What with the jaw piercing and the in-laws and such, I’ve not had a chance before now to write about the visit to the Mental Health Professional last Friday.
Obviously, having had no experience with this sort of thing, I was somewhat ill at ease (read: not a little scared!) and had no idea what to expect. From the telephone conversations I’d had with the therapist (we’ll call her Iman), I’d found her rather scatty and disorganised and I wasn’t feeling overly positive about how I would respond to her (being a hyper-anal A-type personality, I thought I would respond better to someone just like me).
After I arrived (precisely on time despite my anxiety about being on the 433 rather than the 431 – more people getting on the 433, and associated slowedness, because it goes further), we started out by filling in a couple of forms, the first with my general contact details &etc (the usual type form you fill out when you see a health professional: doctor, dentist etc, which I’d had some experience with because I’ve changed both recently), next I signed an agreement that stated that everything would be confidential except in the event that I: 1. was at risk of self-harm, 2. was at risk of harming another, 3. at risk of being harmed. Then I completed a PASS1xx form which gave a whole bunch of statements and asked me to rate how I felt on a 0-3 scale (where 0=nothing and 3=lots) how I felt over the past week (given that I was particularly pre-menstrual there were a lot of 3’s).
Then it was time for the face to face.
I stated my complete at-sea-edness with the whole process. Iman told me a bit of her background and qualifications and explained how she worked, viz: she’d ask me questions, we’d talk and see if we could work together. Despite my reservations, I was really comfortable talking to her (even though she totally needs an assistant to get her administrative shit together). Iman said she usually had an initial consult and then decided how many sessions were appropriate: 1, 2, 6 (after which you’d need another GP referral) or 12 (after which you’d review).
Fortunately, being married to the gorgeous Don, who is a total advocate of therapy (being American and having been there, done that), I had done my homework and had really thought about and clarified what my issues were and what I wanted to get out of this whole thing:
1. I want to feel better about myself (you might be surprised to know that, despite my fabulousness, I do feel quite crap about me)
2. I want to stop my opinion of myself relying on what I can do for other people, ie. going way over and above so that people think I’m fab (thanks, baby)
So I talked about the incident, how my whole self was wrapped up in work and what I had been doing to try to make things better. She reacted postively to the changes I’d been trying to make (not be so focussed on work). We talked about how I was feeling a little lost now that I was trying to be not so work obsessed and that Dfkan was now an idependent young woman and how the babies were growing up and that I had spent my whole adult life being a parent and how it was confronting to not have to be so parently and that I was a little lost (yes, I did say all of that without drawing breath).
Iman commented that I did not really display the outward signs of depression, that I seemed quite bright and cheerful. Afterward, it occured to me that I should mention that I am *always* outwardly cheerful and sunshiney, which of course, in classic fashion, masks the despair and angst, which made the whole incident the more marked – normally I would keep such things to myself.
Then we talked about my childhood/adolescence, and boy howdy, there’s a lot of material there to be going on with.
So, 50 minutes in, Iman said she’d really like to work with me and that she thought we’d probably need 12 sessions (ahhh, that’d be the childhood/adolescence that tipped it to the 12 – so much for this bright and cheerful nonsense).
I’m back again on the 4th at 4pm.
You may look forward to more generalised accounts of my progress.