The death of a parent in childhood can be a very complicated experience. If you are lucky there will be people around you who will support you, and be with you, and look after you as you come to terms with what’s happened. But a lot of people are not that lucky. We don’t tend to be very prepared for talking about death, about loss. And because we don’t know what to say about it we tend to end up saying nothing. That can leave a child carrying a complicated and very difficult emotional burden.
I recently heard a story about a girl whose mother had died. The girl was 12 and was described as being stoic. Whenever I am told that a bereaved person (especially a child) is a stoic I wince. The implication seems to convey a sense that the child is being brave and that the impact of the death does not seem to be too bad. Jonathon Swift wrote; ‘a stoic would cut off their feet for want of shoes’. Sometimes what is going on in such bereavement cases is that the adults that are left in the orbit of the child are projecting something of their own wish to cut off the subject of parental death.
Christmas tends to be a stressful time. If you are someone who is particularly sensitive to other people’s stresses then you may find yourself being quick react. Being reactive is where moods can run away with themselves. It is all too easy to find yourself spending the rest of the day trying to get your reactions back under your control. That is a very tiring way to live. I think it is more helpful to try to be proactive and to manage yourself and to prepare for the different emotions you are likely to encounter.
Being given a diagnosis of a personality disorder can be a shock if you weren’t expecting it, but it can be a relief too. You may have long felt that there was something wrong with you that wasn’t being recognised. Now you have the diagnosis you are in a position to plan and look after yourself better.
What does it mean? What is it?Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is also referred to as Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD).
Psychotherapy is the one relationship where you have the chance of being clear about what is going on.Did you grow up feeling you were being kept in the dark? Were you raised in a difficult family and felt left out of the loop? When you tried to ask questions about what was going on were you met with silence, anger and denial? Perhaps you were told you were being difficult, over sensitive, or too demanding for asking questions? Then you would be left, still in the dark, and probably feeling worse about it.
It is a regrettable thing, but a lot of psychotherapy and counselling ends prematurely. Sometimes there is a shared sense of regret that the work won’t be going further, a shared sense that a connection has been made which might be important for the client, but which for obscure and perhaps rather unconscious reasons will not be going any further at this time.
Trauma has a particularly destructive effect on our minds and consciousness. After trauma we experience problems with time, memory, self, keeping perspective. In my view we have no choice but to continually try to re-balance our minds and selves. This is something we have to make a commitment to keep working on every day, throughout life.
All of us, when we were children will have gone through experiences of feeling momentarily forgotten and left by our parents. Why is it then that only some of us develop traumatic experiences out of those moments? Why doesn’t everybody suffer the same kind of traumatic disorientation?
Did you suffer from repeated childhood nightmares? Have those nightmares become embedded in your memory in a way that other things haven't? It is often the case when people have been exposed to trauma in childhood that they go onto experience significant problems with memory. And yet what is interesting is that we tend to remember our repeated nightmares from childhood.
In some cases it will be possible to deal with depression without medication. You need to assess your case carefully. If you are already on medication, then you will need to plan and review any changes with your GP and psychiatrist and carefully monitor any changes that you make. Having said that, the evidence from my work is that most, though not all of our psychological and emotional states, relate to our experiences. So, the clearer we can be about the link between those things the more likely we are to get more control over our moods. The challenge is in finding a way to see the link between what has happened to us and how we feel.