harm is not over for me and that it was just a matter of time until I’d run out of energy.
There wasn’t even a definite trigger, not some huge thing I could name – rather a thousand little things that got me in this numb state that makes me care about nothing at all. Maybe I could even have kept on fighting. I did use skills, I exercised, I wrote like a madwoman. But it wasn’t enough. After a few days that felt nearly too stable I was being reckless. The wrong songs at the wrong time. And then all the things that aren’t actually reasons: Therapy break. A fight. Insecurities, feeling overwhelmed. People who threw old stories at me. A cutter that was lying around at the office. An empty bathroom. An oppurtunity I could have passed.

I don’t feel as good as I used to “afterwards” and I think that might be a success – if the “positive” consequences stay away it might become easier to stop. What I’d expected was this mental clearness, was deep sleep, was that the fog would go away. And what I got was…nothing. I am still numb, still tired, still empty. It confuses me as self-harm used to be one thing above all others: reliable. And now it’s not anymore. I am nearly glad that I didn’t refrain from it any longer because now that the high doesn’t happen the longing that has tormented me for weeks might not happen again either.

I don’t want to dismiss what happened but I think I lasted well, it was clear that the relapse would come at some point and I refuse to be angry with myself for it. Maybe that is progress as well.

Take care out there!

The opposite of drunk

Some time ago I talked to my therapist about alcohol. Especially at the beginning of my therapy she used to ask me if I actually never get drunk, if I could keep a record about that etc.
Meanwhile she doesn’t ask anymore as there have been so many situations where I haven’t been drinking and I never had to fight in order to achieve that. It has never been important to me and even though I occasionally like to drink one or two cocktails I have never liked the feeling of being drunk. I could never put my finger on the reason for that. Many people who know me have suspected that it’s because I’m a control freak and while that might be true it was never enough of an explanation for me.
Currently a therapy session was about dissociation. About what it feels like for me. As if I wasn’t 100% there, as if everything was just passing by, as if I had tunnel vision. These initial feelings might sound familiar to the sane people here as well: Fatigue can feel like that. Or mild drunkenness. Only when dissociation gets worse the numb body parts and the hovering and the “watching- everything- from- outside” start.
Another session was about self-harm. What makes it so useful for me. The absolute clearness it grants me, the silence in my head, nearly like a performance-enhancing drug.

And then my therapist suddenly said the sentence that made me understand why I’ve never liked alcohol, why drugs have never been a temptation; in short why I left this one thing out that would match my diagnosis perfectly: “You want to be the opposite of drunk!”
Me, a person who is so often not there, a little muzzy, confused, tired but also pumpedΒ  – I just want to be “sober”. Just be “there” and see clearly and think clearly. I don’t get how one can like the feeling that everything is just floating by. It only increases my urge to self-harm. I don’t get how one can like it when the inhibition threshold drops – as I have to constantly fight impulses that would make me appreciate some inhibition. And yes, I can hear that it sounds like what my friends say after all: Like control freak. But it’s so much more. It’s longing for the way they take being sober for granted. For being able to choose when things are supposed to float by. For the opposite of drunk.

Forgetting painful things

A few years ago I broke a bone. It hurt at lot. I’d never felt anything like it before and even though I’d been aware that breaking a bone is painful it surprised me just how much it actually hurt. Nobody could ever have described it in a way that could have prepared me for it.

But now I can’t really remember what it felt like exactly. I know it hurt but I can’t actually grasp how bad it must have been. The feeling somehow vanished. Just like it’s hard to imagine that I couldn’t move my head when I had a pinched nerve. We tend to forget those kinds of things. And I think it doesn’t just happen with physical pain – it also happens with emotions.

I’m pretty stable right now. There are good days, there are awful days but it’s been a long time since I’ve felt suicidal. Wait, what?! I wanted to kill myself? That’s right. But (fortunately) it’s totally not imaginable for me right now. I know that I’ve been there. But I can’t feel it anymore. I can’t grasp that I actually felt so low that suicide seemed like an option. And if I’m able to “forget” this feeling that used to be so familiar within a few months, I can only imagine what it must be like for a person who has never experienced mental illness. I don’t want to find an excuse for stupid remarks like “Suck it up!”, “Suicide is selfish!” or “Change your attitude!”. By now, everyone should be aware that mental illness is an actual illness, not a choice. But I can imagine that it’s really hard, if not impossible to empathise with someone who is depressed when you’ve never experienced it yourself.

Now, I am very glad for anyone who has never felt that there are about twenty levels below “very sad” and countless stages of panic that make it seem like there are no words fit to describe them. I am also very glad that we are able to “forget” how painful things can be – both physically and mentally. It’s probably the only reason women have more than one child. I don’t actually believe that time heals all wounds but obviously it can dull the pain.

What I want to say with this post is that this “forgetting” makes it so important for people in pain to tell others what they feel – by talking and writing about it. Otherwise those who have never been in such dark places can never imagine what it feels like and those who have been there cannot help. When I first felt suicidal at the age of fourteen I figured that I was the only person in the world who had such disturbing and painful thoughts and that it would never get better. And when people told me that “everyone feels confused at that age” it only confirmed that they didn’t hear me the way I needed to be heard. It would have helped if someone had told me that they used to feel exactly like that – and that it passed, that they were able to change their situation and that they couldn’t quite remember just how much it had hurt after some time. It would have helped to know that it is always possible to feel happy again.

If we don’t tell people how terrifying mental illness can be we can’t expect them to understand. And if we don’t tell someone who is suffering that it can get better – and that it’s not just a stupid motivational phrase but our own experience – they might very well give up.

So this is for everyone who is completely “sane” and always has been – please know that mental illness is so much worse than every “normal” feeling you experience and that it’s so important to treat those who suffer with respect even if you don’t relate to what they’re going through.
And it’s for everyone who is suffering right now – please know that there might come a day where you can’t imagine that you’ve felt this low. I will never say you have to “stay positive” all the time and I will never say that the fact that things can pass makes them any easier to cope with in the present. But I hope you can somehow get through this and experience that things actually do get better.

Stay safe out there!

Therapy: Session #21…or not

Today my therapist had to cancel due to a cold which means we won’t have a session until August. I have to admit, it doesn’t feel great. I totally know it’s not her fault and that things like that just happen. I really do. But still, there is this tiny sick part of me that wonders if this is because during the last session we didn’t click like we usually do and if she’ll still want to work with me after her holiday…stuff like that, you know. It’s so stupid to think crap like that.

Anyway, I’m glad that it didn’t happen last week when I felt so incredibly down prior to the session. This week I’m pretty stable and calm so I didn’t actually need the session this much. Which also means I would’ve had the strength to tackle some of the more difficult issues but whatever. I guess I’ll just enjoy my weekend and try not to brood over something there’s nothing to brood about πŸ™‚

Take care out there!

Therapy: Session #20

Talked about the hole. About my fear that things that used to hurt me could happen again. My conviciton that people just happen to vanish from my life. My crisis with 14 which had to do with my questioning my whole identity due to my Coming Out. The lingering fear of completely throwing myself off the track by simply looking into the mirror. My assumption that I have to deal with difficult situations all on my own. The wall I’ve built between myself and my emotions. Obviously I’m not even capable of removing a single brick so I’ll just start by painting it and asking it what it’s there for. I am Berlin by the looks of it.

The session mostly confused me but it doesn’t hurt quite that much anymore. I am incredibly tired. Just exhausted and somewhat empty.


Since the experiment from my last therapy session it hurts. I’ve really attempted to do my homework but I failed miserably. It wasn’t possible for me to distinguish what is my opinion and what is just some misconception that the detatched protector whispers in my ear in order to keep me from feeling whatever it is I could feel.

The problem is: I feel it nonetheless. Since the last session I’ve felt what I’ve never felt before. The detatched protector isn’t working anymore as the small child I used to be fight’s its way and reminds me that emotions from back then don’t just vanish when I ignore them long enough. And I can’t even tell if I’m sad. Or maybe angry. If I feel lonely or scared. I just know that there is a huge hole in my chest that hurts so incredibly much that I can hardly breathe when I think about it.

It is just like in my past as I can’t even weep although the lump in my throat is growing daily. I don’t even know how I could possibly explain what exactly is so difficult right now. After all, I can hardly answer the question if I’m okay with “I feel as if I was going through all difficult situations of my life at once, right in this moment and that causes a yawning void in my chest that even makes it hard to just open my eyes.”

I only know one way to plug the hole and that is self-harm. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this close to just giving in and doing it. I’m running out of strength. Since the last session I’ve been doing nothing but distracting myself. And when I couldn’t distract myself anymore I used skills. And when even that wasn’t possible anymore I slept. At the moment it doesn’t feel like going without self-harm increases my quality of life – quite the oppsite actually. But now it’s Thursday evening. Right now I’m writing so that I don’t freak out and when I’m done I’m going to bed. Tomorrow I’ll get up and go to work. As always at this time of the year there will be a lot to do. Then I’ll go home. Clean the flat. Go running. Eat. Meet a friend. After that I’ll be allowed to go to sleep. And when I wake up I’ll just have to get to my therapist’s. 35 hours to go. 2100 minutes. 126000 seconds.

“That could be seen!”

Dear people who are reading this!

I can gladly announce some good news here – please chill some champagne for this occasion. Today I’ve been told that all my doctors have made a mistake and I am not ill after all! Everything was just a huge error and a colleague kindly informed me of it. All the things I could have avoided if only someone had told me *sarcasmoff*!

Colleague in a conversation with the office dog:
“Don’t look so sad, it’s driving me crazy! You have to stay with Nina for a while, she doesn’t have depression like you.”
Me to the copier in an undertone:
Colleague to me:
“Well sure, I mean that could be seen! You don’t have any mental damage!”
Turned around and walked away. Prior to my first coffee I just wasn’t capable of finding a proper retort…

All good things…

…come in threes.

I’ve mentioned skills chains before. They are sets of three different things one can do in case of emergency – to get rid of extreme tension and, typically, keep from self-harming. As this concept works really well for me, I started to develop different sets of skills for different situations. Not all skills work for all problems, not all skills work for everyone and not all skills can be used at all times. But it helps me to have a plan in difficult situations – if I can’t think clearly it is to useful to have an specific procedure I can stick to. It’s kind of automatic by now: I want to self-harm – I do this. I dissociate – I do that. And as I always like to point out useful things I thought I’d share all my “emergency trios” with you.

Skills chain to prevent self-harm:

  • Smell something. Either a strong scent like menthol or just a comforting one like oranges – anything I can concentrate on so strongly that I just have to be present for a moment.
  • Heat cream. The most helpful thing I’ve discovered – the strongest one I have burns so much that I can pretend that there is a wound that I can feel.
  • Motivational tattoos. I buy those online and they help a great deal – the most important thing is that I can see something on my skin that I don’t want to destroy by cutting. But the messages on these temporary tattoos are quite helpful as well.

Skills chain in case of dissociation:

  • Ammonia. There is nothing like that pungent smell to help me get back into reality. One can buy ampoules filled with ammonia and lavender oil. They are made specifically for this purpose so that your mucous membranes won’t be damaged.
  • Chewing gum. My newest discovery. Chewing a gum with menthol or similar things in it has three effects: It makes breathing easier, it keeps my from biting the inside of my cheeks and the burning sensation on my tounge enables me to stay inside my body. Also, it’s great for situations like going to the mall – chewing a gum isn’t as obvious as many other things.
  • Porcupine balls. I have one made of metal but they also exist in softer versions. Squeezing such a ball and concentrating on the sensation can help a lot in overwhelming situations.

Skills in case of a panic attack:

  • Breathing exercises. Learning ways to calm my breathing has helped me a great deal. If I start breathing when I can feel an attack coming in time that can make all the difference.
  • Knowing the triggers. This doesn’t mean that I try to avoid certain situations but rather that I am cautious when I get into them. I survey my heartbeat, my breathing etc. and can therefore react more quickly if I can feel an attack coming.
  • Herbal medicine. I am not a huge fan of meds but by now I do feel comfortable taking herbal stuff. Some things are just easier with this little help, there are no side effects and there is no danger of becoming addicted. I’m very glad passion flowers exist.

Skills to ensure proper self-care mentally:

  • Autogenic Training. Or other relaxation methods. Practicing this several times a week has changed so much for me.
  • Planning the week around fixed breaks. By now I have realized that I can’t function without enough breaks. Breaks from work. Breaks from people. Breaks from everything. Enough sleep. Very important.
  • Safe place. An exercise where you imagine a completely safe place. Luckily I am good at imagining things so I “go there” any time I feel overwhelmed.

Skills to ensure proper self-care physically:

  • Moving. Although I go running twice a week by now I wouldn’t say I love exercising. By moving I also mean stuff like rolling my shoulders each time I get up from my workstation. Or walking home on a sunny day. Or leaving the house at least once a day even when I’m depressed.
  • Eating and sleeping. I’m aware that those are two things that must sound cynical for everyone with an eating- or sleep disorder. But for me personally it is so important to eat good things – the term “hangry” describes perfectly what I am like if I don’t get enough good food. Also all my symptoms get worse when I don’t sleep enough which is why I’m often leaving parties early.
  • Showering.Β  Even if a day sucks a hot shower can make things better. Especially when I’m depressed I find it difficult to take care of my body so I actually do have to force myself. There is a minimum requirement and it’s showering each day, brushing my teeth twice a day etc. Not necessarily because I like it but because I decided that it’s what I do – no matter what.

Now, not all of the things above are classic emergeny skills but I find it helpful to have these lists. For everything that is difficult about living with a mental illness there is a three-step-plan I can stick to. These plans ensure that I can function and since I’ve been sticking to all of them the good days have increased.

I’m interested – do you have three-step-plans like this? Are you only using skills in the classic self-harm-prevention way or for other things as well? Which things I might not have thought about yet work for you? Let me know πŸ™‚

Ugly useful things

This is a “Don’t try this at home”– kind of post. I’ll say it again: I don’t recommend any of the things below, the sole purpose of this post is to be authentic – and as mental illness isn’t always pretty, this post isn’t either.

Most days I am very aware that it is incredibly important to practice self-care and if I can’t do it for myself I sometimes do it to see my therapist smile. But then there are the other days. Those where I feel so dark and twisted and cynical that I just can’t bring myself to act responsibly. And that’s when things like the following happen:

Once upon a time when I was very, very desperate, I searched for “100 reasons not to cut” on the internet, just to see if there was anything convincing. I was in a dark place so nothing I found actually felt like it mattered: “Your family might worry.”, “The scars will look ugly!”, or “The wounds may not heal well.” simply left me as indifferent as I’d been before reading them. But then I stumbled upon a thought so self-destructive that I still find it fascinating: If you are as worthless as you think you don’t deserve the relief cutting would grant you. And that was that – it resonated perfectly with my non-existent self-esteem and it did indeed keep me from cutting for a while.

