Third Therapy Session

I’ve spent the last 4 months climbing up a steep mountain, slipping a few times on the way but managing to hang on and keep climbing. I feel like I’ve just lost my grip and fallen all the way back down to the bottom. This time though, I’m exhausted, bruised and beaten. I don’t feel like I have any strength left to keep fighting – I feel helpless, useless, desperate. I’m back in a really dark place and my torch battery has just died.

I woke up this morning having drunk a lot last night with the guys across the road. Rather worryingly I didn’t have a hang over. We had a really nice evening and I went to bed actually looking forward to my therapy session this morning. I woke in a pretty good mood, had something to eat and a cup of coffee and went to see the therapist. I was fine. I started talking and said that I was concerned that although my mood has been pretty good for the last few weeks which was definitely a good thing, I felt that the underlying depression was still firmly in place and that all I have been doing for the last few weeks is hiding behind one of my barriers – fending off all the bad stuff and the bad thoughts – merely maintaining a pretence of happiness  in order to keep myself out of that black hole. I said I was concerned that the drugs weren’t really helping, apart from perhaps enabling me to build this barrier to hide behind. He said that I was expecting too much too quickly, that therapy doesn’t work in such a short time span, that it is something that would take more like 4 years of therapy. That revelation shattered my happy barrier into a million pieces and I lost grip of the mountain and started falling. I repeated ‘four years?’ incredulously and pointed out I only had 6 sessions with him. He said ‘yes’. I said that I couldn’t afford to pay for therapy and he said ‘can’t you?’. I looked at him with my mouth hanging open and said ‘no I really can’t’. He then said ‘well what about all  the money you spend on alcohol and cigarettes?’. My head was reeling by now and I said that they were the only bloody things that brought any pleasure to my pathetic life.

To be honest the rest of the session is all a bit of a blur. We talked about my low self-esteem and before I knew it I was admitting that I loathed myself. He said that most people he sees have the opposite problem – that they blame someone else… anyone else but themselves for all their problems, but that I needed to stop blaming myself for everything. My head is still in freefall. He asked me to give an example of something that I hate about myself. I told him about my Journeys Into Rage and how I despised that part of my personality – that since my teenage years I had promised myself to control it and never let myself become like my dad who can’t control his temper. He asked why, that perhaps it was ok to have a temper tantrum. I looked at him agape and said ‘never, ever will I give into that, it is something I am deeply ashamed of and a characteristic that I utterly despise. My descent gathered pace.

By now I have started to feel like a rabbit in the headlights, desperate, completely unbelieving about how badly this therapy session was going. I don’t know if it was his intention, but he slowly, methodically stripped me of all hope, of any feeling that I had a chance of recovery… 4 years?? I told him that I could feel myself slipping into a really dark place right in front of him. I can’t go on like this for 4 years. I started crumbling, tears erupted in my eyes and I finally lost the ability to speak when I said ‘I just haven’t got the strength any more…’

We sat in silence for about 5 minutes. I didn’t care. I was fighting to control myself, I was falling so fast into the darkness and there was nothing to grab onto. Falling, falling, falling. He eventually broke the silence when he realised I wasn’t going to, but I can’t remember what he said, I was still struggling to maintain composure… and failing. I managed to say that I felt like I had just fallen right back to where I was when I first went to see the doctor. He said ‘yes but you haven’t been there with me’. Jeez that makes me feel so much better. I’ve got 3 more sessions with him then my therapy ends. He’s just told me I’d need therapy for 4 bloody years to get results. Well that just fills me with hope and confidence. I might as well give up now. He came out with the same old ‘this isn’t an easy process and it will feel like you’re going backwards before you start going forward…’ Well I’m sorry but you just told me that I would need therapy for the next 4 years, so how far backwards do I have to go in the next 4 years in order to feel any positive effects? So far back that I finally decide I can’t go on any more? Because that is where I’m heading at the moment. Oh yeah and by the way, I can’t afford therapy so there’s no fucking hope at all for me then is there.

I have spent the last 4 hours since I got home staring at the ceiling in silence. I’ve stopped falling, but I missed every ledge on the way to the bottom. I can no loner see the point of going to therapy as clearly, 3 sessions won’t achieve anything. That leaves me just taking the medication, so what? Am I to take that for the rest of my life? No. So I might was well just stop taking that too. I’m ending the Medication Diary too. There’s no point to that any more either.

