The last 48 hours have been the most intense, unsettling and surreal I’ve had in quite a while. I’ve gone from feeling confident and excited about the future to the extreme polar opposite. Not only did that future seem completely out of reach, it also seemed ridiculous to even have contemplated it in the first place. You see, over the last week or so, an idea that’s been at the back of my mind for years took root pretty firmly – I want to train to be a therapist. But, there are some significant factors in my way right now, not least of them being money, or more appropriately, lack thereof. Psychotherapy training is prohibitively expensive.

As the excitement of actually making the decision wore off, reality set in. This isn’t going to be something I can do straight away. I might need to wait till next year, or even longer. For most people this would be ok – a long term plan, something to work towards. But me? Nope. It went from being a realistic, exciting, attainable albeit challenging goal, to something that could never happen in a million years.

I didn’t stop there though. Alongside training going out the window, I also decided that everything I’ve been doing the last while – blog, photograpy, patreon, setting up my shop – they were all as ludicrous and pointless as the concept of me being a therapist. So what did I do? Something I haven’t done in quite some time. I deleted everything. Blog. Shop. Facebook. Twitter. Gone. I knew as I was doing it I was being ridiculously impulsive, but I had to do it. I was punishing myself for having such grandiose notions, for thinking I could ever possibly amount to anything.

This morning the wheels fell off entirely. I came home from dropping the kids and cried and cried and cried, something else that hasn’t happened for quite some time. I decided it must be something to do with reducing meds, because nothing else could justify the intensity of what I was feeling. I wasn’t scheduled to speak to speak with Therapist 3.0 today, but as luck would have it, he had a cancellation.

Here’s where things turned around just as dramatically as they had done a couple of days ago. You see, any time this has happened before, I’ve believed it meant I was getting depressed again, and in more recent years, any time I’ve gotten as overwhelmed as I did today, I’ve turned to emergency meds to calm me down. All well and good in the short term, but long term? Had I done that today, the literal flood of emotion that came out of me this morning would have stayed inside. Once we worked through my reaction to realising training may have to wait, a whole world of other stuff that I didn’t even know was bothering me appeared. I questioned everything. Everything 3.0 has been telling me, the whole concept of mental health issues as a result of trapped emotion rather than illness, the logic of what I’ve been doing, the fear of pissing people off with my changing perspective…….and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

I am shattered this evening. I have a headache that I know only sleep will fix. But I also know that what happened today was actually a good thing. That emotion needed to come out. I needed to face up to the limitations of my grand plan, and reassess how or when I’m going to make it happen. I also needed to think on why I have such an urgent need for things to happen NOW. I still haven’t gotten to the bottom of that one, but I was able to acknowledge that throwing plans out the window entirely because they weren’t an instant success may not be the smartest move.

Interestingly, it was this impulsivity and intensity of emotion that were two of the biggest of my bpd flags. Over the years with Therapist 1.0, I would have had similar periods of overwhelming emotion between sessions, but not be able to talk to her, not be able to work them out, and by the time I got to see her again, they were well buried, and stayed buried. I didn’t know I was doing this, it wasn’t conscious. But today brought it home to me in such a big way. Had 3.0 not had that cancellation, we wouldn’t have spoken, and chances are I wouldn’t have told him about the half of it. I would eventually have come out of it and restarted some of my various online bits, but I wouldn’t have felt the emotion that went with it. I would have stayed stuck believing that my plans would amount to nothing, and worse, that I deserved for them to amount to nothing. I would likely have ended up on the road to depression again.

Now, I have a much more balanced perspective. I’m still scared of pissing people off, I’m still scared of going out on a limb with my shop and patreon, but I’m going to do it anyway. I also still want to be a therapist some day, and I will find a way to make it happen. I just need to learn to temper the urgency of it a little.

I think I just condensed an entire depressive episode into 48 hours. Hardcore, scary, extremely intense, but do you know what? Totally worth it. The perspective it’s given me on the power of my thoughts and faulty beliefs on my mood and general outlook is huge, and invaluable. And now that I know how it works? When and if it ever happens again, I’ll know what’s going on. I’ll also know that I can handle it, that it will pass, and that I’m not going backwards. As long as I keep listening to what my brain is trying to tell me, I’ll never go backwards again.

 

This article has 6 Comments

  1. This is recovery in action. It’s hard and you’re doing it. And that you’re feeling positive results so quickly is hugely awesome! Not only will it help you, it will help the people you work with as a therapist.