There were lots of days where the only reason I decided to stay in this world was defiance. Days where I didn’t want to keep living for myself or even my family – but just so that they didn’t win. They being all the people who made me feel like shit. As much as I hated them they seemed to keep me alive during some awful times.

There were occasions where I played sick games with myself like: For every hour so-and-so doesn’t call there will be a cut. If they call in time there will be no cuts today. Luckily I had some talkative friends at the time.

I used to wander around at night – not just at places with lights and people but rather in some dark and shady ones. Condemned houses. Railway tracks. Motorways. Factory sites. You see, I grew up in an industrial town. I loved the twisted beauty of those places. They gave me a sense of freedom. Their ugliness matched my inner gloom. And above all I somehow figured that if I could walk there unharmed it might mean that I deserved to live after all. Or that I was invisible. Invincible. The one who could walk places no one else wanted to see. I might even have hoped to find a kindred soul there. I didn’t.

Also I used to spend a lot of time with people who seemed even darker, more cynical, more broken than I felt. Not because I wanted to be understood or thought I could help but just because I wanted to pretend that I didn’t have real problems. It effectively kept me from wallowing in self-pity.

Now, none of these things are healthy. They are not productive or good or functional. But they are the twisted ways of coping we develop if we can’t do anything else. Self-harm is just a way of “coping”. Drinking is just a way of “coping”. I think that even healthy people sometimes use dysfunctional coping mechanisms so to some extent everyone can understand what I’m writing here. And I don’t want to judge myself because as sick and absurd as some of these things might seem – at the end of the day they’ve kept me alive so that I have the chance to learn more functional ways of coping now. You can read about those in a few days. Until then: Stay safe (unlike me ;))!


Therapie: Session #19

As the issue of dissociation is very present at the moment my therapist surprised me with an experiment. Sitting in a different chair than usually I was supposed to talk from the viewpoint of my “Detatched Protector”. That is one of the Schema modes and it seems to have “switched off” my feelings for a long time, made them bearable, “explained them away”. Interestingly it wasn’t weird to talk from its “point of view” – in that situations the answers suddenly came easily and clearly. The Detachtched Protector came into my life when I was quite little and every time something was difficult, everytime I would (should?) have felt sadness or fear it came and told me that there were worse problems in the outside world. That there might be time for my worries later on but that this or that was more important first. That I should wait for it to be over. Not enduring it in the sense of finding a way to cope but rather to let it float past me. Because it is not that bad…

Why? Why? Why? My therapist asked that question multiple times in different ways – what was the purpose and why was it the only way to get through things? And suddenly the scales fell from my eyes: It didn’t protect me. It protected others from me. From me. From my feelings, my problems, my needs.

For most of my life I’ve assumed that it would be a burden if I ever needed help. Or that people wouldn’t love me if I stopped functioning. In a family that was perfect at first and then fell apart; where there was too much on one side and too little on the other there was no other option than growing up quickly. And growing up meant: Being rational. It meant enduring things, functioning in order to not further strain the system. It meant that there was no room for the monsters in the wardrobe, let alone the fear of them.

I learned that grief has no purpose as it cannot bring back beloved people.
I learned that anger has no purpose as tantrums only make others not take you seriously.
I learned that fear has no purpose as appearing to be helpless could be viewed as a weakness.

Nobody told me that all this cutting off emotions would only make the monsters wander from my wardrobe into my head. And I didn’t know what methods the Detatched Protector would use in order to keep up appearances. It is so powerful that I still believe the things it whispers into my ear. Since the experiment I’ve been confused, don’t know what is my opinion and what’s just some sick mode.

Now I have to write down what the Detatched Protector has to say when feelings come up. Even though I didn’t have a name for it until now this used to be the part of myself I was somehow proud of. And now I have to wrap my head around the fact that it got me into huge trouble.

Whatever, I can’t seem to find a clever conclusion today so I just want to point towards my last post as this is a matter of the heart for me.

Have a nice Sunday!

Pride Month!

June is Pride Month and as I wasn’t able to attend my local pride event I figured that a post about the topic might be better than nothing.

As I’ve been in a relationship with a man for a long time now, people often assume that I must be straight – just as they assumed I was lesbian when I dated a woman. I am tired of explaining the term “pansexual” constantly so what I do most times is just dropping a sentence like “Oh, my ex used to do that! She…” casually – and then enjoy the confused faces.

Anyway, a few days ago someone asked me about the term “Gay Pride” – he wanted to know how one can be proud of their sexuality when it’s something you don’t achieve but just…have. First of all I want to acknowledge that this is a very nice thought – especially coming from a cis-male heterosexual person. More often than not people still think that sexuality is something that we can choose, that we do for attention or in order to be different. So just for the record: Love just happens and there isn’t much you can do about it. I’m not proud of being bi- or pansexual, just like I’m not proud of the colour of my skin or the shape of my nose.

However, there is something to be proud of and that is the LGBT+ community. I am damn proud of all the gay sons who hold their heads high in spite of parents who take them to psychiatrists due to their sexual orientation. I am proud of all the trans kids who shine although they dread looking in the mirror. I’m proud of all the lesbian couples who just ignore men who objectify them every single day. I’m proud of all bisexuals who are sure that they are not just indecisive but simply able to love anyone. And I’m also proud of all the people who identify as genderfluid, asexual, demisexual or agender and have to explain what these terms mean constantly.
Long story short: I am proud of a community that won’t give up until we’re all truly equal before the law – and society as a whole.

Now, this is a mental health blog and perhaps you want to know what all this pride has to do with, let’s say depression. Well here it comes:
My own Coming Out was about the toughest time of my life. I just couldn’t figure out what label to identify with, I felt confused about my very identity (which actually is a very borderline thing to say) and above all I felt very, very lonely. There were resources in my town but I was too anxious to use them and for a long time I felt like I could never truly know what to make of it. I was depressed. I loved all the gay people I knew but still hated myself. I thought I was being stupid for not knowing if this was “bi” or “straight” or “homo” or “pan”.
But that’s just me. And I’m a very small part of this world. Let’s see some facts about queer people in general:

  • Queer teens are up to four times as likely to take their own lives compared to their straight counterparts. They’re also more prone to depression, anxiety and self-harm.
  • A vast number of LGBT+ persons have experienced mental health problems in their lives.
  • The numbers of hate crimes against trans persons in the USA are rising.
  • Homosexuality is a punishable crime in 68 countries; in seven of them capital punishment is possible.

I am glad to live in a country where there are good laws to protect us. But still, we don’t have equal rights and above all we don’t have acceptance. There is much talk about tolerance but I don’t want people to just tolerate anything – I want them to truly accept that not all of us are white, heterosexual, cisgender catholic people. I don’t want any kid’s mental health to decline due to doubt and hate and wrong information. Our existence is not a threat and never has been. Love can never be a bad thing. As long as falling in love can be a political act in itself we need our love to be even brighter and shinier and louder. We need it to be visible and diverse and beautiful. I truly believe we need all these brave unicorns and penguins and dolphins out there who don’t let anyone tell them their love is wrong. And if we manage to love ourselves we might also manage to minimize queer mental health problems.

Happy Pride Month!

Therapy: Session #18

Due to my success at the mall we talked a lot about when and how I dissociate, when I get panic attacks and how those two things connect. Basically I dissociate very quickly when something is too much for me, no matter if it’s a crowd, a (too) emotional conversation, noise, unwanted physical contact; just everything that makes me feel overwhelmed can trigger more or less serious dissociative states. That can go from a slight feeling of derealization to feeling as if I was behind a pane of glass or to states where I completely “leave” my body or can’t feel my hands anymore. Speaking still works most times but I won’t say much more than “yes” and “no” then. At least I can always nod.

My feeling is that panic attacks have always occurred more often at times when I had ignored such states for too long, as if they were the last emergency plan my body uses to make me flee. Since I started working on it in therapy I notice dissociation earlier, deal with it differently, leave situations that don’t work more often and therefore the panic attacks have gotten less.

My therapist thinks that all this has to do with boundaries – in my family there was a person who never respected my physical boundaries and another one who never knew any emotional boundaries when I was concerned. So now as a grown-up is the first time in my life where I can actually explore where my limits are. If you say you’re learning to set boundaries in therapy that sounds quite well-worn but I’m not even learning to set them but merely to even notice them! What I’ve known so far is that self-harm is the epitome of a boundary. Even as a little child I chewed the insides of my cheeks when I was in a difficult situation. I never knew any other way which is why it’s so difficult now.

Little successes

  • Spent a whole hour in the mall and even bought something completely unnecessary just for myself. But more important: No panic attacks, no dissociation. Breathing and ammonia and peppermint gum and a porcupine ball somehow did the trick πŸ˜€
  • Don’t beat myself up because I don’t write much here at the moment. It’s okay for me not to achieve as many posts as I’d like to write – after all I do this for myself and if I don’t want to or can’t write this much right now that’s alright.
  • My partner will not be away for the rest of the week and the sudden change of plan didn’t upset me as it would have mere months ago.
  • Redecorated my room and it looks so nice πŸ™‚
  • Keep going although some things are really tough at work.
  • Thoughts of self-harm exist but don’t take over my whole life.
  • Notice how therapy actually changes my daily routine.

Therapy: Session #17

Starting to write again feels weird after a week’s break but there was just too much to do for me to take the time to blog.
Whatever. Today I told my therapist that I want to prepare for next week as my partner will be away and I know exactly just how much easier I get unstable when I am on my own. We talked about lots of things my partner is and does for me – things I don’t want to share here.
My therapist wanted to know what is different when he is with me and what would happen if he was actually gone forever. My fear of loss nearly crushed me but at least we have a conclusion: My biggest fear is that without my partner, everything would be the way it used to be before I met him. It’s no exaggeration to say that I only functioned before I had him – and he showed me what it means to live; to enjoy. Even today I switch to my function mode when he isn’t near – superficially there is no difference: I go to work as I always do, meet people, get stuff done…but on the inside everything is different. The problem with my function mode is that it leaves me feeling exhausted which isn’t exactly part of the concept of self-care. The other problem is that no matter what I can do, how much I can work and go places, sooner or later, calm will return. And then I start feeling edgy. All the too-intense emotions my partner can intercept with a hug, start attacking me. And it doesn’t matter if it’s joy or fear or rage – I just can’t regulate it and that strongly increases the danger of my self-harming.

My therapist asked what I would like to do in such moments. Scream. Scream, shout, yell until my throat burns. I would love to do that. My emotions make me feel like I’m bursting, as if my body couldn’t contain then. But I’ve never been able to scream. Could I try singing, she asked. I had to smile. Yes, I could do that. If only I knew that nobody could hear me – no neighbour, no friend, not even my partner, then I could sing and everything I usually hide deep inside would come out. But only when nobody can hear me. Sometimes I even wonder if I should buy a car just for that. Why is it so important that nobody can hear me, she asked. And then I could hear them, all the people from my past:

You’re not hitting the notes.
You’re not good enough.
Please don’t give her the microphone.
I certainly won’t miss your singing under the shower.
You should just stop trying.
How did you even get through the entrance examination?
You’re talking too much:
You’re talking too loudly.
You’re laughing too loudly.
You’re breathing too loudly.
Just hold your breath.
Be quiet. Make yourself small. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

I made the same mistake twice – once with singing and then with painting: I thought I should go to a school where I could concentrate on these things. And as soon as only performance was important, those outlets weren’t what they used to be anymore. I took from myself what could help me.

I know I have to work on the emotional dependance from my partner. But this will be a loooooooooooooong way to go. For now, I just want to regain my voice – who knows what might change when I don’t let it be taken from me by some ghosts of my past?

Therapy: Session #16

Today we spoke about two issues.

No. 1 – my creed:

Only after the last task has been completed, only after the last item on the to-do-list has been ticked off, only after the last work has been done, then will I find that one can have fun in life as well.

When I have not completed something it stays on my mind all the time – I am unable to relax as long as there is something to do. Indeed I am under the illusion that there will come a day where everything is done: All the things I want to change in the flat, everything that has to be done work-wise, every overdue meeting, just absolutely everything. And then I will have so incredibly much fun, I will do so many wonderful things – it’s going to be awesome!
Of course, this is complete nonsense which is why I now have to write a list (yeah!) with things I would do if I could – and then I’ll have to use this list for interrupting my usual to-do-list. My partner is quite gleeful when my therapist sounds just like him and I am sure that he will prevent me from getting stuff done even more often then usually from now on. Even before I’ve started I am frustrated by this task.
Especially now in summer I have lots of energy I could use to get tasks done so I feel like I have to accomplish as many things as possible.

Related to the issue of my hating being interrupted whilst doing something my therapist wanted to know whether I’d ever gotten Ritalin as a child or if there ever was a supsicion I could have ADD – I can’t relate to that at all as I think that I am uncommonly good at concentrating – also for longer periods of time…

Issue number 2 was self-harm, just like alwas these days. Today we got to the bottom of things concerning the question why it is so irreplacibly important for me and there were two things that came to mind:
1. Self-harm is anti-dissociative for long periods of time; this is especially important as I am now prone to dissociation where I used to have panic attacks. Situations that usually are huge challenges, make me drift off and feel helpless are not a problem when I know that there is a wound. It’s not even about the pain but simply about the knowledge that there is something that makes me feel present and efficient and stable. Using skills enables me to stay “here” for short periods of time but nothing is as lasting as cutting. Unfortunately my therapist considers whether this phenomenon could be treatable with meds. I don’t know what she has in mind – we decided to try more different skills but (unfortunately) the thought is there.
2. When I self-harm I feel invulnerable. Similarly to saying sorry all the time I try to do something in advance in order to stop it from happening – following the principle of “If I hurt myself and make myself feel small, nobody else can!”. We will try to find out where this comes from but the feeling that I can cope with others hurting me, with disapproval or judgement better when I hurt myself in advance is very present.

I can’t find a clever conclusion so I’ll just leave it there for today.

Corny but important ;)

These past few days I have received even more encouraging and kind comments than usually and I think it’s time to thank you all. All the advice, the comfort and the compliments I’m receiving here are so incredibly valuable for me.

Blogging startet as an outlet for me but by now I feel that there is a huge supportive community I can turn to when I am in need of advice and the fact that there hasn’t been a single unkind comment in one and a half years truly amazes me!

I am so glad to read your inspiring blogs as well – I have learned so much from you all. I also know that I have a lot of readers who don’t have blogs of their own but still remain loyal and write comments and I appreciate that so much.

I guess what I want to say is that I am glad that there are so many people who are interested in what I’m writing, willing to help although they’re struggling just as much as I am and who remind me that I am not alone in this.

Thank you so very much!

Foreign language

In a book I’m reading at the moment the term “trigger warning” is discussed and one of the characters wonders just when he became fluent in foreign language he never wanted to learn.

