Dear Therapists – an open letter

Dear therapists

Yes, that means all of you I have met over the years, except my current one, F. Dear F, you are the proof that there are good ones out there. As far as the rest of you that I’ve met is concerned: I’m not impressed.

I was 15 when I was first introduced to the world of shrinks and you and I did not get along well. You started out by testing me. Long, tedious, paper and pencil tests. Me. A kid who was scared to death of failing at any task given to me. So scared I couldn’t think straight. So you diagnosed a borderline IQ. Over ten fucking years ago, and you know what that translates into? For years and years people have read the label before even meeting me, thought “oh, she’s a retard” and treated me like one. And if I wasn’t able to benefit from therapy, you could rest assured that it was not because of anything you did, but because I was too dumb to be able to get it. Convenient, isn’t it?

But of course back then I believed what you said. I believed I was more stupid than most people. I certainly felt more stupid than everyone else. Yes, and my behavior sure was odd and disturbed. Very much so. I trusted anyone who was kind to me. And was extremely upset to the point of hate when I felt let down. And when I felt let down, I did what I could to corrupt and sabotage therapy. Or to withdraw from it.

But hey, guess what! That’s the reason why I needed therapy! Only to you it was the reason why you thought I should get kicked out of therapy. That’s a bit insane, don’t you think, that you claim to want to treat what’s wrong with me, only when you are faced with what’s wrong with me, you claim it’s the reason why you can’t treat me?! And of course that’s all my fault. Fucking convenient again, isn’t it?

So instead of proper treatment, it was drugs. Did you know that at one point I took seven different psychoactive drugs, every single day, because you said I was untreatable if I didn’t take them?! Tell you what! I was not any more “treatable” for taking them, I was just too drugged up to care about anything, including you, anymore! Oh, well, and I guess I should say thanks for the benzodiazepine addiction! So easy to prescribe them, isn’t it? And as long as it keeps her calm, why not up her dose? After all her life is worthless and fucked up anyway, so it can’t possibly make a difference to screw with it some more. And yes, initially I liked the benzos! Loved them! Loved the calm and the respite they brought!

But let me ask you one thing: Do you know how being dopesick from prescription drugs feels? It’s grand, you should try it out! Just take Valium or Xanax or Klonopin or some other benzo in forever increasing doses for six months. Or hell, have fun, make it a year. Or two. Or five. Just however long it takes until instead of reducing anxiety, they make you feel nervous and anxious. And instead of calming you down, they make you feel restless and unable to sleep at all anymore. And instead of making you feel better, they make you feel depressed and like all you want is fucking die. And then prescribe yourself a shitload of additional drugs to deal with those side effects, if you haven’t already added some. You’ll have the time of your life, I promise!

And then stop them. Taper off. Do it real slow, it doesn’t matter, you’ll go through withdrawal anyway! Experience all the joy that it brings! For days. And weeks. And months. Many, MANY months. Do it until you’ve been benzo and drug free for at least six months. Let yourself be surprised how fucking long it takes. How pathetic and miserable and painful it feels. And how much your body and brain and everything has to adjust to just be normal again.

And before you’ve done that, I don’t ever want to hear another fucking word out of your mouths about how I should take drugs!!

Oh, and another word of wisdom: Don’t ever – EVER – label someone “untreatable”. That YOU can’t do it, doesn’t mean it’s not possible. You’re not that grand. Whoever you are, however many fancy titles you have, and no matter how well respected you might be by your colleagues and whatnot: You’re not the be all and end all of therapy. That you don’t have the key to my lock, doesn’t mean that there IS no right key. Or that there is something wrong with my lock. Consider that you might simply be an arrogant asshole who takes him- or herself and her therapy lore too fucking seriously before you give me crap and treat me like your shit doesn’t stink!

And lastly, dear F, thanks for restoring my faith in therapists! You’re one of the good ones! Which is great, as it gives me hope that there ARE good ones out there, even if they are outnumbered by dickheads, and I wish everyone who needs one that they are able to find one! It makes all the difference.

