Wednesday, 18 February 2009

More Difficult Than I Thought

I have been a little slack in posting over the last couple of weeks. In part this is because my writing has been aimed at a slightly different venture. And it's proving to be more difficult and emotive than I thought it would be.

What is it that is proving so difficult?

I am trying to write a lecture that I will be delivering next week to some postgraduate students on the 'user's experience of therapy'.

I have been giving presentations on a computer system that allows patients to have access to their GP medical records for some months now in conjunction with 'B' who was my GP until his retirement last year. I consider this to be quite an important project and although I am always anxious before a presentation I find that I enjoy the experience once it is over.

Giving presentations to international audiences was an integral part of my job while I was working and it allowed me to make numerous visits to the US, Canada and Australia over the years. I never gave the same presentation twice, which meant that a lot of time was spent drafting the presentation and creating the visual aids to go with it. But drafting this lecture is proving to be much more difficult and the reason is that it is about me and how therapy has impacted on my life.

My first experience was not a success. This was about a year after I was diagnosed with depression and I found the therapist abrasive and unsympathetic. I was very nervous about the experience of baring my innermost thoughts to a complete stranger and when that stranger left me feeling worse when I left each therapy session than I was when I walked in I started to have suicidal thoughts, something that had not happened before. Fifty to 60 minutes each week for about six weeks constantly going over the circumstances of my husband's death was not conducive to my mental health and my GP decided that the therapy should be stopped before my suicidal thoughts were translated into a reality.

For a number of years after this I had a very informal form of therapy. This was regular chats about anything and everything with a very dear friend. He helped to make my life bearable and it was he who broke the news of my mother's death to me and helped me again when my Dad died. He still provides support by providing a friendly ear to this day.

Last May I began my second round of formal therapy and this time I have a much more sympathetic therapist. The result has been than I have discovered a lot about myself and the reasons for my being the way that I am. I still have periods of depression, but I am better able to cope with them, and while the therapy itself can still be traumatic at times, I have never felt the way that I did during and after those sessions with the first therapist.

My lecture will be about all of this, and having now drafted the section about my early experiences of therapy, I am about to draft the rest of it about all that has followed. Not only will the lecture cover the talking therapy that I have had, it will also include the difference that I have found through writing this blog, and the kindness that there has been in the many comments from other bloggers. Sometimes a talking therapy does not only include the spoken word. I have found that the written word can make a huge difference too. So for all of you out there who read my blog and take the time to drop me a comment once in a while, I am sending a heartfelt thank you. You are all helping me to find life bearable again.

Now I suppose that I had better get back to drafting the lecture and finishing off the PowerPoint slides.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure your lecture will be a resounding success. You describe your wide experience with different forms of therapy very well. It is only natural to be anxious before a 'performance' and since you have had a great deal more experience of this than I have, I'm not going to try and teach you to suck eggs here!!
I wonder how aware students in these areas are of mental health blogging? I'm sure they could learn a great deal from taking a look in!
Best of luck with it all.

madsadgirl said...

One of the things that I have been asked to do is to give them a list of blogs for them to read. I have selected a range for them (including yours, I hope you don't mind) so that they get to understand what we have to live with and how we cope with it.

cb said...

Good luck with getting the lecture sorted. It sounds like it will be extremely valuable to the attendees.

Anonymous said...

I am certain you will be word perfect at the lecture. You sound like you have planned it very well! I only wish I could be there to see you in action! Good luck... :)

BTC said...

Hi, I'm sure it will be a roaring success!

And I'm glad you found the "right" therapist. :)