That expressed quite well a feeling I’ve often had but never could find words for:

Every time I explain to someone that there is a difference between a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist.

Every time I remark that Gollum doesn’t have schizophrenia.

Every time I have a conversation like this.

Every time I start reciting BPD-symptoms in order to make clear that not all of us have scars on their arms and/or are dangerous.

Every time I want to talk about something and suddenly notice that I’m using terms I should have explained first.

As glad as I am to have all that knowledge – as often do I think how it would be pleasant if I didn’t need to know anything about it.

I wish everyone who is compelled to aquire such foreign language skills a wonderful weekend!


During the last therapy session my therapist (very carefully) suggested something that has been on my mind ever since. I can’t exactly repeat what her words were but it was about the question whether my thoughts of self-harm are just as pressing at the moment because the whole thing doesn’t play such a huge role in my life anymore. Meaning – precisely because I have kicked away the impulse again and again for such a long time it wants more attention, tries to throw me back into my old habits and doesn’t leave me alone.

At first glance that souunds like something to be glad about but it doesn’t feel that way:
I am not ready to think about a definite goodbye.
If it’s only getting worse, why am I holding out?
What I’d like most would be to prove I can still do “it”.
I still want to have that option.
Precisely because it looks like I’m over the hump I should cut.

…and similarly destructive thoughts are on my mind.

My therapist reckons it is time to think about something that can take the place self-harm used to have in my life. Now that I can use my skills to an extent where there’s no self-harm it’s not enough to just kill time anymore – I also have to fill the gap that starts to develop now.
This task is totally too much for me. I don’t want anything to replace self-harm, I can’t imagine what it could be, I am not ready to close that door yet, I can feel that everything inside me is reluctant to think about this. Not because I can’t see that my therapist’s words are making sense but precisely because I know she is right. If I imagine replacing self-harm I feel like a fraud – nothing can ever replace something this destructive and if I imagine that from now on I should first use my skill chain and then fill the vacuum with…WHAT FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE?! every time I want to cut…it just doesn’t work in my head.

I have to talk to my therapist about what she meant exactly – maybe I can reduce the room self-harm take up in my thoughts somehow and it’s not even about a substitute activity. It really confuses me and above all it makes me realize just how unready I am to think about stopping for good….

Therapy: Session #15

It was a weird session. Productive on one hand but on the other hand there were a lot of thoughts I couldn’t/can’t process.

We talked about my issue with “guilt”. The feeling that is constantly present due to some recent events, the feeling that makes me want to cut, the feeling I chose for my emotion analysis and of which my therapist says that it’s not an actual emotion but rather something we are being taught.
As even I am aware that the events that make me feel guilty were not serious if viewed objectively we tried to find out from which event in the past I know this feeling of “I should have done more!”. A thousand situations floated past my inner eye, we then picked one of them.
A bed, a relative, me – petrified. The guilt from back then because I could never make him happy. The guilt from today because I didn’t fight. Guilt he should feel instead of me according to my therapist as he didn’t respect my boundaries.
My therapist talks about other children, about her 4-year-old son who already stops cuddling and who closes the bathroom door. I was older than that. It was okay I didn’t want to…wasn’t it? But he never used violence – just a guilty conscience. She says it’s not only bad when you’re in pain but that grown-ups have to see when they are going too far. Things I know but can’t apply on myself.

I should have done more, I should have done more, I should have done more.

Guilt crushes me, I am there, then I am gone and I only want to cut.

My therapist decides that there’s no use in staying with that situation and that we should rather focus on what to do now that we know that every little thing activates the feeling from back then.

Now I have to write down when and how often I feel guilty (all the time?!). That will be a lot of work, after all I am reknown for apologizing all the time and/or thanking people and both feels like cowering to me. I don’t thank people with my head held high but always in an obsequious way and my boss writes emails titled “Don’t apologize for doing your work ;)”. Colleagues correct me when I sound too obsequiosly, I say sorry for saying sorry too often and I wanted to start this post with an apology for writing so lately (therapy is on Saturdays) although this is my blog and I can write what- and whenever I want to.

I strongly believe that my apologies make me a nicer person. And that nobody is going to like me anymore when I stop saying them (and yes I was aware that this is pretty infantile even before my therapist pointed it out). I always feel like I’m not giving people enough; so an apology is the least I can offer.

My therapist suggested that I should look for a model: Someone I know who simply says “Thanks!” – just once and casually and who only apologizes when they actually have done something wrong. At least I know exactly who will be that person already πŸ™‚


If you read about BPD-symptoms you will sooner or later stumble upon the phrase “rapid mood swings” but sometimes it’s nearly unimaginibly absurd just how rapid they can actually happen.

The last two, three days were okay. I was somewhere between empty (which sucks but is quite relaxing after the last few weeks), nervous (which is okay because nervous is not as bad as panicking) and happy (which is awesome – I really enjoy the fact that summer is coming). It was okay.
Today when I came home from work I felt quite tired and decided to take a little nap which is usually good for me (if it doesn’t turn into a daily habit and actually is a way of avoiding life). Anyway, I took the nap and before I did there was not a single sign that something could have been off. By now I am pretty good at reading early warning signs, using skills in time etc. Today I didn’t feel anything that could have given me a clue. When I woke up, I was in the middle of…I don’t know what?! Panic? High tension? Dissociation? I felt like I had no control over my body, my heart was beating way too fast and literally all I could think about was cutting. I felt as if I was breaking apart, as if something tore my head apart, I wanted to scream but as usually I just wasn’t able to do anything but freeze.

Ammonia, heat cream, porcupine balls, exercising and breathing brought me back in the past hour and I think it’s a miracle I didn’t cut. It was so intense and so out of nothing – usually tension builds up over time or at least I know what triggered it but this was like an attack completely out of the blue. Right now I’m just writing in order to calm down before I’m going to bed…hope my herbal meds kick in quickly; all breathing exercises I’ve ever learned won’t be enough for a quiet night.

“One can only be glad!”

Co-worker during lunch break:
Phew, there are are a lot of loonies here in the large city, right? It’s really weird when people on the train start talking to themselves!

You know, I moved to the city because in my small town I used to be the weird one. Here I don’t stand out.

Well, alright but you’re not one of those who should be on medication. You’re not paranoid. Those people who think they’re being watched, I really pity them. Horrible thing.

Other colleague:
Oh please! They don’t really get what’s going on anyway.

I don’t tell them that I know the feeling of being watched, the feeling when you think you’ll get caught any second. Or that sometimes I can’t feel my own hands but instead those of other people when flashbacks haunt me. I don’t have actual hallucinations but more than is nice I am able to imagine what it’s like when your own perception doesn’t really match up with reality.
I notice that my co-worker still seems to be waiting for an answer and go for:
Things like that might happen faster than you think. Do you remember “former colleague”? He had paranoia, I often wonder what would have happened if he had gotten better help.

What, so he just lost it? I remember him being totally normal. Not like this guy who banged his head against the wall the other day – crazy!

I sometimes bang my head against the wall.

He doesn’t seem to hear me. Then:
Do meds actually help?

I bite back the question what “normal” is as well as the remark that he only perceives me as “normal” because I keep up appearances and instead I briefly explain that many mental illnesses are treatable with meds quite well even if some of them might make you feel low or tired.
The answer:
One can only be glad to be healthy, right? In my village we don’t really have that…

I indecisively shrug.

Should I really cause him to have sleepless nights by telling him about the scenario inside my head? A scenario in which we lunatics don’t keep up appearances for once and show him that we’re absolutely everywhere for a day?
Unfortunately he also can’t understand why I answer his offer that I can talk to him about anything with just a very sweet smile and a silent nod a few hours later.


I’m sitting in the sun, smelling spring and for the first time in weeks I’m not under acute pressure. It’s the first day of May of which I daresay I’ll definitely get through it without self-harm, the first day I don’t have to fight for every single breath, the first day I can enjoy without feeling hollow. I am exhausted due to all the fighting but that’s exactly why I manage patting myself on the back. Very often one can’t do anything but endure the tension and not give in to the pressure and wait until suddenly, within seconds, all the grey mist vanishes and it’s possible to think clearly again. With every time I make the experience that I can go through it and that it can get easier without self-harm I can see a little more that I’m making progress.

By the way I want to thank you for all the motivational comments I got πŸ™‚

Skilling through the writer’s block

The smell of ammonia and lavender in my nose.
The sting of the heat cream on my skin.
The letters that spell motivational words on my arm.

The healthy part of my mind is terrified. It screams that I’m not a bad person, not a monster, not a failure just because I’ve made a mistake. It’s trying to tell me that I couldn’t have done anything else and that nothing gets better by throwing away everything I’ve struggled to achieve.

The ill part roars back how I made a deal with myself a long time ago: That this particular situation would automatically have to result in a certain amount of deep cuts in a space I’ve kept free especially for this occasion. It doesn’t allow the healthy part to trivialize my “reasons”.

I take some more of my herbal sedatives.
I nearly crush the porcupine ball in my hand.
I read what my therapist wrote on a yellow sheet of paper.
I smell. I try to feel. I try to think.
I also try to write. I fail, the words don’t flow as they usually do and they certainly don’t make sense.


I usually don’t like prejudices and I am truly sorry if I am discriminating against a certain day of the week here but after all it’s true: This is a real Monday.

No motivation, technical problems, the coffee isn’t good and yes – I am complaining on a high comfort level here. Sometimes I actually like that as it means that there are no severe problems. An every-day “So unmotivated!” is much more pleasant than an actual grown depression, a “Why is this not working?” much nicer than the mighty rage that usually overwhelms me and a “Who is supposed to be drinking that?” much more tolerable than being unable to taste anything due to dissociation.

And this is why I’ll continue wallowing in my unmotivated, unproductive and innocuous Monday-mode πŸ˜€

Therapy: Session #14

Talked about the immense pressure to cut. I think my therapist was happy because I’m using so many things she’s teaching me in my fight: Skills, calling people, exercising, mindfulness exercises, writing precautionary behavious analyses.

Then we talked about the different triggersΒ  which have been activated these past few days: A boundary issue. A person who made me question the fact that my skills are helping me by being very sceptical – “Why would I be better just cause I’m putting on some heat cream?!”. A problem at work. An unpleasant memory about a time when I felt very lonely. A lot of time since I last self-harmed.

Concerning the boundary issue we spoke about my past and for the first time I was able to talk about my relative without any problems. Just got off my chest what happened to me without nearly choking on the words as usually. It felt so good. My therapist reacted so incredibly right that I couldn’t still doubt that what happened did actually harm me.

About the scepticism concerning the skills I’ll have to consider if I have any more questions about the topic. But it rather seems like I’m doubting things which I like and which are good for me too quickly when I’m with other people who don’t approve of them. Not consciously in order to be liked but rather because my identity is so unstable that I quickly fall apart like a house of cards. And, well, skills actually can come across a little quirky so that people might smile about them when there is no time to explain why you’re walking around with a porcupine ball in your hand.

We didn’t talk about work much as it’s not a big issue at the end of the day. There were just a few stressful events that can happen in every day office life and in this case they just contributed to something that was already there.

We also didn’t talk about the memories of very lonely times so much as I didn’t really know what to say about them.

And then the long time since my last self-injury: As some of you have suggested I told my therapist that I fear her not wanting to work with me anymore as I am so “stable” now. She replied that I would one day declare this therapy finished, never her – except if I started yelling at her all the time or stopped showing up :D. As childish as I feel, it felt very good to hear that.
Then we talked about what’s making it so difficult to stay without new wounds. Because it’s not the pain in that moment – I do get that stimulus just fine using my skills. No it’s rather that it feels wrong when there are no wounds, when the scars fade, nearly as if an important part of myself was missing, as if I wasn’t as present and efficient and “there”. My therapist thinks that’s because I’ve been doing it for such a long time now – 10 years – and that I somehow started regarding a mere symptom of my illness an actual part of my personality. She asked if a tattoo might help. But I love my tattoos, I would never “defile” them for the terrible purpose of being a “substitute” for self-harm. Nevertheless I think it’s really cool that my therapist is so open-minded concerning things like that (but of course I had to promise her I wouldn’t just run off and do it just because she mentioned it :D).

All in all we came to the conclusion that between all the people whose demands I thought I had to meet, self-harm used to be the only thing that was just my very own. Between those I had to be there for, those who constantly crossed my boundaries, those who criticised me and those who didn’t understand, cutting gave me a stability I didn’t know from anywhere else. When there was no time to just “be”, my wounds allowed me to be present.
Therefore my homework is: Find out what else could give me this feeling. Find something that is good for me constantly and also find out where and with whom I have to set limits. For this I am supposed to use my Poster again and extend it. I also got an emotion protocol in order to find out what different emotions feel like for me, and why.

So much happened in this hour, my thoughts are much more sorted than before. I am so grateful for having found a person who stabilizes and understands me and helps me evolve. Without ever having hurried, I think we are doing this work really quickly.


…if I make it for 12 more days I will have been clean for half a year.

What my thoughts should be:

  • Awesome that I’ve made it this long!
  • Nice that the scars are slowly fading.
  • Good to see that it’s possible without self-harm.
  • I daresay I’ll make it for another six months.
  • My therapist will be happy.
  • This is a success.

What my thoughts are:

  • Each day that passes will make the next relapse even worse!
  • If only the scars wouldn’t fade this quickly it would be a little easier.
  • Even though the skills are working fine nothing will ever be like self-harm.
  • I don’t even daresay I’ll get through another single day.
  • What if my therapist thinks I’m not “ill enough” to need her help now?
  • This is not what success feels like.

To everyone here who has some problematic behaviour and a risk of relapse: How do you handle such “jubilee dates”? Do you celebrate, treat youselves? Do you try (just like me) to ignore them if it’s possible? Are you even interested in them? I’m really curious about your opinions…

More or less

I wouldn’t say I’m bad at the moment but what I can say is that I feel a constant inner tension that doesn’t go away. All the time I try to find out what the reason could be and above all, what I can do to change it:

Should I…

…do more stuff? Or less?

…exercise more?

…get less things done and leave more of them for another day?

…contact my therapist more often?

…work on less different issues than I do at the moment?

…think more? Think less?

…practice more skills?

…work less?

…speak more about what’s going on inside?

…talk less?

I don’t really know what to do with myself and feel as if I was giving some beloved people more headaches than I want to and showed them much less affection than I wish I could. Inadequate. That’s what I feel like. I’m not even sure cutting would help. Until now I’ve always just known it makes me function better, now I can see a little that this can’t be the price. But what else should I do?

Maybe it’s progress that I’m asking these questions. It’s just that some answers would be nice as well.


