It's no secret that I am "in the system" as such for therapy to try and deal with whatever it is that is eating away at me. Strangely as things have progressed, so have the feelings and symptoms of it all. Today I made a breakthrough all on my own, realising that anxiety is almost my coping mechanism for depression. As the cycle goes around from deep thinking and low moods, so the anxiety begins while I search for the reasons for the depression. Somehow I trap myself at depression almost subconsciously protecting myself from the lows of depression. Knowing I can still function on some level with anxiety, but very little function when depressed. This I know for a fact. But how I have come to this coping mechanism I have no idea.
Blocking the outside out, disengaging from people, and avoiding social situations of all kinds happens with both anxiety and depression for me, but when only anxious, I say "only", I can still manage to get to smaller shops, communicate with a small few people, and of course exercise. With the depression I know that my day consists of dark rooms and staying in bed, and withdrawing from society to the point where even housework and day to day responsibilities suffer.
Anyway, back to therapy, that's what this entry is meant to be about.
Quickly looking back over the timeline.
Mid Nov, GP referred me to IAPT, the therapy section of the local NHS.
Early Dec, I received a letter acknowledging my referral, followed by an hour long phone call to see what therapy I needed.
Mid Dec, I received notice of my first therapy appointment for early Jan
Early Jan, went to first session and later blogged about it. I had been sent for CBT, but didn't feel it was going to work for me, but agreed to stick at it.
Today, I had my second appointment with the therapist. Last week I was given a sheet to fill out for 7 days, every two hours. Logging my activity, mood, mood intensity, sense of achievement, contact level and enjoyment. And also a test sheet to score my anxiety and depression. On arrival at the appointment I handed them over only to be given the log back telling me it was for me. Errm I lived those days, so am pretty sure I know how I felt. Thanks for giving me something pointless to do!
The test score sheet was glanced at then put away.
At the opening of the session I was told that the therapist had spoken to her boss, who had agreed with her that I should probably be referred to a "depression group". Run by 3 people, and considered high intensity, they felt that this would be a better way for me to progress. Or I could stay at one to one therapy and carry on as I am. No pressure.... but choose NOW, you can't do both to see which is best, its one or the other. In reality the sales technique used felt quite bullish, so naturally I went with the easy option and accepted the group sessions.
By all accounts it is more a course than a group, with presentations and education on depression and self esteem, touching on anxiety. Or there was another group dealing with anxiety and stress. But tackling my two issues together seems impossible. In the therapists own words, having a depression and anxiety group would take forever to to get through. Well sorry for being awkward. We can help with one or the other, but not both, choose!
So the course lasts til April, 90 mins a week, in Lewisham. Active participation is not required so I am told. On describing the course to me, she explained it was 90 mins with a break and refreshments in the middle. And that during these breaks people can mingle and interact. My reaction was "oh god, strange people", to which I was told it was good for me to be "forced" into a social situation and to interact with people. Guess you didn't read the section on my test score where I rated interactions with people as stressful and upsetting then.
All that said and done, most of my worry is caused by the anxiety and the unknown, I could get there and feel fine, I know this. But I can't help but feel that so far this whole therapy effort has been a farce, so am really not encouraged to hold out much hope for the next stage. With having an hour long phone assessment, then my first appointment being an assessment and introduction to CBT. Only for my second appointment to scrap everything that has happened so far, be given a huge pile of hand outs to read and be told, start with someone new again on a different road next week, really undermines my faith in trying any of this. I know these are tried and tested methods, but can't help feel ignored when I have said over and over that conventional counselling has worked for me before. Encouraging interaction, dealing with my past, and digging deep to find the root of this feeling. But hey, what do I know, I'm only the one trapped in my own head.
The outcome of todays session was about as negative as it can get really. I came home, tried to walk the dogs, managed Tuvaaq, got to the top of the road with Aana and turned back giving up. Great, too fed up to even walk! Coming back home with Aana, I ran a bath, had a quick soak, realised I was dropping off, so got out, dried off and went to bed for a couple of hours.
I would have to check back in my mood diary to see the last time I felt so low that I just completely shut down. But it has been a while. So to come from a help session and feel SO damn low, well that just sucks!
Since getting back up I have been for a walk on my own listening to music. I know I am not physically exhausted as my legs had plenty in them, but the motivation to keep moving, even with music in my ears was a struggle to say the least. So I am left feeling alone, withdrawn and misunderstood. Thrown from pillar to post as they make some kind of effort to help me. If I were to see my GP any time soon my feed back would be poor. If I could afford to go private with counselling, I would in a heartbeat.
Right, here is hoping the mood passes by tomorrow, and see if I can get back in the saddle, metaphorically speaking, and depending on the weather, maybe in the actual bike saddle.
Oh one other thing. Last week I expressed to the therapist how much exercise and walking I was doing, telling her distances and durations. Today she mentioned this, and I said yesterday I walked 15 miles and rode 25. She cocked her head and looked and me and said "in one day?" I said yes, I walk that most days. Glad she were listening last time!