Our Guest blogger has been kind enough to share their thoughts with us once again. Remember if you are in need of help or support, we're always here.

My first therapy session

"So this week I had the task of going to my first therapy session. I’m saying “therapy” because I didn’t know what I was going to get. When I went to my assessment about 10 weeks ago she said I may need CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) but she would have to speak to the counsellors and the therapists to see if that was the best decision.

When she asked me what I wanted to get out of it I told her… “I just want to remember my Dad and my life before he passed away”. Because I have no memories at all. Family will tell me stories of when we were all together and I can’t remember being there. I can’t remember my school years, the years with my first love, the years I spend laughing with my friends, the years I spent growing up in a pub; I can’t remember any of it.

I remember getting told that if I had accepted the loss of my Dad then I would be able to remember him. That remembering him would be too painful for me right now. But that didn’t make any sense; all I wanted was to remember my Dad. I felt that if I totally accepted he was gone and I didn’t have any memories of him then that would be it. He would be gone. 18 years and nothing to show for it; just one picture from when I was a toddler.

So I went along to my first session in a place that I had been before; only a year ago I was there talking about an assault which I was a victim of when I was 16. I knew the place and the same familiar face behind the desk.

Then I went upstairs and met my therapist; a lovely man who said they had decided CBT would be the best option for me. He spoke about CBT and what it involved; although a lot of this I already knew as I work in mental health and did work in the NHS for a while. He then just let me talk for a while…he wanted me to come up with 2 goals for us to work on over the next 10-15 sessions.

At first I thought this was obvious… “well I want to remember my Dad” …but the more we spoke, the more I realised there was so much more going on.

We realised that I had never actually dealt with losing my Dad; it still feels as raw today as it did 6 years ago. And the reason I haven’t dealt with it? Because I am scared. Not that if I accept he has gone then he will go from my memory as I thought. But I am scared that I can’t deal with grieving.

I was so ill with my depression and anxiety and the thought of going back to that place frightens me more than anything in the world. Although I have blocked a lot of it out of my memory, I still remember being in bed for days on end crying, not being able to get on the bus to go to university, not being able to walk down the street without having a panic attack. And that’s only part of it; the rest of it is too painful to remember.

And then I am scared of something else. Having to get better again. It took me so many years to get to a place where I could say that I felt better (not 100% better, but on my way there). And I don’t know if I have the strength to do that again. I said to my therapist and my mum “there are only so many fights you can take on thinking that you will win. I can’t win them all. I am scared that I will wake up one day and lose the motivation and hope that keeps me going. One day I may wake up and think…you know what? This is too hard. I give up. I can’t get better”.

And that’s the last thing I want. So my first goal? To feel like I am able to cope with grieving.

I hope that by the end of my time with my therapist I will feel strong enough to grieve. I know that not grieving is not helping me, I know it’s not healthy.

I have always had something or someone else to focus on but now it’s time to look after myself."


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