Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Psychotherapy And All That

I've had a busy week and it's only Wednesday. Other people probably wouldn't see it as a busy week, but as I rarely leave the house other than for my weekly psychotherapy session, to have been out for prolonged periods on three consecutive days has been almost unheard of for a considerable time.

I've already written about Monday's activities, so here is an update on what has been happening over the last couple of days.

Yesterday saw a return to psychotherapy after a two-week break while my psychotherapist was on leave. I have always suffered with terrible anxiety before my psychotherapy sessions but over the last month or so I have found Tuesday mornings less of an ordeal. I still leave the house far too early for my 11.15am appointment, but being early for any appointment is not something that I am really concerned about. On arrival at the hospital I got myself a cup of tea from the kiosk and went outside to the garden to sit in the sun while I drank my tea.

It was very apparent that Spring has finally arrived in the hospital's garden. When I was last there the trees were still barely in bud and only a couple of daffodils had managed to force themselves into bloom. Yesterday, the trees were covered in fresh green leaves and in addition to there being many more daffodils, there were tulips and several shrubs in full bloom.

Eventually it was time for me to make my way up to the 4th floor for my appointment. At this moment I was still calm but the moment that I took a seat to await my psychotherapist calling me to his office, the anxiety started to begin. I had a few minutes wait, all the time willing myself to relax and being partly successful. But it was all wasted because the moment that my psychotherapist said hello and I walked into his office anxiety swept over me in painful waves. And as I sat it my usual chair my therapist was aware by my body language and the pained expression on my face what had just happened.

What was to follow was even more difficult to deal with. After a brief discussion of how I had been since I had last been for therapy, the intensive work began. The probing, the answering of questions, the raising of emotions and being encouraged not to suppress them as I have done for most of my life but to allow them to come out was painful both mentally and physically. It was a hard session yet at the end of it there was a vague sense of success in that I had allowed these feelings out rather than having used them as a weapon against myself.

The session ended with a brief discussion of my feelings about the assessment appointment that I was to have today to find out whether I am a suitable candidate for group psychotherapy. I said that I wasn't particularly concerned about the assessment as I had been through this process before, but that I was aware that some difficult things could come up and that I felt that I would be able to deal with them.

Today arrived and after a bad night with only a couple of hours sleep I was very anxious. I arrived for my appointment about half an hour early and having reported to the reception desk I sat in the waiting area and attempted to read to take my mind off what was to come. Eventually the psychologist with whom I was to have the appointment came to meet me and after saying hello and shaking hands we went to her office for the assessment to begin.

I had been sent a very long questionnaire to fill in in preparation for this appointment some weeks ago, and armed with this, and all the other records that the mental health trust has on me, the psychologist had a lot of information, so some of the most difficult things in my past did not need to be gone over again. There is no doubt that this was probably the less emotional assessment appointment that I have ever had, and while there were tears when I was asked about the circumstances of my husband's death and at a couple of other points in the 90-minute appointment, it was not the traumatic experience that the first assessment appointments had been just over two years ago.

The result of today is that I have been put on the waiting list for group psychotherapy and hopefully in a couple of month's time I will be invited back for a couple of appointments with the psychotherapist in charge of the group before actually joining the group for regular therapy.

1 comment:

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Sounds like you're doing so well, wish I could give you a big hug in person! BG Xx