Thursday, 30 May 2013

Day 127 of depressive episode My Thoughts: The first two appointments

Not much to say from these which is a concern considering the limited amount of appointments i have for this therapy. The first one is as you might expect is an introduction and a general overview of what you are going through, the second appointment though was pretty a waste of fucking time.

My appointment time was 12:30, i got to the bus stop at 11:25, expecting a bus to turn up at or around did not show up until 12:03, now as the journey into the city centre can take upto 20-30 minutes and on top of that its a 20 minute walk from the centre to where this therapy place is, so thanks to Trent Barton i was going to be late.

I called the place to say i was running late, the receptionist informed me that if i was more than 15 minutes late the therapist may not see me. So the challenge is on, i gotta get to this place by 12:45 at the latest, lets face it i don't have enough of a challenge as it is, dealing with the anxiety of wondering whats going to happen in the therapy session in addition to going right past Kelly's place on the way.

Finally the bus gets me into the centre at 12:30...12:30, ridiculous. So after much forced speed marching and jogging (with inflamed lungs making breathing extremely difficult, my lower legs went numb and my hamstrings felt as though they were going to snap) i made to this place by 12:44. The therapist comes in and says there is no point doing the appointment as there won't be enough time for him to cover everything he wants to, now if i wasn't so busy trying to get my breathing and heart rate under control i'd said 'you got be fucking kidding me, i've just about killed myself getting here'.

In the end he saw me for a few minutes I think out of appreciation for the fact I had rushed to get to there asap, after asking a few times if i wanted a drink of water he told me the therapy would be focused on the trauma of me being mugged (and a few attempted muggings) years ago, he reckons its these that are the root cause of the night terrors. He also gave this thing to look up over the internet 'Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing' (EMDR) which I’ll go into in a bit.

That was basically it, I wasn't happy I rushed to get there for all of a few minutes, the next appointment is in another two weeks, I walked back, it was pissing it down with rain and I wonder why I bother at times.

Now for this EMDR, copied from Wiki;

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro, which emphasizes disturbing memories as the cause of psychopathology [1][2] and alleviates the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR is used for individuals who have experienced severe trauma which remains unresolved.[3] According to Shapiro, when a traumatic or distressing experience occurs, it may overwhelm normal cognitive and neurological coping mechanisms. The memory and associated stimuli are inadequately processed, and stored in an isolated memory network.[4] The goal of EMDR therapy is to process these distressing memories, reducing their lingering effects and allowing clients to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms. This is done by having clients recall traumas while following the therapist's hand movement.[5] The use of EMDR was originally developed to treat adults suffering from PTSD, however, it is also used to treat children.[6]
Just to be clear, the therapist is not saying I have PTSD (well he said I don't have 'full blown PTSD' whatever that means), I most certainly do not. I hadn't heard of this before so I learned about something new, I imagine the therapist will want to try this treatment and I have have no issue with doing so, some studies have shown some positive results and has the added benefit with having no negative side effects.

Bearing in mind its a CBT therapist I am seeing its interesting to see he's using a treatment from the psychotherapy side of things. Not overly keen on accessing the disturbing memories I got in here but if it helps to lessen the impact of these night terrors then its got be done.

30th May 2013 the journey continues.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Day 119 of depressive episode My Thoughts: Keep moving forward.

This scene struck quite a feeling within myself given where i am currently;

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain't you! You're better than that!

The underlined bits highlight what is most relevant to me. At the moment i feel as though i'm taking hits, being made unemployed again (okay i said i was relieved when the job came to an end but its still not a great feeling), feeling isolated from my closest friends, the night terrors which occur from time to time, all added to the depressive episode it can often feel like i'm taking a beating psychologically.

My CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) appointment is today it will be interesting to see if and how much of an impact it will have, bearing in mind I am only receiving a handful of these appointments whatever has be done will need to be done quickly, I had previously gone through a group psychotherapy course so if nothing else it will be intriguing to note the differences between the school of thoughts.

