Monthly Archives: August 2018

Therapy Journey: Reaction 1

This is the next post in my therapy journey. It is a reaction that I wrote after hearing I’d been accepted to do the therapy. For other posts in the series look here.

Today I got the call I have been waiting for. I have been accepted to do a DBT skills group. This group will last just over a year (this was later changed to six months). It is the long term therapy that I have been fighting for, for a long time. It’s due to start next Tuesday but I will be missing the first session as I have a hospital appointment and therefore will start a week later. I am sat here with very mixed feelings.

I am pleased that I am finally getting the therapy that has been promised to me for a long time. Well actually I am getting better therapy than I was originally expecting. I know I need this help to make positive changes. I know that this is the way forward. This is what I have been told I need for a long time. So it has to be a good thing, doesn’t it? I really hope it is. I know I am lucky to get this opportunity and I want to make the most of it. 

But… There is always a but. I am terrified now that this is happening. Terrified of all the expectations that have been out on me and therapy. My mind is racing with thoughts and it all feels overwhelming. “What if I’m not good enough?” This thought is the main one Loughborough my head. Accompanied by “you’re going to fail.” This is a real fear. What if I am too broken to be fixed? What if it isn’t the thing that helps me on the way to recovery? What if I can’t manage it or screw it up in some way?

All these thoughts keep going through my head and I start to wonder whether I am doing the right thing. I wonder whether I am ready to make the changes that I know will be asked of me. Am I in the right place mentally to do this? I know I need to make changes to get better but change is scary and makes the future feel uncertain. 

It also means I have to think about the future. Or at least my thoughts are making me think about it. I’ve had to think of goals I want to achieve but as someone who has been living day to day most of the time this is huge and scary. I barely know what I want for my next meal let alone what I want for my future. It all feels incredibly overwhelming.

So yes getting accepted for therapy is a good thing, and people are right to be pleased for me. It is however a scary thing and full of uncertainty that in my anxious brain leads to over thinking and worry. It is complicated and I know the weeks ahead are going to come with their own challenges. I just hope I can meet them.

Feel free to comment your experiences in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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Why Taking A Break Is Important

Recently I had a short break from blogging, or doing anything linked to campaigning, and it brought up a lot of different emotions. I thought, therefore, I would reflect on that and discuss why it was important to take a break as well as ways to take a break.

Why did I take a break and how did it make me feel?

The main reason I took a break was because everything was becoming overwhelming. I was struggling mentally and physically. I’d had some news that made me take a step back and look at my life. Basically I just wasn’t coping. When I first decided though that I was going to take a short break I wasn’t happy with my decision. I felt an intense feeling of guilt that I was putting myself first. I also felt that I was letting people down by not blogging or campaigning as much. However as I got further in to the break I started to feel a little better about the whole situation and realised that it was what I needed in order to carry on helping others.

Why is taking a break important?

Taking a break is important as it allows you to regroup and recharge. If you wear yourself right down you cannot continue to help other people and your fear of letting others down is more likely to become a reality. The phrase “you can’t pour from an empty cup” is so true. Without the break, when I took it, I would have been out of action longer and had to say no to people. It was also important for me mentally as my head was becoming clouded and I was losing enjoyment in what I was doing. Being able to recharge brought back that enjoyment.

How can I take a break?

Here are some ways that helped me take a step back:

  1. Go offline: switching off from the internet was key for me. It may have only been a few hours at a time but it allowed me to focus on enjoying the moments I was living rather than constantly checking social media.
  2. Don’t plan too much: allow yourself time to just be without always rushing to appointments or being stuck to a schedule. Free time is key to having a break.
  3. Be in the here and now: don’t always be focussing on recording what you’re doing. Be present. Enjoy the moment.

Overall taking the break was the right thing to do. It’s allowed me to come back with more ideas and take part in more events. It’s not always easy to take a break but it’s important.

If you have any tips on taking a break fee free to share in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Therapy Journey: DBT ScreeningĀ 

This post is the next in my series following my therapy journey. For other posts in the series you can go here.

