It’s Friday night and it’s time to party and by party I mean talk about mental health and therapy – woo!
I think all of us can agree that the last 15 months have been a LOT. Before the pandemic started I’d just started with a therapist through the NHS who I carried on with on and off throughout, she was nice but it was incredibly focused on CBT – something I’ve done multiple times and honestly the approach doesn’t work for me most of the time. That said, it was all I was going to be offered so I took the help. Even though as time went on my mental health was getting worse and external factors were taking their toll I was told that I only had a certain number of sessions, once my last one was over that was it. I could apply again in 6 months if I was still struggling.
I was given this news around November time, I knew we were going to have to move, I’d just postponed my wedding, we were in lockdown again and I couldn’t see my support network. In the few weeks that followed we moved into a small space with family, got covid, lost a beloved pet and I got some worrying health news. It was a pretty bad time. I wasn’t in a position to pay for private therapy sessions and couldn’t stand the thought of doing video calls when people were around all the time and I might be overheard, so I waited.
Time passed and things got worse and then better, at least outwardly. Ali found a job, my work started picking up and we found somewhere that we would be able to rent again, we could move out and have our own space. I should, in theory have felt much better and a part of me did but deep down I knew I was struggling. The things I originally went to therapy for hadn’t gone away and on top of that I was dealing with new things and none of my normal coping methods were working. I’ve had talking therapy in the past – the longest was for a period of 3 years while I was at university and it changed my life.
It does, to us Brits at least, seem a very American thing to see a therapist regularly and work on yourself. It doesn’t exactly go with the stiff upper lip mentality does it? But, thankfully, that’s changing. I know a few people now who have regular therapy appointments and I think if they were more affordable then we would see even more people paying to go. It’s not cheap. If I could I’d have weekly sessions but, right now, I can only afford every other week – but it’s better than nothing.
I’m going back to therapy because I want to be the best version of myself. I want to be able to do something that I know supports my mental well-being. It might be for 6 months, it might be for 6 years – I’m not focusing on that.
I really hope we continue to normalise therapy of different kinds. To me it’s like exercise for my mind and my emotions it can only make me stronger. If you’re reading this and don’t have the funds there are services across the country that can help those who need it and some are starting to open up face to face (a big thing for me!).