I might as well just face the reality of my situation and settle down to the rest of my shit, self-loathing, indifferent life. Thank god for alcohol and joints… oh they’re bad for my liver and my lungs are they? Who fucking cares.

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About RescueMyLife

I am a single man, 45 years old living in London and working in the media. My life is complex and I have decided to try and make some sense of it. I am writing this blog anonymously as I believe that only by remaining anonymous can I be honest and speak freely about my thoughts and feelings. I have no idea where this blog will take me...
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8 Responses to Third Therapy Session

  1. petlamb2 says:

    Your words to me I recall were “you hang on in there and bloody well fight”. I am not repeating them to you as some sort of immediate instruction to pull yourself together but merely just to illustrate that there are bad days and not so bad days. Your day however sounds like it was right off the scale of the utterly crap days spectrum. Tomorrow will be better.

    Four years of therapy sounds possibly like this guy is on some sort of income generation scheme. What do I know, maybe these things do take a while but hey, we are all individuals and I can’t believe he gets to say that you are automatically looking at a specific period of time. It seems hard too that someone you don’t sound as though you can relate to gets to specify how you should spend your money. Is there any chance of asking your GP’s surgery if there is an alternative therapist? Like drugs, some have side effects!

    I am not going to say much more because I suspect you must feel totally drained. BUT – think of one thing you feel grateful for and write it down – don’t drink it or smoke it – just write it down. And tomorrow, see if there is something else. It might just be the softness of your cat’s fur, the friendship of the two guys across the corridor, or the fact that you are not Jeremy Clarkson. But one final thing, who fucking cares?…….well for one, I do.
    Warmly x

    • RescueMyLife says:

      Thank you. I’m going to post a new blog entry to update where I am now so won’t go into detail here, but things are better, the therapy is over and done with and I have no plans to continue it, so what the therapist said to me feels somewhat irrelevant now (thankfully!) I’m also now off the meds. Life is currently ok – not great – but not terrible, and I feel I have some of my old strength back…
      RML

  2. Paul says:

    You’re not alone getting the feeling that you are being screwed over by the NHS when “Talking Therapies” are restricted by the NHS. If you take a look at the blog Confessions of a Serial Insomniac, if you search through her categories she has quite a few posts about fighting with the NHS about the curtailing of her Therapy.
    As a personal perspective, at my old CMHT i was only offered a course of group CBT. This consisted of Ten weeks of basic CBT techniques. It’s inefficiency was compounded by the fact that every other week the group would be cancelled because one of the facilitators was off on a course or ill or in another team meeting. We were often only informed the morning of the meeting of changes to the groups plans. I have been told that group CBT is next to useless because the time spent with the practitioner is divided by the multiple people in the group so you don’t get the full effect.
    I am by no means suggesting that you take on the CMHT to try and get your Therapy extended. It is like banging your head against a brick wall most of the time to get them to listen to you as it is. But maybe asking your Care Co-Ordinator (if you have one) if there are any groups that you could get involved in. I just started something called The Recovery Group, which is spread over 15 or so weeks and is an opportunity to find out what help the CMHT may be able to help you with after your Talking Therapy comes to an end. It’s always worth a shot.
    There always HAS to be a silver lining to every buggered up situation… it may take a fucking long time to get there but inevitably it will be there and you’ll come out on the other side feeling stronger for knowing you got through it this time.
    Stay Strong Fella.

    • RescueMyLife says:

      Hi Paul,
      Thanks for sharing your experience of this – it’s very interesting to hear.
      I finished my 6 sessions some weeks ago now, and ultimately, although I found the whole process interesting, I question how useful the therapy was for me personally. The problem with therapy via NHS is that the whole thing is made to feel very impersonal – you can never book the sessions when you want them – there was over a month between my 5th & 6th session and the lack of continuity somewhat negated the usefulness of the therapy I felt.

