Wednesday 31 July 2019

My last Counselling session, and a referral to CMHT :Counselling Session 11

(Trigger Warning: Self Harm details, Suicide, and Abortion)

Mood Swings and Intrusive Thoughts:

A couple of days before my last counselling session, I was slightly hyper, overconfident, in a confrontational mood, and impulsive. I did not have much money to be impulsive with, so I just bought a jacket for my mum. Days before that, I had spent money online, buying lots of makeup and hair products. This hyper feeling only lasted a couple of hours, and then I became very anxious and paranoid; particularly about social media. I'd posted my response to an article about disabled people protesting and being reported to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) simply for protesting. I thought this malicious reporting was disgusting and I criticised the police who had done it. I fully expected an angry response from police officers/people who supported the police unconditionally, but thankfully I didn't get any. My Anxiety didn't subside much though, and I soon found myself in the deep pit of Depression. I was also very distressed, as I was experiencing graphic triggering mental images (mostly of abortion, and self harm) as well as intrusive thoughts and strong urges to self harm. I was supposed to call the Access team for some guidance, but I was too distressed and nervous, so I opted to email them instead.

The response I got the next day was very cold and dismissive. They basically told me I was right to say calling would result in a quicker response, and that I should do that instead. There was no sympathy for my situation. If anything, it nearly put me off calling, as I expected the call handler to be just as cold and dismissive.

By the end of the day, I was desperate to talk to someone though. I brought up the number on my phone and pressed "call" before I could talk myself out of it (again) due to thinking my situation wasn't urgent enough. The call handler was lovely though. They had a really calming voice, listened to me, and took me seriously. They also gave some helpful advice.


Skipping forward to my counselling session,  I was still very distressed and depressed. As I explained to my counsellor, how I'd been feeling, I became more distressed, confused, and tearful. There were some things I hadn't realised about myself, that had now come to the forefront as I exposed myself to triggering conversations through counselling. The problem was, I needed support inbetween counselling sessions, as I had talked through my trauma in the session, and when it had ended, I was left to deal with the result of opening up. That's not to say counselling has caused my crisis (is it a crisis?) but it has brought some difficult things to the front of my mind; which has then led to a crisis.

I spoke to her about my intrusive thoughts, the mental images, the suicidal thoughts and urges to self harm (specifically cutting my arms and legs in the shower). This took over the session, as it was so urgent that I get help soon. My counsellor was very concerned and wanted to know how likely I was to harm myself.

She told me that to deal with the trauma and learn practical skills for coping, I needed to have trauma specific CBT. She then said that she didn't feel I was stable enough to commit to it at the moment though. Primary Care didn't have the resources to help people who are at risk of suicide or self harm, or the very complex issues that are causing me to need help straight away. She said that if I wanted, she would call the Access team so they could step me up to secondary care

She also asked what I felt I needed, if I were to be referred to Secondary Care (aka Community Mental Health Team). I took a minute to gather myself together, then told her I felt I needed a medication review, because I felt the Sertraline wasn't working anymore, and I shouldn't be in this state while on the highest dose. I also needed to be assessed for PTSD, and have a CPN to monitor my progress.

She asked me how I felt they could help me become more stable (other than the meds review) and I started crying as I said I wasn't sure, but I didn't want to keep struggling with the trauma I've experienced. I didn't want to feel this way anymore and I'm no expert so I don't have all the answers for how to help myself. I felt like I needed to have all the answers though, otherwise CMHT wouldn't know how to help me. I told my counsellor about the last time I was assessed by them. I did need their help though, so would like her to ring the Access team for me. She asked me to tell her what I wanted them to know. I said that I wanted her to tell them that I was having strong urges to self harm, I was having suicidal thoughts as well as graphic intrusive thoughts and mental images. I also was very depressed and distressed, and needed help very soon.

The session had come to a close at that point, and my counsellor confirmed she would ring Access team and tell them what I'd told her. I'd stopped crying by that point, and was checking my eyes weren't too red. I was very grateful to her for all her help, and I was very apologetic about how I'd behaved (I was worried that I had been rude and in her face. It turned out I hadn't though).

What Happened Next:

The next day, I expected a call from the Access team, but it never came. I rang them and explained everything. They checked my notes on the system, and said that I'd been stepped up to secondary care/CMHT straight away, and an appointment had been booked for me for 7th August.

I will blog about my appointment with CMHT soon. Please keep your fingers' crossed that they can offer me some help!


Police force admits agreement to share information about protesters with DWP:

Dealing with intrusive thoughts:

Treatments for PTSD:

Community Mental Health Team:

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:

Mental health professionals:

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