Seeking Professional Help In A Therapist
These posts are not in order by any means. There is no order in how you should manage your mental health.
There is no step by step guide.
Hopefully one day there will be but for now, it's a case of trying everything and seeing what works for you.
Following on from last weeks Acceptance post, today I want to speak about;
Seeking Professional Help
At this point hopefully, you have accepted that you are suffering from a mental health problem or that something is wrong.
We can now look at ways to get help and help comes in several different forms;
- Professional Help
- Helping Yourself
- Help from other people
I want to focus on Professional help first of all. In my opinion, it should be your first port of call. Especially if this is the first time you have accepted to yourself there is something wrong. They do all intertwine but professional help is usually the one that takes the longest to get set up in place. So the quicker you do it, the quicker you can get it all started.
This week will be focussing on Therapy and Counselling and then the next few weeks will be about other types of professional help.
The most common kinds of Therapy are;
Counselling - this aims to give you a safe, confidential space to talk about your thoughts and feelings with someone who’ll listen to you - through my experience a great place to go and offload rather than with people you know and also focus on certain prominent issues.
CBT - this looks at how your feelings, thoughts and behaviour influence each other and how you can change these patterns - through my experience some really helpful tools you can use and also get a better understanding of why this may be caused.
As I mentioned in last weeks post it was after I really bad panic attack and one of the most awful nights of my life I accepted I needed help with my anxiety. After a phone call to my mum, she suggested I should self-refer to Talking Mental Health. You can refer yourself here if you're from Derbyshire or find your local one through your GP.
It took me a long time to fill the form out. Every time I read the questions it brought back so many memories. I almost didn't want help. In my head, I thought I was admitting defeat. That I'd be locked in a mental hospital, put in a straight jacket and never be allowed to leave.
When it was finally filled out and sent it was a waiting game. A telephone interview was what followed. This was to assess me and suggest which therapy/counselling would best suit me. At this time in my life, I didn't know what help I needed. What I really wanted was someone to tell me and guide me through it.
I was offered group CBT the first time around and one on one following on from that. With the NHS though, there are large waiting times to be seen. Even once you are in the system nothing seems to speed up the process. I had to wait three months for the earliest group therapy and another two months to get the further one on one.
Don't get me wrong it was all helpful but nothing was long lasting which is what I needed. I wasn't self-reliant but at that time I didn't have a great support system in place and I needed that hour a week to offload and get some much-needed help. After the last session, I hadn't massively improved and didn't want to put myself through the stupidly long waits anymore. I used what I had learnt and explored other avenues of medication and self-help as well.
This time around, 2 years later, I again self-referred but for depression this time. It took a couple of weeks to hear anything back but I had an initial appointment after five weeks. This time I opted out of the NHS service as they couldn't offer me that continual support with the same therapist for longer than a maximum of eight weeks without applying again.
After four years of explaining myself over and over again to copious amounts of doctors and therapists, I need not be feeling like I'm on a timer before I have to start again.
This leads into what I'm looking at next;
I have always wanted to go to a private therapist to get that continuity of care and continuous support. I imagine there wouldn't be such a wait and I could get the support as and when I needed it the most. Right now it isn't a real option for me due to money but people who I have spoken to have said it is the best money they have ever spent.
For me and so many others, it is difficult to open up to people we care about. It almost feels like you are putting a burden on someone else. That we are putting our problems onto them.
Deep down we know they will always be there for us.
It is easier though to open up to someone who is a professional, someone who is qualified in helping people in these situations. You know it is all strictly confidential and nothing said in that room will leave and be used against you.
Private therapy will more than likely be the next avenue I'll explore in terms of professional help.
Therapy/Counselling through employment
This isn't one I have used myself and wasn't really all that aware of until recently. In terms of the jobs I've had, I always tried to keep my mental health hidden out of fear of being treated differently and not even being considered for the job.
Working during the bad times has been unbearable. I have had countless amounts of days off from work suffering which has then lead to me being signed off for both short and long periods of time and most recently I've had to leave my job.
Most employers do have support in place to help their employees with mental health illnesses. I have always found it incredibly difficult to ask for help especially in the workplace. It was only recently that due to my honestly and sharing with my colleagues and boss that I was made aware there were sufficient measures in place. It was a shame it was at a time where I had left it too late and leaving was the only option.
Employers often also offer therapy and counselling for family members which is free. I recently reached out to the one through Rolls Royce as my dad works for them. For me, it wasn't the right fit again.
It could be worth reaching out to your employer to see if they have help in place, if not for yourself but for someone close to you who could benefit from it.
I'm no expert. I am someone suffering from mental health illnesses looking to share what I've been through and going through hoping to help others.
There are more types of therapy available. Ones I haven't had a chance to experience yet. If and when I do get round to them, I will share my experiences with them.
It is important to seek professional help and one that is very helpful indeed.
Next week I will look into more professional help available.