Tuesday, 1 December 2009

In The Psychologist's Chair

Sorry folks, Part 4 of Tackling the Mental Health Minefield is still being drafted so probably won't be available today. Writing these posts can be a bit of an emotional experience so I can't rattle them off as I do with my normal posts on this blog. However, I am posting about my return to the hospital today for appointment with one of the psychologists there.

As long-time readers of this blog will know, I was receiving psychodynamic psychotherapy until the beginning of May this year. This had lasted for a year, but I felt that it had not been brought to a proper termination given that new subject areas were opened up on the last session. It ended up with something along the lines of "well, you've had your year's worth of therapy on the NHS, I know that you never missed a session even though I didn't make quite a few, but anyway, goodbye".

Somewhat unsurprisingly this had quite a detrimental effect on my well-being, and I am not certain that it wasn't the trigger for my downward spiral into depression that eventually landed me in hospital. Anyway, the subject of this psychotherapy came up a couple of times while I was in hospital and my consultant referred me to psychological services situated in the hospital. I was persuaded to take part in one group therapy session while I was on the ward (there was myself, three other patients and one of the nurses from the ward along with the psychologist and his psychologist-in-training) but in the limited time available not much was really achieved in this session other than the psychologist getting to see me. Through a series of unfortunate circumstances beyond anyone's control (an appointment was made for me, but the ward staff forgot to tell the psychologist that I wasn't actually on the ward anymore, and then I didn't get the message about another appointment until after the event) my first appointment with the psychologist didn't actually occur until this morning.

As usual I arrived at the hospital far too early, so I got myself a cup of coffee from the WRVS kiosk and went into the garden to drink it and have a cigarette or two. Eventually I thought it was close enough to the time of my appointment for me to make my way to the psychology department and I soon found myself sitting on a chair in the corridor waiting for the psychologist to collect me.

We chatted inconsequentially as we walked to his office and on arrival he invited me to take a seat. His trainee psychologist was already seated on the sofa so I sat in the chair which was so obviously meant for me. I wasn't really sure what the purpose of this appointment was but it seems that the idea is that I am being assessed again to determine whether therapy is required, and if it is, then whether it will be carried out at the hospital or whether I will be referred back to the parent organization which was where I had therapy before.

After being 'grilled' for an hour and a half I was let free with an appointment for the same time next week and the knowledge that what happened in today's session definitely shows that therapy is indeed required. I left with the usual questionnaire about what my feelings about certain things have been during the last week and the request that I fill it in and bring it back with me the next time we meet. I've filled it in, and although I had thought that I had been quite reasonable this last week, especially having been buoyed up with the way that the posts about my hospitalization had been received, in answering the questions I realized that things probably hadn't been as great as I was telling myself they had been.

I'm supposed to be doing some studying this afternoon, but my mind is in such a turmoil after this morning's appointment that I am not sure that I could achieve anything meaningful. Perhaps I will have a change of plan and settle for a relaxing afternoon and get back to the 'creative writing' tomorrow. (I know that this is creative writing but the course is about writing fiction and this blog is definitely not fiction).


Anonymous said...

It’s a well known fact in the world of Psychology that after therapy of any kind it can take a day or two to recover from it. I actually never believed this but I do now. After my first recent return back to therapy for just four sessions, the first session hit me so much I ended up crying in my English class it left me so emotional the next day – I just kept thinking what have they done to me, what on earth has been triggered!

I am glad they have given you another appointment, good luck!

Achelois said...

The girl early in my blog whom I refer to as Polly to keep her annonymity receives therapy each week on a Wednesday. I see her Tuesday & Friday of each week. I know she has to go through the process but sometimes I wish I could just take her out to have some fun instead of her appointments on the Wednesday. I understand they are essential for her emotional wellbeing but I don't think the setting is condusive to happiness & she suffers nightmares & dark thoughts following her sessions. Long term I see an improvement but the impact of the sessions seem exhausting.

I wish the NHS could provide the hour followed by a massage, reflexology & TLC perhaps to help with the emotional fallout as a compulsory follow up to a therapy session.

Good luck with the next appointment and still think you are being brave to face your demons.

From observing Polly I know to 'go there' is indeed a tumulutuous and thought provoking ride. She is making use of relaxation cd's on the Wednesday nights and reports they help with the nightmares.

I experience by way of analogy, when sent for physiotherapy for a 'fixed term' just when getting somewhere the term is over, not helpful for a life long connective tissue disorder. So I understand how devastating it must have been to be discharged without closure, because the fixed term was over.

Don't push yourself to write about the whole hospitilization process if its stressful. You have all the time in the world afterall and sometimes time is a great healer.

Take care of yourself and good luck with next appointment!

~*sappho*~ said...

Oh my, how I hate those first sessions where you feel you have to prove how loopy you are in order to score some more therapy!