Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Getting Therapy

Never in a million years would I have thought I would have been at the point where I felt like I needed therapy. 
I actually emailed my therapist to book sessions back in May, but I felt too embarrassed to go though with it so I cancelled and just thought it was a sad phase that I would get over it. And I did, for a couple of weeks, but then I felt like I was back to square one with the sleepless nights, overthinking and the unbearable sinking feeling in my belly so I got back in touch. It kind of felt like a last resort situation, but life happens and things change and here I am! Also, there's only so many times I can drench my pillow in lavender essential oils every night, listen to the same Headspace Sleep radio track of raindrops falling onto a rooftop and swallow a galleon of CBD oil before I want to jump off a cliff.

I'm writing this post for 2 reasons. Number one because to me, writing my feelings down in my blog feels like stress relief. And number 2 is that I feel like there is still such a stigma around getting help with mental health problems, and if I had read something similar to what I'm writing right now earlier this year then I would probably be already 4 months into my journey. It's not knowing what to expect that was the most daunting part of booking one I think. And the feeling of failure.

My ex-boyfriend and I broke up at the start of the year, and I can honestly say it's been the worst year of my life. The fact I'm also simultaneously living through a global pandemic was just the icing on the cake really! I won't go into detail about what happened over the last few months, but it's been hell. When I can't sleep at night (for example now, when I'm awake at 5:07am on Monday 12th October typing this) I go over every detail of every conversation over the last year and I just feel so... sad. I can't find any other word to describe how I feel apart from SAD. But it really is just a horrible sinking feeling of missing somebody in the pit of my stomach that I just haven't been about to shift since March. Nothing makes me happy. Seeing my friends, going out on my bike and buying myself little treats helps with instant gratification, but the next day I'm back to feeling miserable and back to missing M, the only person who made me truly happy. 

I got in touch with my therapist after a couple of recommendations regarding depression and relationship problems so I got in touch to arrange a consultation. Due to COVID, it's currently being done via Zoom (as opposed to me kicking back on a velvet chaise-lounge, Cruel Intentions style), and I'm not gonna lie I was absolutely shitting myself waiting to be let into the meeting. I mean, I burst out into tears just saying hello, so you can imagine how the first session went...!! (Think Chris Crocker in the Leave Britney Alone video and that was pretty much me.)

When I finally managed to get a singular word out (I wish I was joking about this but I was a WRECK), Jo reassured me that I was brave in just being able to take the first step into getting help, and that therapy really is the best practice of self-care you can do (definitely puts lighting a candle after I've tidied my bedroom or the occasional extra pump of caramel syrup I get in my latte to shame looool) She explained that I was going through a form of grieving, and it's ok to feel absolutely devastated and exhausted because I've gone through some huge changes recently. She told me it was going to be difficult but the end game was definitely going to be worth it. And she told me to be kind to myself, which is something I had massively been neglecting lately.

I'm currently having weekly sessions with Jo, and although I feel like I'm literally paying someone to watch me cry over Zoom for 50 minutes, I take something small away from every session and put that into practice over the next week. Therapy isn't a quick fix, it takes time but that's also the good thing about it- that it's a slow but steady process and hopefully the changes I'm making will be lifelong ones. It's only been 2 weeks, and I know I've still got a hell of a long way to go, but I'm starting to see small differences in the number of times I wake up during the night and my general motivation for life that day. 

The sessions usually start with how I'm feeling in general, how I'm feeling compared to last time, then I will generally lead the conversation with anything I want to get off my chest. This can be anything that's bothering me, making me sad/happy/relieved/anxious. She's not a magician unfortunately, so she can't just click her fingers and make everything go away (if only!) but she asks questions to make me delve a little deeper into my feelings and understand them. I'm not religious so I've never actually been to a confession booth, but I imagine that is what it's like.

Initially I booked these sessions because I wanted to show M that I was going to every length possible to be a better person for him, and to try take any burden off his shoulders if he had any kind of self doubt in how he treated me as a girlfriend. Even though everything I say to Jo is confidential, I wished he could secretly tune into my sessions and just listen to what I said about him. It's actually quite scary to think that one person has the power to make everything better, but you can't turn back time and you can't make someone want to be with you. I need to want to do this for myself. I want to be at a point in my life where someone is saying those kind of things about me! I'm human and I've made mistakes, and with Jo's help I'm realising that my feelings are valid, it's ok to cry and I do deserve to be happy. I'm not going to start yelling 'I AM CONFIDENT, I AM BEAUTIFUL, I AM WORTHY' in the bathroom mirror every morning any time soon, but I'm going to be a little bit kinder to myself and take it from there.

It's weird sharing this because I'm scared people are gonna think I'm a liability or damaged goods, and maybe I am! But I'm urging anyone reading this who is feeling low to please get help. It really is an investment in yourself and the personal growth you will gain will last a lifetime. And I can't wait to look back on this post in a couple of months and see how far I've come.