I've now come to the end of my therapy sessions (If I remember correctly, my last one was 6th July?) & have been meaning to write about this for a little while. I've not really had the motivation to though, and have mainly been pretty quiet.
I feel like this was the right time for this round of CBT to end; as my therapist had done what she can and I guess I'd made enough progress for that point in time. It was more the cognitive side of things, than the behavioural though. She mentioned that, as well as CBT, she'd been using ACT on me (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy). I did feel like this round of therapy had been very different to the previous two (not just because I preferred this therapist), so it didn't surprise me to hear that it hadn't just been CBT that we were doing.
I found that this therapist was very patient with me, but also encouraged/guided me to try out the different CBT etc tools. There were times when I found it difficult to put across how I'd been feeling, why I found some tasks difficult (e.g. monitoring moods, because my moods change so suddenly). It took her explaining, for me to realise that I had in fact made progress though. It was a relief to know that therapy had actually made some difference, no matter how small!
The progress that I've noticed are that I'm not getting suicidal urges as frequently, even though I have suicidal thoughts nearly every day. I've noticed this since being on the Sertraline, but I think the support from my therapist has helped as well. She never pressured me to do anything. She didn't dictate tasks to me; instead, she suggested things & we discussed together. I found that we had a lot in common too, so most of the time, I felt she understood me.
Another bit of progress I've noticed, is that (at least sometimes!) I don't feel quite as guilty about having time to myself. I still have a lot of times where I do feel guilty, & also feel very responsible if I don't think I've been there for friends enough. I guess this ties into my self-loathing. I'm forever thinking that I'm this terrible person, who does everything for self gain, is self-obsessed, & is tricking everyone into believing that I'm nice. It's as if I'm scared that one day, everyone will see the "real" me. I even have very vivid nightmares about it. I get very paranoid about this too, & find that I jump to this conclusion if no one has replied to my messages. I ask for reassurance a lot, & also hate myself for needing it, as I think it makes me very clingy & I'll lose my friends if I carry on.
I still have so far to go with the cognitive side of CBT, it's just not possible to tackle it all in one round! And I've barely even touched the surface of the behavioural side, who knows how long that will take!
Back to the therapy session. My therapist gave me a blueprint to fill in with her, and also discussed a management plan with me. I liked how she gave me the time to go through how I think therapy had gone, what I'd learnt, what progress I think I'd made, what concerns I may have, and what to do if I find I relapse. It gave me a bit of structure, which was what I needed.
I also mentioned the trauma I went through, when I had the abortion. I still find I get triggered even by the mention of it, & I really need to get to a point where I can tolerate hearing/seeing mentions & conversations about it. I'd like to get to a point where I can talk about it more. Maybe other people could relate to how I felt? Anyway, the therapist told me that she was training in EMDR and that she could add this to my management plan, for when I'm ready to face it. I think it won't be for a while yet, but it's good to know that, at least for one thing, I can get help other than generic CBT.
Finally, she told me that she'd like me to have at least a 4 month break from therapy, and then (when I'm ready) to get referred to her again, so that we could start on the behavioural side of CBT. She also reassured me that if I felt I needed support sooner, I could get referred whenever I needed to. This was reassuring, because I always find endings very hard, especially if the person I've seen has been helpful and supportive. Although right now I'm ok with stopping therapy for a bit, that's mainly because I can't see how it could help much more at the moment. It doesn't necessarily mean I'm too well to need it. I wish I could have some ongoing support.I still have a psychiatrist appointment coming up (the last one had to be rearranged, due to a family emergency), but this will purely be to talk about medication.
I think I am (sort of) safe at the moment, but I know that I react to things quickly, and extremely. At some point soon, I could be getting a letter to reapply for ESA, & the thought of this is really terrifying to me; especially as we are now under a Conservative government (who would love nothing more than to take away the vital support than disabled people need). I worry that mentioning any sort of progress (no matter how insignificant in terms of actually functioning better) will score me 0 points in the work capability assessment.
I should be pleased about any progress I make, but instead I end up worried that this progress will be over-exaggerated & used against me to take away the support I need. If this happens, I know that I won't be safe. I am not well enough to work. If I was, I'd be looking by now! As blunt as this sounds (and I don't think my parents feel this way about me), I feel as if I will just be an extra cost to my parents if I lose my financial support. It helps me pay bills, & ensures that I can at least begin to reimburse my dad for the days he has to take off to care for my mum and I. Without that support, I worry that we won't be able to pay our bills. I dread to think what could happen.
I wish I could end this post on a more positive note, but this is the stark reality.