So, you might have seen my post where I opened up about being diagnosed with depression, and obviously the next steps that were taken were to try to treat it/get rid of the damn thing. Having depression sucks, obviously. But there are things that can make your life easier if you do have it. I started with therapy, because that was the route that I personally wanted to go down before trying anti-depressants, though there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing it another way.
My parents pretty much took charge here, which was great because I was pretty useless at thinking about what I needed. I am also aware of how extraordinarily lucky I am – I was able to have private therapy because of the health insurance that my family have. My parents decided that they wanted me to get better straight away, so made arrangements for me. All I had to do was choose one of about 6 therapists.
In an ideal world, everyone who needs therapy could have the same. I can’t believe how ridiculous the waiting times are for NHS therapy, and that’s why I think it’s important to keep talking about it; sharing experiences and making it plain how the lack of funding in mental health is affecting our society (pls read and fix, Theresa the Appeaser).
But basically, I got a therapist, and her name was Rebecca, and she was lovely. It was really hard opening up at first, but once I started, it all came tumbling out – all the thoughts in my head that I kept to myself but were eating away at me everyday. It got to a point where I was so comfortable with her, I’d even share the thoughts I knew sounded ridiculous (like how I thought I was crazy sometimes, how I was avoiding doing my dissertation because it felt too hard for me, how I wondered if I deserved to be loved at all).
Now of course, therapists are just therapists – they can’t solve all of your problems. That’s still for you to do. But they help you to get in the right frame of mind to do so, and can advise you and give you confidence.For example, when I was having therapy, I’d also just started a new relationship, but had only just finished a whole lot of drama with an old best friend and ex-boyfriend. Both of them left me feeling used, vulnerable and worthless. But also with a heck of a lot of trust issues. I had so many doubts about my new relationship, not because of my new partner so much as my own feelings. How could I trust somebody new? Was he just stringing me along? Was I worth anything to him? Was this long-term? Did he really love me or was he just saying it? Rebecca’s reply was obvious and simple: you are of course loved but you need to sit down and discuss it with him. It was terrifying, but after my session I found the strength to phone my partner and organise having that discussion in person. And I am so glad I asked those questions. It was something I needed to do.
Rebecca helped to give me closure from my experiences with my ex-boyfriend and ex-“best friend”. She made me realise that I deserved more than how they treated me and that most people weren’t out to hurt/control/put me down like they did.
But more importantly, she also taught me that I couldn’t make everything better for everyone. Both my best and worst trait is that I am too concerned with other people’s well-beings. I just want to make everyone happy and safe. Rebecca helped me distance myself slightly so that I have more healthy friendships and to focus on looking after myself first. I like to think I’m still a really caring person but I’m no longer being dragged through hell by my friends.
Therapy is a lot less scary and a lot less lame than I thought it would be when I was first diagnosed with depression. But before my first session, I decided I was going to give it my all and really take on board everything I would be told, because I hated feeling so down all the time. I wanted more than anything to combat my illness. In the end, it took the magic combo of anti-depressants and therapy to get me to where I am today – which is pretty damn good. I feel happy and I feel well. So I think that old saying “don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it” comes into it’s own here. If you feel like you might want to try therapy, I definitely recommend it.