Black and white thinking towards therapy

I’ve somewhat stupidly signed up to take part in some research on Therapeutic Communities, having spent a year at one myself. I thought it would consist of filling out forms, which for some strange reason I get a real buzz out of, but it’s going to take place over the phone. The downside to this is that I have to be spontaneous (eek!) and can’t plan my answers in advance. Any other borderlines reading this will know that we thrive on control, especially when it comes to authority figures, so this is starting to stress me out big time.

My main concern has been a fear over how I will come across. But of course, it doesn’t matter! I’ll never meet this person face to face, and my name won’t be published in her research. So why is it so important that I don’t come across as a whingeing bpd’er?

This has obviously led to much introspection of my time at the TC, and whether my own feelings about it are valid. I could very easily come across as angry and negative about my experiences, but I don’t want to be so one sided. There must have been some positives surely? But I don’t want to think about them. Why not? Because then the blame for my decline over the last year, once more falls squarely on my shoulders, and it’s much easier to blame my therapist. The problem is that I’m really struggling to think of any positives. I’ll try making a list, and I’ll start with the negatives because that’s much easier, and it makes me feel better lol.


I gave up a longstanding full time job to attend the TC and haven’t managed to cope with work since.

I now self harm frequently, despite not having done so for years before I went there.

It has reinforced my mad status, rather than removed it. I am much more of a professional mental patient than I ever was, and having being deemed nutty enough to need to be in a TC, my gp now sees me as someone with severe mental health problems, rather than someone who suffers from occasional depression.

Discovering what feelings are has made my mood swings so much more painful. It’s not just about anger anymore, and after a year of being told that I am to blame, I have no one to shift those feelings onto. I’ve never felt suicidal for so long.

Being around people day in day out made me need human contact. Now that I am isolated again, apart from one friend and one family member, I find it much more difficult to cope with being alone. Yet the motivation to change that is still missing.


I made a good friend at therapy and we are still in touch.

I can eat in front of other people without feeling ashamed.

I can usually realise the triggers behind my moodswings.

I am back in touch with my Dad, after two years of not speaking. Something which the therapists pushed me to do.

Hmmm, well I guess there are some positives after all. The trouble is that a huge part of me is glad to be out of work and staying at home on benefits. I don’t want to get better and I don’t want to get a job. I’ve never wanted that. So there really wasn’t any chance that a TC was going to work for me. I either wanted to be 100% cured, in a fantastically well paid job, with a new partner and a great sex life, 2.4 kids, a size ten body, no dark feelings ever again, or constantly ill, dependent on others, preferably locked away for life, wasting away of starvation (didn’t manage that one lol), no expectations from anyone.

I guess the only thing I’ve learnt from therapy is that black and white feelings exist, and my life is ruled by them.


8 Responses to “Black and white thinking towards therapy”

  1. Alison Says:

    Oh how strange we have someone coming in this week to do some research on our Therapeutic Community!

    I have certainly seen some downsides to mine so far but some up’s as well, especially the making of some new friends.

    I am only 12 weeks in so have a way to go…

  2. bippidee Says:

    if her name is kasia it’s the same person. she did say she was doing some research at a community she’s worked with before.

  3. Lola Snow Says:

    Bippidee, you aren’t me by any weird Fight Club type scenario are you? I mean, I feel like I ACTUALLY wrote that post (Aside from the self harm bit, which was actually there during therapy and stopped afterwards, only to be replaced with AN)
    do you think this is everybody who has been in therapy. they “Get” you with their labelling, medication ad support, and then either declare you “Success” or “F*cked” and off you go into your “New” life. not that i’m bitter, i got the up side of family and stuff too, but i had way less problems before i tried to straighten out. maybe we should do a posttherapy survey? find out how many people have been opened up, but not sewn back together. i feel like the toaster i tried to fix a few years ago.
    As for the phone thingy – try keeping this open on the screen and you can refer to your list each time.
    xx good luck, but i think you will be fine.
    Lola “F*cked subject #2”

  4. bippidee Says:

    spooky isn’t it?
    I believe they measure their success by the percentage of patients to require mental health services again within a year of leaving the therapist. So they won’t be best pleased with me. I know from having kept in touch with other group members, the success rate is low, as far as we see it. Most still struggle on a day to day basis. But only two of us have asked for help. The rest just fell off the radar so to speak. I think that’s mostly because tptb love to rub it in how lucky you are to have a place in the TC. So you’re encouraged to view the therapists as omnipotent, and learn not to complain if you think they may be making a mistake. Yes i said it, MISTAKE and THERAPIST. Omg, can i hear the sky falling in? 🙂

  5. Alison Says:

    She’s called Kara as far as I am aware… would be funny if I got the name wrong and it is the same person!

  6. Mental Nurse · This Week in Mentalists (50) Says:

    […] From the Sofa weighs up the negatives and positives from spending time in a therapeutic community. […]

  7. schatsie Says:

    Gosh I’m glad I wandered onto your site! I was looking for a link between Seroquel and diarrhoea (charming I know!), but finding your site was great, your thoughts are SO similar to mine!

    My brother was BP1 and died 3 months ago, aged 33 in a motorbike accident (and yes, of course alcohol and drugs were involved). He was going through hell with his BPD over the last 3 yrs, was institusionalized twice and never worked again. I tried to help him as far as I could, but I now realise that I never fully understood what hell he went through and also that I never really will, since we all experience it differently, although we do share some elements thereof.

    So anyway thanks, I really appreciate your sharing your thoughts – if only cause it makes me see that I’m not all alone in this BPD hell! Maybe I should start writing things down too – they say it helps!

  8. bippidee Says:

    hi there,
    thanks for leaving comments. I’m sorry to hear about your brother. It must be such a tough time for you.
    I had the same problem with Seroquel for a few weeks when I first started taking it, and it still reoccurs occasionally if I eat anything too rich. I used to just take an antidepressant. Since adding Seroquel to the mix I’ve had to add decongestants, anti diarrhoea pills, water retention tablets and indegestion tablets. I swear I rattle when I walk lol.

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