Relationships – are they really real in mental health?

Relationships come hard to me.. they come hard. My mum was sectioned often when I was young and I now find trusting that people will stay very difficult. I push people away in my own gentle way keeping a wary distance. I create spaces where I can be alone.  I so want that connection but it’s too dangerous for me I feel so disturbed if people come in close.
So I’ve been wondering about relationships in mental health, more so recently as I’ve disconnected from services said farewell to my Psychiatrist and CPN.
What happens when I say goodbye is so distressing to me . I slump lose control and my eyes oh my eyes they shut and I can’t open them, it’s frightening and I believe that maybe I will never see again. I can’t relive that ending I’m launched back into my childhood a small child mum is leaving .. I can’t face that … never to return .. I can’t face that. I can’t see I can’t see.
One definition of a relationship I found when I googled is this:-
‘the way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected.’
This is what I fear and yet I entered into them in mental health services . I guess my question is are those relationships really real? Are they true  connections?
I began to think about power .. from the initial meeting where I’m told where to sit and I’m asked sets of questions and then given a diagnosis and that decision affects the rest of my life. Particularly if it’s the diagnosis I have of ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’ . It will mean I am looked at by those in services through a particular lens. Where boundaries are high and some think I’m manipulative, attention seeking, just putting it on and I must just get on with my life. How can you base a relationship on that thinking?
Those boundaries oh those boundaries where I tell you all and you share so little. When in therapy I used to imagine all sorts about my therapists life but in reality I knew nothing. Is this one sided connection a true relationship or just some lob sided fabrication and why was the ending so hard? Because it was oh god I felt that pain so badly.
But is this really real?
Back to power you choose my medication, when and where we meet and if you’ll take my phone call or not. Also where  I sit in your office and if I want to see my notes you can remove some if you think they won’t be good for me to see .. now that’s power. I have to laugh though I once sat in my psychiatrists chair my little go at taking the power back…
Also you can tell me what therapy I can have and you may withdraw services and then there’s restraint and forced medication .
Is this a relationship?
Do relationships actually matter in mental health?
I used to overdose regularly and often I was just sent home no one contacting me now would a good friend do that?
Relationships in mental health manufactured on your terms one sided ..
The fact I could talk to you about suicidal thoughts my self harm my past trauma and you’d sit and be with me, validate me hold all of that pain for me. One social worker once touched me with their finger when I was so distressed and it felt so validating I could feel they were right there with me. They felt my pain. Sitting with me through the dark times, understanding and holding me until the storm passed. You knowing me.
But being there  for those people who have little or no connections ‘relationships’ in their life is this enough?
I wonder if  this modelling of a one sided relationship where you tell all and know little helps with those relationships in ‘real life’? Is that what a person will perceive a ‘real’ relationship is like. Will it help people make real friends out there in their life.
I’m lucky I have my wife and two girls who I’m so close with. I’m trying out relationships even though it feels so hard.
 To those who know me thank you for staying with me and to those who have helped me in services thank you too . I’m just not sure what sort of relationship we had but I know it hurts when we part.
I’d like to know what people think are these relationships real or fabricated.. do they help? I know one thing at times they saved my life .

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About bpdffs

I campaign for better services for people with BPD. I run #BPDchat onTwitter on Sundays at 9pm BST, please join us. I train CMHT staff in BPD awareness and run psycho-educational courses for people with BPD. I am a governor at Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust.

5 responses to “Relationships – are they really real in mental health?”

  1. BPDLife says :

    I totally hear you in this blog. It’s the first time I’ve read something & felt like I could have written it myself. It’s also such a massive relief knowing that somebody else knows what this feels like. I’m not saying I like that you feel this way though, because I don’t, it’s shit!

    Is the relationship real question. I believe it is. I’m fortunate enough to have a really understanding psychologist, who I truly believe cares & wants the best for me. At the end of the day, they’re human & they feel, they may even secretly become quite attached but they are trained to maintain boundaries. It’s their job.

    Deep down inside us we crave that connection so, so badly but we also fear it. We fear that dreaded ending. That ending that leaves us lost & empty again. It throws us back into that helpless state. It’s like your mind just goes into this huge panic. I HATE it!

    It was actually my psychologist that told me about you & I’m really glad she did. You talk so much sense & you should be proud of how far you’ve come 🙂

    • bpdffs says :

      Hello there you make some great points I think those relationships particularly in therapy if they work can be so valuable although a little different to any other relationship. Maybe that’s life though .. thank you for taking the time to comment

      • BPDLife says :

        Yeah, I think maybe that’s the difficult thing about it, that they are different, and like you said, a friend wouldn’t ignore you if you’d attempted suicide. It’s about learning to accept that it is different. Something which I struggle with massively 🤦🏽‍♀️😂

  2. Alison Jenaway says :

    Just want to say that it is often painful to say goodbye as a therapist too…has the therapy been good enough? Will the person be able to keep hold of it? I will miss them, I want to know what happens next…there is a part of the relationship which is real.

    • bpdffs says :

      Yes I get that we all connect and it’s hard to say goodbye for both parties ..Its a funny old relationship in therapy though different to ‘real life’ where we may see the person again and know them inside out and back to front … I guess it’s just different

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