Here we go. My last session. Six months of sitting in a waiting room every Monday evening starring at the same plastic plant just like the rest of the waiting room troops. Eye contact is strictly forbidden! Six months of sessions attending as a crunched up slinky and leaving every session as a straightened spring; salvaging any ounce of energy left to drive home.
What would I do with my Monday evenings now?
It was a big step to take. To accept the help of speaking to someone (a total stranger), another big step to start talking about what’s going on in the confusing maze of my mind and the climb of the ladder to truly listen to the help on hand and deciding when you feel ready to complete treatment.
Momentous steps; coupled with momentous feelings of fear, shame and embarrassment - on the scale as though not only did you walk into a shop with no money but without any bloody clothes on!
Taking the initial step for me wasn’t so bad. I knew I was low, wasn’t enjoying the little things in life that made me smile and if I wasn’t cocooned in the duvet on my sofa then I felt like a little lost soul. I had to seek help. So I made a cuppa, took a deep breath and called my GP. This SOS call saved my life.
Then...the waiting game. Waiting for the phone to ring felt like an eternity. An eternity of desperation and loneliness - family and friends are in close contact with me but opening this huge can of worms to them was so painful; I retreated to my safe duvet cocoon. I knew the mental health services were stretched to the max - but how long could I wait?
Even now I really cannot explain how I coped waiting; from my plea for help to sitting in a tiny office on a Monday evening assessing the kind of counselling that I required. All I can pin it down to is strength and patience from my loved ones. The inner strength we all forget we have - it’s in there somewhere.
This is it. My last session. Still convinced someone is watering the plastic plant in the middle of the waiting room. Some faces are becoming familiar as we sit within the deafening silence of these walls and of course - eye contact is a no-no!
Feelings of excitement and nervousness; but after six months of pouring out every thought and fear that had entered my head to the counsellor - it was myself who decided it was time to remove the stabilisers and embrace what happens next after therapy.
As I sat in that comfy chair overlooking the empty playground next door - the bubbles of fear and doubt crept in. Am I sure I can do this? Can I cope without my Monday evening routine of a ‘nicotine patch of therapy’ so to speak?
‘You can but try’ is what Mum usually says to me.
The fear of failure can stop you in your tracks before you’ve even left the starting blocks. The reassurance that the services are always there as a safety net helped. As I continue to discuss the end of therapy and openly talking about how far I’ve come on this journey, I began to smile.
My journey and no one else’s, it’s mine! For so many things we cannot control, particularly after 2020 - for our own personal journeys we can!
That’s it. My last session is complete. I want to hug my counsellor for all her non-judgement support, for the boxes of tissues I’ve used up and to apologise for turning the air blue with my swearing.
Again, just like the other Mondays at 9 pm - I get into the car, feeling exhausted of so many emotions rolling around my mind and exiting out my eyeballs. But hold on, what are these feelings? Feels big, familiar. Desperation and loneliness… meet relief and proud!
Six months ago I hit rock bottom, the breakdown was in full swing and with the dark bubbles filling my mind I walked into that tiny, cold office for the first assessment and asked for help. Help. Small word, huge meaning.
Six months later, the feeling of euphoria sweeps over me and I can’t even remember the last time I felt this. A wonderful sensation, one that I worked hard for and achieved.
We can choose to try every possible path to help our fractured/ heartbroken minds, to select certain guidance to help us cope with daily shenanigans or to simply acknowledge which help is available and take it at our own pace.
There’s never a set date or time where ‘ping’ all is healed or you wake up and it’s all been a bad dream. I believe I am better- but healed? It’s a work in progress. Broken bones are repaired with aid of a plaster cast, varying in time depending on the break.
A troubled mind doesn’t have that set course for healing and much more complicated than resitting your GCSEs. Whether it’s counselling, group meetings, medication, meditation, yoga or simply opening up to someone you feel safe with- you can but try.