Saturday, November 29, 2008

What happened on Wednesday - part one: cast from counselling and the addiction assesement

I went to counselling on Wednesday morning. A 9.15 start, which is a sharply double edged sword. It's good that I'm not able to wallow in the misery pit that my bed becomes every morning. But, anyone who drinks heavily is never going to be much of a 'morning person' and walking round feeling like you've been smashed in the face by a lorry is not going to make the counselling process easier.

I'd worked myself into a terrible state in preparation of this session. My homework after the last session was to prepare myself for a whopping great dollop of self-revelation. The theory was illuminated in the copy of the worthlessness schema - the counsellor, by listening to the supposedly unbearable secrets of the worthless schema patient, and by still caring for them can show them that what they had done is bearable and they are not beyond the pale.

Sadly, the counsellor seemed to have forgotten that this was the plan and we began as usual with a "How are you?" and my predictable account of stable but heavy drinking and continued stumbling through a numb half-life.

Then she dropped the bombshell, wanting to "Put it on the table," that we should take a break from counselling. This has happened before - I've been prescribed a cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) book and asked to work through a chapter for discussion at the following session, only for the sessions to drift back to the same old same old.

The title says cast from counselling and that's unfair and far too melodramatic. I could quite easily have said that I wanted to carry on, as I could previously have guided the sessions more strongly. But, expressing my self and leading the way in conversation are very much part of my problems.

I certainly don't feel any resentment towards my counsellor. We haven't really clicked and I've never felt truly comfortable. She almost certainly has too many cases and why should I expect to receive months and months of publicly-funded counselling when little progress is being made and someone else, with much worse problems, could be benefiting. She told me that new users were facing a month long waiting list to even get an initial assessment appointment.

"You're stable and we need to wait for the medical intervention of detox," she said, promising to fit me in ASAP, should I need help urgently; should my drinking increase, or my assessment of my mood pick up on a real down.

Should neither of those scenarios come to pass the plan is for me to come back in for counselling around six weeks before the detox to start work on preparing for abstinence.

I've also been prescribed a book. This is a neat little scheme whereby you are genuinely given a prescription to hand in at your local library. My book is Mind Over Mood, which seems to be the CBT book.

I sensed she was starting to get a little nervous at the end of the session. I was asked to fill in one of those self-assessment forms anyone who's been treated for depression will almost certainly be familiar with; a list of questions about mood (have you felt despairing) with multiple choice options - never, sometimes, often, everyday.

The fact that I remain ticking the often or worse option for all the negative questions made her a little nervous I think - including the, have you thought of hurting yourself.

Sad to recount, I do think about suicide every day. My suicide. It's always there as an option and I'm so used to thinking of it it's a constant background noise. However, it's nothing more than a fantasy - I look at pills but I never have any real intention of taking an overdose and the fact that it's overdose I always think of (rather than the more certainly successful options - and I'm sorry to say that I have visited some of the notorious suicide websites to research this in the past, although not recently) means a 'cry for help' is as far as I am ever likely to go in that direction. I'm simply far too much of a physical coward to take such things likely, I'm also scared of death, I'm very far from a happy camper, but I do still have things to live for. I also have no faith - I've often wished that I had, and, although I'd probably call myself an agnostic at best I do 'pray' - and don't believe I will be swept to heaven when I pass on.

I think I felt slightly lighter, released in a way, and determined to do more for myself. I've ordered the library book and will contact the depression charity offering self-help and volunteer work.


The Drinker.

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