I’ve mentioned the fact that I’ve been bringing myself to go running twice a week since last September as well as the topic “Music” before. But recently I’ve discovered a curious thing and it has to do with both of them: I am able to “neutralize” “evil” songs by exercising:

Mostly I go running with my partner which is a nice after work activity – and especially when it’s cold it’s easier to find motivation together. But sometimes I am out on my own and I noticed that I have more Γ©lan with some music. Now the thing is, I am not a huge fan of technology and I still have my loyal old MP3-Player with its veeeeeeery little memory space. So the 120 songs I can put onto it are supposed to be something special – 100% of my playlist means something. There is not a single song I don’t care about – special memories are tied to each one and there are days where I actually have to skip certain songs as some tunes can definitely wreck my whole mood.

Recently I’ve noticed that I don’t have my usual “skipping-tic” when I am running, I rather just let the songs come as they are…as long as I am moving they don’t do anything special to me, they are simply…okay. The memories do come but they don’t have any emotional impact, they rather float past me, I take note of them and that’s it.

During our holiday I was even able to plug my MP3-Player in for the car journeys – I would never have done that some time ago as I would have dreaded reacting emotionally in front of another person or being judged for songs I really don’t listen to because of their musical value but just due to nostalgic reasons. Now I still think about the latter but my fear of a song crushing my mood is as good as gone and that is definitely linked to my listening to music whilst running.

I don’t know how to explain this but the negative emotion I mostly feel is fear and I guess it’s easier to be scared when you’re petrified on a couch than when you’re moving and therefore following your “Fight or Flight-instinct” and just keeping on running until it’s okay again.

Keeping this in mind I want to tackle more “difficult” songs I haven’t dared listen to yet little by little – those where I have really rough memories that still have strong emotional impact on me. Such as the song I heard when I had the first panic attack I can remember. Or the one I used to turn on for cutting myself. Or the tune that was the soundtrack for all my suicide plans. And if that works as well I want to ask my therapist if I can simply use this “technique” for other bad memories that aren’t linked to songs somehow. I call that “Running away in the positive sense”.

Does anyone here have similar experiences? Or is what I’ve noticed and concluded just coincidence?

A comparison…

…I probably shouldn’t even make – but it’s almost inevitable. I’ve now been working with my therapist for about the same time my last therapy lasted and the huge difference is nearly insane!

Within the same amount of time I had been talking about all the issues I could think of back then – and had been unable to find solutions for any of them. I just felt bad because of all these things I wanted to work on and thought I failed because nothing changed.
Today I have strategies for many issues that I’ve been working on with my therapist. My everyday life is easier because of that, memories can’t overwhelm me so easily anymore, I have emergency plans. I haven’t spoken about all issues though – and that’s because my therapist feels and respects when I’m not ready for something. All things I didn’t have back then.

I don’t want to imply that my last therapist didn’t do her job well. I just want to say that she and I were obviously a very bad match. It definitely was due to the method I couldn’t relate to as well. But I didn’t know what therapy was supposed to feel like. Didn’t now how much time it was okay to take until something changed. Didn’t know if I was allowed to say that certain things didn’t work for me. Didn’t know if I was just the cliche therapy-resistent borderline personality.

When I was so enthusiastic at the beginning of this therapy I didn’t really trust my judgement – could well have been that I was once again just happy about having found someone only to realize it didn’t work after some time. The classic “I’ll just idealize this, after all I can still devaluate it later!”. But after all these months I am positive that it is actually different this time. So many things work better than ever before, I have learned so much – and not just where symptoms come from but also how to cope with them. It is so successful that I’m actually looking forward to the tough topics that lie ahead as much as I fear them. Everything’s okay and above all lots of things that would take me months to figure out on my own, if I even could, happen within minutes.

Thank you, dear therapist!

Therapy: Session #13

Talked about this. About the fact that I feel overwhelmed by everything because I demand so much of myself. About perfectionism. About the time I use for double-checking absolutely everything.Β Does it have a compulsive character?Β No idea, after all I have the time. I work fast, I read fast, I do things fast. Always fast enough to be able to check if everything is perfect.Β What would happen if I didn’t do that for once?Β No idea, after all it has always worked so far.Β Did I have parents where performance was a condition for love?Β Absolutely not! Luckily I didn’t have parents like that.Β So what is the reason for my demanding so much of me?Β I guess it just kind of happened. I was more docile than the other children, I could read before the other children could. I had less friends than the other children. That was the way it was and after some time I felt like I couldn’t change it anymore. Also there was responsibility very early which made ordinary things like playing tricks or forgetting about homework seem impossible. I was old very soon, was the little grown-up, first due to some situations and then due to habit.Β Do I fear punishment when something is not perfect? Is this why I fear losing the job, the partner?Β Yes, probably. After all I don’t know anything else and nobody knows me differently. I always did my homework at school, in the breaks or in easier lessons so that I had time for more important and serious things at home. My reports always were extremely good. In every job I’ve ever had I got more-than-average responsibilities within a very short time. In private life I am the one who always thinks of everything. Was I too smart and would it have been easier if that hadn’t been the case because the perfect facade would have been impossible to maintain?Β Shrugging. I am just orderly. I never really got maths.Β How did I cope with the pressure?Β Come puberty I thought about the things other unhappy teens did. Alcohol, drugs, skipping school and shoplifting – all forbidden things, too many problems if I got caught, too difficult to hide…Β So never anything reckless? Always controlled?Β Yes. Proud of cutting, that was my outlet – everyone else had problems that needed attention…but I did it all on my own. I was better, tougher, hardened.Β Would I have liked someone to talk to?Β Who? My various families were so different that one wouldn’t have understood what I wanted to tell about the other. My peers often had different attitudes, I couldn’t accept the friends I had for what they were after all the years of being an outsider. There was a huge feeling of being misunderstood.Β Am I rationally aware that the world wouldn’t end if I made a mistake?Β Yes. Probably. Nevertheless there are different rules for me than for the others. Right?

After that we talked about some other things. For example my anger-protocol from before my holiday. But when I’m empty, scared, dissociated there is no anger. It only comes when I’m okay. Interesting, my therapist called that. I’m not sure if I like professionals regarding my symptoms as interesting πŸ˜€
We also briefly broached my fear of authorities. But when my therapist mentioned the words “loss of control” and “subjection”, we both backpedalled quickly (did I hyperventilate? Cry? No idea).
Although it was one of these sessions where it’s impossible to finish everything that comes up I feel a little better for the first time in days. And the sun is shining. Everything. Is. Going. To. Be. Okay.


Too much

Yesterday evening everything collapsed. Especially me. I felt like all the demands in my life gushed in at once and I don’t even have enough strength for half of them:

All the issues at work I need most of my energy for. I love my job and that’s exactly why I have a huge fear of not being able to manage everything there is to manage.
My therapy which continues on Saturday. I still have some homework to do and I really want to focus on that. I know that I have to because if I don’t it will never ever get better.
And then all the friends to whom I dedicate as much time as I can – but it’s still too little. So many appointments and there are still about ten people who are waiting for me to call and have tea or coffee or a party. I turn down 7 out of 8 invitations and it’s still too much. Too much too much too much too much.

I don’t know what I can do, I have this feeling of being torn apart. That I am competely insufficient – and therefore I rediscover my self-hatred. Because I’m not enough. Because I pay so little attention to so many dear people as I need time and energy for my therapy while most of those two are needed for my job which I don’t do as well as I wish I could.

The feeling was there even before my holiday…but then I hoped I was just ready for a vacation and assumed it would be better after some time to relax. And I did relax. Really. But it’s still not enough – and that’s what’s bothering me.
Yesterday I freaked out…luckily my partner was there and prevented worse. Of course the thoughts about cutting are very present – after all it would be so much easier to function and fulfill everyone else’s wishes.
Today I started the day in extreme step-by-step mode: Just get up. Look for fresh socks. Brush your teeth. Each of these steps a huge mountain that had to be climbed. On my way to the tram I felt so tired that each step was an effort and at the same time I was so “gone” that it took me a while to notice that I had gone too far and was way past the station.

Writing is okay. That’s why I started with this. Which means I’ve already managed something today. I guess.

Made it!

First day of work done and (of course) it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared – I didn’t get fired, my desk still is were it used to be and apart from the usual huge amount of emails there wasn’t much to worry about. Every time I have these (very real) fears I feel so stupid when I finally see that there was no reason for them – why can’t I just fill the feeling of relief I have now into a bottle that I can open when the next holiday ends?

Whatever…it’s done, my urge to cut is not as strong as yesterday and everything’s going to be fine. Wish you all a nice evening.

…and yet

Still totally rested from the holiday, lots of time to relax, just nice things to do according to my diary…and yet I don’t actually feel stable. To be more precise, I think I am quite a bitch at the moment because somethings feels off. I can’t put my finger on the reason but I see how irritable, hard and unapproachable I am. Maybe it’s just my usual “Holiday is ending and I’ll be back at work and then the world is going to end!” – I have to explain this: Every time I have a few days off I assume that some of the things in the list below might happen at the same time:

  • Everything could be totally different, as in a nice colleague could have quitted, my desk could suddenly be somewhere else or everything might work completely different from the way it used to.
  • It could be that I can’t do my job anymore because I might have forgotten everything I need to know.
  • I might have too little time and get stressed and end up totally unable to cope.
  • My bosses may have realized that they don’t need me during my holiday and fire me as soon as I get back.
  • I might have made a terrible mistake prior to my holiday so that the whole team will wait for me with angry faces.

I am completely aware that these fears are totally irrational, that I didn’t forget everything I need to know about my job and that nobody’s just going to fire me. Still I can’t get the anxiety out of my head which obviously leads to lots of thoughts about self-harm…

I will go running today and spend my time with skills and hope that it’s going to be better afterwards. And I hope that everything’s just going to be fine when I get back to work on Tuesday and that this feeling of constant threat will get better then…because if this is not just my “End-of-holiday-syndrome” I just can’t figure out what the problem is right now.

Break in the weather

As my mood can change as suddenly as the weather in the north of Britian the travel destination for this holiday was well-chosen πŸ™‚


All in all I was able to really enjoy this trip with my partner (who drove the rental car while I could admire the amazing landscapes) – we felt like we had lots of time, we spent most of our days outside and we saw some really spectacular things…the perfect holiday πŸ™‚
Nevertheless there were two or three days where I could feel a huge weight on my shoulders and although it was just a short time it was quite tough to get through – especially as I hadn’t been able to take all my skills with me (we just had hand luggage and some of my skills include liquids). I felt that being depressed, wanting to cut and feeling empty were even more a waste of time on a holiday than I usually do anyway.

More on the bright side: My fear of flying was totally under control, I don’t know if it was due to the herbal meds I’m taking or just coincidence but it definitely was nice to feel happy on the plane.
Also, it is incredible how good I feel when I can have a break from phone calls, emails, people…everything basically. That is what makes me feel free and it gives me so much strength. Travelling is my elixir of life.


This, by the way is Bamburgh Castle and I want to say a huge “thank you” to the amazing Imani Summer without whom we wouldn’t have heard about this beautiful place πŸ™‚

I find it quite difficult to write an update about nearly two weeks so I’ll just post this quick update today and hope the photos make you happy πŸ™‚

Your questions part 4

As I am on an internet-free holiday right now I asked you to send me questions back in March so I was able to prepare some posts and you amazed me by sending lots of ideas πŸ™‚
So here we go!

Experiences concerning: Being unable to find an outlet for inner pressure (for example when other people are around) and a feeling of resignation and hopelessness due to that
Yeah, I know that. As a borderline I tend to react in extreme ways, even to trivialities and I am aware that what I would like to do would often be inappropriate. This can feel as if I was helplessly exposed to that experience, especially when I know that it will take some time until I can be on my own or exercise in order to blow off steam.
One thing I have realized in the course of my therapy is that extreme pressure doesn’t come as suddenly and surprisingly as I always used to think – the more I know what I have to pay attention about (also physically) the earlier I notice when something is ahead and can take countermeasures before it gets too bad – for example with breathing exercises, scents, herbal remedies or other things… Obviously this doesn’t work all the time (yet) but it makes me feel like I’m more in control and that is very, very pleasant.

Fighting the infinite “thought caroussel”?
I guess many people with mental illnesses know this inability to stop worrying and many of us also know destructive ways to break this cycle. I’ll leave those out here πŸ˜‰
What helps me a lot (obviously) is writing in order to get the thoughts out of my head – this might work with painting, making music or other modes of expression for other people.
My second strategy (that takes a little practice) is what some therapists call a “thought stop”. It doesn’t have anything to do with suppression but rather is the conscious decision not to think about certain things at the moment – I’ll allow myself a certain limited amount of time for it later on; this is great for avoiding useless brooding that goes on for hours and it is easier for me to engage in distractions (working, reading, no matter what) when I can tell myself that I can keep thinking at some later point in time.

How to fight a sense of being a failure?
Tough one…developing some self-worth is difficult for me – after all I am used to blaming myself, hurting myself or just having no image of myself at all. It’s hard for me to say I’ve done something well but when I keep in mind that I have a job and a relationship in spite of everything and that I manage it on my own every day I am rationally aware that there are things I’ve done right at least. Whether I’ll ever actually feel that as well…no idea, guess that’s work in progress.
For me this is closely linked to self-care:
Even though I don’t believe I deserve it, I’m getting better at caring for myself – that is because I trick myself by thinking about aeroplanes: On flights they always tell you to put the oxygen mask on your own face before helping others and if I apply that logic to my life it means that I can only be a good partner/friend/employee when I manage a minimum level of self-care. That way I don’t have to take the step of doing it for myself yet at moments where that would feel like an ego trip and I can always tell myself I’m helping other indirectly. This is just an interim solution but it’s better than nothing πŸ˜‰


Your questions part 3

As I am on an internet-free holiday right now I asked you to send me questions back in March so I was able to prepare some posts and you amazed me by sending lots of ideas πŸ™‚
So here we go!

How do you deal with extreme emotions?
Not very well by the looks of it. It really depends on which feeling we’re talking about though:
For example I’m not able to cope with rage at all. For most of my life my tactic was to bottle it up and be eaten up with anger; a short time ago I started to experiment with letting it out which has mostly ended destructively so far.
I don’t really feel sadness/grief, I seem to be out of touch with those so no idea.
Concerning fear I view panic attacks as the most extreme example – I can cope with those by now. As tough as it might sound, one gets used to them, after a while you know that you’re not actually dying, start breathing earlier etc…
I guess I can’t really give any general advice on how to deal with the BPD-typcial extreme emotions…or maybe I can: It is definitely useful to know your own early warning signs.

Carrying on in spite of depression. How?
For me the absolutely crucial thing is routine, or more precisely in my case my job. When I’m depressed I only get up if I have to and a regular job is great for that (optionally, other people might have children/pets/voluntary tasks/whatever).
Apart from that these things are important for me: Getting out of the house at least once a day, dividing everything into baby steps (I just think about brushing my teeth, when that is done, putting on clothes and I never think about anything that comes afterwards so that the coming day can’t overwhelm me) and if there’s any energy, I work on the cause so that I don’t feel powerless: Be it therapy, be it seeing a doctor and getting medication (or simply vitamin D if you don’t see much of the sun in winter just like me), be it quitting a terrible job or ending a toxic relationship…whatever could be the cause can (hopefully) be changed.