  2. Hi. I was really anxious for you when I read your headline. For a couple of weeks now, I have been worrying that your trajectory might take you too close to the sun. I don’t know you, and was scared of expressing my concerns, that it was none of my business. To bring a level of caution felt like I was raining on your parade. But you’ve got the tools to process these feelings now, to understood this crash, and arrest it in real time. Your blog, your photography, your shop, your aspirations, they’re all worthy and virtuous. You will get there. I hope this doesn’t come over as being in some way judgmental, or knowing better. My words derive from trying to give something back, in return for the stuff you’ve articulated so well that has helped me. Hope you’re flying straight and level again, soon. B.

  3. That must’ve been pretty scary and defeating! It is so important to not suppress thoughts and feelings and be able to talk to a support. To make connections and push through is my goal too. I’m glad u worked through it!
    Do you have anything like an in person mental health peer support/ advocate in your area? There’s a program in my area that has an online training course for that position and it is paid.

  4. You will get there- the hardest, and strangely easiest for me was once I didn’t set the BIG goal I started to become a therapist day by day. Have 6 mts to go out of 4 yrs and I will make it – and more importantly for me – once I decided to be patient- I really enjoyed the ride ( can’t stand the “journey ” phrase!).

  5. Hi Fiona , iv been catching up on you’re web site as iv deleted all my social media , and honest to god I’m actually shaking as I completely and absolutely understand most of what you’re going through!! I know I have great ability , confidence , productivity , I know I can do what ever I put my mind to because its nothing compared to what iv had to do to keep me barely functioning through out my life , then something happens and I loose all that positivity and self worth , I beat myself up for “getting so carried away and full of notions ” maybe its in the Irish psyche , and has seeped down through the generations ! I believe our generation have an obligation to try help stop this awful affliction , esp as our children and young people are going up in a world that the brain cannot comprehend !! I feel so passionate about it that iv started volunteering 1 hour a week with a youth group ( its about as much as I can do at the min) like you Fiona I too wish to become a therapist ,I know this is my passion , I know realistically it will take some time but I’m up for the challange ! I felt compelled to write this as I too am only learning about myself , youre posts give me strength and comfort to delve deeper and be confident in me , the person that I am !! We have to be a little selfish at times to find who we are and make no apologies about it !!
    Inspirational is what you are Fiona , youre brutal honesty has given me the boost that I needed today , keep doing what you’re doing , you got this !! My sincere thanks to you x

  6. I watched the Dr Eva documentary “Medication Nation” and it was very biased..lacked any hard evidence.

    The programme focused a lot on those who misuse and abuse prescription pills e.g taking more than prescribed, overdose, taking OTC meds for more than 3 days. There’s safety leaflets on every OTC medication so people need to take personal responsibility and stick to the stated dosage. There’s a lack of treatment options for those who abuse painkillers which is due to government’s lack of investment in healthcare. It’s a lack of leadership that’s to blame.

    With regard to benzodiazepines, Dr Eva failed to mention that drug addicts use them as “downers” to deal with withdrawal symptoms and then use uppers i.e. illegal drugs like heroin. This is concentrated in socially deprived areas like the North Inner City in Dublin. Indeed, the documentary featured mainly working class men yet the issue of social inequality was not addressed at all.

    Even your point about not being able to access therapy through the HSE is yet another example of social inequality? Why demonise medication when it’s really social issues that are the problem? Issues like poverty, rent uncertainty, poor housing, debt, homelessness, unemployment, job uncertainty etc have been shown to increase the probability of getting a mental health disorder. Dr Nick Flynn pointed out on Claire Byrne Live that patients in poorer areas present with more complex issues than those in more affluent areas.

    It’s easy to scapegoat and blame everything on medication when the evidence shows that a War On Drugs does not work. The drugs just go underground..onto the black market. Benzos are already sold on the black market as it is..for €1 or €2 a pill yet Dr Eva failed to deal with this issue.

    As the pharmacist Kate O’Connell pointed out on Claire Bryne Live, putting codeine on prescription in the US did not work. There used to be oxycodone, another opiate, available on prescription but when it was withdrawn, people who had become addicted to it turned to the illegal drugs market and became addicted to heroin (yet another opiate) and now there’s a massive heroin epidemic in the US amongst the white middle-classes; a demographic who previously never used heroin.

    I did feel that people who took psychiatric medication were stigmatised in the documentary. I’m not sure that Dr Eva is best placed to even deal with mental health issues anyway. She’s not currently practising as a GP so she doesn’t really know what’s happening on the ground. Nowadays, GP’s are expected to keep their clinical skills up to date-to attend conferences, to have a special interest, to do further qualifications. Dr Eva runs weight loss clinics which is a different field entirely. Furthermore, she bullied that Operation Transformation Charlotte from Co. Cavan and told her to “cop on” when she gained weight one week. That kind of harsh, judgmental tone is not needed in mental health and will actually hurt vulnerable patients.

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