Category Archives: Journey in Therapy

Update: My progress and Welcoming the New Year 2015

It’s been a long time since I posted here. Why? Good news as I have been improving through psychotherapy with my therapist. I finally felt so free really, messy mind  is still around, lurking in me once in a while but I am confident I will ride it through.

Family therapy have bee very helpful, it helped me realise I am not the only person in the family facing troubles, I can reach out for their help even though they may not fully understand my inner struggles. 🙂

Indeed it is a bold move trying family therapy from being all ALONE and SUICIDAL for 1 whole year. I guess I have to attribute this to my nature of being resourceful and willing to ask for help (I went for counselling with 7 counsellors prior to my current therapist). Some were one-off cases and 2 were quite long term (17 and 8 sessions respectively). These are all free / minimal fee counselling by the way.

PROGRESS
1) I made it through 9 weeks without seeing my psychiatrist. He postponed my appointment suddenly this week but I was able to wait until next week.
2) I took up a job (6 days a week) and am working 7 days a week together with my another Part-time job.
3) I enjoy life better now, blogging, getting all into fashion, beauty, make-up,skincare and manicures!!!
4) I practise mindfulness almost daily and go for hikes every other week.

I feel my Bipolar II or Depression is quite seasonal. I am all good for the first 3 months of the year and then around May – September I will be facing problems, getting all down and depressed, then towards the end of the year I will be fighting my best to get back up on my feet, judging from how I’ve been from years 2013 Jan – 2014 Dec.

I hope you all out there having similar or other mental health problems as I do, will not push away the HOPE that will keep you going, and LIVE FOR TODAY, give yourself lots of L.O.V.E.. I pushed through and saw my improvement. I dare not say recovery as life is always full of ups and downs.

Happy New Year everyone and be happy, laugh, live life and fight on!!

No longer (hopefully) Messy Me

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A new (old experience) – Long term therapy: Round 2

Recently I have started therapy again, now with a psychologist. For the second time, I actually go for psychotherapy which cost a lot!! My parents are paying for it in addition to my medical bills. I am very grateful for that.

Having been in free counselling / therapy for such a long time, with many different counsellors, I have gained much insight and understanding of myself, my emotions, behavior, thinking.

now that I’m in university, building relationships has been challenging. And since I’m feeling very stable on my current dose (Seroquel 150 and Lamictal 100), I decide to try to build and maintain my relationships with others. Friendship especially.

My new therapist apparently prefers a systemic approach or simply put: family therapy. Well, I decide to give it a shot since 1-1 all these years doesn’t seem to be very effective.

Mood (1-10) : 9

Duration of mood: 2 weeks 🙂

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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Journey in Therapy #1 : Background story

This is the beginning of my story, describing my journey in counselling in year 2013, starting March ’13 and ended November ’13.

That is a 9 months long journey, haha, me giggling here, because it is the same number of months for pregnancy lol.

Anyway,

An Introduction: 

High school

Towards the end of year 2012, I was in my final year of high school / secondary school (as we call it here).  It was an important year as I was going to take my public examination at the end of the year.  We call it a “Passport” to anywhere you want to go.  High school certificate was the requirement for any job out there that does not need much qualification beyond that level.

– The trial exams

Put it in simple terms, I screwed up the exams.  I was in the best class in the whole form.  I was in Science stream, aspiring to become a doctor.  I was panicking throughout the examinations, I remember clearly, I couldn’t handle my most confident subject, English.  Now, recollecting the memories, I feel the anxiety.  I was in a mess.

– Doctor’s visit

I was going crazy.  I was (still sorta am) a perfectionist.  I was very very anxious, I couldn’t really handle the emotions, needless to say the exams.  It was horrendous.  I got to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore, I asked my parents to bring me to a doctor, someone, whoever, who can help me get better.

– GP’s office

Initially, my parents were considering to bring me to my younger sister’s school counselor, but somehow it was a Sunday.  And I didn’t want to do anything… So, my dad was searching online, desperately finding any GPs who work on Sundays.  Finally he found one.  We went.  And I recalled, I was crying and crying in the lady doc’s office, telling her how I screwed every single test, I couldn’t study or remember anything I read etc.  She then gave my parents a card, referring me to a psychiatrist.

– Pdoc’s office

I went to visit this Pdoc (slang for psychiatrist).  He was friendly. But after my complaint about how crazy I was during the exams, he insisted that I take medications.  And so I did.  It was May 16, 2012.

I remembered how apo-lorazepam calmed me down instantly and miraculously.  Then came in Lexapro into my system for the first time.  It didn’t work.  Pdoc suggested a change in medication, saying that it takes a few tries to find a right one.  Next was Cymbalta  for my depression & anxiety and Ritalin for my focus and concentration.

– Sessions

The Pdoc therapy / med consulting sessions were always pretty long.  I appreciated that he’d spend a lot of time with his patients.

– The turning point for the worse

The medications was working, but not as well as I wanted them to.  I emailed Pdoc saying I feel better off without the meds.  And I have stop taking them, only taking them whenever I feel like it.  He replied saying I should not stop the meds as the good effect will be lost.  I didn’t like him.  I then terminated treatment hence stop taking the meds.

– The research

Because this Pdoc didn’t tell me anything about what’s wrong with me, or how can I help myself etc.. He practically sighed most of the session too.  Hence, I began my extensive research on mental disorders, then it went to psychiatric drugs, then Psychiatry and Psychology specifically on therapies.  During those months, those were my only reading materials and the only subjects that interest me.

– Life turning out well

I went for Pdoc visit from May to July.  Since then, I joined a cell group at church and had many friends there.  I felt loved for the first time.  At church, I felt peace and comfort.  God saved me.  I was healed.

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