Friday, 18 May 2018

My Story Of Using A Therapist For Mental Health Week

This week in the UK, it is Mental Health Awareness Week and as well as highlighting the places that people can get help if they need it, it has also made me stop and think about my own mental health problems that I have had in the past. After Tilly was born, I suffered from severe postnatal depression. It was so bad that I thought there was no other way to turn, other than suicide. I WAS WRONG!

Here I am 8 years later and you wouldn't really know that I have mental health problems, unless I tell you. That's not because I have learned to disguise it, but it's because I have learned how to cope with the illness without medication. When I was at my lowest 8 years ago, I had to be assessed by a psychiatrist before I left the hospital. I lied to this psychiatrist because I wanted to be at home with my family, I told him I was fine but in reality, I wasn't. This is the worst thing I had done to myself, because If I had sought the help that I needed, then I could have been well on the road to recovery.

Six months later, and it all came to a head and I knew I couldn't cope anymore, but this time I went to the doctors and they referred me to the mental health team at the local hospital, I was referred to a psychologist who then spent the next couple of years working with me on and off to try and break the cycle of the things that I was feeling. It took a long time but eventually, there was a sign of recovery and I felt that I could move on again and be a proper mother to my daughter. We worked with CBT and we delved a lot into my past to see when the mental health problems first reared their ugly head. At the time, I felt that this wasn't helping me at all and it did take 2 and a half years for me to feel like I was getting better. Seeing the psychologist has helped me to understand my own depression and it taught me ways to cope when it gets a grip.

I have managed to get on with my life without medication, but there have been the times when I have had to go back to the GP and say I need help, then I get a couple of months worth of medication and it helps me through the bad patch. I also make sure that I see a counsellor. Seeing a counsellor or therapist is easy and you don't need to go through the NHS, you can privately find someone to help you. I went through the NHS, the first time I saw a counsellor and you get about 6 or 12 sessions, I had 6 sessions. In my opinion, 6 sessions aren't enough! You get a 1-hour slot to fit all your feelings in to and 6 weeks is not enough for a therapist to get to know you, so that's why its always advisable to carry on with a private therapist afterwards. This way you can carry on for a longer period and then build up a relationship with the therapist too.

Without all of the help I have received from a psychologist and therapists over the years, I don't think that I would be where I am today. Today I find ways of coping with the mental health problems other than medication and I always have something in the future to focus on.

I may not have thanked my therapists and psychologists over the years for the work that they have done, but their work is invaluable to a person like me. Seeking help is not a failure, it shows that your willing to fight for yourself and it is a selfless job that these people take on. So Thank you to everyone in this line of work that helps

This is a collaborative post.

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