Thursday, 19 February 2015

To Therapy or not to Therapy?

Someone asked me recently if I should go back to therapy and counselling.

My reaction? To snap back. To shout 'NO!'

I'm ashamed to say that I took it as an insult. 'Oh, you think I'm not okay? How dare you? Well I'm just fine!!' It hurt that someone else was interpreting my actions as that of someone who should be seeking professional help on a regular basis.
Yes, I had been down. But I also like to think that I've had my fair share of counselling down through the years.

While I thoroughly adore counselling and recommend it as a useful tool, I did it in while I was in  University; where the service was free and I had the same counselor over my 4 years there (Even if I only saw him sporadically over that period). If I were to return to counselling it would be a completely new situation, a new counselor, I'd have to retell my whole story, and it'd be costly.

While I hadn't considered it at the time, the free counselling service in UCD was a luxury. A steep rise in the waiting list over the years has meant that many students seeking help have not been able to get it immediately. I was lucky enough to be seen straight away after my first referral. And ever after that I was allowed to return to counselling as I felt I needed it.

But back to that simple little question...
I do regret my reaction now in hind-sight. The right answer would have been 'No, not at this time'. I know that right now I am responsible for my own mental health care; I can identify triggers, and I have the tools to help put things back into place - I just haven't been using them lately.

I have been isolating. Cutting off those who have wanted or wished to help. I have been refusing to admit when I'm down or things haven't gone my way. Instead, I've been pretending I am invincible, and nothing gets to me.
It has been a case of basic self-neglect. Or at least the majority of it has been. I know my mental health and my mental illness better than anyone. This comes from not only experience and the professional services I've used, but from my constant reading around the subject and how blogging about my depression has given me a greater understanding of my brain and how it/I work. And I feel that I am strong enough to make the decision about therapy for myself.
I learned a lot from my time in counselling - most importantly I learned how to better protect myself against triggers and how to pick myself back up without over-relying on someone else to do that for me.
But these skills are easily forgotten in the midst of a depressive episode.

I don't rule out ever returning to counselling. but for now it's not the right option.
However, I am a little scared about what will happen if I ever do feel the need to return to counselling. I would not have a clue of where to start looking for therapists, how long an appointment would take, the average cost vs. the cost of a good one - NOTHING. I am thoroughly clueless. So, I hereby promise to begin researching the issue and putting a safety-net plan in place. For just in case.

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