Not too long ago, I admitted to myself that I needed help. I put into words, what I had been keeping to myself for a very long time and in doing so, cleared the cobwebs a little and put things into a bit of perspective. What came from it, was my resolution to visit the doctors and get it all out in the open – to ask for help and to try to make some kind of plan for the future of my mental state.
I made it to the doctor’s surgery and eventually succeeded in getting across what I wanted to say, (even if it was in a very round-a-bout way, akin to the ramblings of Boris Johnson). Thankfully instead of staring somewhat confused at me, she nodded sympathetically and gave me my options:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
or a mixture of the two.
I decided on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), because of the many good things I had heard about it, along with my dislike of anything drug-related.
Picture from: Get Self Help
Going to the appointment today, I didn’t really have any expectations, aside from the fact that hopefully, going down this route would lead to something positive at the end. I walked in with my questionnaire filled in, which asked me to rate various manifestations of depression and anxiety that I may or may not have been feeling over the past two months. I tried to answer the questions as honestly as I could, even if it meant confirming to myself that my problems were as real as they appeared to be.
After she introduced herself, the woman seeing me went through a series of questions, asking me specific things about my various problems – such as my daily struggle to get out of the house, that the anxiety of walking anywhere and the feeling of being looked at and judged was more intrusive than my actual destination. This then led on to how it affects my children, in that by not being able to leave the house without any difficulty, I am depriving my children from quality time with their mother and relying on others to give them that experience.
It’s hard having to say that out-loud, and I mentioned to her that this makes me feel like I’m failing as a mother, which in turn makes me feel useless and worthless and the whole cycle spirals downwards, until I’m incapable of doing some of the basic things like looking after myself.
After these admissions we looked at my options and she was very frank with me. Although I scored quite highly on the questionnaire – being in the high to severe ranges of anxiety and depression – the waiting list for the full on, one-to-one with a therapist kind of CBT was extremely long and I’d have quite a wait on my hands, therefore for now she would suggest a guided self-help form of CBT, in which I would be given the reading materials and short sessions with herself to guide me into making short goals and pushing myself, into making changes in the way I think and behave. What was also mentioned was that CBT is the most effective and has the most impact, when being used in conjunction with antidepressants.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this. I’ve been trying to push myself and self-help my way into a better way of thinking for a long time, and I’m not convinced that this will make much difference. I also don’t relish the idea of being on antidepressants. Perhaps it’s the bad press that they get or here-say but it’s not something I want to do if I can avoid it.
I have an open mind though and am willing to try anything, (with in reason of course) if it means that I can get my life back. So my next appointment is in two weeks time. I just need to encourage myself to keep going back!
Have you engaged in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, either through a self-help programme or via one-to-one therapy? Perhaps you went down the group therapy route. Did you take antidepressants in conjunction with your therapy? I’d very much like to hear of your experiences regarding this, so please feel free to comment!