Yesterday at 12pm, with a teeny tiny baby hangover, and a Topshop blouse that made me look like a princess pirate, I made my way over to my second counselling appointment.
We spent the 50-minute session creating a timeline of my life up until now – marking positive events on one side of the line and negative events on the other.
I won’t lie, it was like walking into a lesson and finding out that GUESS WHAT GUYS? TODAY YOU’RE SPLITTING INTO GROUPS AND MAKING COLLAGES.
I was v happy.
And I drove home with the music turned up and a little feeling of optimism and lightness brewing in my belly.
Y’see that’s the thing with counselling so far, it’s not made me feel sad and dark and lacking in energy the way I had expected it too. Those of you who read my post ‘To Therapy Or Not To Therapy’ will know that I had about eight sessions whilst at uni, and I quit because quite simply, I couldn’t hack it.
I’d come out of my afternoon appointments feeling like the rest of my day was a write off. I’d want to cry and listen to Leona Lewis and have my flat mate feed me mashed potato and fish cakes (we used to get 10 for a £1 from Asda like the sophisticated huns we were).
It felt like it put a dampener on my week and I grew, very quickly, to resent the sessions. I wanted to be cool and happy Hannah, no cry baby Hannah.
But this time, well this time, it’s different.
I come away feeling refreshed. Feeling like I have worked out a little corner of my brain.
It feels as though my head is one big tangled necklace and every session untangles a little more. Every session makes me feel one step closer to completely untangling myself and my thoughts. It is a good feeling.
And my life afterwards continues on. I’m capable of seeing friends, of replying to emails, of writing seemingly normal content about things like face cream and sparkly midi skirts, rather than losing myself entirely to the darkness in my mind.
Maybe it’s the place I’m at in my life – maybe now I am a little bit older, well maybe I more ready to accept counselling into my life. Or maybe it’s this counseller. I mean, I dunno really.
I filmed a video about my first appointment and how I’d found my counselor (which is over here), but I realise that a) not all of you follow me on Youtube and that b) some of you (myself included) would always rather read about something than watch a video on it. And so I thought I should also include some of that info in this post.
So, the basics. I found my counsellor using this online Counselling Directory. Rather than wait to get an NHS referral, I decided to take everything into my own hands and pay to go privately.
Doing this meant that the time from sending off an initial email to actually sitting in the waiting room waiting for my appointment was only about 72 hours.
Meaning I didn’t have too long of sitting around and building it up to be scarier in my head than it is in reality.
My first session was 90 minutes long and was an introductory session, which meant aside from actually doing a bit of talking, we went over things like confidentially and different therapy frameworks, to make sure the match between counsellor and patient (patient? Is that the right word?) was right.
And from here on out we’ll be trying (as much as the ol’ HG schedule allows) to meet weekly for 50 minute appointments that cost £35 – which is pretty average for outside of London.
I have no idea how long I’ll be doing this for, and I’m all too aware that some sessions will be harder than others. And maybe some Thursday afternoons I won’t come out of my session singing to Clean Bandit at the top of my lungs. But I’m also aware that that’s totally OK.
There might be the odd write off afternoon, because emotions are tricky things and it’s impossible to second guess them.
But, rather than beat myself up for not feeling OK, I’m going to try and go with the flow. I’m going to listen to when my head needs me to distract myself and when my brain, quite simply, just wants to focus on Bart Simpson and the kettle.
I truly think counselling is one of the best things we can do for ourselves – and one of the best things we could spend our money on.
ASOS shoes might not bring you everlasting happiness, but emotional peace just might.
Peace out, ladies.