Therapy and mirrors

I had a telephone consultation with my GP (doctor) this morning. He is happy with regards to me starting my antidepressants again and I already referred myself for the NHS counselling service. I have been put on a waiting list for 6 sessions and in addition I am currently following an on line CBT programme. I’m grateful to have access to anything that might help and willing to give things a go. I’m not loving the online course I have to say. There’s a lot of information I already know. My problem seems to be with using the strategies. It’s all very logical and sensible but bloody impossible when you feel like crap and logic and sense have done a runner.

Overall, I haven’t had a lot of success with counselling. I had 6 sessions CBT face to face when I was initially diagnosed as depressed and anxious. This was organised through work. I’d go as far to say, it was a load of rubbish and a waste of time. I hadn’t taken any medication at that point in proceedings and I was in a bit of a state. The lady was lovely but I just said what she wanted to hear. When she suggested I looked at myself in the mirror every morning and say the words ‘I love you’, I just knew we were on a completely different wavelength. After the final session I walked out feeling extremely grateful. Grateful that I didn’t have to go back again!

My next dabble into the wonderful world of therapy was a locally run charity. My cousin had recommended it. There was a long waiting list but after 4 months I had my first session. Unfortunately, within 3 weeks of starting, my mental health hit an all time low and I had stopped eating. I saw the GP again and there was no choice really. Time to medicate. I continued with the counselling and we talked about a whole range of things. It was more helpful than before and certainly, with the antidepressants kicking in, I did feel more positive. That said, though it’s nice to have someone to talk to and not judge, I honestly don’t think it changed anything for me. It was interesting and I learnt a few new things but in terms of it improving how I was feeling or dealing with life stuff, it didn’t. Again, the counsellor, Sharon, felt I had done really well in the sessions and called them to a close. I am really good at talking the ‘counselling and therapy talk’ by the way. I don’t know why I do it because it doesn’t do me a single favour. I still do it though.

This is most definitely a cycle. I stopped the meds not long after this period of counselling because I felt well again. Yup, you guessed it, within 4 months I had re-referred myself back to the same charity and had started sessions again, with a new counsellor, this time a man. A few weeks in, I was back on antidepressants and so it goes on. I think I possibly took more from the counselling that time. He gave me lots to read and research and I learned so much about personal development. By this stage I felt I deserved a degree. I still however could not apply it to myself. Or maybe I just didn’t try. Again, the sessions came to a natural end. I was one of the hardest working clients he’d had. Same old story. Top of the therapy class. Gold star. Still no real progress for me though.

Not long after these sessions finished I gave up drinking alcohol. Interestingly my reliance and addiction to booze had never come up in any of my counselling or therapy sessions. I’d touched on it and I’d always been open and honest about how much I’d been drinking. On reflection I think they dropped the ball with that. Since being sober I have felt so much better. Sure there are times when it’s been horrible to have to experience the emotions without having wine as my crutch but I am more honest with myself and others. I’m not giving up on counselling or therapy, I just not sure what it can give me anymore. Whilst sober and taking antidepressants I can use the information and the strategies and yes, they work. Take away the meds and it’s like I’ve never heard of triggers, behaviours, reframing etc. Maybe I’m not cut out for counselling. Maybe I just haven’t found the right ‘fit’. Maybe it will finally be successful one day. I am absolutely sure of two things though. One, taking the medication only ever really worked when I was sober. Two, I am never going to stand in front of a mirror and say ‘I love you’. Just saying.

Claire x

37 thoughts on “Therapy and mirrors”

  1. I haven’t had great luck with counselling either, although I’m pro-therapy in a more general sense. I’m also not an “I love you” in the mirror kind of person; contrived just doesn’t do it for me.

