Therapy: Week 3

I’m pleased to say that Week 3 was good and I know that I engaged more. This was because of the activity that the therapist used. The session was based around expressing my emotions. Last week, we discussed how I find colour a helpful engagement tool as well as visuals. So the therapist got out a pack of Emotional Literacy cards. (These were the ones).

These cards each had seemingly random doodles on. For example, a brick wall, a broken heart, a sky, squiggles. She said usually she would ask clients to choose 2 or 3 that represent the past, present and their ideal future. However, she asked me just to do the present as that would be more manageable. I didn’t think I’d enjoy the activity as it seemed quite childish, however it was ideal for me. In situations with therapists etc I often retreat to a child like state and so they were pitched at the correct level.

I chose 4 cards and then we discussed each and related then to me. They were helpful with my engagement as I felt under less pressure to answer questions correctly. I felt a lot more at ease with talking freely and she does seem to be understanding me (very difficult)! 

We also discussed what I had been expecting from this therapy. I’d been expecting counselling regarding said incident, as the organisation exists to support victims of sexual assault. However, the therapist corrected me: how could I help you if I didn’t take the other things into account? They are not separate things, they are all interlinked. I couldn’t begin to counsel you around the incident without understanding why you feel as you do. 

I had put the incident in one box and my mental health in another box. I feel much more positive about the therapy now I know we might be able to unravel other things too. 

  

Therapy: Week 2.

I’m highly unlikely to share detailed updates of any therapy. But I did say I would update once I had started any. So yesterday, was my second week of a long process. 

I’ve waited a year for this one and hopefully it will be worth that wait. Last year I had an initial assessment to put me on that waiting list & the organisation have been good in updating me when I have asked. 

I didn’t make it to the first appointment which was no surprise. I went into meltdown & could not be persuaded to go. But a couple of weeks later I did attend. It was a pretty standard first appointment, aiming to get to know me a little. Questions were asked about my background & I was sent away with a couple of questionnaires to complete myself. I’m quite bored of these questions as I feel like I’ve answered them over & over again but I was pleasantly surprised by one of the questionnaires. It was focused around disassociation & never has a questionnaire been so appropriate! 

Week 2 included separate conversations around previous relationships and emotions. 

I’ve been told that I will attend 6 initial appointments & that sixth will consist of myself and the therapist discussing if we think it will be helpful and if I am ready to engage with it. I’ve consciously tried to engage so far and have definitely responded more than previously. I’m pleased with the effort that I have put in, but it’s been emphasised that I need to engage even more. It’s exceptionally difficult because I know how much progress I have already made with engagement, but as I’ve not known the therapist previously, she obviously does not know this. 

In order to try and help with this engagement, the lady picked up on my enjoyment from colouring and has said that she can use this. We also discussed how I find it easier to convey emotions and thoughts to professionals if I write them down. 

Expression

Huge empathy.

BY LAUREN HAYLEY

I don’t know about the rest of you, but one of the things I find most difficult about living with mental illness is the lack of ability to express myself.

When ever I’m annoyed, upset, stressed or angry – I can never find the ways to say it. And this then contributes to the annoyance, upset, stress and anger even further; as well as irritating the people around me.

If me and my boyfriend ever argue; this is where the little things become mountains, because I can’t say how I feel. He takes it as though I’m ignoring him and won’t tell him what I’m thinking out of choice, but it’s not that – it’s not that at all. And eventually, the persistent asking of “just tell me what you’re thinking” leads to an outburst of momentary hate where the only words that can come out of my mouth are…

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