Escaping from everyday life into a phantasy world…and rude awakening afterwards?
This question if difficult for me to answer as I’m convinced that I wouldn’t be alive without a certain dose of escapism. Basically one could view reading a good book or exercises where you imagine something such as the “safe place” as a way of escaping to a phantasy world and I have made nothing but good experiences with that. I can imagine that huge problems can arise when you actually lose connection with reality but a deliberate break in Middle Earth or at Hogwarts never did any harm πŸ˜‰
Like I said, I’m using this consciously, for example in situations where I would risk self-harming behaviour otherwise. When it comes to coping with every day life I don’t try to avoid that by escaping to a phantasy world so I’m probably not really helping here.

Your questions part 2

As I am on an internet-free holiday right now I asked you to send me questions back in March so I was able to prepare some posts and you amazed me by sending lots of ideas πŸ™‚
So here we go!

How do you deal with lack of understanding?
Really depends on the context. For example it’s important for me that my partner or close friends understand why I think the way I do which doesn’t mean that I expect them to be able to relate to everything. So let’s say there’s a conversations about self-harm, for instance, I often hear the sentence “I just don’t get that!” and always answer with “That’s probably a good sign for your sanity ;)”
On the other hand I don’t really care about what strangers might think – I am lucky to live in a city that is big enough for me to stay anonymous. What I mean is that in large cities people aren’t shocked when you’re wearing unusual clothes, going to therapy, going for walks at night, kissing people of different genders or whatever.
At work I expect understanding when it comes to my way of spending breaks but no consideration when it’s about my performance getting worse due to my state. That might sound like I’m hard on myself but it’s the way I see things. Colleagues don’t have to understand me as long as my performance is fine.
Even though lack of understanding can hurt it is a chance to see who is actually taking me just the way I am (when someone makes completely unqualified remarks I tend to quickly devaluating the person in question). Also I made good experiences with encouraging people to ask questions if they don’t understand something – as long as a reasonable conversation is possible, it’s also possible to avoid unnecessary hurting and I can only recommend (or request) for relatives of mentally ill persons to do some research about the illness; that makes it easier for everyone involved.

What are your experiences with antidepressants?
Very difficult topic, I’m treading on thin ice here. As BPD is my main problem and my last depressive episode happened quite some time ago I am probably not the sort of person where it is easy to find the right medication. I know many people who have found the right thing and are able to live a much more stable/happier life due to their medication.
I personally have only tried one antidepressant (Citalopram) and it didn’t go well. My dissociative states and above all severe thoughts of suicide were really bad with the medication, I felt like a zombie. It might have been different with another agent (or at a different age – important factor when it comes to antidepressants) but the experience shocked me so much that I decided to tackle the (life-long) BPD-problem in therapy and view depression as “just” the comorbidity is was in my case.
IMPORTANT: I do definitely not want to discourage anyone from trying medication. Look for a good psychiatrist, speak openly and try to find out what is working out for you!

How do you recognize a good therapist?
By them talking openly to me, not judging me or putting me under pressure and above all by them asking the right questions. It’s hard to put a finger on this but without the right questions it is difficult for me to get to the core of a problem. Also I think it’s important that I have the freedom to find out what works for me in therapy and that I’m not given a “formula”.
My experience: If you feel that the chemistry just isn’t right in any way – go fo find someone else!

Your questions part 1

As I am on an internet-free holiday right now I asked you to send me questions back in March so I was able to prepare some posts and you amazed me by sending lots of ideas πŸ™‚
So here we go!

How are you dealing with idealization and devaluation?
Tough question right at the start but fortunately I talked about this to my partner some time ago and still remember how I explained this problem to him. As a borderline I tend to seeing the world in black and white, even though I know exactly that this doesn’t make any sense – it simply happens, often without me even noticing.
Basically there are (few) people who I really like and I just glorify those people – that can go quite far so that I block out things I don’t like and see those persons through the famous rose-tinted glasses.
On the other hand there I people I don’t get along with and whom I mistrust. I don’t even assume that they could possibly do anything positive in order to protect myself from unexpected problems.
This starts getting difficult when one of these assumptions is belied – so for example when my partner does something to upset me or a colleague I don’t like has a nice conversation with me. It doesn’t just turn my image of this person upside down (which is exhausting enough) but my whole view of life, everything I believe in. One could say that the people who are somewhere in the middle and show me the famous grey in the world are those where I find contact most difficult. It gives me a sort of pseudo-security to classify people as either “good” or “bad” although I logically know exactly that we all carry both things in ourselves. I try to remember this but knowledge is often incapable of beating my feelings. This will definitely be a huge topic in my therapy – but I feel it’s going to get easier to have a stable, realistic image of others as soon as I finally have one of myself and this is what I work on every day.
Whilst I don’t know anything else and am therefore quite used to it I assume that it must be frustrating for the people surrounding me when I feel that someone is completely worthless or threatening due to some tiny little thing…I can only say that I’m sorry and doing my best.

What about dealing with closeness and distance?
Right one more contrast-topic πŸ™‚
Basically I can connect this to the question above by saying that I seek closeness to the people I idealize and distance from the people I devaluate (gosh, that sounds awful but I want to be open…)
People can quickly be too much for me – be it due to too much time spent together without a break, too long conversations, too much physical contact, too many persons in one room or whatever. I can only enjoy closeness to a certain extent and with extremely few people (animals are much better).
I always used to fight in order to get more distance from people – it took three months of travelling on my own for me to get in a state where I actually craved human contact; it’s only since this journey that I’ve realized closeness can be something pleasant – before that I wanted nobody and nothing and distance from everything was my biggest goal. Today I can actually feel how much closeness I want and need: Lots from my partner, quite much from a few people and much less than is being seen as “normal” from most people. I am not a big hugger, I don’t really like going out with colleagues after work and even with my closest friends it’s enough for me to see them every few weeks. At the risk of hurting people I stopped enduring closeness that doesn’t feel good for me – too long has it harmed me to stay in a “too-close-situation” for the sake of others. The more I’m left alone the bigger the chance of my trying to connect with someone gets and everyone who knows me well is aware of that.
All in all I would conclude that too much closeness makes me feel as if I started to dissolve completely but too much distance is not good for me either. The hardest thing though, is the change between those two things.

Oh dear…

I’ve been coping so well these past few weeks, I reckoned I would be okay until the holiday – just today and tomorrow left – but no. Would have been too easy. Today there was one of these tiny little situations that can make everything fall apart within seconds.

Two colleagues stood in front of my desk, blocking my way, looking at me, maybe saying something, I’m not sure. And I just freaked out. I don’t even know exactly what happened but I kind of suddenly left my body, I think I snapped at them, my hands just flapped and ran through my hair and I couldn’t think straight at all. I went outside, had a panic attack and the urge to cut was so overwhelming…it hasn’t been this bad for a long time now – I’m not used to it anymore. How did I cope with this on a daily basis?

I’m just exhausted, tired, unable to concentrate and all I want to do is go home and pull a blanket over my head. Also I’m ashamed I acted that way – I usually manage acting “normally” at work. It’s just really time for a holiday. I’m looking forward to the moment we check in at the hotel so much…

I’m sorry my last pre-holiday post is so depressing…that was not my intention. However, there will be some posts I prepared so that this doesn’t have to be the last one for the whole time. I wish you all a good day – take care!

Final Spurt

…last therapy session before my holiday done, finishing everything I can at work, cleaning the flat, organizing cat sitters, looking for all the travel documents, calling everyone who could miss me, feeling extremely happy and at the same time quite under pressure.

That’s what it feels like at the moment. I would be so much more relaxed if I cut myself. I go running and dancing, I meditate and use all my skills and somehow it works out. Breathing does the trick, just keeping on breathing, not holding the air inside like I used to. Everything’s going to be okay. For sure. And soon I’ll be far away from all tasks and able to breathe even better πŸ™‚

Therapy: Session #12

Today we spent the whole hour talking about anger. I feel angry very often and above all too intensely and due to totally stupid trivialities (such as: the cereal pack doesn’t open; or people in front of me walk excruciatingly slowly and don’t leave space for me to pass by. So actually fundamental things in life…not!).

Anyway, it took the whole hour to differentiate between some essential things about my anger:

  1. This meaningless (and way too strong) anger about trivialities I tried to describe above. The problem with this is mainly that I am at 10 on a 1-10 scale immediately so I never get just a little annoyed about something like other people do. Also it often happens when I am in a good mood and then I feel like some small thing is ruining my whole day because I feel angry but can’t let it out as I don’t want to be a Rumpeltiltskin and so I keep feeling angry at myself as well.
    The main trigger for this I found in today’s session is impatience. We’ll see how much work I’ll have to put into that.
  2. There are definitely situations where I feel okay with my anger. For example when people say racist or homophobic things and nobody does anything about it. I can get angry about that, I feel right in such moments and I don’t have to suppress anything – when it comes to important values I even allow myself to speak a little too loudly.
  3. Now we get to the difficult point. Because my therapist thinks that anger is totally valid and important whereas I could do without it on the whole. I can see that fun is important because it’s beautiful. Or that we need fear in order to not walk into dangerous situations blindly. But so far I can’t find any reason for anger – after all I am not a Neandertal who needs some aggression for coping with a mammoth for sure πŸ˜‰ Also I don’t take people who fuss a lot or even are irascible seriously which is exactly why I want to avoid acting in such ways myself.
    But my therapist says that the most important point of anger is that it enables us to set boundaries. And right there we stopped because I started shaking like mad. When my boundaries are crossed I feel disgust and shame and a lot of fear. Also I quickly find an explanation to tell myself why I don’t have the right to feel upset. But anger? Not in the slightest…and according to my therapist that is the actual problem.
    For me the world has always been a place where there’s so much “I have to!” that I never felt there was space for “I need!”, let alone “I want!”: Family, school, jobs with customer contact…I am used to understanding everyone else’s needs but never my own.
    So I guess the goal has to be converting the meaningless anger with cereal packs to a useful one with people who don’t respect my boundaries. Or something like that.

And now I am going to ponder on that for some time…

Holiday in sight :)

At the moment I’m quite under pressure. I worry a lot, I feel fear and due to that I also want to cut. By now I’ve figured out that fear is the absolute number 1 “reason” to cut for me. Like, I got some bad news at work today, it’s really busy and stressful and frustrating. A few months ago I would’ve thought that I needed to cut in order to function better or keep a cool head. Now I realize that the feeling behind it I actually want to get rid of is fear: Fear of not managing all the tasks, fear of asking for help, fear of failure. And so I talk to myself, saying that it’s gonna be okay. I go running so that the adrenaline level doesn’t stay that high. I take herbal medicine so I can sleep better. It’s new but so far it feels good. I even start to wonder what I could treat myself with if I manage to go a whole year without cutting and that’s a huge thought for me!

The most important reason I’m coping so well is that I know that I’ll be abroad in a very short time and that I will turn off my phone and let other people worry about stupid stuff at work and that it will be so great to have a few days off, just with my partner and the oppurtunity to practice English. I’m looking forward to it so much…I’ll somehow manage the time until my flight finally takes off πŸ™‚

Therapy: session #11

Note to self: Even though Irish beer tastes especially good on St. Patrick’s Day it’s not the best idea to go out the night before therapy πŸ˜€

Whatever, yesterday’s session was about a few things that happened in the last few weeks and above all the way I managed the emotions they triggered.
As I always feel that my emotions are inanppropriately strong I generally try to keep them under control. Trivialization, sarcasm, understatements. I am simply convinced that intense feelings should only be tied to extreme situations and I appreciate when other people keep cool as well. For example I just can’t take irascible people who start screaming due to trivialities seriously. And I also don’t know how to react when people start crying because of everyday things. That’s why I have a standard for myself and that is not to throw random emotions about.
My therapist thinks that I should try to let at least a part of my anger but seriously: With me it can actually happen that a clove of garlic I drop whilst cooking triggers a fit of rage like others have it once in a year due to something really bad. That is just not acceptable!
Last time my homework was to categorize my fear from 1-10; this time I have to write down situations where I feel anger the following week and next time we’ll go through both lists. I’m curious.

Oh and something that really made me happy: My therapist recommended the motivational tattoos to her skills group and thanked me for the suggestion πŸ™‚


Hello dear human beings πŸ™‚

As I will take a few internet-free days in April I am now collecting questions so that I can prepare some posts as I don’t want you to think there’s complete radio silence here.
So if there are any topics you’re interested in, questions you want to ask or ideas for posts I would be glad to know about them – if the comment section is too public for you, I’ll also happily read your email

I’m curious and wish you a nice day πŸ™‚

Open your eyes!

After a few wonderful reactions to my last post I reckoned that a little reverse as a follow-up would be a nice start for this weekend. This is supposed to be a “thank you” to everyone who has the courage to act when injustice happens or there’s just somebody who needs a friendly ear. In my job and my social environment I can make the experience that there are lots of people who don’t shy away from taking responsibility. And I am damn glad about that:

Friends you can just count on.

Teachers who explain that being able to read and write is not just important for passing exams but mostly for forming an opinion.

Courageous bloggers who raise awareness for issues most people would rather forget about.

People who ask what the story of a scar is instead of judging the person who bears it.

Journalists who see their job as more than just a way to pay the rent.

Families who support their children – unconditionally.

The people who spend their weekends working at the information stand of their favourite NGO even though they are wound up and attacked because of it.

Partners who manage to put a real smile on their significant other’s face when they are depressed.

Medical professionals who don’t just tend to your wounds but also hold your hand for a moment.

All the courageous same-sex couples who kiss in countries where they are being told that love could be a crime.

Everyone who is not too lazy to attend a demonstration for an important issue.

And all the people who support me on my way, are there for me and take me just the way I am.

I am glad you exist – take care and have a nice weekend!

Looking away

One of these days where I feel I’m losing my faith in humanity. Not that I have great trust in people generally – too often have I been wrong about someone, too often have I fallen flat on my face after trusting a person, too often have I seen how skeletons in the cloest can remain there for a long time before someone finds them.

For quite a while I have been proud of the fact that most things don’t come as a shock for me anymore – it is very easy to put yourself above others when you expect the worst from every person, it nearly makes you invulnerable.

But still I get so terribly angry when people just look away. I expect humans to do horrible things but what I just can’t wrap my head around is when nobody does anything about it or people who want to raise awareness are actually being attacked:

The great relatives who will “always be there for you” – exactly as long as it’s not about actual support in a very difficult situation.

The people who always tell everyone how important this or that topic is to them – until they are actually confronted and suddenly don’t say anything anymore.

