Therapy day. Not been a good night’s sleep. I spend far too much time online chatting. Some of it – like last night – I do because I feel sorry for them, with their obvious loneliness and problems they face too.
This woman thinks about suicide every day and plans it sometimes, so regularly relies on me showing up on the world wide web at some point. Even when it’s gone 4am I still can’t bring myself to tell her I need to rest. Have to learn to say no. Somehow.
The walk to therapy is taken up fighting negative thoughts. That job rejection makes me angry. Feeling so tired, I don’t feel doing much. My food habits are turning bad once more. Yet again, though, the Spice Girls come to my aid and “Stop right now” reverberates around my mind.
I reason that life is full of setbacks, physical, mental, practical, and that they can and will be overcome. Quelle surprise, I’m cutting it fine to make it to therapy on time. I worry momentarily but still choose to take the route I feel like and let time take care of itself. Sunshine, sand, and blooming trees lift my spirits.
All of a sudden I feel less tired, more positive. As I get closer to the therapists I spot what I think is a magnolia tree or bush. I’ve no idea if it actually is but it’s close enough for me. It signifies my gradual recovery from mental illness so a pic is taken. I’ll put that at the top of the page today.
In the waiting room, I leave a couple of current affairs magazines no longer being read at home. Not exactly light and breezy but it has to be a step up from the caravaning, camping, and senior citizens womens publications they have on the table.
This is, of course, all pre-amble. It was a difficult session despite the positive vibe that’s been going through me recently. Lesley is appalled at the nature of my job rejection. She confirms what I think, though. That I’m better off without it if that’s how unprofessional I say they went about it. It was, too, but that’s for another day.
My scores on the depression and anxiety doors are as low as I can ever remember – 11, 6, and something way below 20. I can feel I’m making progress, and as cynical as I am about the standardised questions, it’s reflected in them.
The talk switches to a core belief. Mine is simple. I am useless. It’s been there ever since I can remember and has been the cornerstone of my emotional life up and down the decades, affecting how I think, how I behave, how I believe others perceive me.
My childhood is touched upon, the bad as well as good, which of course there has to be in any life. The real catalyst, however, is what I experienced at work, something I’ve talked about in depth on here (have a look through ‘It’s Just Not Working Out’).
I show Lesley the blog. Earlier during our session, when she asked how I had been filling my time, out came the tablet, and I let her read through it. She was deeply impressed with it. That’s not hyperbole from me either.
At this moment it seemed a perfect time to show her what a horrific experience work was for me for the first few years after school. There’s a long silence. I feel uncomfortable so I try to concentrate on outside noises, in between the occasional observation from thinking back to those times, and inwardly wincing.
Lesley asks if it’s okay to ask about this and my childhood. Of course it is, no problem. I have to face the past, which is making my present so awful, so that my future will be one of potential being fulfilled and rude psychological health.
I did want to die in those early work years. I was deeply depressed. But somehow I came through it all, I defied everyone who tried to destroy me. Slowly, we come round to that. The very fact I’m here, battling my corner against overwhelming odds, is a success.
Elton John’s ‘I’m Still Standing’ is mentioned as my song of defiance. It also happens to be one where a relative of mine appeared in the video for it that’s by the by. It’s a song that cries “F*** you” to everyone who’s ever harmed me. My ultimate victory is being here to listen to that and adopt it as my anthem.
All too soon the session is over. Lesley gives me more ‘homework’, pleased with the positive vibe in my scribblings where I extol my own virtues. My heart is still broken into a thousand pieces, but thanks to Lesley and my own newly adopted thought processes, it’s becoming less difficult to cope. One day I’ll stop loving my ex but until then it’s coping – which I’m doing better than I have been for a long while.
She also asks me to take compliments and accept them for what they are. I flinch and Lesley spots it straight away. I have never been able to. I have always dismissed being called attractive, a core belief of being ugly seeing to that.
I’ve never ever been able to accept compliments easily either. Always hyper critical of myself at whatever I do, and never really listening to any praise I get. It’s only ever well after the event when I might think to myself ‘hey, that was actually pretty good’.
Lesley, though, is kindly and insistent at the same time. She knows it’s a difficult one to ask for. But I trust Lesley, I like her. Our therapy sessions are nothing like what I envisaged them and I find how they unfold help me more than anything else so far.
I make a promise I will try my best to accept any praise or compliments. It’s not a political promise either. I will. I know it’s for my own good. I also give her the blog address and encourage her to write one as well. Probably best not to do with work though.
It seems like a few minutes but somehow I’ve been in therapy for over an hour. Saying our goodbyes, Lesley talks briefly about waking up this morning with a cold or flu virus. My recommendation? It had to be didn’t it. “Spend the weekend under the magnolia tree.” We both raise a smile as I head homewards.
Which I do in the opposite direction. I haven’t wandered through the old part of town in years. It feels refreshing, invigorating. My mind filled with a bit more hope and positiveness, my body feeling less tired by the second as I walk on cobbled streets and take pics looking out to sea.
I complete my journey home on the train. Another different way to reach my destination. It becomes a fitting metaphor for my mind. I don’t care how I get to where I want to go.
All I know is that I will get there.