I wanted to chat to you all about something that’s been going on with me lately. Some of this is a little difficult to discuss, but I’ll try and talk about it frankly. I’ve mentioned before that I was seeing a therapist to help me work through my depression and anxiety problems. Well, after seeing her for about six months, a few weeks ago I decided to stop seeing her and make a few changes in how I approach my mental health and treating it.
So, why did I decide to break up with my therapist? Well, without going too far into the intimate details, I just don’t think we entirely clicked. It was never a problem with my therapist’s approach per se, she was lovely (although we did disagree on some things), I just don’t think we quite worked together well enough for me to relax fully and open up, especially about some of the more difficult things that I needed to work through, so the progress we were making was starting to stall. What also didn’t help is that I left it ages to mention to her that I wasn’t happy with how things were going, so the opportunity to fix things probably passed as well. There was also an element, on my behalf, of being scared. Therapy is hard work and can involve having to confront some scary stuff sometimes, and I was struggling to keep going through that, and I was having problems dealing with the emotional ramifications of that, none of which really helped matters.
This is not to say, however, that I am giving up on therapy. I’m starting to realise that therapy can be really helpful, whether you’re suffering from serious mental illness or you’re just trying to process a few things from everyday life (and yes, I am also painfully aware of the fact that mental health provision on the NHS is woeful and that seeing a therapist privately can be expensive, but that is a subject for another day I think). What I need though is two things – firstly I need to find a therapist that I can have a more productive relationship with, and secondly I need to act on any feelings of discomfort with a therapist by discussing it with them if possible or, if I can’t resolve it, to end the relationship sooner – there’s no sense in paying for something that clearly isn’t working, is there?
As well as rethinking therapy, I am also giving some thought to speaking to my doctor about possible medication. Now, medication isn’t something I’ve discussed on here before, partly because I’m not a medical professional so I am wary of influencing other people’s opinions on it. However, the truth of the matter is that I haven’t taken any anti-depressants for a number of years due to a variety of factors. I am starting to think though that I may need the medicinal help to support me while I try and get my head into a better space. I haven’t entirely made my mind up on this though, so I will keep you up to date on my decision.
Outside of medicine and therapy, I have also been giving some thought to other ways that I can help myself. One of the other major things that I have think will do me a lot of good is increasing the amount and variety of human contact I get. I realised quite the impact of this the other day when, because of a particularly nasty cold, I was unable to go to my regular volunteering group and I realised just how much I was missing it. I both missed the camaraderie of the group (it often feels more like a social club than work) and the general comfort gained by spending time with a group of interesting and different people, and I want more, so I’m going to look into other volunteering opportunities.
Doing more volunteering will hopefully also increase my confidence in a work-like situation, because I desperately want to work again. But what I also need to do to help me get back into work is to formulate a plan. I need to spend some concentrated time working out what I want from work, what direction I want to go in, and what I am able to do. Once I’ve worked these things out, I can start to figure out a plan to get from where I am now to where I really want to be, and that will help me so much, because it’s so easy to get lost and not make any progress.
I’m planning on writing a companion post about self-care and what I want to try and do on a smaller scale, but for now, what do you do to help your mental health? Do you see a therapist, or maybe find the support of friends and loved ones helps more? Do you have any suggestions that may not occur immediately to people? Pop me a comment below and let me know!