Real Talk: Why I'm Going Back to Therapy

Real Talk: Why I’m Going Back To Therapy

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!).

5 Things You Might Not Realise When You Start Therapy

5 Things You Might Not Realise When You Start Therapy

I’ve mentioned on my social media that I started therapy this year. I’d been on the waiting list for 11 months so I’d had a lot of time to think (read worry) about what was going to happen, if it was going to work, if it would ever happen.

Then I started and while I’m not going to go into detail, because therapy is private, I have had some realisations about therapy that I didn’t know I would. I’ve heard from a number of you guys about your own mental health, so I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learnt.

More people than you think will have gone through similar feelings

I was really open about going to therapy and so many people surprised me with their own stories. I was shocked by the number of people who had been to therapy, were currently going or hoping to start soon.

It was a real reminder that no matter how much our brains make us feel like we’re completely alone, we’re not.

You may turn into a human tap

I cried, oh man I cried. Not even about the things I was talking through. I’d watch a cute video about animal friends on Facebook and start blubbing like a baby.

After my first 2 sessions in particular I just kept crying. I think this is down to the fact that some of the things I’ve been going through I haven’t dealt with, I’ve pushed it aside because I didn’t have time to fall apart – shit needed to get done.

So, lifting the lid in the first session just opened up the part of my brain that makes the tears come. That was not so fun.

You can feel both heavier and lighter at the same time

This is a weird one to write about and to describe. In on sense just being able to talk about things makes me feel lighter. On the flip side after the sessions I was incredibly tired and my body felt heavy…hopefully that makes sense.

There may be trauma that you haven’t processed

Oof this is something that hit me harder than I thought. We realised in the first few sessions that a lot of what was going on was linked to the accident I had where I broke my spine and after.

Going back about 5 years and working through it is a lot but I’m glad I can finally deal with it.

You’re going to be ok

It might take a while, but you really, really will.

Livin' The Vida Lockdown: Day Thirty-One - Getting Through Tough Days

Livin’ The Vida Lockdown: Day Thirty-One – Getting Through Tough Days

I’m going to be honest with you all, I was dreading today. I’d been dreading it for a few weeks and until recently my plan was to spend the day hiding in my bed – I was in a much worse place mentally than I am right now.

Today marks 5 years since my life completely changed after a horse riding accident. If you’ve read my blogs for a while you’ll probably know quite a lot if not I started horse riding at university and loved it, 6 months into learning to ride I fell and broke part of my spine. It was a long recovery and I later developed Fibromyalgia.

Normally, I’d make sure I treated myself on the day. If I could help it I wouldn’t plan anything but I’d maybe go to my local shopping center and let myself buy a few things, go to a coffee shop and maybe see a friend or my family and get through the day. Obviously I couldn’t do that today.

I woke up and checked my social media and BAM Facebook memories, thank you very much for the picture of me riding. Thank you indeed. So I got up, got my cup of tea and let myself have some time to sit and think – feel how I needed to feel. I did get teary and emotional thinking about all the changes, everything that happened.

I’m working through the event, what happened after and my Fibromyalgia diagnosis in therapy. I do think that had helped this year. I let myself feel and then got up, got showered and dressed. I worked all morning and went out for a walk to feel the sun on my skin.

While I was walking I thought about how far I’ve come. Some days I can’t do that, other days (in non lockdown times) I can go to the gym. Each day is different but I think I’m doing well. Would I have got through today a few years ago? I don’t know.

It’s a bit of a rambly post, but I expected that. I’m proud of myself for where I am. Does that mean I don’t struggle? No. I struggle mentally and physically with the fact my life has changed forever and I’ve had to change the future I thought I would have.

That said I’m trying. I’m taking it day by day and I’m proud of myself for getting through today in a totally weird and stressful situation.

Peace out.

MHAW18: Does Therapy Work?

Let’s talk about Therapy. Does it really work?

Now, I’m not talking about laying down, a leather sofa to a stony-faced psychiatrist, sorry to burst your bubble but I starting talking therapies on and off almost 10 years ago and it’s never happened. Not once. That is a Hollywood myth, or something you don’t get on the NHS, either way not something I can tell you about.

I know that it’s not for everyone but for me, I’m pretty sure it’s got me to where I am today as a person. Working through my thoughts, problem and general mental health with someone who’s qualified and has to tools I didn’t was crucial. It was just a chat every week. I’d speak about what I felt I needed to and when appropriate try to break things down. It cleared up so much in my own head.

I don’t understand the stigma around talking to someone to try and sort your shit out. Surely that would make us better as people? To talk about things that are going on in our brains.  That said, I completely understand that it’s not for everyone. For some people, they need to work through things in another way and talking isn’t for them, which is fine.

That said, we need to acknowledge that for people who it does help it is vital and that’s where things have fallen down. A year and a half ago I was put on a waitlist because things were going pretty badly in my personal life, I’d had a lot of change and wasn’t doing so well. I’m still on that waiting list even though I feel like I don’t need it anymore. That is not only mind-boggling but also disgusting. I had a support system and wasn’t in crisis but sometimes I get frustrated, what if that wasn’t the case? But, that’s another blog post.

What do you think about therapy? Is it something that’s helped you or not your cup of tea? Let me know in the comments below!

What Being on a Mental Health Waitlist is Like


Imagine you have an endless clock ticking in your head, the sound is not only annoying but  terrifying because you don’t know what happens when the clock stops ticking. That’s what it’s like living with a mental illness and no access to the treatment you know you need. That’s what it’s like living in my head at the moment.

I aim to always be honest and open about my mental health because talking about it is the only way were going to leave the stigma behind. I have been lucky enough for the past 3 years to have a wonderful mentor who worked with me weekly in navigating my mental health alongside studying and working. The problem was that she was funded by the Government under Disabled Student Allowance, who have strict rules. The week I handed in all of my coursework they stopped my funding. To them, I didn’t need academic help so I wasn’t their responsibility. It doesn’t matter that graduates face massive change and are under extreme stress. Even though I know I can still count on my mentor, it’s not the same as having her there weekly.

So, after speaking to my doctor, I was informed that there is a 4 – 5 month wait for someone to talk to. Oh and that’s after the one company that provides talking therapy in the whole area bother to call me back. People might not understand why I’m mad why I get so frustrated because I’m ok now, right? I wouldn’t say I’m 100% ok, I am struggling and do regularly. I’m managing as best I can.

I don’t understand, the worst thing for a person with a mental health condition is being left with their demons and no help is a dangerous thing. Those 4 months could mean the difference between life and death for some people. It makes me angry and upset that one person has to deem you ‘sick enough’ to get treatment in a healthy time scale, that there isn’t enough money in our health service, that it’s clear that mental health isn’t taken as seriously as physical health.

I’ve been in the deepest and darkest parts of depression and I’ll be honest, it’s one of the most terrifying things. It scares me knowing how sick I was and that as a teenager. I spoke out, I even told teachers and doctors I was depressed and just how poorly I was, only to have it shrugged off. I’m trying and fighting and working not to get back into that place and to stay on top of this illness. At the same time though, I feel like the doctors are giving up, that they don’t care if I get to the point of darkness, they’ll help then. We need to get rid of this culture of letting people get to their worst before we help because we wouldn’t do that to any other health condition.

We need to get rid of this culture of letting people get to their worst before they help, because we wouldn’t do that to any other health condition.