Today I had therapy.
Today I shared my thoughts and ideas about what I wanted (from therapy, in life, in general).
Today I am thankful.
These three things are linked by more than just ‘th’ (as an aside, for a bit of geeky pleasure, look how this sentence started!) – they are signs of my teeny tiny tippy toes forward; they are signs of hope that I never thought would come.
For me, getting to receiving the appropriate therapy has been a long and especially confusing slog of assessment after assessment, practitioner after practitioner, therapeutic model after therapeutic model – each telling me that I was too unwell or than my illness was too complicated for them to be able to treat me. I’m grateful that I wasn’t shoved into a one-size-fits-all box that wasn’t going to work, but the waiting and emphasis on the severity, chronicity and complexity of my illness served only to increase my hopelessness and feelings of being a ‘problem’.
Finally, however, I think we have found that ‘fit’. I had my 5th therapy session with my ‘newly’ assigned psychologist today and I came away with…dare I say it?..a little bit of hope. Unusually, we are still at the assessment phase (generally this takes place over only 1-2 sessions), but fortunately (and in contrast to my previous experiences) this isn’t an assessment that I will be kicked out of – it’s a very open and broadminded way for my psychologist to work out how on earth we go about tackling this beast (these beasts?), what my needs are, and what my priorities are. She understands that I’m not going to slide into a neat little pre-formed box and is amazingly willing to stumble along with me and hopefully construct a Molly-shaped box as we go.
This is where the ‘thankful’ bit comes in. Now, I’ll be honest, I am a giant wreck whenever I meet medical professionals, and this has only increased since traumatic and damaging ‘treatment’ last year which left me doubting and fearing myself and everyone around me (especially if their job titles begin with ‘Psych…’) – and meeting my psychologist was no exception. However, she has taken things at my pace, working with what was thrown at her at the time (and some of the things thrown would have been messy and heavy to catch – think bucketful of tar), and focusing on my views/wants/needs. This approach is reaping some results in that today I finally, for perhaps the first time in my life and certainly the first time in a healthcare setting, actually voiced these views/wants/needs. Instead of taking in my lists, scribblings, drawings, spider diagrams and who knows what else (having agonised over them in the preceding days/weeks), but chickening out of mentioning they exist, let alone drawing attention to them – today I did I took a leap of faith to try to change things: I went in with ready-prepared agenda items, I mentioned them at the very first opportunity, and we worked through all of them at my own pace – even though I suggested to my psychologist that she may not want to hear them all. I’m lucky, I know it. We still don’t know how to approach this, we’re both aware of how complex and difficult this process will be, and we still haven’t defined what ‘this’ is – but what is important there is that I’m saying WE in all these statements. I think today my psychologist might have finally broken through that thick armor that the rest of the great team around my have been chipping away at; I think I’ve finally started to see that I don’t have to have all the answers and I don’t have to take this path alone.*
And, you know what? Not only am I thankful, I’m pretty damn proud of myself, too!
So, here’s to empowering, thoughtful, flexible, kind, encouraging mental health professionals –
and *whispers* here’s to me, too.
*Although just to remind me of how awful things are, this evening my brain and body have been trying to convince me that none of what I’ve expressed here is true…luckily, I made notes as soon as I came in, so I have it there in black and white. No idea when I’ll be able to register these things again on an emotional level, but I’m trying to cling on to the memory of that chink of light at the end of the tunnel and the lifeline stretching towards me…even if that’s only by writing this post right now. At least it’s out there, at least I can try to get it to sink in to that troublesome brain of mine.
P.S. I also walked 3 miles home from therapy today – even though leaving the house proves impossible normally – so I am especially exhausted and unable to proofread today: please excuse me for mistakes and lack of coherency!