So you remember I had that incident back in March as a result of the Zoladex not agreeing with my postnatal hormones and ended up in hospital for two weeks? Well, I’ve been in therapy as a result. They don’t just turn us loonies loose on the public without trying to prepare us mentally first you know. Of course there is a six month waiting list for outpatients appointments at Tier 2 in the mental health services – thanks for the cuts David Cameron, you ham faced cock – so I didn’t get the therapy when I came out of hospital, and I was in fact just let loose on your people.
Don’t worry, I’m in the middle of my 18 week course and still hanging in there. I like my therapist, she can think on the spot very quickly and is inventive with her methods. She is also shrewd as hell and catches me out constantly. Fair play to her. The idea of the therapy is to provide people like me, who went a bit over the edge but not all the way to the bottom of the abyss, with strategies for coping with the stresses life throws at you so that you don’t end up back on the edge again. So to say I was relieved when the therapy started while I was in the middle of a marriage break up is an understatement. I couldn’t have come this far if it weren’t for my always brilliant friends – and the therapy.
But one thing has been bugging me, and that was that all the visualisation – and I can do this easily – wasn’t sitting quite right. I can do the mindfulness bit and keep myself in the here and now, aware of my thoughts but not overwhelmed by them. But the diffusion bit – where you send the thoughts away from you visually – has proved more elusive, with many of the techniques and ideas not working for me. For instance, say I was annoyed about something or someone, I could visualise a word or their name, maybe in script font, and then put it on a leaf and send it down a river away from me. Or I could type that name on a computer screen and play with it, make it a different font, make it smaller, bigger, bolder – and then delete it. Things like this.
Thing is, I find it hard to get that distance. I might still be tense or angry even after trying these techniques. When you’re immersed in a marriage break up you do get tense and angry from time to time, like when your ex posts on Facebook that he’s had a tough year and you just want to scream YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TOUGH IS SUNSHINE!
There is no point, I know.
So I’m relying on the therapy to help me keep my dignity by giving me techniques to distance myself from every day stresses and annoyances, like a 9 year old screaming at the X box and waking his sister up, or an 8 year old refusing to put his own washing away because he can’t be bothered and I’m annoying him. When I want to just scream, I use the mindfulness or the diffusion, or both, because I don’t have time to stand around screaming and being angry. And I don’t want to end up near that edge again.
Today my therapist finally hit on a visualisation technique I can really get to grips with. I told her I was angry and wanted to blow shit up, so she told me to imagine a cartoon character and Wile E Coyote came instantly into my mind. She told me to imagine he had a pump, and was attaching it to a word associated with something causing me stress. She told me to imagine him pumping and pumping and blowing that word up bigger and bigger until it was swollen and distorted until BANG! It bursts.
This made me feel a lot better. So we sat and discussed the many ways Wile E Coyote cans himself in Road Runner, (off a cliff, a bow and arrow, tying something to train tracks,dynamite, ACME Batman outift etc), and I came home armed with several ways to diffuse negative thoughts and emotions and get them out of my head. Ways that make me smile.
I’m grateful that I have this support, and I know what I’m learning now will help me well into the future with many different events and life stresses. I’m hopeful it will keep me well away from that ubiquitous edge, and they are techniques I can pass on to my children to help them to deal with stress too. The NHS is a bloody wonderful thing, and I seriously hope we don’t see it dismantled and privatised during the next four and a half years, but I have a horrible feeling we will #putsdavidcamerononacatapult