Journey in therapy #2: Reflecting year 2013

Reflecting year 2013,

Throughout these 9 months, I have worked with my counsellor – I will call her T here – for a large amount of time. I would say I was beyond troubled when I approached her in March. I had so many issues that I don’t know how to deal with. As I recall them now, I felt the same feelings too.
Continuing from my background story, I was feeling good from Aug ’12 to Feb ’13. I wanted to restart my life. Life was great, I was participating in many activities, clubs, societies, events… Really, deep down in my heart, I am happy about my life. Until things got bad.

Academic problems
As I was taking a combination of Science subjects, what they call Pre-Med subjects. I am not sure if writing it here is any helpful to my mind.. sigh.. Anyway, it was tough, I couldn’t handle Chemistry and Physics as well as I thought I could. It was also a dream to study Medicine. I really wanted to become a doctor, an oncologist as I was fascinated with cancer and how to treat it. I wish to find a cure for cancer. Well, reality hit me. I just feel it was so so difficult. I couldn’t store the information in my brain. It’s very difficult. It is just not fast enough. I take hours of brain draining to figure out a question. Put it simple, I am not a fast learner for Sciences. Plus, I was a perfectionist back then.

Flashbacks of the horrible incident
It was horrid when I started having flashbacks of my depression episode. My mind kept replaying those scenes where I was just dysfunctional.. I don’t know what to do. That was when I approached T. It was scary. I was nervous when I went into the room. At first it was another counselor that attended to me. I liked him better actually. But somehow I got stucked to this T. Flashbacks, flashbacks, they reminded me how broken I was back then. they reminded me of my useless, restless self, the days where I would just lay in bed and do nothing. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t study, I didn’t even want to talk. I was so afraid that I will not be able to do my test well. But the end I calmly took the exam. For my piano diploma, I also passed. At that time, I told myself, the medication will work and help me to calm down etc. But during this time, I feel useless and helpless needing to take medication at that time (2012). The flashbacks bugged me day and night, I couldn’t function. What changed within me was, after February, which is two months of happiness. I was fearful, of myself, of the future. My future, to me, was just bleak.

Beginning of Sessions
Somehow, I started session with this T. She was professional, very professional. I can hardly recall how she helped me with these flashbacks. But what I do remember is that I told her my depression episode and how I hated my psychiatrist, how I didn’t want to take those medications that do not work as much as I want, how I hate the Psychiatry field that cons people, how I would never see another psychiatrist again…. the list of what I don’t want went endless. She asked “What do you want?” I was stunned when asked this question. Deep down, I don’t know. But I just replied: “I just want to feel better, and forget everything that happened in the past, and start over” It was also terrifying as I feel I don’t remember what kind of person I was before that episode. It was as if some memory loss. I just remembered life was like a living hell with my mind going almost nuts everyday..

I felt things got better
After a few sessions of counselling, I felt much better. And I feel I could continue my studies well again and I feel I could handle my flashbacks / prevent them as well as let the past go. I left counselling.

I went back to counselling
Well, I couldn’t remember what brought me back to counselling. But I was in it from April all the way to November.. As I wrote a hardcopy journal on a as-needed basis back then in April. I flipped back to the book to find out what was the thing that I was dealing with.

Turns out I was afraid of a relapse. At that time I was seeing a so-called Holistic Wellness lady doctor who said I didn’t need to take psychiatric medications such as antidepressant as it was my hormones that were the culprits. I believed her. However, at the same time, I was thinking about whether or not a problem existed?? I couldn’t do maths in class. I had learned helplessness for Maths. I couldn’t focus for piano classes. My mind would be lost in something painful while I went autopilot on my fingers.

Life sucks. I was so into researching that I read up A LOT about mental illness, psychiatric medications, I even have an iPad application about it. I read about depression, schizophrenia, DID, CBT, even rumination.. Indeed I was ruminating a lot. But I couldn’t stop thinking. It’s like a whirlpool keep spinning in my mind.. So annoying yet I couldn’t stop it.

My academics were failing… I just couldn’t get myself to do anything academic even though I know I have the ability to do it. I was afraid, scared of a relapse all day long. I called Befrienders many many times in the past and I did during those difficult times.

Some issues I struggle with:

  • Perfectionism
  • Over-expectations
  • Couldn’t stop thinking
  • Rumination
  • Feeling useless most of the time
  • Extensive researching and reading a lot
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Fear of future
  • Stressed up all the time
  • Learned helplessness in Maths
  • Fearful that I will not do well in assignments and tests
  • How counselling help me

I guess it was around June to July when I was facing the difficulties listed above. I am glad I wrote some of my sessions overview down in my hardcopy journal. It helps me remember what I gain in counselling. This is an excerpt from one of my entries.

We talked about my fear of failure. What is it that I am scared of that makes me cannot do my work? I am afraid that once I get to my desk , I start to have expectations with the work that I am about to do, then I get very stressed out when I have those difficulties doing my work. I think most of my session I was in my thoughts. I didn’t actually think if I conveyed the message correctly but who cares? I realised T was listening in the process, posing questions during intervals. I realised and guessed there was no need for me to plan what I was going to say. Just let what will be what is Be! I realised what I need is calmness to work on my stuff. I am still very scared of whetheror not I will be able to do it, but I realised all this while, since I have promised myself not to give up no matter what! No matter how difficult a situation may be, because it will get better. I was holding on to a word, a thing called HOPE! T asked me to remember that hopeful feeling whenever thoughts are overwhelming then I will be able to do my work. ……. Appreciate my efforts that I put in and Value them. Where is the learning process in this? I am actually happy I held on till now really! If I hadn’t I don’t know where I would be now. …… I want something more, I believe to a certain large extent, I am in control of my life. Control what we can and surrender the rest to God.

This is the end of this part where these were the issues I faced. In the next part I will talk about another set of issues I faced after July ’13.


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