Anxiety & therapy

On Monday I attended therapy again. I had a few sessions after my PND with J, and my miscarriage and they helped me so much. When I went to the GP after my breakdown last year I decided that as well as medication, I would like to see the counsellor again as I knew even just one session would help me, just talking about things.

I went to the session mainly ready to talk about my social anxiety, as that is what is affecting the most since my major depression started. It just stops me from doing things, going places, as I’m so scared of having a panic attack and paranoia rears its ugly head. I’ve always been a little lacking in confidence and anxious when in a social situation in public, but ever since then it has been the worst; so much so that I haven’t even wanted to go to gatherings with people I know.

I can never put my finger on exactly what causes my anxiety, all I know is the feelings I get when it’s approaching; I get hot, my heart rate speeds up, paranoid thoughts, I feel sick, I lose my breath, sometimes a panic attack will ensue. I’d heard people talk about them before but now it’s actually happened to me, I know how horrible it is.

The session booked was with the counsellor I saw last time so I already felt at ease and what to expect from her in particular – she remembered me too! First off we discussed what had happened to make my depression so bad again, and I told her – I didn’t really know, it just kind of ‘happened’ with the breakdown. She said she was proud of me for recognising the signs this time though and getting help straight away; when I’m feeling like this it always makes me so much happier when somebody tells me how proud they are of me (like a couple of friends have been doing recently – you know who you are, thank you).

We then talked about my anxiety as that is the worst at the minute. We discussed techniques for dealing with it in social situations, some of which I have instigated already (another proud comment from her!). These include taking deep breaths, counting to ten, and leaving if I feel that a situation is getting too much. It’s also much easier to go everywhere with somebody else, but unfortunately that’s not always possible!

One of these situations is joining a Slimming World group (for which I will write a totally separate post) – I have been contemplating it for a long time now but my anxiety has really been pushing me back and I’ve been putting it off. It’s not so much the whole taking part and being on a ‘diet’ that worries me; it’s the entering a room full of people, on my own, and everybody looking at me (though we’re all there for the same reason). Some people I have spoken to recently also don’t seem to understand the anxiety and I get the whole “You’ll be fine once you’re there” – unfortunately it’s not quite as easy as that; gosh, I wish it was then I’d be going here, there & everywhere!

Anyway, she gave me some light reading on dealing with anxiety, and I have a telephone appointment in a couple of weeks to see how I am getting on. I didn’t feel I needed a physical appointment at the moment, though I can always make one if needs be. I know my anxiety will probably never go away completely, but anything that helps me deal with it is, well, a great help.

Sometimes it just feels so lethargic to talk about things with somebody who is impartial to you.

Counselling – take 4

As I blogged about previously, the new counsellor I saw had given me some homework. Last time we decided that I needed to get out more, basically, to take my mind off grieving all of the time (obviously I can still grieve, but it was consuming me) so that’s what I’ve been doing.

I also had my diary sheet to fill in for my homework (just like being back at school!). On this I had to write what I did, how I felt (and the % of that feeling), and rate the following on a scale of 1-10 – achievement, closeness (to the person the activity was with), and enjoyment. I completed this and she was amazed at how well I had filled it in, so much so that she is making a copy to show to others, of how it should be filled in, as it’s the best she’s ever seen! *Smug moment* This was mainly to see what activities made me feel ‘better’, and to focus on these, and how they made my day pan out. I did see patterns myself. 

I also filled in the depression questionnaire again (for the sixth time now, I think!), and there was a lot of improvement in my responses. On reflection, I have been feeling happier recently. Obviously I still have down days, it’s all part of the grieving process and is to be expected. 

She was pleased with my progress and has now discharged me, but said if I ever feel like I’m not well again, then to go back. I still have my AD’s which I have to go back for a review for when I’ve finished this course, but the counsellor again said I should get at least another couple of month’s worth as 6 months is the minimum recommended time to take them for to avoid relapse.