And to the rest of you: go, have a good look at what you do and how you treat people, and then feel guilty about it. I’m serious, do it. And then work on improving. Everyone who comes to you is worth just as much as you are. They all deserve a good therapist, not one who’s only considering himself good. If you make mistakes or can’t help him or her, say so and admit that it’s normal, because nobody is perfect and nobody can have the keys to ALL the locks. Gosh, and fucking educate yourself on drugs – read ALL the studies, not just the studies by the pharma companies that you get paid to read, because guess what?! They want to sell stuff. It’s a multi-billion dollar deal. Use your oh-so-educated mind to conclude what that says about the objectivity of their studies.

Yours truly,

Lola

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. vwoopvwoop
    Oct 21, 2012 @ 10:18:32

    benzo addiction is gnarly, i don’t envy u that. any addiction really. do u think the cutting and self harm u do is addictive? we used to cut and for awhile when we were like 15 to 20 it was really really addictive. i don’t think most people realize it can be an addiction.

    i’m glad u have F, and i know what u mean about a lot of therapists being dickheads. this is a cool letter.

    jaime

    • Lola
      Oct 21, 2012 @ 10:41:19

      Hell, yeah, sure is gnarly! I believe even more so than other dope, actually, as it takes for-fucking-EVER to get rid of it. Heroine, you can be physically off after a relatively short time, but not so benzos, unless you want to risk dying or some crazy shit like that!

      Good question if the cutting and self-harm I do is addictive. I’m all yes and no at the same time about it. Yes, because when I feel like I really NEED to cut in order to feel better, it’s like a craving and if I ignore it it only gets worse so much that I start to cry and literally beg my mom to give me a razor blade. It kind of stops being about finding A solution, but I need THIS solution, for all the “good” I then feel cutting and *only* cutting will do me.

      Then at the same time no, because if I manage to find a solution to what’s troubling me early enough, or manage to calm down and feel soothed, I don’t go on to craving the cutting. But that doesn’t really make much sense as to why it wouldn’t be addictive. I guess because I’m not physically addicted on it, and have no withdrawal symptoms if I don’t do it only because a certain time has elapsed. But yes for psychological addiction to it as a self-help-tool in order to feel good. Gosh, am I making sense?! Sorry, serious brain fog here.

      Anyway, thank you for the good words about having F and liking the letter, jaime! 🙂

  2. endpicking
    Oct 21, 2012 @ 15:18:15

    “Untreatable” was the way BPD was viewed for far too long, and, unfortunately it’s a label that still persists. I was talking to my mom the other day about Borderline and she was like, “that’s untreatable you know” and I was horrified! You see, my mom is a nurse and is currently getting her masters degree in nursing. I expected her to know better! Thanks to better awareness and understanding of Borderline over the past few years fewer and fewer people attach the “untreatable” label to it, but it still hasn’t been shaken entirely.

    I’m really glad you’ve found a therapist you can work with. There are definitely good ones out there 🙂

    • Lola
      Oct 21, 2012 @ 15:44:35

      I agree, endpicking, there definitely are good therapists out there. It’s finding them (and then being able to pay them, LOL) that’s the hard part.

      Sad that crap like “BPD is untreatable” is still taught to people today, even when it’s not as often as it used to be. 😦 I won’t ever argue if someone says that BPD can be real tricky to treat, and that it can be frustrating like hell for everyone involved, including therapists, and that not every therapist or therapy approach works for every person who struggles with BPD, and not every moment in time is a good time to be open for therapy either, but labelling it “untreatable” and just writing people off, making them think they are beyond hope, that’s is just not fair.

  3. confessionsofbpd
    Oct 22, 2012 @ 00:23:34

    I remember when I was kicked out of therapy once too. It was absolutely devastating. I also was overmedicated when I was a teenager and my BPD was at it’s worst. It made me feel like a deadened zombie inside and I gained considerable weight from it. It also gave me such a mistrust of the profession that I am too anxious to take SSRIs now. The only thing I’ve been able to manage good compliance is Welbutrin because I know it won’t make me fat.

    • Lola
      Oct 22, 2012 @ 08:35:19

      The dread that deadened zombie feeling. For me appetite loss was one side effect and since I struggle with an eating disorder anyway, that didn’t help. I guess what I learned is that whatever drug you’re supposed to take, always educate yourself properly because the doc won’t tell you zip, and only thereafter decide if you want to give it a try.

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