I have a new counsellor. I was referred because, during my counselling assessment, it was suggested that online CBT and management of symptoms probably wouldn’t cut it. I’d done all that. It got me through but it didn’t move me forward. It was time to tackle the big stuff.
Was I ready? As ready as I was when I ticked the option for GCSE Drama as an excruciatingly shy 15 year old. And as ready as I was when I jumped on the bus to travel to the Christchurch skydive centre.
So I very quickly said yes and committed before I could wimp out. After all, my amygdala might have been telling me that I was bricking it, but my rational mind argued that these things would be bloody good for me. As good for me, in fact, as a Labour government would be for Britain. (NB – for any currently undecided voters, just to clarify matters, I passed GCSE drama and survived the sky dive, landing with a beaming smile and a huge surge in endorphins. So do take a chance on Jezza tomorrow. You will be rewarded.)
Anyway, back to therapy. Not that I would need so much of it if Labour got in…..
Sorry, that’s definitely the end of the political talk now. Back to therapy…
I thought I might share this new experience of more in depth therapy, as I would love to hear from anyone else who has gone beyond CBT and into what makes us who we are. It’s kind of interesting having spent so many years managing symptoms and learning about CBT to actually look at what’s underneath. What’s driving it all. I had no idea until recently that a lack of self-esteem could cause anxiety. That it’s not necessarily all the small things that are making you anxious, but something much bigger and longer-term that’s driving it.
So my counsellor pointed out today that it was interesting how anxious I could get over the little things, but how I was smiling and laughing about the big stuff. The stuff I’ve learned over the years that has become a part of who I am (am I off on a journey to find myself? Nope. Not like that. I’m not sitting cross-legged, ringing bells and burning incense as I type. I’m just making sense of shit, that’s all).
I’ve never felt that I was good enough. It’s a dawning realisation hence the new therapist. Something to do with approaching 40 perhaps? I’ve just always accepted that good isn’t good enough. I’ve mentioned this before in a blog post, but to give an example, my husband once suggested I take part in the Great North Run because I was starting to run a good distance. How did I respond?
‘No I can’t compete in that. I wouldn’t win’.
I need to learn to enjoy life, rather than feel compelled to live it. And to WIN at it. And to do it ALL RIGHT NOW.
So my counselling sessions are going to help me look at which elements of my personality/my illness I want to keep (which came first? Who the fuck knows). And how much I need to let go of.
Having a sense of urgency (no, not in the toilet sense – although that can happen when you’re in your late 30s and go running a lot) can be both a help and a hindrance. Someone asks me to do something at work and it’s pretty much done in an instant. I love a deadline. However, if that thing I was asked to do was, say, draft a press release to pitch out to editors, I need to know RIGHT NOW if said editors are interested. Tenacity is a great thing in PR – but when does it become ‘tenacious pain in the arse’? Hmm….
So balance is something I need. NOW!
My brain is on high speed, my desk drawers are chaotic, my hand bag is full of rubbish and no matter how many shelves or drawers I buy, there is never any free storage space in our house. And yet I create these little pockets of ‘calm’ by, for example, having my wardrobe arranged by colour or straightening up the sofa throws and cushions about three times a day. It’s like acute little pockets of calm when what I really need is a little bit of calm running throughout everything.
So my big learning today was to consider balance. What traits are good for me and useful, and what I could live more happily without. And to understand this, I need to consider the five drivers. I hadn’t heard of these before. They are:
I’m not sure which resonate with me the most – I feel like they’re all turned up to the max at the moment. But if I had to pick, then I’d pick the latter two. And I’ll tell you something – it’s really fucking exhausting keeping it up.
I’ve learned that we all have all of these drivers in our lives. To some degree. But that we need to find a good balance. So I’ll work through this in my counselling sessions – I guess I just need to remember that I don’t have to conquer this anxiety thing yesterday and I don’t need to work overtime to accomplish it.
So I’ll clock off now. Have a cuppa and watch some shite on the telly. And I’ll not be angry with myself if I wake up at 2am with kicky legs again. In fact, I’ll make the most of it and just make another cuppa.