Friday 24 May 2019

What Influences Me? : Counselling Session 4

(mention of cancer, suicide method, and death)

At the start of this session, I wasn't sure what to talk about. Not much had happened, mental health-wise, in the last week.

I was still thinking about my old school-friend, who died recently. Although I knew we'd drifted apart, I still blamed myself for not making enough effort. I miss her to be honest. She was a good person.

I'd also had a GP appointment recently, where I was told to taper off my pain medication (Tramadol, slow release) as well as stop my anti-sickness medication. I have struggled with my pain, since lessening my dose of Tramadol, and I'm trying to live with it, but it is affecting my functioning. I want to function better but I can't keep pushing myself to my absolute limits.

As well as this, I'd had some pains around my stomach, hips, and back. The pains were like cramps and were getting to the point where I was doubled over and sweating. The GP seemed concerned about this, and suggested I might have an ovarian cyst. This played on my mind, and I got a bit of a shock when I was handed the blood form and found they were testing for cancer (I reckon ovarian cancer, but I'm not sure if they test for antibodies or something like that.) They say it's around 1 in 2 people who get cancer now, and my parents haven't had it so far, so maybe I won't be so lucky? I'm trying not to think this way, but I can't help worrying this may be a possibility. Even if it's not cancer, any kind of problems with my ovaries makes me scared that my fertility would be affected.

I'm nearly 30 and running out of time where my fertility is at its optimum levels. I feel as if I am running out of time to meet someone, get married, and have children. Life seems to pass by so quickly, and with the death of my friend, it seems to be getting shorter and shorter.

The counsellor seemed very sad that I was thinking this way. She asked me why I thought I wouldn't meet someone.

I said that I just don't see myself having that life, and I'm scared that nothing will change unless I change parts of myself. But how? Where do I start?

I became upset as I told her that I never felt as if I was "enough". With romantic relationships specifically, I always felt as if I was second best, last choice, or just completely unimportant, so I felt like that about myself. I wanted to feel loved, attractive, and respected. She asked me why I felt this was so important?

I said that I wanted to make some sort of difference in the world. I wanted to feel as if my life was worth something, that I was worth something. I don't want to leave this world without doing some good. She also asked me if there were people I looked up to, who had made these kinds of differences in the world. I told her that I had some friends who were very vocal about mental health, and did their best to write in order to tell the truth about mental health services these days, as well as raising awareness and breaking down stigma. They wrote for online magazines and newspapers. They had thousands of followers. I'm not too bothered about having lots of followers, but I do want my opinion to be heard, respected, and understood. I want my words to mean something to someone. I want to do something good, however I can. I wish I had the confidence to do this. I feel I'm wasting my life otherwise.

I admitted that I had done some good. I've been over the phone/text/twitter to someone who was taking an overdose. I have talked someone out of killing themself. According to some friends, my blogging has helped them, and I've helped them by being there for them when they needed it most. I just felt like I could do more, make more of a difference. Even here, I feel like I'm not doing enough, and that I myself am not enough.

After this, my counsellor suggested doing an exercise. She did suggest talking about the future, but I refused, as I was feeling so scared and down about it, that I couldn't bring myself to focus on it right now. Instead, we did more identity work.

She gave me a sheet of paper, and asked me to put myself in the middle. I drew a stick man, and wrote "me" above it. My art skills aren't great...

She then asked me to write the traits I thought I had, around the figure of myself. I struggled a bit, but managed to put things such as "stubborn, determined, wanting to control things, perfectionist, kind, friendly, a good friend, ambitious, impressionable".

We spoke about the traits I had, and I told her that control was a big part of my personality. I'm diagnosed with OCD, although I believe my symptoms are quite mild now, but I am still a real perfectionist who hates to be out of control. We also talked about my stubbornness. My counsellor asked why I thought I was stubborn. I struggled to explain, and couldn't give any specific examples, but I did tell her that when I set my mind to something, I would usually do it. I would listen to advice from others, but it was ultimately me who would make the decision.

Possibly contradictory to the stubbornness, I also felt that I was quite impressionable. If I looked up to someone, I would try to take on parts of their personality. I would also follow their advice. In the past, I would do whatever someone wanted me to do, without question. Maybe I was worried about the consequences, if I did question them? I have a feeling this is how the bullying started anyway.

Lastly, the counsellor asked me to write down people who gave or influenced these personality traits in me. I won't say specific names, but these included friends, parents, and grandparents. I could link certain things to certain people. I also found myself digressing when I talked about some of them. One was a friend of mine who hasn't spoken to me in a long time. He was someone I had a lot of history with, and still thought about recently. I believed I got my determination and ambition from him, at least in some way. I resented how he hadn't been there for me for ages, when I really needed him. I wish we hadn't complicated our friendship, but at the same time, I still have thoughts about being with him again. I wish I could switch off those feelings, but I had a dream about him recently that brought it all back. I hate how influential my dreams are.

My counsellor and I discussed how it is interesting that people can pass certain traits onto people, without intending to. It certainly made me wonder just how impressionable I am.

There was only a few minutes left of the session by that time. My counsellor summed it all up, and said that she felt I was very lonely, unsure of myself, not really feeling like myself anymore. I want to go back to how things were with some friends, and my own traits (confidence, feeling attractive etc). I doubt myself and dread the future. She asked me what I'd like to do between sessions, in order to make some sort of change in myself. I asked what I could do, but she wanted me to come up with my own suggestions, as this wasn't rigidly structured (like CBT). Eventually, she said journalling would be useful for me. I could put what's important to me, the traits I have/inherit, how I'm feeling etc.

This session brought up a lot of difficult things that I have to face. I cried as I explained how lonely I'd been feeling. It's played on my mind ever since, so found it hard to put everything down on paper.

I will probably post about how the journalling is going, so might have posts every few days. It depends on how I feel. If I don't, then the next post will be about my next ENT appointment, where I undergo Vestibular tests for dizziness and balance problems. After that, I will post about my next counselling session.

No comments:

Post a Comment