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I started my counselling this morning. It was more of a pre-assessment before the actual therapy starts but I was still hugely nervous about it. I didn't sleep well last night - my mind was just racing with thoughts of everything I needed to talk about. I was in tears within minutes of walking in the room but my counsellor is really nice and I felt comfortable straight the way. I have a few things to think about before my next session on the 19th. She wants me to decide on what route of therapy I would like to take and what I want to get out of the sessions. She suggested that I either try cognitive behavioural therapy or liaison psychiatry. She also thought some bereavement counselling might help me but I don't want to take that route. I just want to talk to someone and try and get my head straight again.
I mentioned previously that my depression wasn't a recent thing. It's not just come on since all this kicked off this year. It's something I've battled with since I was 16.
Looking back, I feel foolish because I really can't think what problems I had at that time. My parents were going through a rough patch, but they were still together. I had started college and initially found it difficult to make friends, but I made friends eventually. I just found things difficult. My head became a mish mash of thoughts and to deal with them I started self harming.
At first, it started out as the odd cut here and there but it fast became an addiction and desperate measures called for desperate times. The knife I had started using wasn't cutting me deep enough, there wasn't enough blood showing. So I'd move on to another knife or a pair of scissors, or just something metal or sharp. In the end, when I had gotten in to my worst moments, I smashed a glass and added it to my little box of cutting devices. The glass worked the best. It cut the deepest. It relieved the most anguish.
I drank heavily when I went out and sometimes at home but it never helped. Harming my body, and seeing the destruction I was causing, did.
Cutting myself didn't hurt. Until I did it so much that my arm was raw. I was embarrassed by it. I would cover it up as much as possible by wearing long sleeved tops. I remember my friends noticing once on a night out but I dismissed it all. I didn't want to talk about why I was doing it. I just knew it felt good and helped me cope. I was once on a work placement at a hospital and one of the nurses questioned me about it, after I rolled my sleeves up. I told her my cat had done it. On holiday, my parents noticed and questioned me about it. I said I had caught my arm on some barbed wire at college. All such daft excuses.
By the time my parents sat me down and asked me outright about it, it had gotten out of hand and now looking back, I needed to stop. They wanted me to go to the doctors and get some help but I refused. I didn't want help from anyone. I promised to stop and work at it by myself just as long as I didn't have to see a professional about it. From what I remember, we didn't speak about it again.
Since then, since around 2001, I have only felt the need to return to self harm once or twice. I've worked hard at stopping and on the occasions I have cut myself again, the guilt and distress it has caused me has been far greater than the relief I once felt.
Though the harming stopped, the depression didn't and when I was diagnosed with endometriosis it took on a whole new lease of life. Being on hormone treatment after hormone treatment wore me down and I lived inside a black cloud of despair for a long time. I couldn't find a way out and on more than several occasions I wanted out. I wanted so desperately to end it all. To get away from the pain - both physical and emotional. I never felt so alone as I did at that point.
But things got better. My emotions stabilised, only rearing their ugly heads at the worst of times. I had difficulties coping when my last relationship broke down and when my parents split up. But I found different coping strategies. Not always good things, but they helped nevertheless. To date, my best, and most effective, coping strategy has been the boy. Whenever I cannot cope and feel like I want to give up, he pulls me back up. He gives me something to keep striving for. A future with this wonderful man.
This year has been the first time I've felt at my lowest in several years. And to be fair, after everything that has happened, I think it's been expected. Car accident, missing persons report, the tragedy of Bunty's death, redundancy, sickness, finding out my endometriosis has spread... So much has happened I can't even remember everything now.
As you know, from my posts over the last few months, I've had good and bad days. Some days I wake up and I'm positive and happy. Other days, I can't even face getting out of bed. Sometimes, something can just trigger it again. I have no control over my moods and emotions - they control me. The boy always tries his hardest to help me - even when I've woken him up in the middle of the night, crying, and my family and (some) friends have been there when I've needed them. But, whereas in times before, I would have kept myself busy with work or been out doing things and seeing people, I haven't been able to do that. Crying has been my ultimate way of coping. And I've done a lot of it!
I don't know really what I want to achieve from counselling. I guess I just want to be able to think straight again and get my mind away from thoughts of self harm - no matter how long it's been since you last did it, it's still remains with you. Always niggling away in the back of your mind. It was my coping strategy for years and now I have to find something else to help me.
So, there you have it, a little confession. There are less than a handful of people that know about it this but now I've shared it with everyone and it feels like a relief in some ways.
Depression isn't the same for everyone but I do believe that anyone that fights it, comes out much stronger in the end because it's a tough battle - one that I fight on a daily basis. But, that's what you have to do, keep fighting - because the second you stop, is the second it can take over everything.