#20 – Going to see a therapist for the first time

In the last blog, I mentioned I “sat with a mentor” – this mentor was actually my therapist.

I’m not sure why I didn’t write this originally.

Embarrassment and fear of being judged I guess.

In the spirit of keeping this blog as honest as possible, I thought I’d talk about it.

I experience feelings of depression and anxiety. 

The depression is a relatively new addition (last 18months) whereas anxiety is something that I’ve had for the majority of my life (although admittedly worse in the last few years).

I’ve always managed my anxiety but it requires effort. 

Mental resources need to be allocated and when feelings of depression started to enter the mix it became a bit too much.

It’s like spinning plates…..blindfolded…..on one leg…..and the plates are loaded with venomous snakes and spiders.

It’s overwhelming.

Depression fuels the anxiety and vice versa.

They feed off each other.

The feeling grows like that bastard weed in the middle of the garden that just refuses to fucking die (note to self – mow the lawn).

It’s shit because from the outside everything appears fine.

That’s because the majority of the time (for me anyway) it is.

Although the peaks and troughs can be extreme. 

The height of anxiety is standing on the lip of a volcano with a tightrope in front of you. 

“This is going to be horrific, the consequences are life and death.”

The low of depression is being trapped at the bottom of a well with just enough light to realise the direness of your situation. 

“There is no way out.”

Obviously, this isn’t the reality, it just feels like it.

I haven’t been at the ‘bottom of the well’ for 5months.

I’ve been seeing my therapist for 3months. It might be a coincidence but I’ve noticed a tangible improvement – I’m making progress.

I’m not against anti-depressants, group therapy, or any other method for that matter – it’s finding what works for you.

Here’s how therapy has helped me: 

1) Taking Action – I felt better the moment I reached out and booked an appointment. It felt like I’d taken the first step in the right direction after months of burying my head in the sand.

2) Talking – I’d never actually articulated my thoughts (fully) out loud until therapy. Talking about anxiety and depression removes the stigma. I’m now able to talk to close friends (and now the internet) about my experience. I never regret having a conversation on this topic. 

3) Self-awareness – bare in mind this is something I pride myself on. I realised after the first session there’s a level I wasn’t even scratching. Taking the personality test after the first session (upon my therapist’s recommendation) was a real eye-opener.

4) Objectivity and Impartiality – it’s a bizarre relationship with a therapist in many ways. You talk about your intimate feelings but you’re not friends. There’s no “how was your weekend” – it’s straight down to business. This felt incredibly uncomfortable during the first session but when you trim the conversational fat you’re left with the juicy meat i.e. the stuff you need to hear.

I feel better for writing this blog.

I hope you feel better for reading it.

P.s. 

This is my experience of depression, anxiety and therapy. 

These are my observations, not recommendations.