Counselling session 1 of 8: my thoughts

These are my initial, fuzzy, thoughts on my first of eight counselling sessions. I’ve struggled with sleep the last couple of nights, there’s certainly more I’ve taken from it and no doubt could write it better but, you know, I just have to relax about everything having to be just so, and give myself a break.

  • Even after only one session I can appreciate the benefits of having someone to talk too.
  • It is very helpful to have someone external highlighting what they have garnered from my words. For example, a couple of times she highlighted how hard I was being on myself in terms of the language I was choosing to describe certain aspects of my life. I had never really considered this before or how much of a burden it was to be carrying around such a powerful inner critic. After talking some more it became clear that a lot of my frustration stems from not being able to be as – for want of a better word – effective, or proactive, as I used to be. I have to approach my life in a different way, I have to find new ways to be as effective as I used to be, in terms of getting things done, functioning at a level where I can get a job, plus the way I socialise has to change. I’m basically mourning my old lifestyle. I can’t hold myself to the same standards I used to have.
  • That isn’t to say I still can’t have the same goals, the same standards, I just need to approach how I go about things differently, build in strategies to help me.
  • Almost instantly that harsh inner critic evaporated, or at the very least became more manageable. The state of play has changed, I need to have understanding with myself as I would have someone else. I’m not a failure or letting myself down if one of the myriad of symptoms rears its head and affects my day negatively. There’s a reason for it and on those days I just do the best I can.
  • I accept that I need to hear encouragement and advice from outside. I used to be able to rationalise my own problems very well. But the fact is as my mental health has deteriorated, whilst I can still vocalise good advice and sound judgement for others, I find it very hard to do so for myself. My personal judgement on how to go about things has been tainted and skewed by excessive highs and debilitating lows. This is slightly different to my inner critic and again feeds into the point about having someone external.
  • I’m very aware of becoming too reliant on her and have to remind myself that it’s the process of counselling that is helpful. It’a quite an emotionally empowering thing to have someone listen implicitly. I mention this because looking ahead I don’t want to become attached to her in a way that would hold me back if for some reason I had to switch counsellor or in the future after our 8 sessions are finished. At the bipolar support group I heard from a few people who had grown accustomed to a particular person only to have to change.
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5 comments

    • Yeah I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the way I handle myself and respond to my thoughts. I feel like two sessions a week would be just right if I could do it.

      More than anything I’m just extremely grateful to have access to the kind of help I do. I feel incredibly humbled by the support I’m receiving from the mental health charity as well and just want to move forward.

  1. I understand well the high self-standards. And try to consider who/what is it I’m trying to appease by meeting them? I catch myself all the time now and say things like, “Don’t be so hard on yourself.” “Just do what you can.” “Don’t be mean to yourself.” It helps – what I say to myself is more powerful than what anyone else says to me.

    • Definitely, I need to learn to be a friend to myself. I think the word mean is a good one, somewhere along the line it just became normal to be mean to myself mentally.

      Thanks for sharing.

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