Borderline Personality Disorder Blog. Bipolar Disorder Blog. BPD. DBT. Cleveland. A Fragment in Orange.


My patient is a man named Albert. A pleasant man, he asks me how I'm doing today.

I work in the dark and don't notice the blood until I pull the white towel away from his groin. Even in the dark, the contrast between white and red is unmistakable. I pull back the sheet and see the long slit in his belly, lacing like a corset bringing the edges of the cut together. He is eviscerating, intestine bulging out this way and that. I look at his face for clues of pain, death. He remains pleasant.

He has been coughing and frothy phlegm has dribbled down his chin, across his double chin, and now collects in a pool on the neckline of his gown. It is pink-tinged. I wipe his chin with a washcloth, expecting the rusty metal smell of blood. Instead, it's something more familiar. Cotton candy. Sweet. Unmistakable. I laugh at myself.

I change the sheets, throw everything bloody and cotton-candied into the laundry and cover him with clean white brilliance. For a few minutes we sit together in silence.
We tell our stories.
We listen and empathize.
We don't omit details.
We don't tell lies.

And still, no one will ever really know.

There was this woman. The sweetest woman you'd ever want to meet. She was married, to a history professor I think, and had five children. One day, she stabbed her five children to death. They say she gave them something first, a sedative or something. They say the husband was having an affair. The woman jumped from ten floors up. They found her on the ground.

We tell our stories.

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