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  2. Counseling was my first thought for my daughter for her anxiety, depression and body dysmorphia. Really wanted a younger female she could relate to. Found one but when I saw her I wondered how it would go. She was mid 20’s and very pretty. I think her advice was hard to take with her being so pretty and my daughter having body dysmorphia. I’m sure my daughter was thinking how this counselor can’t possibly relate to how she is feeling. She was helpful, I’m glad we found her but overall for what I paid per session I didn’t see any changes. Currently my daughter doesn’t see her as she’s in another state for College. I do really need to talk to my daughter to see if she wants to continue seeing this particular counselor on long breaks and such when she’s home. Wow I just rambled on and on. Lol Anyway the look in the mirror and saying I Love You each morning would never work for my daughter either! Just not the right fit as you said. You are making such positive changes and it’s inspiring!! I appreciate all your posts as they really help me more understand what my daughter is feeling and such. The struggle is real and hard. You, Claire are amazing and I lovey you! 😍

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    1. Thanks Jackie. It is a struggle and it is hard but I have learnt so much and I feel I am able to manage my own mental health much better now. I think that’s the best way of coping, identifying what you need and what helps you. Everyone is different and I have come to realise that understanding your own mental health is the crux to recovery, whatever that looks like for you. You are a fantastic mum and have done so much for your daughter. She is lucky to have that support and she will achieve positive mental health. She is on the right road already. Sending love to you 😘 xx

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  3. Ha – I’ve actually done the I love you in the mirror on a few different depression trips😂. No worries though I get it’s not for everyone. I was so low I needed to start at that base.I’ve also did shamanic journeys in a yurt, tried church(I liked the singing), did group meditations in a sangha, and yep even one on one counseling. Each had a bit of success on either holding me so I wouldn’t fall further or boosted me up a notch. I had about 6 sessions with a counselor after my divorce of being married 16 years. The counselor was taking a month vacation and told me I was good? What the freak, right? I can laugh about it now. I’m all about whatever it takes to help break the cycle. Glad you are getting help, Claire❤️

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    1. Another counselor was mad he had to do a bunch of paperwork because I had requested a leave of absence. He actually told me that’s why he hated my type of cases..I’m sure there are good ones out there but I’m over that path…for now.

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    2. I agree totally … it’s about accessing what you can and finding what specifically helps you. I believe there is someone out there who would really tap into me and make some changes and I am totally pro therapy and counselling. I have trained in it myself for a year and I use many strategies in my own work. I just can’t seem to find a connection, which may be more about me than the therapists. I won’t give up trying to find the connection though. ❤️❤️

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  4. I guess it depends if you connect with the counsellor. Without that connection you might as well read a text book. Then the counsellor has to go down the route which is best for you not just follow the prescribed care pathway. So hope you find stuff which takes you to a better place. That would be most excellent dude. x

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    1. Most excellent indeed Dude. I agree 100%. That is exactly what it has felt like in the past, like a text book and I then respond accordingly, with text book answers. Remember “all we are is dust in the wind Dude” 😊x

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  5. It’s inspiring to read that despite having reasons to turn your back on therapy, you’re willing to give it another go. I think it shows real strength in your character. I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed for you that you have more successes with it this time and, if it doesn’t quite do what you need it to, that you find something that does. 💜💜

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    1. Thank you Paige. Coming from someone who never gives up, despite challenges and tough times, that means a lot. I will keep trying to find ways to help and more and more tools for my ‘box of resilience’. Maybe I shouldn’t call it that!! 😂😂 A sense of humour comes in handy too I think. 💕❤️💜

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  6. Omg I cringed for you on the saying I love you in a mirror. Maybe instead of box of resilient, resilient tool kit? I think finding the right therapist to connect with is hard, but it also being the right time for you, like it’s all got to come together. It’s only happened once in my life with an amazing counsellor. I then went to see her a year or 2 later and it wasn’t as effective and in reflection it was more where I was at (but that’s just me). xxx

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    1. I think that’s a really good point. Some of it probably did help me and I suspect going forward, facing potential challenges, I will need a good counsellor or therapist. I’m waiting for six sessions face to face (or video) so we’ll see how that goes. Yes, resilient tool kit works so much better! Xxx

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  7. I look more these days to getting still and reconnecting with source. Many of Wayne Dyer’s book have helped me plus learning more about Buddhism and meditations. If you google your town and sangha you might find groups in your area. It’s interesting when you go to a meeting that the particular lesson provided always help connect and ground you to the “truths”. Usually a lesson is given and then you meditate with the group for 20 to 30 minutes. It’s true when 2 to 3 people come together with love that goodness happens😊. At least that’s my experience.

