Departures or Arrivals

So, at last, here I am, sitting in the Therapy Centres waiting room, ready to face the final review for Mentalization Based Therapy, which is a 2-year programme for people living with Personality Disorder.  I have worked hard towards this day and trundled through some very difficult terrain to get here. 

Three years have passed since the initial application.  I recently finished the 9-week introductory training course.  That part of the programme is mainly educational, but there is still an element of on-going assessment.  It’s unlikely, but they could still decide against my suitability.  The significance of today is certainly not lost on me.  

The waiting room window looks out onto vast beautiful hospital grounds, surrounded by large and extremely old trees.  Despite being less than 5 miles from central London, it does feel like a part of the countryside.  I can even hear birds singing.  Contrary to its pleasant appearance, it always feels like a bit of a sleeping monster to me. 

This is a safe haven where people recover from mental illness, voluntary and under Sections. There are also secure wards that imprison dangerous psychotic murderers.  They are held here as part of their prison sentence.  From time to time, some even escape.  Only last month, there were public warnings about an escaped prisoner from one of these wards.

Inside the therapy department, the quiet peacefulness and smell of polish always reminds me of an old Nunnery I used to visit many years ago.  This also feels like a sacred space, a place where people come to bear their souls, seeking discovery and healing.  There are notices everywhere, “Silence, therapy in progress”.

The small waiting room must serve as an arrival or departure lounge for many, each on their own personal journey of discovery.  I suppose it is the portal to ultimate healing, but I imagine it is also the gateway to some of the worst memories, hidden in the dark recesses of our minds.

The head Psychiatrist, Dr J, finally greets me with genuine warmth, immediately dissipating some paranoid misconceptions that she doesn’t like me, or maybe doesn’t approve of my joining the programme.  She is tall and slender, nicely put together and probably in her early 40’s.  Her professionalism always appears to be at peace within herself with a softly spoken voice that oozes empathy and care.  She’s quite funky looking with her hair usually dyed nice bright colours, like red or orange.  Today, it is a mellow-rusty-shade, which highlights her big empathic brown eyes.

Dr J leads the way to her therapy room where Paul, one of the MBT Therapists, is already waiting.  I’ve heard a lot of good things about him.  I imagine if I’m being accepted onto the programme, he might be my therapist. I usually prefer female therapists, but there is something very appealing about Paul and, weirdly, it feels a plus that I don’t find him attractive in any way.  We are of similar age. He stands, we shake hands and immediately I feel at ease.

Paul has an aura of calmness.  I can feel him reaching out to me already, keen to show his compassion, something I’ve never experienced from other Therapists in the past.  In that moment, I have a deep sense of safety and know in my heart that this man will play a vital role in my recovery. 

I look towards Dr J, searching for those words of acceptance onto the programme.

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28 thoughts on “Departures or Arrivals

  1. brokenbutbeingrepaired

    Have been thinking of you Cat since it seems like a while since we last caught up.

    Its really good to read how some of your sheer hard graft is paying off…don’t know how to describe it, but it`s there, for all to see in your choice of words.

    Sorry for not having many words, but seeing your post come up was a huge mood-boost, and it`s good to see that you seem to have found a sense of confidence within yourself and the professionals there to support you.

    sending ❤ and hugs your way.

    xxx

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    1. Cat Post author

      Awe, thank you… Yes, my mood hit an all time low, but it feels good to be coming out the other side. You are always in my thoughts.

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  2. gloriamidwife

    Three years is definitely a long time to wait. I hope you find everything you’re expecting and needing from the program.

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  3. Susan Irene Fox

    Cat, just prayed for you this morning. I truly hope this is a good sign that you are, indeed, in the program and that you have the therapist with whom you will have a compassionate, safe and successful connection.

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  4. ziggy40

    Sending positive vibes, you are in my thoughts. I hope you get into the program, it sounds like a healing place with caring people. I can relate to spending half my life trying to find someone, who I can trust, and has lots of compassion. I also was faced with not having a choice at the time, of having to work with a male, which at the time was very scary. I’ve been working with him for two years, much has changed for the better. I’m still on a recovery journey, I have hope and when things are BLACK, he always responds to text messages, I feel blessed to have found someone who really wants me to THRIVE! ….lol
    Love Ziggy

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Ziggy
      Yes, I’ve been in the position before of having to accept a male therapist, but it never did work out. I’m sure this time will be different
      Thanks for dropping by

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  5. RisingSong

    So glad to see that you are finally “arriving” at this place of healing. Indeed, you have been tenacious!