      CBT was also an option for me, but after talking to my GP (who has been really fantastic, understanding and helpful throughout) he felt that it probably wouldn’t suit me – he explained his reasons for this and I agreed with him. My issues are complex, intertwined and wide-ranging, but CBT generally focuses on one element of your life and takes positive forward steps to try and change / improve that one thing rather than stepping back and viewing / tackling the problem from various different angles… not sure I’ve explained that very well but hopefully you know what I mean. I have no intention of continuing with any talking therapies for the time being and I have stopped taking the medication (for a couple of reasons).

      I also know that I would hate any kind of ‘group’ therapy so that would never even be a consideration for me. My overall feeling about my short excursion into NHS talking therapy was that it feels too impersonal which I know sounds strange, but I felt like I was just a number not a person – I really felt that my therapist didn’t really care about ‘me’ as a person, otherwise he would have called me later in the day after this obviously extremely distressing session – as far as I’m concerned, he had good reason to be concerned that I might be a suicide threat – and actually, I was. I even intimated as much in the session at one point. But no, this is the NHS, I’d had my 50 minutes, he’d spent his 5 minutes typing up my notes after I’d gone and that was it. I was naively shocked that I didn’t receive a concerned telephone call from either him or my GP – especially as they know I live alone. Anyway – this isn’t an ideal world, I am indeed just a number to the vastly overstretched NHS and I’m sure they are dealing with many other people who are far more of a risk than me. Still, it was a cold, hard reality check and a real eye-opener. The whole thing just solidified my knowledge in life that the only person who will really look out for me, is me.
      RML

  3. MrsP says:

    As usual I bumble along rather later than is appropriate. Sorry. It’s kinda what I do. Damn. I feel bad not to have seen this at the right time.
    I see what the therapist guy may have been saying that it will take time, and the standard six sessions is never going to be the answer. My sessions gave me better coping mechanisms to cope medication free which is my long term aim (I slip in and out of medication when I become more or less unwell). They did help but left a lot of unanswered questions and I am not ‘fixed’ wich i’d naively hoped I would be. The lady I saw was great and referrred me on to someone who I haven’t the guts to see, but in preparation I have visited the local city a coupe times to reduce the ‘new place’ anxiety a little. Real baby steps eh?! This organisation was accept me irrevelent of my income, there is funding available apparently. I am not strong enough right now. I hope to be soon.
    I hope, whatever is best for you is what you choose to do. I am sorry that the therapist sounds like a bit of a jerk too.
    Apologises for incoherant rambling, bit less well right now, resorting to sleep meds more often, take ages to work but writing takes on a slurrish tone with proportionally poor spelling and grammer (partly as have to type most words several times to ensure most of the letters are in attendance, let alone in correct order or case!).

    • RescueMyLife says:

      Hi MrsP, now it’s my turn to apologise for not responding sooner – in case you hadn’t noticed I’ve kept away from the blog for a while now for good reasons. The therapy thing almost feels like ancient history now – it was interesting but ultimately not of much use to me – in fact I wonder if it did slightly more harm than good…
      I’m ok at the moment, I’m off the meds, out of therapy, not seeing my doctor, but I feel pretty strong most of the time and as long as that continues then all is well with the world!
      I’ll do a fuller update in a new post some time in the next few days.
      I hope things are ok with you at the moment.
      All the best
      RML

  4. Doesn’t sound like your therapist was very sensitive! It’s true that recovery can be a long process, often spread out over time. However, I think even a short course of therapy can be effective, it can help you make some steps so that you’re in a better position to help yourself to move forward. Some therapists wouldn’t recommend several years of full-on therapy, better to do a bit, then have some time to reflect on what you’ve learned from it and try putting it into practice, then perhaps come back to some therapy in the future. Maybe try not to be too focused on being 100% better, just being 5 or 10% better in the short term would mean a much better life, and it’s something to build on. I hope you stick at working towards recovery, it is really hard but it’s worth it.

    • RescueMyLife says:

      Hi Ally,
      Your words are wise and make complete sense. Your suggestion of just trying to be 5 or 10% better, rather than 100%, is actually what has kinda happened since I last posted, and guess what? You’re right – my life right now feels so much better than it has don’t for a long time. It is by no means perfect, but who the hells is?? At the moment I feel ok, and ok is good. I’m sure I will have some setbacks, but the difference is I think I will just about be strong enough to deal with them now.
      Thanks for your insightful comment
      RML

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