The teachers who wipe the board without any comment, even if it says that the “fag” in the class stinks and should die.

The complete idiots who look away when a woman is being groped on the tram.

The people who just pass by when a homeless person is lying on the ground and doesn’t move.

Those who claim that no one could have guessed that the neighbour was beating his children…until one of them ends up in hospital.

The people who seriously say they didn’t notice how someone started wearing nothing but long sleeves or stopped eating.

Those who claim they didn’t know anything – although they close their eyes and ears everyday because they know exactly what they don’t want to see.

Those who say nothing can be done about it.

Those who give people who try to change something a hard time.

I could go on with this list forever but what I really want to say is: Please extend a helping hand and if you don’t feel capable of that, find someone who can. I have decided that I don’t want to be a human in my next life long ago but as long as I’m here I don’t want to accept that so many horrible things only happen because we let them.

So, politically totally incorrect: Grow yourselves some balls and shout when others can’t – deep down you do know what’s right!

“Loosen up for once!”

…my co-workers say. Because I don’t want to drink a beer, for instance. Or because I leave early when there’s a dinner. Or because I react harshly when someone is standing behind my back while I’m working.

“I’d love to!”, I think.
“I do!”, I say.

It’s the crunch question about where self-care ends and stuffiness begins.

Most days I don’t mind being “reasonable”: I am used to drinking alcohol only after thoroughly concerning whether my mental state allows it without unnecessary risks. I’m used to not being the last one to go home at parties because I “snap” after a certain amount of time. I don’t even think about grabbing my emergency bag when I leave home and I plan my escape route automatically when I enter a restaurant as if this was a perfectly “normal” thing to do. I put oil on my fingertips several times a day in order to prevent me from biting them until they’re bleeding and I hardly ever wonder if it would be nice to do spontaneous things more often. Instead of blades I now use porcupine balls to stay in touch with reality although they’re only half as good at defeating fear.
I am so damn REASONABLE!

Only sometimes I can hear a little voice in my head that asks where the fun is. If I really want to end up as a seventy-year old, trapped inside a twen’s body after missing out on my youth already. Cause wouldn’t that be nice:
Just staying for one more little beer without thinking, just like everyone else? Being the last one to leave the party and pretending that the next day is far in the future? Wouldn’t it be nice to just leave the house without the heat cream and the porcupine balls, without any clue when the next breather will be and without a phone with the emergency number on the speed-dial key? Wouldn’t it be nice to live one day just like everyone else seems to? To not actively decide to act in a constructive way but just doing stuff for once? Just one day long?

I imagine it. Being “loosened up”. Just like I used to…ignoring the unpleasant feeling when someone is standing behind me. Drinking one more beer. Staying for one more hour. Pretending that my mood is not changing rapidly. Laughing louder in order to drown out the roaring in my head. Maybe going home on my own, the way one can walk alongside the railway tracks…or on them. Not being able to tolerate the silence at home and punishing the body for the fact that it will be exhausted the next morning. And for the fact that it show fear. Just for once, after all it’s just one night…maybe going outside into the rain once more. Breathing the cold air, looking for people again. Letting someone kiss me just so that I don’t have to be alone. Feeling even more worthless afterwards. Getting home and to bed one way or another. Getting up, carrying on. Smiling. Saying “Yes, it sure was a funny evening!”. Ignoring the unpleasant feeling when someone is standing behind me…and starting all over again.

It sure would start all over again. I cannot afford to “loosen up”, not yet at least. I still need my rules and reasonable decisions and all my skills, no matter how little I feel inclined to use them. My Black tells me I should just let it be, after all it used to work somehow. My White says being reasonable all the time makes complete sense. My Black answers that, unfortunately, this isn’t any fun at all and that only a blade can conquer fear this well. My White repeats everything my therapist always says. I sit there and wait for the two of them to mix and become the Grey of which everyone says it’s real life. There is colour-blindness; I seem to be grey-blind, but maybe what I learn in therapy provides me with some kind of glasses…

Today I used my skills as usually although I really didn’t feel like it. It was the 111th day I didn’t cut my body. It doesn’t feel like a success at all, more like an admission of guilt, as weird as that may sound. I wasn’t “loosened up” today. Pity for my colleagues. Nice for my therapist. All the same to me. Because tomorrow it will go on. Totally un-loose and stuffy.

Therapy: Session #10

Started with my poster, after all I did manage to write down some things of which I’m sure that I like them constantly. A fair time of the session was dedicated to the fact that it’s so important for me to judge whether something is “always” and “absolutely” good, so my black-and-white-thinking and all the categories I have for everything. Also about how I’m frustrated by the fact that this poster can never be a complete list that could be used to recreate myself.
Then I explained that it is/was much easier for me to write down things I like or like doing but hard if not impossible to name characteristics of mine. The list of characteristics shows just three words: curious, tidy, diligent. I simply cannot deny the fact that I’m curious, I know it myself and I’ve been told so by friends as well as at work. By tidy and diligent I mean that I never let chaos break out, am always early for meetings and can only sleep when I know I’ve done my best.
My therapist asked to what extent I would describe these things as compulsions. My answer was that others might think they are at times but that these habits are ways to cope with everyday life for me. Some of them might seem a little excessive but I need them in order to function:

Because the supermarket starts spinning around me if I don’t have a shopping list.
Because I have to be there ten minuten before an appointment so I can see the surroundings.
Because I would be lost in the subway without a book to stick my nose into.
Because I need my desk to be orderly if I don’t want to forget anything.
Because I don’t have the time to look for objects in my flat when things are getting hard.
Because spontaneous activieties don’t allow me to plan the breaks I need.

We stayed with the supermarket example – my therapist wanted to know what exactly is so difficult about shopping. I tried to describe it: The larger a shop is the more I feel like I can’t get out in time, I get nervous when I feel my “escape route” is too long. Then there are all the people and above all lots and lots of products. These huge colourful shelves that seem to corner me. Sensory overload. All that desorientates me, I often need minutes to find out what I wanted to buy in the first place. Then I pace up and down because I can’t concentrate enough to think of everything. And then there is the feeling that the personnel notes all this and that they might think I’m trying to steal something when I walk around and around without buying anything in the end. That is why I need my list, with its help I can walk through a shop step by step without noticing too much. The situation at the checkout stresses me out as well: People in front of me, people behind me, being friendly, looking for money, putting things out of the trolley and back in, and all this as quickly as possible.

We’re still trying to find out if this is just overstimulation, a form of agoraphobia or if it’s because I happened to have the first panic attack I remember in a well-known Swedish furniture store (age 9, triggered by massive fear of loss which spiralled out of control) and the feeling stayed with me somehow.
Now I have to write a list with situations that stress/scare me and evaluate how I cope with them (shopping lists etc.) and which situations are easier to manage when I have company.
What I don’t do is avoiding these things actively: I don’t allow myself not to shop, not to take the subway or whatever and I also used to work in retail for quite a long time. Nevertheless my therapist thinks that we need to do some practical exercises so that this stuff will get easier for me.

Concerning the poster and describing my character I now ought to/am allowed to ask my partner in order to find out how he would describe me, I am curious about that.

So much about today, now the weekend really starts!

Change in thinking

Until today I knew that therapy could help. An hour ago I actually felt it! It was an ordinary day, a few little everyday things that annoyed me, some stuff to get done for the next few days, distress level rising. This state where I only want to get everything over with as quickly as possible, get clumsy because of that and then have to do everything three times after all. This moment when everything gets blurry and I just want to scream, if only I could. This coincidence that I’m preparing food and have a knife in my hands. I was literally millimetres away from a rash action. That doesn’t hapen often; usually self-injuries follow a few days of invincable thoughts, but it does happen sometimes. But today I turned around at a point where I’ve never done it before. Not because I had wisely used my skills in time so that my distress level didn’t get that high at all. Also not because someone entered the room. And also not because I actually would have managed to distract myself in the few seconds that lay between tightening my grip around the knife and finding an appropriate spot.
No. My gaze fell upon my tattoo, it said “Positive mental attitude” today. And as if someone had flipped a switch, I dropped the knife, went to smell an essential oil until my head was a little clearer and then applied heat cream. I didn’t just tell myself but could actually feel that the many entries in my organizer are not trying to come for or corner me but that everything is fine and I have built in enough breaks.

It feels so damn great that I don’t have to fight for once, don’t have to keep going without knowing when it will get easier but to experience my distress level as something I have an influence on and also that I don’t have to actively remember my skills because they “happen” automatically. It’s not just that I’ve managed not to hurt myself somehow, no – the urge dissolved into nothing and I’m not nearly as exhausted as usually after incidents like this.

Whatever therapy may hold for me in the future – this was a huge success and I am immensely grateful for the fact that I benefit from it so much already!


The huge white sheet of paper is staring at me. I am staring back. We don’t have anything to say to each other.
It’s Tuesday evening and I’m trying to get my homework from the last therapy session done: A poster on which I draw the outline of my body and write into it what defines me. Characteristics. Things that are important to me. Words that are supposed to draw a picture. I got as far as having the outline – my partner drew it around me with a thick black felt pen without destroying my favourite pajamas. One would think that this was the hardest part of the task. Unfortunately that’s not the case.

I try to remember what exactly my therapist suggested. Food, I think. There was something about food. So I write the word down, after all I like good food, I’m pretty sure about this. However, I’m also pretty sure that this has to get a little more precise. So I write pasta.Β Because noodles are always awesome. I get ready to write the next word:Β Chocolate.Β Then I hesitate. Because there are days where I don’t actually want to eat chocolate. Most times however I would love bathing myself in it. Am I allowed to write it down now? Or just if I like chocolate all the time, without any exception? Would it be a lie to write it down?

Based on a case study I decide in favour of chocolate and keep going – the books, the music, the characeristics, I try to give everything I perceive as beautiful a thought. Everything that has ever been said about me. And there are few things of which I’m sure that they have an absolute validity concerning my identity so I wonder if I’m doing this completely wrong and am only writing down lies that aren’t even important.

Also, it would be easier if I didn’t have to write the words into my body because like this I can only think about how my therapist will analyse the places I write the words into. Do I have to write the names of my favourite people near the heart? The books into the head? I already have a problem with the word chocolate – it’s not written in the stomach. Do I have to start afresh? But that would be too perfectionist for a task that reminds me of the introduction rounds at holiday camp so much. So carrying on it is. Pushing the question whether all the different colours I use are okay aside. As well as the question if it is alright to write the word books in blue even though the written word is so wonderful mainly because it doesn’t give me the blues.

Fortunately I armed myself with heat cream and porcupine balls, nevertheless I slowly dissolve. Am so far away from my real body whilst trying to make its image on the paper come alive. When I start hyperventilating I know it’s enough. Self-care. Turning off perfectionism. Maybe continuing in a few days. Ignoring that unfinished tasks are evil. Half of my paper twin is filled with words. This has to suffice for today. And now I’ll get a piece of chocolate.

Therapy: Session #9

Arrived in such good mood at my therapist’s that it was impossible for the session to get hard and full of problems. It was more a summary of what has already gotten better since November: My emergency skills chain is working, talking to dear people is getting easier, the panic attacks are under control…if it’s continuing to go upwards this fast it’s getting a little scary πŸ™‚

Then we talked a lot about family and relatives, about possible reasons for my having so many versions of myself, about the nomad child I used to be – one week here, one week there and the weekend somewhere else again. About how much I benefit(ed) from it: Independence, flexibility, the ability to sleep anywhere at any time… πŸ™‚
But also about how it might have caused an instability that is not real anymore: Where do I adapt although I don’t have to? Can I actually arrive anywhere? Do I think nothing can ever stay as it is?
It was funny as well, talking about all the little quirks different parts of my family have, nearly like a little comedy show – the people in my family are all wired so differently that my stories sound as if such peculiarities could only come from movies. A carefree hour where we talked about the cause of problems after all but it didn’t feel as hard as usually. Just reflecting: With whom was I able to be carefree as a child? Who experienced adventures with me? Who listened to me? Did I fear anyone?

My homework is to write things down that I experience as constant in myself, that are “absolute” for me, no matter who is with me, what movie I’ve seen and what will happen the next day. Like my preference for pasta. The fact that I’m a bookworm. Or also that turning the Rolling Stones on can never be a mistake in my opinion πŸ™‚

Have a good rest of Sunday!

Not alone

Loneliness is a mean feeling. It can spread in little time and take away the joy in the most beautiful things. It doesn’t even depend on being physically alone – everyone who has felt totally lost in a crowd of people knows what I mean. Loneliness is also something I am familiar with. Especially as a teenager I often felt as if I was all on my own in the world despite the fact that there were people I saw every day I had none I felt I could tell what was going on inside me. This assumption that nobody could understand what I felt was the reason for as well as the result of my loneliness.

Today this is different. This blog gave me something I’d never thought I could have: The feeling that there are people who get what I mean. People who are interested in what I have to say and who don’t think I’m crazy. The number in my statistics is not a success in a conventional way but a huge crowd of people who give me strength as they read and write and fight just like I do. My blog is also a conncetion with people close to me in real life for whom I often can’t find the right words. One could actually say that what I’m writing here is changing my life and that’s why I’m incredibly grateful for this medium.

There are days when there’s actually nobody in my surroundings who can understand as the world is simply looking different for me and for people who have never had a panic attack. Days when I don’t feel like explaining that the twentieth ice cube on my arm can’t make the thoughts about self-harm go away to someone who works for some hotline. Days when I don’t want to write my therapist as I would have to explain things but can’t find the words in those moments. Or just days when it’s getting hard at four in the morning and everyone in my time zone is asleep.
Those are the days when I used to fall. Loneliness attacked and whispered to me that nobody would ever understand and that the only solution would be to vanish.
It’s still whispering but I can hardly hear it now as there is this blog with all the encouraging comments, the reader where I can see that people on the other side of this planet know exactly what I mean and the oppurtunity to get some thoughts out with every new post, no matter what time of day it is.

Today I know: I am not alone with any experience I make if I don’t choose to be. And that gives me so much courage!

Therapy: Session #8

Talked much about the incident that brought me to the limit last weekend. I immediately stressed that I’m aware I had no reason to freak out and that I reacted in a completely exaggerated way, only to be surprised by the fact that my therapist thinks that my anger in that situation was completely undestandable. Now I have to go into all the “trivialization work” I’ve done these past few days again and think everything through once more. The most important thing my therapist said was that my feelings and needs are valid in any case, also if they don’t match those of other people and even when I can’t explain them rationally. That might sound completely logical for most people but for me it turns my whole concept of life upside down: I always assume that people have good reasons for their behaviour and if possible I only act out when I can argue why something is wrong in my eyes without leaving any doubt. If I “just” feel uncomfortable about something it’s not enough to talk about it, and if I did I would feel like a dramaqueen or like being difficult or like fussing about nothing…but that’s just me. Apparently my therapist has a different opinion.