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    1. I’m fascinated by all the different paths people take and find to help them. I recently read Ehhart Tolle’s ‘The power of now’ but though I liked some of the philosophy, I couldn’t ‘feel’ it, if you know what I mean. I love that idea of calm and peace and being totally present. I won’t give up finding ways to achieve it! Thanks for the suggestions. Maybe some more research is needed on my part. Xx

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    2. I love Wayne dyer.
      I saw him speak before he died. He was so lovely.

      I never used to like any woo woo stuff. Now I teach yoga and embrace it all. I listen to Ram Dass talks every day.

      It’s liberating.

      Anne

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      1. I am open to learn and find anything new and that helps me (and isn’t bad for me 😉). I have practised yoga almost daily for the past 5 months and I’m a complete convert. Just did half hr Adriene session before work. Definitely need to broaden my horizons.
        Xx

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  8. I have had the same experience with therapy. Have been several times off and on, but never felt it really benefited me. It sounds like you are doing all you can to ensure your future wellbeing though, and that is admirable. You never know when something will just click, right? Best to keep an open mind. Sending love and support. 💕🦋

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    1. An open mind is key to all this as is trying and using a variety of ways to manage. It’s good to hear others have had a similar experience too. Hope you are ok 💕💕

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  9. Yeah, the I love you thing does seem awkward! I think therapy is all about finding the right therapist. It is not easy to do! I sometimes think I’m done with my therapist, but I have found that without someone level headed to bounce things off of, the crazy in my head sometimes takes over. Not good. I’m so glad the medication helps. Whatever helps and doesn’t have crappy side effects sounds like the right thing to me. 😘🤗

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    1. If I found a connection with someone and felt they really understood what was going on for me and could challenge my thinking then I would stick with it for a good period of time. I tend to feel like I’m going through the motions and it’s almost as if I play a part when I get into the room. I don’t know why that happens. It’s not useful at all! I’m settling into the meds again now so I am having good and bad days but that is normal. It was nice to feel a bit ‘numb’ for a couple of days. Very peaceful. 😂😂 😘❤️😘

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  10. Tricky one this. But I’ll go for it. Although I trained in counselling I found it frustrating and too restrictive when working with clients. Sometimes I like to use CBT, elements of Gestalt or good old fashioned psychodynamic counselling. The key thing for me is is that insight which you often get with counselling doesn’t necessarily bring change. And no change often means frustration with the process. Regardless of the type of therapy it’s the relationship between therapist and client that is crucial. Find a therapist where you really connect and maybe one that offers a broader set of skills than simply counselling or CBT. I’m available but I’d then have to keep a professional distance😉 Seriously though don’t give up just find the right therapist x

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    1. Oh Jim, if only you could be my therapist! If I could find someone who had all the experience and skills you have and the ability to build that relationship you mention, I am sure I’d have made so much more progress with it. There are just not enough Jim’s to go around. Yep, insight is all very well and good but no use nor ornament if you aren’t able to use it to develop and change. X

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  11. Last year when I felt as if no one cared, I made a mantra and repeated it over and over. All the time a yoga, and when waking, over and over. I can’t remember it all, but it went something like
    “I am Wendy.
    I am strong.
    I am Loved.
    Sending love to all those who suffer.”

    It really helped! I started to belive I was loved, and loved myself!

    I have had some horrible or no good therapists and some wonderful ones. My last one was the best, as she really taught me about self-compassion.
    xo
    wendy

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