Monthly Archives: October 2020

Therapy 2020: Session 9

Date of session: 28/10/2020

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care ๐Ÿ’š

Going into today’s session I was not feeling great. I was in fact dreading it and for the last few days I was considering whether to just cancel it. However I didn’t and so the session went ahead.

When asked how I felt I explained I didn’t know how to explain how I felt and wasn’t even sure I knew myself. We then went through it step by step to try and identify the emotions. This seemed to take the whole session.

Disecting the emotions was something I found difficult to do and to deal with. Emotions to me are so alien in terms of what they are called. To me they are just either good or bad. And disecting them actually made me feel worse. For some reason it made them feel more overwhelming.

My issues with emotions have long been there. I feel stupid that I can’t name them. I just find it frustrating.

I’m finding therapy is making me realise how much I’m actually struggling. I am finding issues I didn’t know were there and it’s demoralising. It’s like I’m never going to be able to function as a normal human being. This happens each time I do therapy. I see things I thought I was managing broken down and show I’m not doing as well as I thought.

I also forgot to do the activity mentioned to me last week which I totally forgot about. This didn’t go down well. There were also some other things that made me want to tell her that I know about mental illness and other things. There are times I feel I’m being talked to like I’m an idiot and have no idea about certain things. This is probably my fault. I struggle to talk. I struggle to find words.

I’m not sure where we are going to go with this next week. I was grateful for cat cuddles and being wrapped in a blanket during this session. I’m still finding the whole distance thing hard otherwise. Dreading next week already.

Therapy 2020: Session 8

Date of session: 21/10/2020

Please be aware that some content may be triggering. Please take care ๐Ÿ’š

Another difficult session. Each week I dread this 50 minute period of time. And it’s taking longer and longer each week to sort myself out. I know that this week, again, will take me time to deal with. Writing it out is the start of the process.

We started by discussing how I’d been the last week. I was honest and said I had been low in mood. I didn’t get far enough to mention the suicidal thoughts and melt down I had during the week. She asked if I knew why I felt low and we discussed some of what we had last week and challenging the thoughts.

We also looked at what other feelings I had been having and came up with guilt and anger. We worked through whether these matched the facts and whether they could be acted on. In some cases this wasn’t the case so the need was to act opposite. (Apparently when they ask what the opposite to acting by repairing for guilt, they do not want the answer destruction.).

We then explored the anger about aa certain situation in more detail and tried to separate my anger at the other person and my anger at myself. This was difficult to work through and some things that were said have upset me quite a lot and have me doubting myself more than ever. A friend who I discussed it with doesn’t agree with what was said about the situation and this has left me in utter confusion.

I’m hoping that I can get through all this. At the moment my head feels full to the point I can’t think about anything as nothing can move. There are people I desperately want to talk it through with but feel unable to do so. I feel more and more like a burden. I almost feel at this point that this therapy could kill me. We are halfway through the allocated number of sessions and I have no idea if in 8 weeks I’m going to be able to cope any better.

Why I Hate The Term “Mental Resilliance”

“Mental resilliance” is a phrase that keeps cropping up. But it is a phrase I have come to hate with a passion, especially with the way it is being used. It’s connotations make me uncomfortable and I cannot accept it.

First of all I think we need a definition of the word resilience. I’ve found a definition of it in psychology:
“The ability to adapt well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, and even significant sources of stress.” Better Help, 2019

This doesn’t sound too bad. It suggests that we can learn how to get over issues more quickly. However this has led to people taking the phrase and believing that people with a mental illness should be more able to get over a mental illness quicker if they are resilient or even not suffer in the first place. This has been shown by comments made by prominent people in the media.

The problem with these comments is that they imply that if you get ill mentally you are not resilient enough. It gives a sense of failure and that you are not a strong person. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Quite often people with mental illnesses are strong and resilient for too long. They don’t seek help straight away as they feel they should be able to deal with it. This talk of resilience reinforces it.

