29th July 2018 at 9:31 pm #62098
This could also go into ‘life after abuse’, but I decided that the disability was really the key thing.
The background is that I recently started counselling for dealing with the aftermath of my abuse. I had hoped it might help with my anxiety levels, but I am now over a month in and they are worse than ever. I was prepared that that might be the case, but I hoped to see some improvement by this point.
However, as well as increasing my anxiety (which I could probably handle short term) it has also massively worsened my chronic illness to the point where I am currently off work, experiencing symptoms which I have not had since I got away from my abuser.
What do you guys think? Is it worth persevering with for longer in the hopes that it helps recover long term? Should I take a break and come back to it when my health returns? Or should I see if I can see a new therapist, possibly doing a different kind of therapy? This isn’t an easy option as I live in a really rural area, with almost no mental health care provision, and barely any private counsellors either. But I do feel like I haven’t really gelled with my current counsellor, she doesn’t make me feel particularly cared for, or safe. And I wonder if this could be part of the problem.
We just seem to spend the whole time taking over the past, while she asks me how things made me feel. I have a disability and spent years with a man who abused me. You know what. Both of those things made me feel s**t. I don’t see how remembering this helps…
Any advice gratefully received!
29th July 2018 at 11:22 pm #62103
Tiffany, I have had counselling twice. The first time didn’t help me as the woman literally did what yours is doing. I did 6 weeks and packed it in.
You have to gel with your counsellor and it won’t help just re-living the past. As they say “don’t look back, you are not walking that way”.
My new counsellor is trained in different types of therapies. She questions me a lot in a constructive way. I feel lighter after each session and I’m having “ahhh” moments all the time. It’s like “ahhh that’s why I’m like that” or “ahhh I can see why that person is toxic for me now”. Hope that makes sense.
I have a friend who is having counselling currently who is having a bad time. She is dealing with her past to give her a better future and its painful and tiring but she would say it’s worth it.
I’m not sure if any of that helps.
Big hugs. So sorry you are feeling so unwell.
30th July 2018 at 8:47 pm #62122
Thanks Janedoe. This is my 4th lot of counselling. All the rest have been to deal with becoming disabled and this is the first time I have been discussing the abuse. The first lot was USELESS! The woman just kept telling me that my life sounded terribly hard. I mean, it was hard but not disastrous. And I wanted to make the best of things. The second and third were much more helpful – like you described, aha moments which helped me realise when I was hurting myself and also really useful discussions of potential strategy going forward. This lady I am seeing now seems more in the school of the first one, and I am just not confident it’s helping. I am not certain it isn’t helping either. But I would be much less frustrated by the debilitation if I was confident it would help long term.
31st July 2018 at 1:01 pm #62143
There is nothing I hate more than someone just telling me my life must be hard. I find that incredibly frustrating and not at all helpful. My counsellor now says things like “it sounds like you are fighting everyone and everything at the moment” its a far more useful statement to me, I makes me think “god I am fighting a lot, why am I doing that?”. It makes me think rather than sit there thinking “I know my life is hard, that’s why I am here!!”. I think I am more practical than emotional so just sitting there telling me how I must feel is lost on me, give me practical advice, tell me something to make me take action.
In my opinion you should go with your gut, you know how it feels when it is working, you have experienced that before. It is hard when you live in rural area and there appears to be no other people available but I currently drive 20 minutes each way and have had to adjust my working hours in order to see my counsellor. It is 100% worth that effort though.
31st July 2018 at 2:35 pm #62145
I think I am more practical too. I want to be challenged into changing how I think and act, not just to have a sympathetic ear listening. I am currently in pretty much exactly the same boat re. travel time to counselling and changing work hours to fit in. Seeing someone else will in all probability involve at leave doubling that drive time each way, and possibly timsing it by 6. Each way. Which would mean cutting my work hours by a day a week. It would be a serious commitment, which is why I am swithering about whether to make a switch or keep going to this woman I am currently seeing in the hopes that it works.
31st July 2018 at 4:26 pm #62147
Could you maybe have a discussion with her to say you do not need a pat on the back and want to be challenged? At least you could decide based on her response. If she’s open to change, great!
Its such a shame that we have to travel so far to get the support we deserve. I did actually find someone 2 minutes from my house but she basically fell asleep during our first session, so I never went back. I paid for that session too!
I find it equally shocking how little is available after work hours. I couldn’t even find someone who could see me a little after office hours.
31st July 2018 at 4:56 pm #62150bluedolphinParticipant
Sorry I can’t stay on here long so this is rushed.
Is there any chance of telephone or online counselling? I know it may not be available where you are or be what you feel is right for what you need.
I’ve not spoken to any about the current abuse, but have had various therapists in the past. I had to gel with them or it didn’t help. Had a couple who made me feel worse. Definitely, I think it’s best to find one you feel more comfortable with. I had a brilliant psychotherapist when I was younger. On the NHS, but this was years ago.
I really hope you can find one who works better for you.
31st July 2018 at 5:20 pm #62152
That’s a good thought Bluedolphin. I will look into other options. My current therapist is (detail removed by moderator), so finding anything closer will be tough. I think I would struggle to do something really personal on the phone, but might manage something like CBT that is more practical without being with the therapist. I will ask my friends locally first and see if they have any suggestions. And go back to my GP. And if that fails I will follow up the online/phone option. My other thought is that mindfulness might help – which is the kind of thing I could go away on a course to learn and then apply myself. I am not sure if this is just wishful thinking – that it would help – but it seems worth trying.
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