It was my turn at last. I had reached the top of the waiting list to receive my first therapy session. The letter came in the post informing me of when my appointment was and that it would take place on the phone. The phone? How can a therapy session work on the phone? I didn’t care how the logistics worked, all I cared about was that it was finally my name being called and it was me who could finally talk to someone and maybe get a hand of this situation.
The 1st of March. A new month. A new chance. And what better way to start a new month than with my first therapy session. Even if it was on a telephone.
I chose an early appointment so it would force me to get up and try and do something with my day afterwards. I was apprehensive before my phone call. I didn’t think that I would be totally honest with how I felt or what I was going through because it is easier to hide it when you are on a phone. I did worry that I would cry and become so incoherent on the phone that it would be pointless.
The phone went off and I picked up. It was similar to that of my initial phone call with the service. We went through the Questionnaires and my scores on that. What I was feeling to make me give the answers that I did. What I hoped to gain from CBT. What my goals were. It was a quick 45 minute chat and Sarah was very understanding and acknowledged everything I said to show she was listening.
At the end of the call, we booked our next appointment, which would be a face to face for the 13th March.
Today, the 13th, unlucky for some was my first face to face CBT. I had to drive there. That was a panic in itself. I hate driving new routes on my own. I am continuously thinking of the worse and panicking that I will take the wrong turn, end up down a one way street going the wrong way, or just getting so lost that I just stop and breakdown into tears. But I made it. And I made it in plenty of time.Had a bit of a panic over parking but that soon sorted itself out.
I had no idea where to go once I entered the Health Centre. I felt that as soon as I walked in everyone was looking at me as I was hesitant on which reception to go to. I finally went over to one and they weren’t the most helpful of people. They simply pointed in a direction and told me to go there. I finally found it. It was pretty concealed. Wasn’t exactly staring you in the face obvious. I signed in and followed the directions the lady gave me to go find the correct room and I sat outside.
This is how awkward I am. I wasn’t sure whether to knock or not. I hovered, looked into the room, saw my therapist sat typing. Instead of knocking I got all panicked and just sat down outside. After a couple of minutes, I got the courage to knock. She opened the door, said she’d be a couple of minutes and to just sit outside. It felt an eternity.
I really didn’t want to be there. I didn’t feel comfortable. My anxiety was through the roof. I didn’t feel in the mood to talk. I just wanted to go home. I wanted to go back to bed.
But I stayed. My Therapist Sarah* opened the door and invited me into the room.
There were two chairs on either side of a small round table placed next to a window looking out onto the car park. In the corner was a table and a computer. There was a height measure on one side, and a GP’s bed on the other with an abacus and a couple of other toys on it.
This room wasn’t exactly what I imagined my therapy to take place in. But it did the job. There was somewhere to sit and it was nice to be by the window.
I didn’t realise just how uncomfortable I was talking to strangers, especially when it is about something so personal. I was a bit reluctant at first. I did try to expand on what I was feeling but I kept getting choked up. I didn’t think I would get that emotional trying to explain how I felt. I really couldn’t look at her. I know you’re meant to have eye contact with people when you speak to them but I couldn’t. I was fidgeting. I kept playing with my rings, swirling them round on my fingers, pulling them off and pushing them back on. Pulling my jumper sleeve down, fiddling with the end of the cuff. I wasn’t comfortable. I couldn’t wait for the session to end. I didn’t really talk. I said the odd thing but otherwise I didn’t really have anything to say. I was struggling to get my words out. To explain what was going on in my head. How the past couple of weeks had been since I last spoke to her. I did tell her a bit about my boyfriend buying his flat, and the fact that I had a job interview and had the next stage of it this week and how I was the only one not excited about it. I went into a bit of worries that came from those situations.
Sarah showed me a really interesting cycle called the 5 aspects of how a situation and how we think during this situation affect our moods, which in turn affect our behaviours which then have consequences on our physical sensations. Well that’s how I came to understand it anyway. We went through a situation I was experiencing as an example. It made sense and I can see how it works. It gets you thinking about how you react to a situation.
We then looked at a booklet about controlling worry. I learnt about hypothetical and practical worries. And I was asked to keep a worry diary for the next two weeks and decipher if the worries I was having were hypothetical (where you can’t control the outcome) or a practical one (where you can affect the outcome and not have to rely on others).
As lovely as Sarah was I just felt like I was back in school and I hated that. The idea of writing down when I’m worried and what’s caused it filled me with anxiety. I felt like I was being set homework and felt so much pressure to get it right. I know it is silly but I really didn’t feel comfortable.
It was only a half an hour session but it felt like I was in there forever. It was good to put a face to the name as well and to know who I was talking to and who I was relying on for help and advice. But I didn’t feel better than when I got there. I felt more anxious. More worried. And thinking far too much. It is hard because a lot of the time I can’t pinpoint just what it is that I am worrying about. Sarah understood this and just said to try my best to write down when I do know what is worrying me.
I will give it a go. I am so grateful for the help. I am so lucky to get it as quick as I have. I will try and be positive with this. And I will try my best to be as open and as honest as I can with her. I will have to come out of my comfort zone. I will have to speak. I will have to make eye contact with her and stop fidgeting because I want to make the most of these sessions. I want to feel better and I want this help. I am determined to make it work.
Not Quite Made Girl