So what should we be doing?

I’m not saying there is no place for teaching skills to help with mental resilience as it is useful to deal with stressful situations in the short term. However we need to make the narrative clear that mental resilience is not a concrete prevention against mental illness. It is still possible to become unwell even if you are resilient. It does not mean you are weak if you become unwell. Mental illnesses are often caused by things outside our control and for that we need treatment.

Instead, as well as teaching true mental resilience, we need to be saying that it’s OK to talk about our feelings in times of distress. It does not make us a “whiny snowflake”. It is a strong thing to do and will help with our resilience in the future. We need to be helping each other. Just because your younger and suffering does not mean you are less resilient than someone older. All it shows is that I’m the past people couldn’t speak about mental illness and now they can. That is resilience but in a different way.

I think what we need to do is reclaim the term mental resilience and educate people on what it means. We need to take on these people who seek a generational divide about living with a mental illness. We need to change the language we use.

So my question today is what do you think we should be teaching in terms of mental resilience? Feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Therapy 2020: Session 7

Date of session: 14/10/2020

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care ๐Ÿ’š

Today was tough. Even tougher than last week. I feel broken. There’s a lot of other feelings floating around that I’m unsure of and feel massive. I should try to work them out but at the moment I don’t want to know what they are.

We started as we usually do with a check in on how I feel. I had an immense headache so she thanked me for even turning up and gave me the option of not doing the session at all or if my head hurt too much I could stop at any point. I felt this was nice as an option though I knew I wouldn’t use it as I don’t let myself escape.

We discussed last week and how I’d used distress tolerance techniques and that my self harm had not increased or become worse after the session. I mean it’s pretty bad anyway. She also checked I hadn’t resorted to any other destructive behaviours which I hadn’t.

When talking about the distress tolerance techniques she talked about how she uses them and why she’d used them recently. I know why she did this and it sounds a good thing but since I’ve been thinking on what she said and how I reacted and how I didn’t comment more. This has made me feel guilty which is silly but it’s the way I am.

We carried on with looking at core beliefs and doing a formulation. Today we moved into rules I live by linked to my core beliefs. She said these made me a good person as opposed to the evil I (feel) am. This is hard to believe.

We looked at critical events that clashed with the rules I live by that have reinforced my core beliefs. One of these was extremely hard. It’s a major one that’s led to my belief I’m evil. She decided we needed to challenge it. We wrote statements. We used different analogies. I understand the challenges. But can I believe them? We shall see.

That is where we left it. I’m not sure how to deal with all this going forward. I want to talk to some people I know about it but I don’t know how or what to say. My head is a mess. I keep trying to push it out of my head but it pops back up.

Therapy 2020: Session 6

Date of session: 07/10/2020

Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care ๐Ÿ’š.

Today’s therapy session was hard. I mean really hard. I felt sick less than halfway in. My head has been thumping since and felt so full that it feels like nothing can move in it.

After last week’s statement that I made that I was worthless, it was decided to look at my core beliefs and challenging them using a form which had a name I cannot remember. It has a number of sections to work through.

The first section to consider was early experiences that could have created the core beliefs. This was where I found things the hardest. In particular hearing the word victim used for me. I’ve never associated that word with myself and I don’t think I want to anymore.

We then moved on to look at my core beliefs about me, other people, the future and the world. I had to think of three adjectives for my view of each. As seen below.

It was noted that most of my views were negative apart from those of other people. This was seen as a little odd considering the early experiences I’d been through. We discussed this slightly and it seemed to be the case as I say its my fault. This is something we plan to look at more. I’m not using logic it seems.

I’m also finding the technology for the sessions frustrating as we keep getting cut off in the middle of conversations, sometimes mid sentence, and although she calls me it stops me a little.

After the session I was a mess. I’ve struggled most of the afternoon and have had to work hard to get through it. Hopefully things will improve.