No doubt I will be asked what I would like to get out of the appointments I will have, honestly I just don't know, how do you set a goal on dealing with night terrors? The cause isn't clear, the triggers themselves are pretty vague, stress is one but then I’m not always stressed when they occur, I’m not always depressed, anxious, sad, whatever and I haven't watched any zombie films or tv series lately to explain away why I have dreams of crowds of people trying to lynch me (they are not zombies either).

So ain't going to have much time to establish something to help at the very least to reduce the frequency of the terrors, then again the frequency is random as well, I can go months without them before I suddenly end up getting at its worst at least one a night. I wonder though if night terrors is even an appropriate term anymore considering I had one lately that occurred during daytime...

I'll probably write a quick post on how the appointment goes later on today (its 3:30 in the morning, I can't sleep so just casually browsing the net and watching Rocky Balboa) now as Rocky said earlier;

Keep moving forward.

Wednesday 22th May 2013 the journey continues.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Day 104 of depressive episode My Thoughts: Bite the bullet

My contract with my last employer finished on the 26th April and so unemployed once more. I felt a mixture of feelings about leaving, on the one hand I found the job itself draining as I have anxiety about talking to people over the phone (I often wondered about the wisdom then of me taking a full time job where I am on the phone on the majority of the employment, however as a close friend once said I am a glutton for punishment so that probably explains it well enough) and given the nature of the work I was always afraid of making a mistake, the mistakes I would make in this case would affect people and I’ve been in that position of being stressed due to the mistakes of others.

In particular though there were times I felt I was part of the problem for some of these people I spoke to, I couldn't help them and had to tell them so, the bearer of bad news for people who were in poor (at times desperate) circumstances, one call will always stand out for me, a woman called to make a claim for JSA (Jobseekers Allowance) having been disallowed from her sickness benefit despite her stating she still suffered from the sickness in question which would greatly impact on her ability to work, also due to some bad advice she had waited for more than a month to make a claim meaning the whole process would take much longer for her than had she called within a month.

This woman was upset from the beginning about the whole situation, it sure felt horrible for me to say to her that the only way I could help her was by taking a new claim and under the circumstances this isn't help at all, anything else I can't do anything for her. She constantly re-told me her situation in the vain hope this would somehow change things for the better, of course it didn't and so it came to the question where I asked her how her sickness or disability affected her ability to work (I already knew but I wasn't allowed to answer for people, they had to answer every question no matter how bleeding obvious the answer was) so she told me, she however went into detail about why she suffered from panic attacks.

The previous year she was raped and during the attack the rapist had stubbed out cigarettes on her. At this point (bearing in mind I already felt guilty about the whole thing, it just didn’t feel right to me what was going on for this woman and I was part of it) it sent me over the edge, feeling so guilty I just couldn't carry on taking the call, the whole situation was just wrong, so I got the deputy team leader and explained to her I couldn't continue the call, she took over for me. This happened on Friday 15th March, I remember the date as on the 16th I went to to watch Derby County beat Leicester City 2-1 (the first time I saw Derby win in almost 3 years) and straight after I went to a friend's birthday night out, so the 15th was an awful day, the 16th being a very good one.

By far and away the worst call I ever experienced during my time there. For the most part most of the people I dealt with were okay and many of them took the time to thank me at the end of the calls. What ensured I kept going through the difficult times there was the support I had from the people I worked with, in particular my team leader and deputy team leader I doubt I’ll get as much support or understanding I got from them from another employer which I why despite the fact I far from enjoyed the job I am sad I am no longer working there.

As to what I will do next well I think its time I bite the bullet and attempt to get into working in the mental health field despite feeling crippled by self doubt that I would be able to cope in such a role (after all I didnt cope at all with the call I described above) then again not long before I started the last job I had the feeling I wouldn't be able to do it, well I bit the bullet and did it, did it well.

7th May 2013 the journey continues again.