When I was diagnosed with anxiety, my doctor and I both agreed that I shouldn’t take pills. I can’t swallow them and my doctor wanted me to try something else before I took pills for my anxiety. He wrote a letter to Cams which if you don’t know what Cams is, it helps young people with their mental health. I wasn’t deemed a high risk at the time so they couldn’t help me as they have so many people they need to help. My doctor told me to wait until I started college and ask for counselling there. I did.
The first day of college, I was in a room with my tutor and my tutor group and I asked about counselling. She told me to wait after the session had ended and she had given out everything she needed to. She took me to student services where I asked the person at student services how I could get counselling. The student services person made me fill in a form and she took my time table to see when I could have counselling. She then said that someone was in now if I wanted to have a session now. I agreed. I didn’t want to be ungrateful and it was important so I went to the counselling room. The counsellor took me to the room, it was warm and there was this smell that just instantly made me feel a little calmer. I spoke to her for an hour about starting college and different thing but I didn’t say why I was diagnosed with anxiety. I didn’t feel ready. But that was ok because she didn’t force anything out that I didn’t want to say. She made me feel at ease. The whole time I wanted to cry, it was overwhelming, there was this person who won’t judge me no matter what I say, this impartial person who I can say any of my feelings to and they will understand and not get mad at me. It wasn’t like talking to my mum, she would get upset or just not listen and be on her phone. It wasn’t like my friends, they didn’t understand and I had shut them out and every time I tried to explain they didn’t get it. The train home from college was so odd, I’d had my first ever session of counselling and it felt really nice getting things of my chest.
The second session I had was different. I didn’t know what to talk about and she was doing most of the talking. She asked me if I had anything I wanted to talk about and I said I didn’t know. She said that if I didn’t have anything I wanted to talk about maybe I shouldn’t be having counselling and maybe come the next session and then no more. It made me really upset, I didn’t know what to say but I knew I needed help.
The third session. I got to the door and spoke to her. I said maybe it would be best if I didn’t have any more counselling, I didn’t want to waste her time. (something which she told me on my last ever lesson was that she could sense my panic and that I wanted to leave so her goal was to keep me there and talk to me. She figured out that I found it hard to talk to her and trust her at first and she spoke more and asked me things and asked me where my anxiety was at the start and then at the end. I felt better and less like I was wasting her time. This how the sessions began and slowly I spoke more about things troubling me and we figured out a lot of where my anxiety stemmed from. She helped me think of anxiety as not a part of me but as a separate thing that is not me. It helped me to not think of the anxiety as a part of me but as something that can pass in time if I persevered.
The second to last session. She had asked me to bring my mum with me into college to the Counselling season. I found this stressful as my mum often starts talking badly about me or brings up things from the past like not tidying my room which I feel is a private thing between myself and her. We spoke to my counsellor and it went ok, I felt like my mum wasn’t getting the whole point we were there was for me and my mental health and not for her to have a chat and complain about work. My counsellor could see it was upsetting me and did try to get the conversation back on track. The whole session wasn’t terrible however I felt that a lot of it was empty promises. My mum was supposed to make sometime in the week when I could talk to her but now when I try and talk to her she’s on her phone playing a game or just gets annoyed at me because she’s watching TV.
My last counselling session. My counsellor told me that I had made a lot of progress since I had first come to her but she told me if she had the funding she would have like to continue counselling me further. Unfortunately she could only give me the 2 months I got because she needed to see more people. She told me where to go to possibly get counselling but I haven’t been able to do it, talking to my doctor makes me anxious and the idea scares me.
It’s been over a year since I had counselling and it was really good but I feel that in that year I haven’t looked after myself the way I should and that I have made myself get worse by not doing what she told me. I rarely do breathing techniques I end up just hyperventilating or curling up in a ball on my bed and shutting people out. I was supposed to talk to my doctor….I haven’t seen him since he diagnosed me with anxiety and if I’m honest the idea of going to the doctors and waiting for him makes me anxious.
I started writing this because I wanted to show how counselling does help and I wanted to share my experience. However, due to lack of funding from the government mental health isn’t treated as well as it should be, help isn’t always found when it is needed and counselling has to be cut short. I would like to get back on track but well let’s see.