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  • Writer's pictureMike Douglas

Is Therapy Worth It?

Well, is it? Is therapy worth it?

It is what some people spend weeks, months, sometimes years waiting for. After all that time is it even worth it? My experience leaves me with mixed thoughts.

After first seeking help by talking to my GP, following a particularly bad moment for me, I have since experienced various forms of therapy.

Though iTalk I have relieved one to one phone therapy and face to face group therapy. Though a Mental Health Unit I have received face to face group therapy and now face to face one to one therapy. I have now been in and out of one form or another of therapy for over a year. I am now finally having one to one face to face therapy, something I've been wanting (maybe not wanting, more needing) since December 2015, 17 months ago. Maybe longer.

After all that, is finally getting this traditional form of therapy worth it... In all honestly, I still don't know. For me... Maybe not. However, thats not the full answer.

While one to one face to face the typical tell me about your childhood comes out (actually seems to be relevant to me) there are good conventions and discussions around my thought processes and reactions. Don't get me wrong it has been useful, just not as much as I had hoped. Over time I have found it harder to talk and to even want to talk in this therapy session. I guess for me too, I struggle with self worth and self compassion. So I don't like the spotlight being on me. Maybe I feel undeserving of the time and attention. I am trying not to focus on that negative thought though.

The positive side of this is recognition of the two things that have really helped.

1. Group Therapy, I never thought this would work or be my thing and the first session is seemingly always rubbish. No one wants to talk and the practitioner just outlines group rules and what you will cover in the future. I like the spotlight not being on me, I enjoy meeting other people who like me are struggling. I see the bravery in them I want to see in myself.

The chance to talk and discuss theories, practises, challenges and achievements is very soothing, supportive and helpful. I do often find I start to twitch (a warning sign to my oncoming attacks) I believe this is because I am engaging and challenging the way I think and process, so its kind of good. I just have to be mindful of myself.

The downside of these groups is often you start to get into them at week 4 or 5, but theres only 6. So once you are more comfortable with people and the environment its over. This is maybe why meet ups like #MHmeet #MHBSouthCoast and #TalkMH mean so much to me. Because I get to meet and talk to people I have already established a relationship with, where we can talk openly about our mental health and life in general. With the added benefit of usually meeting at least one or two people I have not spoken to much before. Its like all the good bits of therapy right?

2. Blogging+, by this I mean all the things I have done that sit around blogging. So the podcast, talking to new people, doing more activities and attending meet ups. This has helped me no end. Specifically blogging, twitter chats like #TalkMH #MHChatHour and now #PosiMH and the podcast. Where I have had the opportunity to talk openly about my mental health, the struggles and challenges. These things have made me feel less alone, more informed, supported and have helped to change the way I think about and treat myself.

Blogging+ I think is really important because it is something I have never been asked or advised to do. Yet it has helped so much. I wonder how many others would benefit from writing or talking about their own experiences in this way...

Sure I know its not for everyone and thats ok. I just think for me this has been so helpful and its not even a considered method of treatment. Yes there are risks, but there are risk or side affects with any treatment. Blogging isn't going to give me sickness but I may get some negative comments. Its what value you put on those comments. For me I have always got a lot more positive than negative from this experience and thats what I want from my treatment.

These two methods of treatment or support have been so much more helpful to me than one to one face to face therapy. Yet thats what meany, including myself think / thought we needed. Maybe its about the journey and I have learnt or changed bit by bit, so by the time I have got to therapy I just need to enforce the messages and lessons I have already heard. Either way I think that it is important to recognise there are different treatments out there. If one is not working for you, consider why that is. If its really not working try something else. DO NOT GIVE UP!

While writing this post my mind has shifted a few times. To and from the idea of 'therapy' being good or useful. Those views are mine though, you will have your own. I think the most important thing to say is that we began to recognise there are many different ways to help with illnesses of the mind, traditional therapy is just one.

Be safe and remember you are not alone.

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