Well, I still haven’t acted on my urge-related thoughts, which is a good thing. The past few days have been better than those previous but if I’m honest I still feel rocked from such a downturn last week. I made it to my appointment with the psychologist on Thursday even though I was completely dreading it (and did consider cancelling) but it went ok. Better than ok actually. We focussed entirely on practical matters to finish collating my history and then had a very helpful, two-way discussion about next steps regarding therapy. It was the first time that anyone has really sat down with me and openly talked about the pros and cons of different options and has actually asked my opinion and taken my views into account rather than just telling me what they will or will not be providing. It was a really positive experience! As a result of the discussion we decided that the most fitting (and available) option, in order to help find and then process the missing pieces of my life, would be EMDR therapy. It’s not set in stone yet that it will go ahead as she has to get agreement from the whole multi-disciplinary team but supposing that they do agree, it means that I have a plan to move forward with and will actually receive some further therapy after returning to the community post discharge from the therapeutic community inpatient service I was at until March of this year. That is a huge relief - I was starting to believe that I really would have to make do with just my fortnightly appointments with my care coordinator. They are useful and important, don’t get me wrong but I feel they aren’t enough on their own to keep me forging forward. If the EMDR does go ahead however, it is a risky business. In searching for those missing jigsaw pieces, we’re going to have to probe some difficult areas for me and things are likely to get worse before they get better. I can’t say that I am looking forward to that at all (who would?!) but I think in order to make progress I’m going to have to bite the bullet.
If you’re wondering why I’m not getting upset about the therapy being offered not being psychoanalytic, I am trying to keep an open mind. The fact is that psychoanalytic psychotherapy isn’t provided by my Recovery Team and if they were able to pull any strings a) it would be a miracle and b) it would mean a long waiting list and ultimately a long time in therapy scrambling around in the dark looking for these puzzle pieces. I know there are no guarantees that what I am being offered will be more successful but it might work and right now, I will take something that might work over sitting around waiting for something that might work too, if things haven’t gone even further downhill in the time I’ve spent waiting. I know that psychoanalytic psychotherapy and I seemed to ‘click’ in my time at the therapeutic community and I’m not devaluing that in any way. But maybe it worked because I was ready for the therapeutic input in a way I haven’t been ready before. Maybe now I am more receptive to therapy as a whole and EMDR will work just as well. The truth is I just don’t know but fingers crossed I may now get the chance to find out.
In other news, I have now done 3/5 of my Recovery College course and that is going well. It is only a small group of us but that means we are getting more personal tuition and have more chance to discuss things that are more directly relevant to us as individuals. Last session we had some interesting discussions about identity and dissociation, which were useful and informative as well as being reassuring for me - hearing that others struggle with knowing who they really are and have similar experiences of shutting down when things get overwhelming helped me feel less alone and less of a weirdo.
I saw my GP last week too. He told me he thinks I need to get a job because everything I am doing is too mental health heavy at the moment and besides, I need to get a real job because my plans to increase my writing aren’t going to provide me with an income. I can see his point but I’m really not sure that now is the right time to be looking for work. I haven’t even been out of hospital for 6 months yet (bearing in mind I was an inpatient for almost 18 months prior to that) and every time I take on employment my mental health spirals downwards. It is my CPA meeting on Tuesday with my care coordinator and psychiatrist (a meeting held roughly every 6 months to discuss care plans, treatment etc) and my GP has said he will be there via telephone so we’ll see whether I have to defend my position on work then. In all fairness though, having been in the mental health system for ten years now, this GP is the first one who has ever said they’ll attend a CPA in any form so I feel lucky to have someone who really does take an interest in my wellbeing even if some of our views differ now and again.
Just for balance, there have been non-clinical / mental health related highlights in my week too! I have spent some really lovely time with friends on a couple of days and also took part in my last choir gig of the season this weekend. Keeping busy socially has helped my mood a great deal.
Life is definitely a puzzle but each day has many pieces and when at least some of them fit together I feel grateful.