Robin and Annabelle have had a lot to talk about. After finally explaining how she struggled to bond with their daughter, Robin has managed to convince Annabelle to look at some information about post natal depression. Now he wants to talk about the recent diagnosis she received from the mental health doctor in Tayford.
These are the previous parts of Annabelle’s story:
Robin could not convince Annabelle to read any of the web pages with material about Borderline Personality Disorder. It was obviously only distressing her to hear his attempts to persuade her to look at them.
So he suggested something else, “I am going to write a list about you and you can tell me if you think I have got you wrong and have no idea what I am talking about. If you disagree with anything, just let me know.”
Annabelle was extremely reluctant, but she was mindful of the emotional turbulence that had marked the day already. She did not want disturbances to the joy and peace Robin surrounded her with. She just wished he did not have these concerns. But much as she fought inwardly against his pressure for her to listen to him, she kept on reminding herself that Robin Grainger was the man she loved and trusted. So she begrudgingly agreed to read his list.
- has difficulty concentrating, easily distracted
- has difficulty making decisions
- afraid of rejection/abandonment
- sometimes feels lost, vague sense of own identity
- overwhelmed at times by feeling like a failure
- overly self-condemning, feels extremes of guilt
- emotions can change quickly
After reading the list whilst crumpling her face to try to hide her tears, Annabelle put the list down and turned to her lover, “Robin, I don’t understand why you are doing this. What are you trying to say to me?”
Robin took a deep breath. He did not want Annabelle to be crushed by his words, “Belle I love you. I love you for your loving, joyful, beautiful ways. I love you for a million reasons. You are strong in so many ways, you have endured so much. But you have been hurting for a long time, and I have never stopped wondering why. When you told me what the Doctor tried to diagnose you with, I read about it, and it made sense to me.”
“So you think that Doctor is right? You think I am a basket case? With a split personality?” the pain Annabelle felt was clear by the tone of her voice.
“You are wonderful Belle! All of us struggle with our emotions at times. Look at the mess I ended up in. And not just me, what about your friend Chris? Didn’t he struggle in the past? Many people have challenges with their emotional and mental health. I think you are afraid of what that doctor was trying to say to you, but I think she was trying to help you.”
“Help me? How is it supposed to help me to say I have some psycho mental illness?”
“Please stop saying that Belle. I want you to be a bit more reasonable about this. If you fell on the ice outside and broke your leg, would you just ignore it and hope you could endure the pain? You know you would need a Doctor. Why aren’t you willing to face up to what has been causing you so much emotional pain for years and has never healed? Why not listen to experts in emotional health?”
“But all they do is get you take drugs that take away your personality and leave you numb, or they lock you up in a psycho ward.”
“A psycho ward? Do you mean like the clinic I was in? Belle stop using that word. It’s bloody offensive,” Robin tried to calm himself down, “If you are talking about the kind of wards were people who might need some extra support, you can call them a mental health ward or a psychiatric ward, but don’t keep using that word “psycho”. If you had any idea what I had to go through in rehab, I think you would be a bit more respectful about the kind of services that are available, and how challenging it can be for both patients and the professionals trying to help.”
“I’m sorry,” Annabelle cast her eyes down. Her lower lip began to quiver with her upset and shame, “It’s just something that scares me, a lot.”
“That’s fair enough. But we all need some help at times. Come here,” Robin put his arms around Annabelle and kissed the back of her head, “From what I have read about this condition the Doctor thought you may have, medication does not seem like the most effective treatment anyway. Everything I have read suggested that counselling, CBT, like you have already had, is usually the most helpful treatment.”
“You believe she was right don’t you? You think I have this thing?” Annabelle muttered.
“I don’t know Belle. But what I read makes a lot of sense. I am trying to be honest with you. I just wish you would be brave enough to read about it and see if you agree yourself.”
“Robin, I am only too aware that I am imperfect, I know I am kind of broken, but I don’t want to be labelled with some mental illness. I doesn’t help me feel better. I don’t want people to dismiss who I am with some kind of diagnosis or medical term. It’s not fair. Why can’t I just be me? Why should I be the girl with the personality disorder? I couldn’t face people if they were all looking at me as if there was something wrong with me.”
