…recover from a nervous breakdown (2!)
Firstly I’d like to thank all those who supported me in my last blog post, I received many emails and messages of support and understanding which really means a lot to me. I was a little nervous about sharing – I really shouldn’t have been. Thank you.
So, I’ve covered how I’m medically trying to get better and now I’d like to discuss non-medical remedies to my depression and anxiety.
Healing Effort No. 2: Therapy
As mentioned in my previous blog post I have been in and out of counselling since teenagehood (I’ve decided that’s a word) and it’s always had a temporary effect; I felt rubbish driving to the appointment, great driving away from it, but rather blurry in-between.
Initially I attended a more ‘talking-cure’ NHS counselling and found it incredibly useful. Talking to someone completely objective about my feelings and actions, who knew my situation only from my perspective was hugely cathartic in itself, in fact I would recommend that everyone do this at least once a year – try to find a professional though, I’ve tried it with strangers and they really don’t get their part in the whole thing. Anyhoo my mood and attitude improved and I felt roughly together for a time, but life has a way of presenting further challenges…
During university I put a lot of pressure on myself (something I have a habit of doing), pressure which I struggled to stand up under and which caused feelings of anxiety. My GP advised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – group classes to be precise – which I hated. In my opinion the gentleman leading the classes was a complete arse and if there is one thing I’ve learned about counselling it’s that no one is ever going to learn anything from someone they think is a complete arse.
By this time I’d met Chris (nice) which brought unending joy into my life – it also brought the fear of imminent death. Chris is wonderful which of course, leads me to assume he’s in constant mortal danger. To which the next woman I went to see for counselling said ‘so?’. Interesting. ‘But I don’t want him to die. If he dies I’ll want to die. I literally don’t know how to live without him’ I answered (LeAnn Rimes style) to which she replied ‘If he dies, he dies – you’ll get over it, eventually.’ What this sensitive lady did teach me was breathing techniques to try to calm any feelings of anxiety and they do work. Breathing is good for you, who knew?
These days I’m going to see a lady who conducts a form of hypnotherapy – which is not as weird as the pictures the word evokes in your mind. Basically she’s a master of relaxation and practical thinking as well as practical exercises. She’s explained what happens in my brain to make me feel the way I do and how to combat those feelings. I listen to a tape every night when I’m going to sleep which helps me drift off (I have a habit of lying in the dark and over-thinking things to the point of genuinely believing that the world will probably end in the next 48 hours – terrorism is normally the reason), I write down three good things about every day . I write them down at night so that I go to sleep thinking about the positives not the negatives and I can read back over the past weeks and realise that they haven’t been all that bad – there are good aspects to every single day, even the ones where you can’t think of any reason for getting out of bed. I’ve also stopped listening to the news as much (in the same way that no news is good news it seems that all news is bad news – terrorists).
I know that some people find the idea of sharing their thoughts and issues with people they know let alone professional strangers quite daunting, in fact it can be easier talking to strangers rather than people you know. I’m an open book so I’ve never found it all that hard to share what I’m going through, especially if they’re being paid to listen to it, but even if you’re a closed book I’d recommended revealing a chapter or two to a paid professional. It’s worth a try. Even if you’re not keen on forking out for therapy (I am as tight as they come – it’s an ongoing family joke – I hold on to money like 6 month olds hold on to long hair) think of it as an investment in you, if there is one thing worth investing in, that’s it.
The one thing I’ve definitely learned about therapy is that it’s work. You have to practice new techniques and thinking strategies in order to get better, but I think that end-game is worth the effort.
I was going to go on and talk about my own formulated brand of counselling – Kitten Therapy – but with pictures alone that deserves a whole post of its own. Look out for that one in the next couple of days!