Returning to therapy; step backwards or step forwards?

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The other day, I filled in a self-referral form for NHS talking therapy.

I haven’t had any counselling or therapy since 2016, when I had a period of psychotherapy on the good ol’ NHS.  I feel lucky that it has been nearly three years since I last needed some structured, impartial and professional talking and listening.  In recent weeks my anxiety has been rising, and this anxiety surrounds an issue which is not going to be easily resolved.  One of the tangible reasons I know this is because in my blog ‘drafts’ folder, there are three separate attempted  beginnings of blogs around this particular issue.  I have not been able to complete any of them, despite trying numerous times and feeling driven to write about it.  At the times of initially trying to tackle the subject, I did not over-analyse my reasons for not being able to finish; I assumed I was feeling too tired, or not in the correct frame of mind to write, and just put my laptop to one side in favour of some mindless telly.  I have realised recently that, instead, it was  because I have not mentally reached a point when I am able to write or even speak eloquently about it.  It feels like there is an obstruction or blockage in my mind, with all this stuff gathering behind it – but until I do something constructive about unblocking the plug, I won’t be able to access or make sense of it.  I know that this is an issue which is not going to go away on its own, and which could potentially haunt me for years and impact on my family, unless I deal with it head-on. This realisation is what has pushed me to try and get some help.

I am on anti-depressants, and have been since 2012, apart from one unsuccessful attempt at coming off them.  I instinctively know that an increase or change in medication is not what I need at the moment.  I do not feel depressed, but am aware that this might be around the corner if I don’t act now.  Over the years I have realised that my depression usually happens when I have ignored my anxiety for such a long period that I have become exhausted and cannot sustain my mood and energy levels anymore.  There have been times previously when I have instinctively known that I need an increase in medication, but now is not one of those times.  I know that what I need is to grapple with the issue, challenge myself, come out of the other side and hopefully find some peace.

Initially I felt deflated that I was thinking about returning to talking therapy, as it felt like a step backwards.  But – and I know I’ve said it before – on this pathway of bereavement by suicide, I can never be complacent that everything is OK and I can walk into the sunset having dealt with my past and faced my demons.  Bereavement by suicide just is not that simple.  It is nearly eight years since Ian died but, unbelievably, brand new issues still arise even after all that time.  It is exhausting and boring and I would like it all to go away, but I feel lucky to have the insight, realism and the will to know that this is not going to happen, and the responsibility for my life and my feelings lies only with me.

So, onwards I go, with a determined step forwards on my path, and not an apologetic step backwards.  I am hoping that in a few months time (NHS waiting times dependent) I will be able to finish a blog about this topic which is pulling at my brain.  Watch this space….

Until next time, thank you for reading.

Louise x

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