Tuesday, 12 January 2010

It's All About Psychology

Much as I am always very anxious before going for psychotherapy I know that it is the right thing to do. This morning I didn't want to get out of bed but I managed to get myself up and out of the house in plenty of time to be able to catch the bus to the hospital. I walked along to bus stop somewhat relieved that the thaw has continued and that much of the snow has now disappeared or turned to dirty grey slush so that there was no chance of me slipping over today.

I arrived at the hospital early (as usual but I can't help it) so got myself a cup of tea from the little kiosk and sat outside in the garden to drink it while I had a cigarette. It might have been cold outside but it was quite pleasant watching the squirrels running backwards and forwards along the fence. When it was time for my appointment, I made my way indoors and headed for the lifts. There are two lifts but only one of them goes to the fourth floor where the psychological therapies department is situated. I usually have to wait ages for the lift to arrive but this morning it was actually down at the ground floor when I pressed the button for it and the door opened immediately. It was straight up to the top of the building and into the department to await my psychologist.

Last week's session was different to normal in that we spent the whole session talking about how the devastating news about Mr Smiley had affected me. It was nice to be able to talk to someone about it and not just have it whirling about in my brain. This week, however, it was back to the usual work in the session and all that entails. I have to steel myself for what is to come and the effect that it will have on me and it is making a difference but I know that there is a long way to go yet.

We work at my emotions and in trying to stop me putting a lid on them all the time. I learnt at a young age that I had a temper and that I was likely to want to hit out if I got angry. The problem is that I have now been controlling these urges for so long that it is difficult to express them and this is doing me damage. It seems strange to have someone who is actually a very nice person deliberately trying to make me angry. This morning there were a couple of occasions where I could feel the anger rising in me to such an extent that it was causing me to shake as the emotion was overtaking me and for it to cause spasms in my body as the anxiety of the situation overcame me.

While I was in hospital I got angry and frustrated on a number of occasions and the only way that I could deal with it was to sit and scratch at my hands. The problem was that I kept scratching at the skin on the back of my hands until I had removed patches of it and I ended up with horrible areas of bleeding. Some of these got infected, somewhat unsurprisingly, and it took a long time for them to heal up. Even now the areas are apparent, particularly so when it is cold, so they are obvious at the moment as I sit typing this post.

As each week passes I find it easier to feel anger during the therapy sessions and I am slower to put a lid on it and bring myself under control. It may seem a strange thing to be trying to achieve but it is considered important that I should stop trying to keep myself under control as it is one of the things that is making it so much harder for me to deal with the depression. But it's very difficult to change the habits of a lifetime and learn new behaviour to a situation.

At the end of the session we talked about how much longer these sessions should carry on for. My psychologist is proposing that we carry on until Easter with these one-to-one sessions and he is going to refer me back to the psychotherapy services at the headquarters of the mental health trust (where I have already had a year of psychotherapy) for further long-term therapy. He is not sure whether this should be on a one-to-one basis or whether group therapy would be better. It will undoubtedly mean further assessment appointments to allow the decision to be made.

I was asked if I could change my appointment for next week to Monday at midday. This will actually suit me very well as it means that I can see the HTT at 10am and then instead of going home, head for the hospital for psychotherapy. I will be getting all of the difficult things over with in one day and then have the rest of the week to do whatever I want.


steph said...

"It was nice to be able to talk to someone about it and not just have it whirling about in my brain."

This may be far too simplistic but as soon as I read the above, I wondered if it could be a clue to your recurring bouts of depression?

Perhaps, a way forward might be to look into ways to meet more people in an environment you feel comfortable with and thereby facilitate opportunities to share your thoughts?

You sound to me like you're making real progress at the moment. Don't forget to reward yourself after each tough psychotherapy session!

Karita said...

I have a similar thought as Steph. My thoughts whirling around in my head make depression so much worse, and I'm desperately trying to find a key to unlock them. Easier said than done.

Well done on the progress. :)