We quickly arrived at my problem with “world collisions”, so my being unable to tolerate meetings of people from different parts of my life (different groups of friends, family and work, different parts of the family etc.). Every time I try to explain how I dissolve when something like that happens, that I know even less who I am, what I’m supposed to behave like, what is left of me, people say “But it’s completely normal to act differently at work and at home!”. I am aware of that but what happens to me is different, more, wrong. My therapist also thinks that it is quite intense and that the way I live my many “roles” to an extent where everything that happened before and might happen afterwards seems totally unrealistic and far away to me is not “normal”. Apparently there’s more dissociation involved than I already knew.

For the time being we will work on my letting needs and emotions be there without judging them and above all without altering them for others (in my ears that sounds like I will be a monster but I guess my therapist knows what she’s doing). I am scared I will be viewed as a bitch, as distant, as uninterested and selfish as everyone is used to my trivializing what I said after a short time or saying sorry or adapting otherwise.

This post sounds quite pathetic, I don’t really know what to do about those things that seem so out of reach to me. What I do know on the other hand is that I wish everyone here a nice weekend πŸ™‚

Day off :)

Taking this day off was an incredibly wise decision. After all the emotional bullshit these days my body really needed a lot of sleep. I was able to tidy the flat in peace, had time for a slightly grumpy cat and felt well whilst running for the first time in ages.

In the evening I had an invitation for a performance in a theatre where an acquaintance of mine was involved. When I arrived there I immediately thought of leaving again due to acute sensory overload but now I’m glad I didn’t. The performance was inspiring, made me laugh and think as well and afterwards I had a lovely time with people I hadn’t seen in a long time which felt really good.

Also I want to thank the favourite person who sent me a supply of motivational tattoos – I am so happy πŸ™‚


Last week was really hard to get through for me – stress at work, the appointment with the psychiatrist and then a weekend where I couldn’t just stay on the couch but had lots of plans in my hometown. Basically mostly nice things with people I couldn’t wait to see. There were pleasant evenings and funny conversations. And yet something went wrong inside me. I just wanted to vanish, wanted to sleep, wanted it to end. Two of my favourite people did something that was completely okay and sane and human…but unfortunately also a massive trigger for me.

I still have to discuss if the way I dealt with it was progress when I see my therapist: What I did was not nearly as destructive as it would have been mere months ago and as my head wanted it to be in that moment. Although I was completely out if my mind I used skills, I went on and on, I can’t remember all of it. On the other hand I also know that it didn’t go as constructively as it should have. The fact that there are memory gaps shows that there is a lot of room for improvement. Also that I didn’t manage to hold out for myself the way I usually hold out for the two people this was all about and that it took until today to recover a little, all that is not ideal.

What I feel know is mostly exhaustion. It’s making me tired that relationships are so demanding for me, that I feel threatened by the people I ought to learn to trust so often. I just want to be like everyone else and not have all these overwhelming feelings of which I know, even in those moments, that they won’t be important a few days later. I want less drama and more peace in my relationships. I want to manage enjoying the day off I’m taking on Friday due to all this “too much” instead of switching to my “I have to use the time and get a thousand things done-mode” instead. I don’t want to be what I always used to understand by borderline. I. Want. To. Manage. This.

The mountain and the molehill

I have another nice example of the way my head can get out of control.

The prologue:
My therapist wanted me to find a psychiatrist in order to have more possibilities in case of an emergency. This Thursday I had my appointment with one. As time had been short in the last session I’d had with my therapist I had been unable to ask her if there was anything specific I was supposed to say to the psychiatrist so I decided to write an email on Monday. My therapist always says that she answers emails within 24 hours which I don’t even consider necessary.

How my head made a mountain of a molehill:
I was cool when she didn’t answer right away on Monday. After all I had plenty of time. It was okay for me that she didn’t answer on Tuesday. I’d never thought the 24-hour rule was necessary in the first place. By Wednesday I got a little nervous. I checked and double-checked the email adress but it was correct. I asked my partner if he thought my therapist could have died and if another one would inherit me then. On Thursday my slightly obsessive nature made me search my therapist’s homepage in case I had the wrong email adress after all. And guess what: There was another one than the one I’d used before! I forwarded the original email and thought that she might have forgotten to tell me she’d changed the adress. No big deal, right? Things like that happen. No need to freak out. But borderline wouldn’t be borderline without a little drama and what was going on inside my head was this:
It’s obvious why she forgot to tell you. You are just not important enough. Maybe she even changed the email adress because of you. Why do you need to ask her about this anyway? Just chill out and do it on your own, you used to be able to do things on your own, remember? A few years ago you would never have been this needy and whiny and selfish. Even if she gets the email now she’s going to tell you she doesn’t want to work with you anymore very soon – if you are so clingy you deserve nothing less. The psychiatrist will think you’re really stupid as well if you don’t even know what to tell her. Just go, cut your thigh and be done with it. That used to work and would be much more independent than all this “reaching-out-for-help-bullshit”
I arrived at the psychiatrist’s office feeling completely out of my mind. In the waiting area I felt I had two options: Dissociation or Panic. I chose not to fight against drifting away; although I can fight it to some extent I felt that staring a little was more dignified than hyperventilating and crying in front of the other patients.

The epilogue:
This story ends the way it has to: My new psychiatrist is the sweetest elderly lady in the world, warm-hearted, yet professional and clear. She listened to me, asked precise questions and didn’t judge. She took my reservations about psychotropic drugs seriously and didn’t try to force anything. Indeed she suggested trying some herbal products that can help me calm down when I panick or when my distress level is too high which seems like an awesome idea to me. I left her office feeling good and relieved.
When I came back home I had an email from my therapist who apologized for not answering – she still has her old email adress and thought she’d answered my request days ago. I feel so stupid about writing the second email and worry what she might think of me now.
Anyway, as I could have expected (and indeed have) everything went well. My rational mind had been aware that it would be okay all along but unfortunately what you know doesn’t always change what you feel and it can be so exhausting to fight whatever urges borderline brains to make mountains of molehills.

Side note:
I do not want to judge psychotropic drugs in general. There are countless people who benefit from them and I am glad about that. However there is no drug specifically for borderline and I am not a fan of mere symptom treatment (unless it’s really inevitable, I have been glad about painkillers in the past!). My own bad experience with an antidepressant as well as a pill-addicted family member may also be reasons for my caution when it comes to medication. I feel very comfortable with the herbal products my psychiatrist suggested – I know that products like that can help a lot and the worst thing that can happen is that I end up as a passion flower junkie πŸ˜€

I don’t even know what I want to say with this post, it just seemed a like good example for illustrating how thoughts can spiral out of control and how the knowledge that everything’s okay doesn’t always help – especially when you have a brain like mine.



I’ve wanted to write this post for a quite a while and I’m really glad it’s finished now. For a long time my relationship with skills was not the best but I’ve come to realize that was only because I didn’t have sufficient information. To this day I can’t really use classics such as putting ice cubes on my arms or snapping rubber bands against my wrist. They don’t help me and above all my first therapist and a psychiatrist I saw only once described skills as a substitue for self-harm which they can’t or shouldn’t be.

My current therapist thinks that skills are just supposed to bridge time in which I would injure myself otherwise so that I can last until I get “real” help, so for example until the next session. That makes sense to me and works very well at the moment. She also explained that one could view just about anything as a skill – after all setting the alarm in the morning so that I wake up on time is a sort of skill as well. Skills that can help handle anger can differ from those that help against self-harm and therefore the lists you can find may go from “exercising” to “putting stones into your shoes” or “painting a picture” and many more things.

I for example got inspired by such lists and now have a porcupine ball in my pocket when I go to a difficult meeting; I can squeeze and feel it in order to stay inside my body instead of dissociating. Or I’ve started showering with a body scrub that smells strongly as the smell and the sensation on the skin are often enough to make me stay here and now instead of drifting off into memories. One could also say that it is a skill to have chewing gum with me all the time in case I start biting the inside of my cheeks or my fingers (at home I even have chewable jewellery made of silicone to bite on, this can be bought in specialist shops for children on the autisum spectrum).
There are countless options as long as they don’t turn into self-harm…

An important element of DBT my therapist also uses is an emergency skills-chain. It consists of three skills and is supposed to be a fixed routine that can be used when distress level or the urge to self-harm are very high and ideally makes it possible to calm down step by step. Since November I have experimented a lot and my emergency chain now is:

  1. Smell! In order to get myself back into reality, an intense smell often works amazingly well. This can be an essential oil, horseradish or ammonia which is also used in many clinics. One can buy ampoules with ammonia and lavender and I always have some of them in my bag now. The dilution is chosen in a way that prevents the mucous membranes from taking damage but the stimulus is quite…intense. Basically it is similar to the smelling salts used by court ladies in the 17th and 18th century (just without the tight corsets :D).
  2. Heat cream! Is usually used after sports injuries (there’s also a cooling version but for me personally, heat works better) and can be bought in drug stores by different manufacturers and in different strengths. I don’t want to advertise a certain product as every skin reacts differently. For me it is very helpful to put the cream onto spots I want to cut and maybe even bandage them and then feel it burn.
  3. Motivational Tattoos! This is something I discovered through blogging and I’m immensly grateful for it!
    I immediately ordered the tattoos and you can see one of them on my hand on the pictures in this post. It’s not just that they look cute and are beautifully colourful, it’s also that the messages on them are good to hear several times a day and above all: I can see something on my skin! The fact that I’m supposed to stop cutting is (among other things) hard because I need to see something when I feel bad. And for this the tattoos are perfect! By the way this isn’t sponsored, I’m just really excited πŸ™‚
    You can find this awesome idea here:


With this skills chain I have managed to treat myself well the last few weeks when I usually wouldn’t have. And each time I manage coping with a difficult situation without using self-harm and then can talk to my therapist my trust that it is possible increases.
Tell me – what are the skills that help you most? What are your skill chains like? Looking forward to your answers πŸ™‚

Therapy: Session #7

Today was about the emotions I’ve felt this week. We quickly decided to stay with anger and rage, I’ve had even more than usual of those this week as there was a lot of stress at work. In the session I had to imagine exactly what my body feels like in such moments, what I feel and then my therapist caught me off guard with a “When did you feel like that as a child?”. And then quite a lot poured out of me within a few minutes! That was very exhausting and at first I thought I’d go home and just flout all my skills…you know what I had in mind. On my way to the subway I reckoned that I might as well spend the afternoon on the couch with lots of tea in order to get rid of the anger-headache. And now, a few hours later…I feel great. I’m light and I can breathe well and my distress level is as low as it hasn’t been in weeks. A miracle happened πŸ˜€
We spent the rest of the session working on the safe place, that’s an imagery exercise where one creates an inner place (or imagines a real one) where there’s safety when everything’s just too much – just google it, it’s very useful! I will not say a single word about my own safe place here as a crucial part of it feeling safe for me is that nobody knows what it looks like. The only important thing is that I can feel, smell, see it and be glad it’s there πŸ™‚

So much (or rather little) on today, I wish you all a wonderful weekend!


Oh boy…as you can read here, my therapist wants me to keep track of all the emotions I feel this week. When she said so last Saturday I was pretty sure that this was going to be an easy task as I’m used to monitoring my thoughts all the time…how wrong I was πŸ˜€
So far, I have identified joy, disgust, anger, fear and something I would describe as pride for lack of a better word (pride sounds so huge and wrong…) in different situations. I feel like a complete idiot due to the fact that I have a whole list of physical “symptoms” from moments where I was unable to find a word or even know what I was actually feeling. Even little children usually know what they feel, right? This is so hard for me…for the first time in my life I’m aware of the fact that I often know I feel “bad” or “upset” without being able to tell if this might actually be sadness or anxiety or whatever. It’s quite frustrating that this is so tough for me – I’ve always been aware that grief doesn’t seem to affect me the same as other people but right now I’m learning that there are many more emotions I can’t seem to identify. This might also be why others’ reactions sometimes confuse me or people often think I’m upset when I don’t even feel that way.

I know that I built a wall between myself and my emotions when I was very, very young – and because of Germany’s history and a certain mad capitalist with a guinea pig-hairpiece we know that building walls is not such a great idea (was that political? The plan was to not ever talk about politics here…ooops :D). Anyway, this wall kept me from feeling anything for a long time. But some feelings made it through: Anger for example was and is very hard to keep behind the wall. Also panic made it through at some point and in contrast to other feelings I had no choice but showing it – I suck at crying (there were times when I hadn’t cried for years) but panic attacks left me with no other option than hyperventilating and shaking and doing all the unpleasant stuff others can see as well. I know that since the panic attacks have started to decrease, I generally feel more fear. Lots of fear actually, I’m scared several times a day but that’s another story.
I guess that more and more emotions will come through this wall during therapy and interestingly this thought doesn’t worry me. At the moment I’m just curious and observing and learning and sometimes wondering if I’m even weirder than I already knew πŸ˜€

The beautiful things :)

  • I am really glad I feel so comfortable with my therapist and already notice how some ways of thinking change
  • At the moment I can (finally) find enough free time where nothing is planned which means I actually can look forward to the things I do without feeling overwhelmed
  • If everything goes according to plan I’ll see the ocean twice this year
  • I feel that my relationships with both of my parents are improving right now and that is really great – thanks!
  • Everything’s fine with my partner πŸ™‚
  • I started doing Clickertraining with our cat Loki and he has already learned some tricks!
  • Since the self-injury when I started therapy in November I have stayed clean
  • The last panic attack occured about then as well
  • I still go running
  • This winter (although colder) was better then the last few years used to be – and it can’t stay for much longer
  • Plan for this evening: Dance class
  • I have good control over the dissociations at the moment, I would never have thought I could influence them to this extent

I want to thank everyone who supports me, writes nice emails, is there for me, makes me laugh and talks to me about things I would have thought of as unspeakable!

Therapy: Session #6

After the last session I was pretty rattled but since Monday the pressure gradually decreased and today I arrived at my therapist’s office in a really good mood (I ignored the voice that asked what gives me the right to take someone else’s place when I’m okay). We quickly came to the point that what mainly upset me was the fact that there are lots of words for the things that bothered me when I was younger. That my family wasn’t so special that I couldn’t have talked to anyone. That this means that I could have said something as a child and might never have needed therapy. Or at least as a teenager and might have had fewer hard years.
We then spoke about a few family specialities and started to wonder how much space there used to be for my emotions. And well, what should I say – between people I had to be there for, people who felt uncomfortable with emotions and people who silenced their conscience with money I never had the impression that my infantile fears or things that made me angry actually could play a role. After all I always used to be the little grown-up and in the end cut myself off from many emotions until I felt nothing.

Therefore my task for the following weeks is to take notes about which emotions I do feel, when they come and in which situations I can’t place this at all, also what I feel in my body. I’m curious about this.

