I have counselling this morning. And I use that term in its very loosest sense. It’s been a month since I last went, because I am apparently almost fine now.
Having spent an hour each week, then reduced to each fortnight, having hand-outs about depression and recovery read to me by a girl who looks so young I would guess she is just about ready to take her GCSE options, I am now cured of all depression, and armed with all the knowledge I will ever need to fight against any signs of it in the future.
This is, of course, not how it is in reality. When I am asked how things have been, and I respond “Fine”, no further questions are necessary, and off we go to read through hand-written flow charts, and paragraphs photocopied from the very latest exercise books in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. It is quite clear that I am generally not “Fine”, but this child-nurse doesn’t seem to understand that sometimes a few well-chosen questions go a long way to actually drawing out the real truth. I have had depression for 17 years, and have become an expert in the field of cover-up. When I say “Fine” I mean “I am probably on the edge of a break-down”.
I have had counselling in the past and found it to be very unhelpful. I am not normally one for talking about negative feelings and emotions. I have found over many years that the best way to deal with these emotions is to ignore them for long periods of time and stick my head well and truly in 20ft of sand. It works. For a while. But what I found really doesn’t work is to go back over things experienced during childhood and try to blame silly incidents that, most likely every child experiences, for my dark thoughts now. Or to blame my parents for not doing a good enough job, when I know that all they have ever done is their best, and all they have ever wanted is for me to be happy.
This time, however, I would have actually liked to talk about how I felt. After The Baby was born, the level of anxiety and guilt that I was experiencing was very new and very unusual for me. And I think that talking these feelings through with a professional may have gone a little way to addressing these issues. I was not given an opportunity to talk properly. I haven’t been assigned a professional.
But I am now off to say very little about what has actually been happening in my life, or how I have been feeling, to read a few pieces of paper on the generics of post-natal depression, and to resist the urge to call Amnesty International about suspected child labour in the North Staffordshire area.