It all started about a year and a half ago. It was initially just the odd worry here and there about silly, irrelevant things. Soon enough, it led into me thinking about whether I am good enough for my job, whether my friends like me, whether my boyfriend wants me. At the beginning I was able to try and just push these thoughts away, but soon enough it became an everyday battle, which negatively affected my relationships with the people closest to me. This went on for about a year and a bit, before I finally realised that a change needed to be made in order to improve my lifestyle, but also to improve, and fix, my relationships.
Aside from my boyfriend and my best friend, the first person I opened up to after realising I needed help, was my mum. I say that I opened up to her, she walked into my bedroom whilst I was crying once and I had to tell her. But I’m happy that I did, because she pushed me to contact my GP and also helped me pick up some products from Holland and Barrett to help calm myself when I’m feeling anxious.
When I spoke to my GP, I explained my issues and that I was feeling very anxious, which was leading to my low mood. I told her that I was starting to lose motivation in my job, going out with friends, and I was just feeling a lot lower than I had ever been. I was prescribed with anti-depressants, however these made me feel very unwell and I couldn’t continue them (in all honesty, I didn’t want medication to get me out of this mess, I wanted to do this myself). Unfortunately, my GP was unable to offer any direct support for therapy and the only thing she could do was provide me with websites and people to contact myself. This in itself was quite stressful, as I felt like I was back to square one, and that I had no support from professionals. My mum suggested for me to contact The Samaritans, which I did when I was at my lowest point. I cried to the lady on the other end of the telephone, telling her how I’ve been feeling. They can’t offer any advice as such, but they are there to listen and even that can be such a big help to somebody who feels like they have nobody.
Eventually, I contacted a local support base near me and I had to go through a telephone assessment, in order for them to find a relevant therapy group for me. The assessment was quite nerve racking, as I wasn’t sure what to expect or what they were going to ask me, but I was happy once I had completed it. They contacted me back the following day and offered me a group therapy session focused on low mood. I was very scared about this, because in my head I imagined group therapy being a group of strangers, sitting in a circle and talking about their feelings and personal experiences. This was something I could’ve never pictured myself doing a year ago, but this was my only option at the time so I agreed.
I had to wait a month before I started this course, which sounds like a long time but this flew by and before I knew it, it was October 5th and I was getting myself prepared for my first session. Prior to the first session, I was feeling very nervous and I didn’t know what to expect, which made me feel even more scared. The thought of being in a room full of strangers terrified me, but once I got in there and met the therapist and the people, I began to relax. I was the youngest person there, but I didn’t feel out of place because we were all there for similar reasons. Once the session ended, I left not knowing really whether this type of therapy would help me, as it was obviously generalised to cater for everybody and some things that were discussed, was not relevant to me at all. However, I persisted and continued to attend each session for the full 7 weeks.
During these sessions, we were being taught how to rationalise our negative thoughts to help try and stop them from impacting us in such a way, that it affected our lives. I still can’t tell whether the therapy has helped me, or if it’s the changes I’ve made to myself that have improved the way I take on life. However, I’m currently waiting on a call from the therapist to find out what other therapies can be offered to me. I would prefer one to one counselling, as it would be more focused on myself and my own personal issues, and at least that way I’ll be working on ways to dealing with my problems.
I still have a long way to go, to be at the point in my life where I want to be, but I know that I’m improving each day. Of course, I still have down days (some days more than others) but I can see a massive change in myself from two months ago until now, and I’m proud of the person I’m becoming.