Sunday, 28 July 2019

Give Me Therapy

Dublin, Ireland

Not lyrics of an All Time Low song my 15 year old self liked to sing to. Towards the end of 2016 therapy was a service I really needed. I was feeling out of touch with everything, overanalyzing and doubting everything and everyone and keeping it all to myself. It was a strange time but I was taking it by the day and making it through. I posted something on Twitter that was 28-4-2017. A fellow blogger at the time and reader replied with the suggestion of a psychotherapy and counselling service provider for me to check out. I looked them up, saw they had a branch in my area and I sent an email the same day asking for an appointment.

After that came a little over a year of weekly self discovery and healing with one of the most impactful people in my life yet. I thought I'd share this story today before I move on and share all the other fun things I have been enjoying doing. I started off at a not so bad, not so good place mentally and now I am at a much better place. Before I can go back to fully enjoying life on the blog I feel this needs to be shared first. Along with therapy and my cultural theory classes in college, I was feeling a lot of conflicting emotions that made it hard to sit down and write about travelling or baking sweet goodies without feeling like a liar. After sharing this I hope to be able to move on and share some more about the past few months and what the future holds.

       I received my initial appointment to assess what I needed on June 1st and I believe a week after that I had my first session with my first therapist. I stayed with that therapist for six weeks. When I started college that semester, my schedule changed and I requested a different time. With that came a different therapist and the beginning of a process that would teach me a lot about how I can approach life.

My first therapist and I didn't quite gel. I often felt like he wasn't really listening to what I was saying or didn't have the words to relay his understanding of what I was trying to convey. My second therapist was doing his master's in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy so he hard many nuggets of information and techniques to offer me. Each time I learned something new and put it to the test, challenging as it was sometimes, I always came out the other end with a much better view and attitude. There were many times he'd help lead me to a certain point and encourage me to go the rest of the way on my own. The prime example was during my last session when he advised me that I no longer needed his services. He'd enough confidence that I'd be able to use my new skills to navigate the world even when I didn't feel it myself.

        In my sessions I chose to look through my childhood and adolescent years and tackle the habits and attitudes I'd cultivated and accumulated knowingly and unknowingly that were now in my adult years causing unwanted and unnecessary grief. There was some crying, some laughing and some biblical-like revelations too. I learned a lot in those sessions about my character and my views on life and I also learned new ways of dealing with the things I will encounter in life. I'd love to share all of them with you but seeing as I am not a trained psychologist and everyone deals with issues differently, I will not assume the position of imparting wisdom I cannot help anyone apply correctly. The one thing I will share that has been super useful to me and is hopefully harmless to share is this.

        A lot of anxiety and self doubt for me stems from feeling threatened in some way. Whenever I start to feel like I'm being tossed about in a whirlpool, I take a minute, call on the voice of my therapist and identify the things that are making me feel threatened. Sometimes it's an intellectual threat: what if an action of mine makes someone think I am incompetent? Sometimes it's an emotional threat: I don't like the way this person is treating me and I don't know how to say it. And sometimes it's a threat of a thought or opinion I have that I am shaming myself for and fear someone else will shame me for it. Whatever it is once I can identify them I am able to interrogate the threat and ask myself how I would handle that situation.

It's my most used technique to date and is becoming ingrained in my automatic thought processes for everything. However like I said, I'm no psychotherapist and everyone is different. The issues you may have, the way you deal with them, your perception, attitude etc. are all so unique. Thus it makes sense that it'd take a unique way of learning to navigate them.
In Ireland I know therapy isn't something that is as openly talked about as say in America. However the benefits of learning to understand your own mental landscape and attitudes are immeasurable. If you feel therapy is something you can benefit from but are hesitating... don't. Just do it! (Not sponsored by Nike).

       There are many service providers out there. Find yourself a trusted provider. Don't be afraid to try out different ones till you find someone you gel with. There are also various cost points out there too. If you're in Dublin you can start here with Let's Get Talking. They are in Galway and Dublin.
The service is pay-as-you-can so I never felt too stretched out of my financial situation which at the time wasn't too great as I'd started renting that January.

I finished up my sessions on the 8th of October 2018. I told myself I'd give myself six months and if after six months I was struggling, I'd go back. Within those six months a few major changes, deaths, marriage etc. occurred that I shared in this post here. Some of those things I'm still dealing with now and others I am done with. But April came and went, then June and now July is going out and I don't feel I need to go back because I am still able to count on everything I learned.

Basically going to therapy has been like getting a tool box that is tailor made for you and your life. Milo Murphy's backpack doesn't even come close to it!

Have you used psychotherapy/counselling services? What has been your experience with it? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. You can find the All Time Low song which lends it's title to this post here.

Till Next Time

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