Starting trauma therapy

Anyone who has followed me on twitter for the past couple of years probably knows I had an assessment for trauma therapy when I was in hospital last February and got put on the waiting list. I was told it would be about an 8 month wait but it didn’t really work out like that! I had lots of confusing letters since then and was taken off the list and put back on it, which slowed the process down. But I finally got my appointment through and met with my psychologist today.

I am going to start blogging regularly about these appointments, for my own benefit of processing it all and winding down from the appointments, as well as hopefully sharing my journey being useful to someone else out there. I feel like it is important to highlight how difficult this journey will be too, as I sometimes think there is a perception that therapy is just about talking about how you feel and coming out feeling better. I have had some therapy in the past and I am fully prepared for it potentially making me feel worse in some ways before I feel any better. Healing is hard work! And when I’ve spent my whole life trying to avoid my trauma, going into a situation where I am bringing it all up on purpose is my worst nightmare. But I am positive it is going to help me find a way forward in the end.

First off I am very glad my psychologist is a woman, as I had said I would prefer this in my first assessment but I was worried this would have been forgotten. And she is also who I did my first assessment with so I felt more comfortable knowing I had met her before. However, I was still very anxious about the appointment! She said the first few appointments will be more of an in depth assessment so we just talked about the things I am struggling with and what I would like to get out of the therapy. I felt quite comfortable going through everything and felt like she really understood what I was saying, so that was a massive relief! She asked me about all areas of my life and seemed to want to get a full picture of everything going on which is a good sign. In the hour that I was there we covered a lot!

As my experiences have many different factors, I did find it quite difficult to work out what was causing what. We talked about trauma, family difficulties, my physical health and my diagnosis of being on the autistic spectrum were all contributing in different ways to what my life is like now. So I think it will take a while to make sense of it all. For example, one of the things I’d really like to work on is my ability to connect with people and make friendships and relationships. But I am still unsure if some of those difficulties are due to trauma or being on the autistic spectrum. Probably a bit of both! I also talked a bit about how I feel quite disconnected from my experiences sometimes. Due to going through so many assessments with so many different professionals in my life I think I have learned to talk and think about my experiences and trauma in a very logical way, without accessing any of the feelings that come from it.

We decided doing some EMDR would be a good thing to build up to doing. In the wait for therapy with the NHS I did have some private psychology sessions last year where I started doing some EMDR, and found it very difficult. I felt very dissociative afterwards and completely drained. So I am prepared for this being a lot of hard work! I think she’s going to be very understanding of going at the right pace though, and I think it will be worth trying it again. I was worried about how I was going to feel after that appointment but I feel okay and quite positive about moving forward. I finally feel like I have some good support with the mental health team, as I have built up a good relationship with my psychiatrist too. Things are looking hopeful in terms of my support there for once!

Doing therapy when I am back at uni and out on placement is going to be a challenge and will take up a lot of energy. But I really feel like it is going to be worth it in helping me move forward to where I want to be. My appointments are going to be every couple of weeks so I will update you all on the next one!

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