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Posts Tagged ‘CBT’

CBT: Completely Baffling Therapist

As I may have mentioned a time or twenty, I had my first CBT appointment on Monday. Except that noone seemed to have told him what I’d been referred to him for. Apparently he does “other therapies” as well. He was a friendly bloke, if rather quiet. To be honest, he mostly just paged through my assessment from back in May, struggled to read the handwriting, and asked a few questions to clarify stuff that had been written in it.

All in all it lasted fifteen minutes.

That aside, it didn’t stop him giving me a shedload of homework. In addition to some breathing exercises (which – as someone who regularly meditates – I’m struggling with, because breathing really slowly is cueing me into trance, and making me forget to count *doh*), he wants to “open up” a few things by my reading some Internet stuff, and then I can come back and ask him any questions.

Ok, so far so good.

Then I saw the website he wanted me to peruse. All four “courses” on http://www.uncommon-knowledge.co.uk/self_help/courses.html.

By taking the Learning Path you will:

  • Learn the truth about antidepressants, and the truth about how effective they are
  • Find out what a major US government study recommends for the treatment of depression – the results may astound you, especially if you’ve seen a doctor or counselor
  • Protect yourself from damaging forms of therapy and counseling, and learn how to find a good therapist
  • Understand how depression works – it often makes people feel much better right away
  • Discover what you can do to help lift your own depression
  • And much much more. If you have problems with depression, the best way to beat it for good is to become an expert!

Hmmmmmm. I know about “automatic negative thoughts”, depressive thinking patterns, neurotransmitters and stuff. I know I’m relatively self-aware (comes with having had a mood disorder for at least the last 6 years of my life). I even did A-level biology, once upon a time. It doesn’t “make me feel better right away”. Nor should it. My life is a mess – whether the problems caused the messed up brain chemistry, or the messed up brain chemistry caused the problems is like debating the chicken vs the egg. It seems entirely likely that I will never know for certain.

…reading on…

During your journey, you will learn:

  • The astounding new discovery that shows how clinical depression is caused by over-dreaming, and what you can do about it.

Um. I’m a scientist (well, scientist-in-training). I like to know that things have an evidence base behind them (the Crisis Team and I get on quite well over this – “evidence-based” is one of their favourite words). If you mention the word “peer reviewed” you get an extra jelly bean.

Hard Fact: “astounding new discoveries” are never either astounding or new. Astounding new discoveries are the sort of things that get a Nobel Prize (if you’re lucky enough to stay alive long enough, which poor Peter Higgs – of the Higgs Boson – may not).

Teen Depression Study
In a recent study by the Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre in Western Australia, of 400 children aged 9 to 12, 16 were found to be clinically depressed, with 112 assessed as being vulnerable to future depression. Depressed children believed that happiness is achieved through the acquisition of fame, money and beauty. Happier children tended to believe that feeling good comes from healthy attitudes and pursuing worthwhile goals.

Aside from the fact that I can’t find this study (to be honest I didn’t actually bother looking very hard, so that’s not their fault), and that 16 seems a very small sample-size for a social science (and thus of dubious statistical significance)… Depressed children believed, but happier children tended to believe? Really? Honest-to-God? All children who completed the study and had been diagnosed with clinical depression believed that happiness is achieved through the acquisition of fame, money and beauty? And what about the ones who were happy but also believed the same thing? Because if that statement is true, then they are the interesting population to study.

Yeah, right… better go buy some bells so I can suitably kit out my other leg… (and turn down my cyncism generator, it’s clearly set too high)

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As above.

Appointment with “Mental Health Practioner” at the end of July (NHS).

Appointment next Tuesday at the young-people place.

Arrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh.

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Last week, I saw a “mental health worker” to discuss what (if any) therapy the NHS can offer me. They are offering me 8-10 (or 6-8… I can’t remember) sessions of CBT. So far so good. She also gave me details of a few groups that I could refer myself to if I wanted/preferred, and talked over with me what I can do if I find myself in crisis again. Also so far so good.

What was even better was that, from amongst my humourous anecdotes and slightly less humourous said-while-trying-not-to-cry admissions, she managed to pick out (and I quote, from the summary letter) “symptoms of depression, such as hypersomnia (sometimes 20 hours a day), mood swings, loss of appetite, loss of interest in things, poor motivation and poor concentration”. This is actually quite relieving to read, as although I did in moments of lucidity think I had it, and definately found it a convenient excuse for hiding my perceived incompetence, the depression was causing me to feel it was all in my imagination. I’m a little perturbed that mood swings are apparently a symptom of depression, as I’m still experiencing those (currently one week normal, one week down…), but I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise as I know I’m not quite back to normal yet… to be totally honest, I’m not even sure what “normal” is anymore. Perhaps I should instead be taking it as a good sign, that there will be more stability in my nearish future. I’m a tad curious as to why “negative thoughts, particularly about herself” is listed separately from those, but I assume that’s just because it was getting to be a rather long list otherwise.

It was chilling to see “recurring suicidal thoughts and had developed a method, plan and intent to carry them out” typed out in print, as it means I can’t deny that this is something I’ve struggled with during periods of my life, but it’s presumably a good thing, as I hope this will end up in my medical notes? It would be really nice if the next GP whose office I shuffle into in that state would take me seriously, and not just shove me off with a referral for counselling (who had a 12 week waiting list just for initial ASSESSMENT)*.

The disappointing thing was that I didn’t really get a chance to talk about the strangeness and scariness of it all. I feel like I’ve been emotionally stretched out on the rack, then used as target practise in a firework factory. Hell, I felt like I was a firework from time to time. And I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that for the second time in my life I rather lost touch with reality, and started perceiving things that weren’t there. I suppose what I need is talk therapy, but she did say that CBT would be “practical” (and orientated towards recognising an episode again, etc), so I suppose I should see about talking about it in counselling so I can really get my head around and integrate it. Unfortunately, I don’t feel comfortable talking about the guts and gore of my mental health with my current counsellor, so switching to another might be an idea, but I don’t know where to look. I’m on the waiting list for a group who work with young people with mental health issues, and I know that one of the services they can offer is counselling, but that waiting list’s about 2-3 months long.

Oh well… ce sera sera.

*thankfully my mood improved before I got all the way through my plans, or I probably wouldn’t be here to type this!

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