Tuesday 16 July 2019

What's Next? : Counselling Session 9

(TW: Abortion, abuse, and bullying mentions)

I'd been very emotional; leading up to this session. I'm not sure what set it off, but everything had felt so intense. I also wanted to control situations more, and had more flashbacks. It didn't help that I'd had flare ups of my physical conditions; especially the pains. TV shows had been full of abortion story-lines, and coupled with being on my period, I really wasn't having a great time.

I don't think I've been very open about how I've been feeling to be honest. This is a sign that I'm isolating; not something I always realise for myself. I do hate feeling like this though.

I let everything out at my counselling appointment. Thankfully, I don't really feel judged by my counsellor and I feel like I can tell her anything.

We went through how things linked to other things, and how my past had such an impact on how I react to things now. We also discussed the main things affecting my mental health at the moment. We decided that my main issues were my trauma (from bullying, the abortion, and the abusive relationship), as well as my need for control, and my anxiety.

In the previous session, we'd created a time-line to determine what led to my need for control, and what the consequences were/could be. Right at the start was the bullying; where my belief that people would be kind to me if I was kind to them, was challenged. Because they acted in a way I didn't expect, and they were horrible to me, I wondered if I was a horrible person and I questioned whether I deserved to feel good. This then led onto me not trusting people or situations, and therefore wanting to read minds, know what the future would bring/what would happen next, as well as feeling bad about myself. This led onto the need to control.

The consequences of controlling or wanting control over situations or people, was categorised into Pros and Cons. Pros were gaining reassurance and certainty, feeling strong, and knowing how to respond. The cons were the risk to relationships, feeling less reassured if trying to control didn't work, lack of nice surprises and spontaneity, and the fear that I may manipulate others.

This session, we did a similar time-line, but with anxiety in the middle. Right at the start, we established my true persona was that of a leader and decision maker. Being bullied changed my role from leader to follower however. As the bullying had made me a follower who was quite sensitive, I expected certain people to take care giving roles. When I had my abortion, I expected the nurses to be compassionate and supportive. After all, I was making a potentially upsetting decision and going through something quite big; so the least I could expect was support and understanding. When I didn't get it though, I felt very vulnerable. Similarly with the abusive relationship. I expected to be looked after, not taken advantage of and abused.

These made me feel misled, and again I felt people weren't acting in ways that I expected them too; which made it hard for me to trust others. A lack of trust in society/the world made me feel insecure and scared of what the future would bring, which then led to the anxiety.

From anxiety came pros and cons. The pros were that my need for survival was achieved by my anxiety. This would release adrenaline, which made me prepared for any perceived threats. The cons were much more however. These were the inability to relax, finding it hard to concentrate, not trusting people or situations, judgement being clouded. not giving people a chance, holding myself back, and not being as sociable. This also led to potentially affecting relationships, feeding others' anxiety (especially if I socialise with them less), being stuck, not moving on, not grabbing as many opportunities, not meeting people as much, and therefore a lesser quality of life.

We then moved onto an overview of our sessions, and what I needed help with most right now. For me, I found the trauma bothered me most, and was holding me back. I said I needed some sort of trauma therapy or EMDR. My counsellor said I definitely needed something more long term, but unfortunately all that Primary Care could offer was CBT. I was reluctant to agree to this, as I'd not had great experiences with it in the past. I've always found it far too rigid and simplistic for the problems I have. I asked whether Secondary Care offered anything, as my problems were complex and they were supposed to help with complex mental health problems. She told me that it was unlikely I'd have anything long term with them, but she would have a word and see if they could offer anything. She said she'd be happy to step me up to that level if they could help. If they couldn't though, would I consider the CBT? I reluctantly said yes. I would rather have that than no help at all.

We only have 2 sessions left, so we booked those in for me, and my counsellor said we'd make a plan for what help I could get next. She checked I was OK with finishing in 2 sessions' time too. I expected it, so I was OK. I just hope that something will help me address the trauma I've been through!

Although my Ko-Fi fundraiser has been a complete flop (only raising £12 from one lovely donor) I'm still keeping it up if anyone can help me to afford private trauma therapy. Please click this link to get to my page, and share and/or donate. I would really appreciate it! In return, maybe I could write something on a topic you would like to read about?

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