All in all I just want to say, counselling and AD’s have really helped me to get back to feeling like a part of me again,and they are truly wonderful things. If you need the help, there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, even though there is such a stigma and taboo attached to it. 

You are strong.

You may just need that little more help. 

Counselling – take 3

On Friday I went for another counselling session.  For some reason I was nervous again before going in; I think this was because I was seeing a different person to whom I saw last year. This time it was a female, but I had no reason to be nervous as she was lovely and made me feel at ease straight away. 

We mainly discussed the miscarriage and how I had been feeling since then, as I think it’s what triggered most of the old feelings again. I was surprised that she didn’t know the statistics – that 1 in 4 women will suffer a miscarriage at some point; she sounded surprised when I told her. 

She was also surprised that the GP had only given me a month’s worth of anti-depressants as they take a few weeks to start working as it is! I had to go back to the GP for a review after I had finished this course and had the counselling anyway, but she suggested that I should need them for at least another 6 months. (Not that I want to go back to her, after what she said to me when I went the first time (that I am very lucky to have a baby already, some people struggle and would do anything for a baby – yes I know, I’ve been there! She said this to me even after I’d told her that, bearing in mind I was still grieving too!). I may have to see someone else).

Obviously I don’t want to share everything we spoke about but I feel the session helped me, talking to someone I don’t know personally. I was also given some homework which I have to take back next time. We concluded that little man & I need more structure in our day, as we do the same thing from day to day (not a lot!) which makes me just go over & over things in my head. So I have a couple of sheets to fill in and write a plan of what we are going to do, and this will help me rather than me saying that I keep meaning to, but never get around to it…

We’ve already made a little progress and have started going to the park, just to get out of the house when I’m feeling a little stressed! 

(And I’m still planning his birthday party!).

I did it.

I did it. I finally went to the doctors again. 

After my counselling I had in the summer last year, things were better for a while. I was better for a while. Well, I felt it anyway. 

But then things started getting bad again. 

And then I discovered I was pregnant. After the initial shock, I had mainly good days, but a few I felt down.

And then I miscarried.

I was sent totally off the track again. As anyone would. 

But after the initial upset, everything that had bothered me before, started coming back to bother me again. Total meltdown.

I realised I needed help again. 

I broke down as soon as I sat down in her office.

I have more counselling next month. 

Counselling – take 2

First of all, I’m so sorry I haven’t been updating regularly the last couple of weeks, it has been hectic with moving, trying to make a dent in the boxes, and decorating the little man’s room to get him in there! Well it looks a bit more lived in now rather than just a junk shop. 

Anyway, I had another counselling session last month. I had to do the depression questionnaire again and my results were a little better than they were at the previous one, so the tasks he gave me must have helped a little. He asked me how good a Mum I thought I was now, on a scale of 1-10, and I said 6, maybe 7, which was a lot better than the last time, so he was quite pleased with me! We talked a bit more about my anxiety and going out on my own with little man, to groups etc., and how I was still a bit nervous but I would try my hardest with it. Well I’ve still only ventured to baby clinic as I kind of ‘know’ the women who run it now, but I find the other women who go are a bit cliquey and tend to know each other already (though I do try and talk to them), so I don’t stay very long anyway. Just long enough for the little man to have a little giggle at the other babies which he loves.

So, we decided not to make another appointment just then, but he said I was free to make one if I ever thought I was slipping again. Which I have. About something I never spoke to him about as I thought he might think I was being stupid, like I thought with the other things we discussed! The stupid flaming breastfeeding guilt. Though I’m feeling a little better right now, I’ve been like this before and then got worse, so I may just have to bite the bullet and go back and talk about it. 

But last week I broke down to my health visitor about it, literally broke down into tears and was all snotty and everything! Though all throughout my crying and snuffling and sobbing, little man stayed asleep in my arms! The HV gave me a hug (and a tissue!), said he was doing brilliant, that I AM a good mum because I did the best for him, and he’s a happy little chappy and always smiling (unlike her other babies – her words!) so I must have done something right. And you know what, after getting him weighed last week, I’m starting to think I am and I did.