So today I had my last and final therapy session. It’s been almost a year since I started therapy for mental health reasons and let me tell you that speaking to someone was the best thing, and the hardest thing that I have had to do in such a long time. Seeing a therapist had been recommended to me by various friends and colleagues in the past, but through my childhood, I had been counselling, and for me there was nothing worse. Week on week we would go over old grounds that made me feel awful about my situation. I would leave feeling worse than I did when entered the session.
But this time it was different.
Not only have I learnt so much, but I’ve grown so much from it too. I was really put off by going at first as I thought I already knew what it was all about, but every therapist is different. Every therapist uses different techniques to help you on your journey. In all honesty, I didn’t realise how far I have come until my last session today. All through six sessions spread across the year focusing on my values, my way of thinking and dealing with my emotions.
We had a catch up. I told her that I’ve been up and down over the last few weeks but I’m feeling a lot better. I’m going to the gym, I’m eating correct, I don’t feel needy or sad. I no longer question why people do things or ‘why is this happening to me’. Everything I do now is aligned with my values and it comes naturally to me without having to think about it. I have formed positive habits.
“In all of my sixteen years of working I have never come across someone who has transformed the way you have, considering everything you have been through, you really are an inspiration”, she said with tears in her eyes. I don’t think therapists are meant to cry, but it goes to show that a friendship was built along this journey. It was the first time in a very long time I felt as though I could speak about anything and trust someone one hundred percent. Without judgment.
I learnt that there is no such thing as should or shouldn’t. If what you are doing is good for you and you’re not hurting anyone then let it be. If you feel as though you need a day in bed eating rubbish and watching 10 episodes on Netflix then do it. Only if this fits in with your values. You have to think, is this benefiting me? Is this really what I want to do? Sometimes yes, sometimes I have a need to be alone and take a time out and that’s OK. Other times it’s a method of putting off things I need to do, it’s because I feel depressed and the next day I’ll feel even worse for it. I’ve learnt to identify the two and it has nothing to do with what I should or shouldn’t be doing. It’s ‘is this going to help me in the long run’. Sometimes it’s a yes, and sometimes it’s a no.
I would highly recommend therapy as the first step before anything else. You may not get on well with it at first, you may think it’s not working, or you might even not like or trust your therapist. You have a choice, you stick it out for a while, you change therapist’s if you feel as though you need too, you find alternative solutions such as online therapy, exercise or doing something that makes you happy. I went because I no longer had an interest or the energy to do the things that made me happy anymore, I knew then, that there was a problem.
I was way above the clinical line.
In our final session today, she asked me the same twenty-odd questions she did in the very beginning. The questions went along the lines of ‘in the past week have you felt as though you want to harm yourself, in the past week have you felt lonely, in the past week have you felt anxious or worried’– you get the picture. I had to answer on a scale from ‘not at all, sometimes, often, all the time’. At the end she asked me if I wanted to see the comparisons, intrigued, I agreed. The answers were calculated into a ‘mean score’, this time around all of my scores were a lot lower than the first time. Every single one of them was either in the 0’s or 1’s. The first time around I was way above what she explained as the ‘clinical line’. Being in the 3’s and 4’s- a serious issue, so I’m glad I went when I did.
I just want to highlight that there is no shame in going to speak to someone. You don’t need to wait until things get ‘really bad’ to seek help. You may have read in my previous post that everyone’s pain is valid, and I mean what I said. It makes you stronger, makes you wiser and helps you make better, well-informed decisions.
And just because I had my final session today, it doesn’t mean I’m suddenly cured. At twenty-four years old I know there is a hell of lot more of life to be experienced, the good and the bad. However, I am better equipped, I am strong and I am ready.