    I must say that, when I first met my therapist, a male therapist was exactly what I was NOT looking for…but I decided to give him a chance, and he truly has been the best I’ve ever known. It seems like you came away with a good first impression of this fellow. I hope this is a sign that things will continue to go well. You’ve come a long way!

    It’s wonderful to hear from you again. I am sorry that things had been so rough for you. I imagine writing had been difficult during this time, so to see a new post from you certainly brought a smile to my face 🙂

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you for such lovely encouraging words. Yes, my brain has been numb in recent weeks. There were times when I didn’t think I would ever get back into writing again. I’m trying to come off my antidepressants, which doesn’t help, but my ECG was irregular, plus I still get depressed despite the pills. I think it’s worth trying to do without them. I still have the Quetiapine (mood stabiliser) as a support, but that might need to go as well as the AD’s.
      Keep smiling!

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    1. Cat Post author

      Three years is nothing for the NHS, I once waited over 5 for group therapy. In reality it’s probably 2 and a half years, but still too long. The cutbacks are only set to make matters worse.
      Thank you for commenting

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  6. Lauren

    Like others, I’ve been gone a bit, so it’s wonderful to return to a post like this! You deserve to heal, and I hope that this path leads you to that place. and I know that sounds so trite, but it’s meant with complete sincerity! (I’m struggling for words this morning. sigh.) big hugs, Lauren

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Lauren…. so nice to hear from you, I know you’ve been away for a bit. I have also been quiet lately. Depression had me by the throat! I understand the struggling for words.
      Thank you for dropping by, Lauren

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  7. Lauren

    I just had to comment specifically on this:
    This also feels like a sacred space, a place where people come to bear their souls, seeking discovery and healing.

    I really, really, really wish I could go there too.

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    1. Cat Post author

      It can take a while to get there, Lauren, but the first step is to have that desire…to recognise the need. Are you having any therapy?

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      1. Lauren

        I’m so sorry — this is about YOU, not me. 🙂 Your words themselves were very soothing … I found comfort in the “silence, therapy in progress” imagery. (I think Mandy expressed my reaction to it really well.) The therapists you’ve had in the past sound very similar to the ones I’ve experienced so I can relate to how hard it is to try to trust them again and let people in. I guess that’s the real lesson, isn’t it? sigh. 🙂

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  8. Mandy

    Cat, this is a beautiful piece of writing. It is so filled with hope for the future. Belief in people and their ability to help you in your journey. You’ve waited so long. To me, that is a sign of belief in the process. I so loved these words you wrote about the signs: “Silence, therapy in progress”. Imagine, Cat, if we could all do that? Silence our minds so healing could take place. I’m wishing you all the very best. I hope you continue to hear the birds sing!

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you, Mandy. You have actually just made me aware of the fact that, yes, I am beginning to believe in people again. Allowing them back in is a huge challenge. I’m filled with all sorts questions over how to relate to Therapists or anyone who wants to help. I harbour suspicion over what their (hidden) motives are, but I imagine that is a product of abuse through childhood. Sometimes it freaks me out to read of other people trusting, even depending, on T’s. In the past, they have simply sat back and made me do all the work. It seemed unimportant to them whether I liked them or not. It’s the NHS and there was a feeling of ‘take it or leave it’, they were not there to build relationships, I was there to concentrate on my problems. That was my experience many years ago and I hope that things have changed since then. I know I have changed since then and feel more prepared for the journey

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      1. Mandy

        Understanding how much we have changed when we are really ready to do the work makes a big difference, Cat. I’ve been exactly where you were–so so un-trusting of therapists. I couldn’t tell you if they were good or not–I never really let them in. Now I would love to have a good therapist but have no luck finding one. But I think if we are working hard, doing our part, a lot of progress will happen anyway. And you have been working so hard. That 9 weeks was a great-faith-effort!

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        1. Cat Post author

          The Therapists I have seen in the past were all non-starters. While some were not up to much, there were others who were better. I find that we can fool ourselves into believing something isn’t any good for us as a way of protecting ourselves from getting too close to our inner pain. That quote comes to mind, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”. Like everything, I think, we need to be ready for therapy. Let’s just hope I’m strong enough to see it through!
          Thank you, Mandy

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          1. Mandy

            Just know that when you have your doubts you can come here and we can work thru it together! I know you’re gonna do it Cat 🙂

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