“People don’t need to know anything about it. Look, I would think everyone thought I was a crook if people in general knew you wanted to pay off my debt. In all honesty, I feel ashamed. Claudia knows. My parents will know. But I trust them to be discreet. I want to be with you. You choosing to give your money to pay off my mistakes makes that possible. So I have to live with that shame. But I am going to find it embarrassing. I won’t advertise it because I know what people might say. I understand being worried about people labelling you unfairly. People jump to conclusions and put a spin on things. That’s why you have every right to confidentiality.”
“It’s hard having to pretend with people. I’ve been doing it for years. It’s so tiring.”
“This is about you Belle. This is about you being able to access support and services that will help you with something that has been hurting you for too long. You don’t have to tell anyone if you don’t want to, or if you felt you could trust anyone else, well, I don’t know Belle, that’s totally up to you. But don’t be afraid. Give credit that some people will understand and they will not in any way misjudge you.”
“What do you want me to do? Are you saying you don’t want to marry me unless I have more counselling?”
“I am not saying that at all. Please stop doubting whether this is real. You and me, we are going to be married and soon. I am going to marry you Belle, no matter what you decide to do. But I found it helpful to understand what that Doctor said to you, and I truly believe you will too. It’s up to you what you want to do about it.”
Annabelle sighed, “Before I saw that Doctor, I did actually start to find the CBT was helping. Not completely. But he was helping me by asking questions and asking me to think about them. I actually think it helped more when I could get out of there and go and talk about everything with Chris. Chris was more my counsellor than the guy I used to sit in an office with.”
“I am really glad you had him supporting you Belle. He has been great.”
“I’ve given him a hard time. I didn’t mean to, but my head has been exhausting sometimes, and I think I took it out on Chris.”
Robin smiled warmly, “I am pretty sure that he has been very pleased that he could be there for you Belle. I think it meant a lot that you trusted him.”
“Still, I feel bad. I know he has found it difficult at times. I just, I don’t know, I didn’t want to get too close. I didn’t want to drag him down either. I tried to say goodbye to him before I came here, but it was too hard. He knew I was never going back to Blackwood though.”
“Never going back to Blackwood? Why did you tell him that?”
Annabelle shook her head, “I didn’t tell him that, but he knew.”
“You don’t mean it though do you? Surely you want to go back to Blackwood to see all your friends?”
“I was ready to leave Robin.”
Robin’s puzzled eyes gazed upon Annabelle, “But your friends love you Belle, and you love them.”
“I think they were getting tired of me. I don’t think I could have stayed much longer. It was time to go before…” Annabelle didn’t finish her sentence. Instead she looked away from Robin.
Robin held her, “You were afraid Annabelle. You were afraid they would reject you at some point. So you tried to avoid that pain by having an escape plan. Or something like that.”
Surprised that Robin seemed so close to the feelings she had kept hidden away for weeks, Annabelle became nervous, “It doesn’t matter anymore. I am staying with you Robin. I am not going back there anyway.”
“Have you told any of them your news Annabelle? Have you told Chris, or Burt and Pearl you are getting married? Do they even know that you are not planning to go back at the weekend?”
Annabelle shook her head, “I didn’t know how to say it. I still need to write to my parents. Maybe I should write to them too.”
“I will help you ok. We’ll do it together. I think Burt and Pearl are going to need to know soon that you are not going to be back at the weekend. They will be worried about you. A letter will only arrive in the middle of next week. An e-mail will be instant, or we can call them. They will be really pleased for you.”
Annabelle sniffed, “I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
“Do you mean Chris?” Robin whispered. Annabelle didn’t reply, but Robin was sure he was right, “He loves you sure enough. He will get over it Belle. He will want you to be happy. He might find it hard to swallow at first, but he will want whatever makes you happy.”
You can read the next part of Annabelle’s story here:
Kim, the creator of Writer Side of Life has given us some great writing prompts. Several of them appealed to me, but I have only chosen one to work on for now, because I am still playing catch up with blogging, after my trip to Australia:
I chose a prompt under the ROMANCE section: 3. Who is she waiting for?