What I liked about today’s session was that there was no need to judge anything. There was no “That was wrong!”, but simply a “That’s the way it was, that’s the way it is now and what can we do about it…?”, and I really appreciate that. With my last therapist I always felt like I was supposed to wash my dirty linen in public and whine about it without any clues on what I could improve. Now I talk about issues and the focus is on what I can do, what I can work on now and this matches my way of doing things much better πŸ™‚
She also managed to praise me for getting through this phase of huge distress so well without making me feel uncomfortable πŸ™‚

Conclusion: Take notes on emotions, keep using skills, and keep going!
A nice weekend to you!


“Different” is the word that’s probably been used to describe me most times, throughout my life and once again I’m wondering in which parts of life I am “different”, in which “ill” and in which I am just like anyone else after all. I try not to think in strict categories (again) but especially with a personality disorder some things are so deeply rooted in my way of thinking and being that I have to learn telling quirks apart from symptoms.
Personality disorders are only diagnosed when you’re older than 18 so what made me different before that? I was just being me, wasn’t I?

I never got along well with other children but I usually got on well with grown-ups. I was scared very often but then again who wasn’t? I was bright and good at learning things but riding bikes has never been my strength. I have always liked clothes that weren’t fashionable as comfort is important to me. I could never stand smalltalk but that’s legitimate, right? To read and get to know new worlds has always seemed more interesting than parties but not everyone has to be a party person…?

I don’t know how different I really am – there are days where the people around me make me feel like I’m pretty weird and peculiar, on other days everything seems pretty harmless. And as much as I try to see that we’re all okay the way we are and that it’s good that people have different mentalities and as much as I want to live life in a pleasant way that doesn’t hurt anyone – I still note that I seem to be “different”. It’s quite difficult at times – why can’t I just be happy with the good things that are happening now because my past always gets to me? Why do people think I’m cynical when I just tell the truth? Why do even people who value me often make me feel as if I was a little…weird?
Is that the illness? My personality? The expectations of a society I don’t fulfill?

I have no idea; from my experience I have always been like that which is why I wonder what exactly I’m having treated away now. Am I like this or did I become like it and what is left of my as a person if I suddenly learn to love smalltalk and dress in clothes that are just uncomfortable (not that I intend doing so)? To what point can I be told that what I do and feel is “ill, disordered, different” and how far can and do I have to say “Hey! This is me, deal with it!”

By the way this is not supposed to be whiny and also not me begging for recognition, I just had to get my thoughts out as there have been a few situations these days where I just had this distinct feeling that my way of acting/speaking was once again different, whatever undifferent might be.

A hug :)

I am constantly amazed by the many beautiful things that happen to me due to this blog but last week was a real highlight – Mia from westendstorie (blog in German) offered three super cute cuddly monsters for someone who needed a hug and I am very glad that one of them has moved in with me:


So this is a huge thank you – this present really made the last few days a little brighter πŸ™‚
Oh yes and the cushion he sits on is my work, I started it when I was unable to work for more than a month in 2014 due to panic reasons and last week I (finally!!!) finished – crocheting is really not one of my strengths πŸ˜€

Therapy: Session #5

Today way rough, I’m still sitting here feeling quite wrecked and trying to settle my thoughts. After a 5-week break from therapy and an even longer one from self-harm I already arrived at my therapist’s feeling extremely distressed. It started getting really hard yesterday – if you spend a whole afternoon with skills, exercise, relaxation techniques and distraction and nothing helps you calm down at all, you drop things because you are shaking so hard and everything you can think is answered by “Well then cut yourself!” it is just utterly exhausting. Yesterday morning I already felt upset, angry, unconcentrated, cynical. Then I had a great appointment, it went so extremely well that afterwards I had no other option than falling. I only managed to spend the afternoon in a non-destructive way because I knew I’d see my therapist today. Anyway…

Due to this we started by talking about emergency skills – what have I tried, what has helped, what can I do the next few days. Keeping in mind that I’m new to this I guess I did pretty well…I will write a post about this topic soon.
Then we spoke about what the triggers for this huge pressure are right now and as nothing big has happened we quickly explored to topic that I think is the most common trigger for my self-harm: Fear. Because if basically everything is fine (like right now) that’s exactly the moment I can’t enjoy the peace. I’m constantly vigilant as someone could be angry with me without my being aware of it. Or someone could be about to leave me. Or I could have made a mistake without noticing. Or or OR! I despise myself for being unable to enjoy the good times. Also for the fact that I get angry more easily when everything’s okay and that this is followed by fear as someone could leave me due to my anger. This perpetual fear breathing down my neck is what makes me think about cutting all the time because I can’t handle it otherwise. The fact that we arrived at this conclusion within half an hour is incredible for me – everything my therapist draws onto her flip chart, the questions she asks…it all solves things that would take me months to figure out within minutes.

Anyway my therapist used this realization to explain Schema therapy in detail (as I couldn’t properly do this in my own words, you can find an overview here). The questionaire I filled in before christmas and the conversation we had today matched well and I can relate to all the results. What is so hard for me to stomach right now is just how easily the triggers from back then can be boiled down to an essence. When I was a teenager I was aware that things went wrong in my family but I always used to think that we were so extraordinary, our problems so special, my thoughts so odd that there couldn’t possibly be any vocabulary for any of it. And then I sit there today and all the belief systems that haunt me in the dark hours are there in colourful little circles on a poster. My task for the following week is to just observe what pattern it matches when the fear (or anger or whatever) comes so that we can work on it in the future.
The poster also showed all my coping styles and making a list of them was a good summary: First of all there is a lot of overcompensation which is basically me trying to keep control using perfectionism, planning ahead and compulsions a lot. Then there is avoidance, a permanent vigilance as appearances can always be deceitful and someone could suddenly decide to hurt me. This also includes that I didn’t want closeness with anyone until I fell in love with my partner in order to be invulerable as well as the ever-present rationalizing when it comes to things that could trigger emotions inside me. And last but not least there’s also a fair amount of surrender as I try to please as many people as possible and always need reassurance that what I do is okay from people I love. That I tend to be cynical due to all this goes without saying.
Of course I know all these things about myself but getting an overview from someone who has only seen me a few times so far is something completely different. What is a huge relief for me is that Schema therapy matches my idea of therapy so well because: As important as emergency skills are I wouldn’t feel that sole skills training would be enough. My therapist agrees that I need the skills to bridge the time but that we need to work on the actual triggers. As I said her manner of speaking and listening makes me feel very comfortable.

This was quite a lot; the last few minutes of the session as well as the way home are lost somewhere in the mist. I’m only getting back a little right now and feel as if I had run a marathon today. Therefore: Have a quiet weekend!


Yesterday I got yet another questionaire from my therapist which I have to fill in and take with me on Saturday. Once again this is about different symptoms and my statements as to how often and strongly they occur. I answer many questions with “Yes” – this huge list makes me wonder as many things that are routine for me seem to be extraordinary for others.
And then there are questions I’d never have expected to be asked when I was younger: Do you hear voices inside your head? Voices from outside? And even though I tick “no” these questions do something to me. When I was a child hearing voices was the epitome of madness if I can say that. And now I have to think about the fact that BPD can include psychotic symptoms in a matter-of-fact way and that it is not that far-fetched to ask me this question. And even though I’ve never heard voices it actually doesn’t seem far-fetched – if I keep in mind what I had the questionable pleasure to encounter with my pretty little head I can imagine quite a lot.
Let’s just hope that it’s never going to happen; after all I have enough to do with all the things where I chose “yes”.

The thoughts about cutting are more present with each day, it is not really a strong emotion or pressure but rather the constant thinking about it that makes me so tired. Fortunately I have my next therapy session on Saturday and I think I can keep it up until then. I just hope that I don’t expect too much as my therapist will not be able to just make the thoughts vanish. But everyone tells me I have to trust in therapy and that I have to use this safety net when things are getting hard so I’m curious what Saturday might bring.

Somehow just the way it used to be

When we are drinking coffee in this small town it all somehow feels just the way it used to be. We bask in our cynicism and raise ourselves above the rest of the world. All the unnecessary little cruelties we use to tell each other that we understand, all the insencere smirking, all the meaningful gestures.
Just about everything means something if you constantly keep an eye on the person you’re talking to. We are above simple appreciation because we act as if we were invulnerable and at the same time brag about our injuries.
Tell me, are you feeling so terribly tired of this as well?
I sometimes think we are only doing that because we know no other way of dealing with each other. You understand the side of me most people would not even believe in. When I talk to you it gets stronger inside me, mightier and whispers in my ear that it is naive to wish for the things I long for in this life.
And still I know that you would never harm me. You are one of those people few but me would trust in but I am completely sure when I say that I don’t have to fear you.
How about this: On “three” we both let go of our masks as none of us would dare take the lead.




I know that we can do it with enough distance between us. And then it will be new and not at all the way it used to be when we drank coffee in this small town…

Appointment made/Fear

As my therapist wants my emergency chain to include a psychiatrist I checked several options I have. The specialist she recommended is unfortunately already working to capacity and can’t take me as his new patient; this disappointed me a little as all other contacts on my therapist’s list can’t be paid for by public health insurance and would therefore be very expensive for me. So I just called up a practice near my home – that seemed reasonable to me in case there is a crisis. Unfortunately I don’t know what this doctor is like at all (I don’t pay much attention to those reviews you can find online) and now have an appointment in mid-February. I still don’t really know what I’m supposed to do there as I don’t want/need medication at the moment and the fear that she might think the same and react harshly nearly made me cancel the appointment three times already.

I generally feel a lot of fear right now: Fear that I can’t do my job anymore on Sunday evening, fear of all the emails on Monday morning, fear that my partner might leave me if I don’t have the energy to do all the stuff he could do with another girlfriend, a diffuse fear of the future because there is so much hatred in the world and I feel powerless when I see how small the things I can do are.
And I don’t want that. I don’t want to be infected by this irrational feeling of insecurity that is everywhere and makes people condemn everything they don’t know instead of getting to know it. I want to be brave and try new things and not worry about really everything all the time. I sometimes feel that this constant fear increases since the panic attacks have started to lessen – and I have to say if I have to choose from those two things, I’d rather take the panic attacks – at least those are limited in time.

At any rate it is warmer today and the sunshine that comes through my window feels so good πŸ™‚

Just for myself!

A few years ago my problem was that I couldn’t/didn’t want to share my fear, my joy or any special moments without feeling as if I was dissolving, today my problem is that it feels like everything I experience on my own isn’t real. This goes so far that I actually had the following thought today: The only thing I do on my own without wishing for a human mirror is self-harm.
As this iscompletelyΒ  unacceptable I need a list with things I did/do/want to do on my own in order to tackle this topic. Let’s go:

  • My journey to New Zealand 2013/2014. That was just for myself without consideration for anyone else.
  • Good food: Be it some nice chocolate or a three-course-meal: No matter how alone I was/am, I’ve always tried to allow myself as much good food as possible.
  • Reading: I like to talk about books but reading is about the only hobby where my own pleasure is enough for me.
  • Therapy: It wouldn’t work otherwise.
  • Blog: Even though I first underestimated how many people I’d reach, how helpful the feedback would be and how much interaction it requires – at the end of the day every letter I type here is for me.
  • Christmas 2016
  • The way I’m dressing: I don’t know how much criticism and how many compliments I’ve received due to this. But no matter how weird I might come across, there were times in my life when the way I looked was the only thing that didn’t make me feel powerless and that also applies to my tattoos and my hair.
  • The little smoke break today. No, I don’t want to glorify smoking and I don’t do it often. But I am actually proud of the cigarette I enjoyed today in the morning as taking a break when it’s necessary is definitely not one of my strengths and today I managed to.
  • Self-love: The new term I added to the list of tags I use for my posts – because all the “BPD,- self-harm,- panic,- depression-, and triggerstuff” seemed a little one-sided to me.

Over the next few weeks I want to work on being enough for myself and stopping to be so clingy and also to be happy about things I can’t share at a particular moment.

Even more paperwork

Yesterday I got the reply from public health insurance – 30 therapy sessions are granted now, if I want to prolong therapy (my therapist plans about 80 sessions) I have to go to a special assessment. I am content with this, with 3 sessions per month I am taken care of for a while with the 30 sessions. My huge fear of authorities nearly (but only nearly!) triggered a panic attack when I saw the letter in the post box. My partner had to open it for me, I felt really stupid because of that but I’m also aware this could be some kind of progress as I asked for help – a few months ago I would have cut und then, numbed by whatever hormones, opened the letter without acknowledging my fear at all.
I hope I can work on this with my therapist so that the assessment won’t be a problem when the time comes (it certainly would be now).

I also got a list of psychiatrists and am supposed to find a contact person – not because I’m supposed to get any meds at the moment but because my therapist wants my emergency contact list to include a specialist and not just my general practicioner. I’m a little worried that it will be awkward to just go there and say “Hey, I’m only here to introduce myself but I don’t want or need anything from you right now!” but if my therapist thinks it makes sense I’m probably just going to try it.

I’m really looking forward to the time when this whole “organisation hassle” is over and I can focus my energy on therapy itself. As for tonight there will just be hot chocolate, cuddling with the cat and watching a nice series. Wish you all a nice rest of the weekend!


A little random update with mostly positive stuff:

  • Can’t remember when I had the last “proper” panic attck πŸ™‚
  • Looking forward to the long weekend
  • Booked flights for an awesome holiday in April
  • Quite stressed at work but somehow coping
  • Less worried about tax declaration than usually
  • Huge urge to cut but determined to stay clean until next therapy session
  • Practice dancing with my partner more often than usually
  • Reading a lot at the moment
  • Getting better at using skills
  • Dreaming a lot
  • Feeling rage due to trivial matters I don’t even remember an hour later
  • Hardly ever dissociating
  • Getting up not as hard as last winter

Wish you all a pleasant day πŸ™‚


I guess that the way it is right now is coping. I’m far from symptom-free, everday there’s the rage, every hour the thoughts about cutting, every minute the fear of the changes that are going to happen this year. But still it somehow is okay. It’s enough for me that my next therapy session is two and a half weeks away and that I can test my skills until then. I still don’t feel ready to write a post about that topic – I still have to learn more, try things and ask my therapist before I can be sure about the advantages and my difficulties concerning skills. But it is enough. I have enough strategies to do well in the days until the next session. Enough things I can look forward to. Enough time in which I can distance myself from others in order to recharge my batteries.

I can imagine life the way it is right now – I have to consider a lot more things than other people if I want to be okay but I can do that. I don’t ask too much of myself and although I might hurt people because I withdraw even more than usually I feel that it’s good for me to pace myself.
Even if the symptoms are never going to vanish – if I keep making progress the way I have in this short period of therapy this is not just a good start into the new year but also a good start into a new phase of life.