Tomorrow I take my next step on the path of treatment for my ongoing depression and anxiety with my first CBT session. There’s a definite mixture of apprehension and excitement about it, whilst I know it’s only going to help me, I have no idea what to expect, how much it will ‘open’ me up and what state it will leave me in. Truth is, I’m more than a little scared about it.
A couple of weeks ago the anxiety hit back with a vengeance after seeing a piece on the local news about exceptionally long waiting times for mental health treatments with wait times of between 18 – 20 months were reported across Yorkshire. I’ve recently been worrying about whether or not I would ever receive my appointment, whether the 6 – 18 weeks I vaguely remembered being quoted was a waiting time for the actual appointment or just the arrangement of one. I started worrying whether I had been sent the letter, but it had gone missing or whether I even had given them the right address. Not that my anxiety would allow me to ring or even email anyone to chase up about my appointment though.
After what had felt like an eternal 7 week wait from my last phone appointment I returned from the Hamsterley Marathon a few Saturday’s ago to find a letter from my local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) department waiting for me. It was a letter for my first Cognitive behavioural therapy session.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.
There was a huge sense of relief upon opening that letter, it is now about 4 months since I signed up to my local GP Surgery with the intention of starting seeking treatment for my mental health issues. They have been on and off for the past ~10 years, but I only first sort medical help a couple of years ago. Ultimately that first attempt failed after numerous cancelled appointments that culminated in me breaking down in an Edinburgh Cafe’s toilets. Just to see those words written down in front of me now gave me a sense of hope that this is something that I might be able to start dealing with.
I often joke, sometimes because that’s the only way I can deal with it, about going home and crying myself to sleep. I’m sure many take it as just that, a joke, but the truth is that has very much been what I’ve been doing, or at least feeling the need to do, recently. Something has been building, I’m not sure what but I’ve been struggling more and more as the weeks go by.
To top it all off the other week I injured my achilles whilst running the Hamsterley Marathon, just 10 miles in. Needless the say stubbornness kicked in and pushed all common sense out of the window and I continued running for the pride of finishing, even though I undoubtedly made the injury far worse in the process. I’ve yet to visit the doctor about it, as I figured there was little they would do other than tell me to rest it and balk at the idea of how much running I’ve done/will do this year. A little bit of self diagnosis on Google suggests it’s probably either a minor tear or Achilles Tendinitis, neither are particularly fun injuries. Over a week on and whilst the swelling and bruising has gone down, the pain is still there occasionally and it’s one that will take a little bit of patience. Thankfully the almost 2 month gap between races that I bemoaned just a few weeks back has come at a very handy time.
There is definitely a concern that having the appointment in the middle of the day will completely fuck up all productivity for the rest of the day. Whenever I approach the subject there is a definitive feeling of fragility. Even talking today at work to someone about the appointment for 5 minutes brought back that emotional brittleness, I almost had to cut the conversation short just to keep composed. If talking just briefly about it does that, then an hour focused solely on my depression will probably leave me in a quivering wreck.
As anxious as I am about it though, it’s all going to be positive, whether it feels that way at the time or not.