Talking about my mental health problems is something that I really struggle to do. I don’t like to feel like I’m annoying people or making people feel like I’m trying to get sympathy. I much prefer to stay quiet and just hope that things will get better by themselves.
But what I’m learning is that it’s good to talk about how you feel. Actually, scrap that, it’s GREAT to talk about how you feel. I’ve always heard the saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ and I never truly understood it… until now.
I’ve suffered from depression for quite a few years but over the past couple of years, things have just been very bad for me. I started hearing voices in my head and having hallucinations. I didn’t even notice that these things were happening at first. I took imaginary friends to a whole new level!
My boyfriend, Simon was the one who encouraged me to get help. He didn’t force me but he explained that just a little trip to the GP would make me feel a lot better and it would send me on the road to recovery.
My GP was lovely and referred me to the hospital for psychotherapy. After a long wait on a very long waiting list, I finally got in.
Heading to my first psychotherapy appointment was a horrific moment. It didn’t help that we had to get three different busses just to get there. I was having panic attacks all the way there and all my head could think about was ways to get out of going. I remember being terrified that the psychotherapist would laugh at me or think that I was stupid if I told her how I felt.
When we finally arrived at the hospital, we had a long wait in an empty waiting room. The only thing was that it wasn’t empty to me. Thanks to my funny brain, I could see people sat everywhere looking at me and giggling to each other about how ugly and annoying I was.
Simon had let me bring my favourite teddy with my to my appointment which made the wait a lot easier. I sat with my teddy on my knee and just cuddled it until it was my turn to be seen.
When the psychotherapist first came out to get me, I panicked. I buried my face into Simon and tried to turn invisible. I have no idea now why I thought that would work but I was scared so I probably wasn’t thinking straight.
With a little encouragement, I finally went into a room with my psychotherapist. And from there, things got a lot easier.
My psychotherapist was so incredibly lovely. We spent the whole hour just getting to know each other and talking about my childhood.
Usually I struggle to trust people and I don’t often open up but my psychotherapist made me feel as though it was okay to tell her how I felt and I knew that she wouldn’t laugh at me. Of course, I had my teddy in my arms the whole time.
The appointment ended pretty quickly and we made an agreement that when I went back for my second appointment, I would come without a teddy.
I left the building feeling so much more at ease and I knew that I wasn’t going to be harmed. I really hoped that I wouldn’t be as scared to go the next week.
When my next appointment came around, I felt a lot less anxious than I did the first time. I secretly popped a little teddy into my backpack and headed on my long journey to the hospital. I decided not to tell the psychotherapist about my teddy in my bag because the teddy was there for me and as long as I didn’t get her out, there wouldn’t be a problem.
Once again, the wait in the waiting room was horrible. I kept looking at the exit just wishing that I could walk out and head home. Whenever anyone else walked past or sat near me, I absolutely freaked out. Why is it that waiting rooms are such a cause for anxiety??
I was called into the same room as the last week and I sat in the exact same chair. That was good for me because I don’t enjoy change all that much. My psychotherapist started by asking how I was and what I’d been up to. This made me remember how nice she was and I became a lot less anxious.
For the rest of the appointment we started working on a huge timeline of my life. I think that the aim of it was to see what was good and what was bad. The hour went by so fast and we didn’t even manage to get half way through my life. We agreed that we would continue it in my next appointment.
Even though I’ve only been to two psychotherapy appointments, they have been really positive for me. I’ve learnt a lot about myself and I’m learning to manage the voices in my head. I actually look forward to my next appointment now and fingers crossed, I won’t be anxious at all.