Panic attacks and Finding the right therapist!
I wasn’t sure what had brought these on. On one side I was feeling unwell with food poisoning the day before, and on the other I had taken quite a lot on due to my friend’s problems for the past 3 years. Not sure of the trigger but that day I went on the tube and had one. The minute it happened I knew it was one, due to symptoms I had heard of before – heart beating, sweating, shaking, awful dreading feeling that the world is ending…yep that’s what I felt like.
Now the initial reaction of friends and family wasn’t the best… “you have what?!” “what do you mean you cant take the tube anymore?” “Just get over it!” But I knew deep down I needed help. So I went to the GP and mentioned this and filled out a depression form. “I have referred you to 4 weeks of therapy” he says proudly. Having had studied psychology I wasn't sure 4 sessions was even a 1/100 of what I needed. But it was free so I went along. Funnily enough I ended up with 3 sessions as she got the next appointment wrong. She simply kept saying “I see I see” yet I couldn’t see anything. Nothing came out of this surprisingly. The next therapist I saw (thanks to my wonderful parents) was specialised in….um I have no idea she never told me. But all I can remember for 6 months was whenever I saw her and asked “how are you?” and she just nodded slowly. For some reason I never stopped asking...wasn’t this the polite way to greet someone?! Again not the best relationship, so I eventually told her I had no more money and had to leave.
The next one I found was very near to me (which helped as I couldn’t really travel around) yet she seemed more interested in world issues than my own “Did you watch the Obama election? Yes I though it was lovely but I am not sure exactly how the change can truly help the US”…I am sure she could have debated this to her friends, no?
Staying hopeful I told her I was again broke and bye bye. And in this case it was true. No job, no money and parents helping (too kindly) was too much – but I knew I needed to find out what had happened to me. I decided to look at low cost counselling near to my place and happily found the Metanoia institute. They assessed me and I decided what I could pay. The therapist might have been a last year student yet what a good student to have. For £5 a session, relieved to pay it myself, I was regularly looking forward to the sessions with her, and she was actually warm and understanding. Turns out perhaps I wasn’t simply feeling ill that day but there was a lot that came out about losing myself – and my panic attacks protecting me. The therapy had a time limit though and I knew I would miss her. However it restored my faith in therapy and I even went on to do a pre-practionner counselling certificate. I am also currently doing CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) as I am trying to break the link between the anxiety and my thoughts.
Who knew experiencing such vast amount of registered therapists could in fact lead me to the best “unqualified” help! So maybe someone with 50 years experience might not actually be better than a newly qualified therapist – perhaps the latter might focus more on doing better than assuming we are case number 2000 and they know what to do! I learned that if I notice something in the initial session (I don’t connect with them or they are more into the weather!) to move on and try another one straight away – because they are out there.
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