Following on from my assessment for therapy, where it was decided I should attend a distress tolerance group, there was a lot of discussion about when this would start. After about six months of waiting it was decided there would be no distress tolerance group but instead a DBT (dialectical behavioural therapy) skills group. I was told I was being out forward for this and had to wait another four months to be screened to see whether this treatment would be suitable.

The screening was one to one with the same psychologist who had done my assessment for therapy. The session lasted for about forty five minutes. The first thing I was asked was what I thought was the area giving me the most difficulty at the moment. We went into a lot of detail about this area and how it was impacting on my everyday life. We then went through some other areas where I am having difficulty and the impact, again, on everyday life.

After we had covered the areas I felt were the most difficult I was asked a lot of questions about my symptoms and these seemed to relate to the criteria for diagnosing BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). This did not surprise me as DBT is the recommended treatment for BPD. These questions went into detail about suicidal thoughts, self harm and alcohol and drug misuse. I didn’t need to talk about any other past experiences in detail though. I

Next we discussed goals and what things I want to achieve in the future. This I wasn’t really expecting but looking back it makes sense to discuss this when testing suitability for ttreatment. The goals didn’t have to be very specific.

Following on from this the psychologist discussed with me the structure of the therapy. She went into detail about the commitment required as the DBT skills group is longer term, lasting about six months. She talked about how she would need to discuss my suitability for the group with the other psychologist who would also be running the group. She would then phone me to let me know the outcome.

Before I left I was given a safety plan to fill in at home that would detail ways to stay safe between therapy sessions. This included people I would call if I needed to as well as safe places to go. I was also given the opportunity to ask any questions I wanted to. This brought the session to a close. Following on from the session I received the phone call to say I would be starring the DBT skills group. 

If you have and questions or queries about my therapy journey feel free to comment or ask on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

Running Out

This blog post is a personal piece. Please be aware some content may be triggering.

I’m about to start a change in my medication. In particular to the antipsychotic I take. This is nothing unusual; I’ve changed my medication lots of times before. Yes, it can be anxiety inducing waiting to see if you get any side effects or if it is actually going to help, but time things feel different. Why? Because this time I’ve been told they are running out of options.

I have recently found out that there is a problem with my heart, caused by medication I have taken (prescribed). Please don’t be alarmed by this, it’s just something that can happen, not always though. This does mean, however, that a number of medications are off limits. It’s restricted my options for treatment a lot, especially for antipsychotics. This has left me with a lot of different feelings.

First of all I’m kind of scared. I’m scared for what the future might bring. As someone who has anxiety anyway this has piled it on. My thoughts have been racing, filled with what if’s. What if this new medication doesn’t work? What if there is no alternative? What if I can’t get better? At the moment I feel a long way from coping with the voice I hear. In my own mind I’m not sure how I can cope with it without medical intervention. What if I can’t cope? In my mind I can’t face living with this voice forever. 

This leads me on to my next feeling; desperation. I was going to call it hope but it’s beyond that. I’m not just hoping for this new medication to work and have few side effects, I’m desperate. It is a longing that I can’t describe but I’m pinning everything to this new medication. This is a dangerous thing for me to do as if things don’t work out I know I won’t react well. 

In my mind there are suicidal thoughts starting to surface already (linked to this in particular; I always have some suicidal thoughts). I’m beginning to wonder if I’m untreatable and what this means for my future. Do I even have a future? I mean I don’t know if there are other options outside medication; I’m already doing therapy and struggling. The thoughts just won’t stop invading my brain no matter what skills I use to try and slow them. It is overwhelming. 

None of this is helped by the anger I also feel. Anger is a difficult emotion for me to deal with anyway but I’m truly angry at myself for having this issue. I hate my body for always reacting to medications in the worst way. I’m angry that I need the medication in the first place. Anger is rippling through me and I’m not quite sure what to do with it.

So what’s next? There isn’t much I can do about this situation. I have to accept it and hope for the best. This is of course easier said than done. I’m lucky to have good support in place. I have a team of professionals looking after me and support from friends and family. If you are experiencing something similar this is my suggestion: get a good support system in place. If you have any advice feel free to share in the comments or on TwitterFacebook or Instagram.