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What I’ve Learned From Therapy: Getting Started

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I started therapy in early 2019 and have regularly discussed my sessions on my Stories.

Not insofar as to spill all of the secrets and the finer details of each session but more to normalise going to therapy for anyone out there feeling like it might not be for them.

Each time I speak about my therapy experience, I have tons of questions, people asking for advice and an interest in learning more. So I’ve decided to start a lil series here on the blog!

I’m being called to write more about what I’m learning about being human, being a woman and navigating life as a thirty-something, married, countryside dweller – a person I wouldn’t have recognised even 5 years ago, so this series excites me to write.

If you’re interested in this journey, I hope this will be for you.

I’m not sure what shape or form this series will take, all I know is that I’ll be writing from the heart – saying bollocks to SEO, paying no mind to what people may think and just rambling out my honest experience.

The main themes of my therapy so far have been around; forgiveness, learning about grace, reacting to others around me, unpacking my childhood, my relationship with my self and my body and preparing for marriage – losing baggage and learning to communicate.

These are some of the things I’ll share.

But before we kick off with a big ol’ life lesson, perhaps it might be best to give a bit of background into why I made the decision to start therapy, how I found my therapist and what our first session was like – as these are the questions I get asked the most!

Are you coming with me?

Why I started therapy

I’ve written many a post on this blog about my mental health journey – in fact, do a lil search of ‘mental health’ in the tags or ‘vix meldrew mental health’ on Google and you’ll learn lots about my experience so far.

I’d gotten to the point, after moving in with Ben, leaving teaching and losing my Dad where I realised that the medication I was taking to stabilise my moods and help me get up every morning wasn’t enough on its own to really get to the core of what was going on with me.

Ben and I would rarely argue but when we would bicker or have a discussion, I angered quickly. I didn’t like being that way. I realised, as we were engaged, that I didn’t want to enter our marriage with the baggage I’d carried from the past.

Suddenly on the horizon was a life I never could’ve dared to imagine. A stable, happy relationship with an amazing person, my own business growing from strength to strength and a life in the country being mooted – and I didn’t want to enter this life with a version of me that wasn’t ready.

How I found my therapist

On one particularly dark day in our old flat, I woke up late, around 11am and I looked around our bedroom – I felt physically unable to get up. Work was overwhelming me, I felt like crap and everything in life just felt too big.

My back was glued to the mattress, my face was fixed into a grimace. I cried. How many more mornings could I have like this? I didn’t feel like this feeling represented everything I had to get up for.

So I picked up my phone and Googled, ‘Therapists Lambeth’.

Apprehensively, I scrolled the list of registered therapists near me and began to leave voicemails…

‘Hi, my name is Vicky, I live near Brixton, I found you via Google and am interested in discussing therapy sessions with you, could you please call me back so we can discuss further?’

It felt like calling a plumber, except Rodney with the spanner coming to fix my sink doesn’t want to hear about my relationship with my parents.

And then on one phone call, my now therapist answered.

She had a kind, warm voice and addressed me by my name. She asked about me – where I lived, what I did for work and why I reached out.

I told her I’d recently lost my Dad and was about to get married and that I wanted someone to talk to about everything I was feeling and working through before I started my new life.

She told me to come to her house for an initial session and if we clicked we could continue. I said I’d be there tomorrow.

And because, at the time, I’d only been full time blogging for a little while and not exactly rolling in it, she said she offered discounted rates for people who were students, on a low income or self employed.

But by then, the excuse I always gave myself of, ‘I can’t afford therapy’, when I’d happily wank £30 a week on Deliveroo wasn’t really standing up any more any way.

The first session

My therapist’s house was a short bus journey from our old flat in Streatham Hill and I remember shitting myself, the entire journey there.

What would I say? What if she judged me? What will she ask? What if she doesn’t like me?

The nerves almost got the best of me but I found my feet treading the pavements closer and closer to her house.

When I plucked up the courage to ring the doorbell, she greeted me warmly, welcomed me in and offered me a tea or water.

She led me upstairs to her therapy room and showed me to a chair sat in front of hers.

Once settled, she asked me two questions…

‘So Vicky, why are you here and why today?’

The answer to that wasn’t so simple. And it has been dissected, discussed, cried over, pored over, screamed over and whispered over in every session since.

I’ll share more about my why and why now, next time.

 
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