When my CBT finally started I had to go to a new clinic where I had never been before. This just made my anxiety worse, (my first round of it had been at my doctors surgery and the counsellor came there). I worried about where it was, where to park, who to speak too, where to sit in the waiting room. I had to fill in a form each week I went which asked for me to circle an option to how I had been feeling that week when it came to certain situations. Most of my answers were that my anxiety was affecting my life a lot. I answered yes to ‘had I been feeling that my family would be better off without me’. The counsellor I saw on my first visit (on the 2nd time around) was a lady, and she asked all the normal questions and wanted to know about how it had all started. But the way she spoke to me was as though she thought I was stupid for feeling that way and like she didn’t understand at all. This made me shut down and not really want to answer her questions and I didn’t want to volunteer any information about myself and my anxiety. I remember coming home feeling even worse than before I had gone. I didn’t want to ever go back. I thought well if CBT isn’t going to help, then nothing is, and I will be like this forever. That scared me. I felt even lower about myself if that was even possible.
After speaking to my husband and my family about my experience, they suggested ringing up and explaining how I was feeling and asking if my previous counsellor was available to see instead. After a few days of not feeling brave enough to do this, I finally made the call. They got my previous counsellor to give me call and I explained what had happened and why I didn’t want to come back. She put me at ease straight away and said sometimes people just don’t click with a counsellor and its perfectly normal to ask for another counsellor.
After that things went a lot more smoothly, I went after two weeks to see my counsellor. Each time I filled in a form answering the questions and at first I didn’t see any improvement in my answers but after a while I did. She gave me different tasks to do each time. I had to keep a diary entry of my symptoms and thoughts going through my head.
During this time we had a holiday to Centre Parcs again, and when we had arrived we had gone swimming before going to bed. I struggled to sleep that first night (it was the first time I had stayed away from home since my major panic attack that had landed me in hospital). I didn’t have a panic attack but I was definitely anxious. But I kept reminding myself how many times we had been to centre parcs and how much we all loved it. I managed to enjoy the rest of the weekend. When I explained to my counsellor my symptoms of how I was feeling that night she explained that actually those symptoms were normal – I was tired from working all day, then driving there and going straight swimming, I was cold and shaking as my hair was still wet. She said that my mind was putting the symptoms down to anxiety but actually they were just normal. She said I need to retrain my brain to know that sometimes these symptoms were normal and not me beginning to have a panic attack.
I will continue on with how my CBT went on my blog…..