Ha! Reading that last entry must make me look like I’m trying to be the Gov’t’s poster child on CBT interventions.

I’ve have mixed feelings on this…

When I agreed to go for an assessment with the IAPT team, I think I really was look for a quick fix. I couldn’t have cared less if it was a sticky plaster that was going to slip off in the rain. At least it was something that might change the position I was in, which I wasn’t enjoying.  I was also (still am) at university, and as far as  I could see (which wasn’t much past the end of my nose), the semesters and assignments have strict time constraints and I was falling ever lower and faster towards these deadlines, and seeing them as just that: the line that would make me dead once I hit them. That may all sound very melodramatic, and I knew it was, but that realisation only made me feel worse. (I’d long been going down the meds route, but it kept feeling like they were just conking out on me. My tutors kept trying to reassure me about my work, but when they realised that maybe the problems were more to do with me, than the work, they shied away from helping.)

I am grateful that through my university, I was able to see an IAPT assessor, SG, the following week, and he offered that I could start the local Talking Therapies programme with him within a couple of weeks. (In fact I think I am remembering this wrongly, it wasn’t quite as quick, as it involved first my GP suggesting I see the university’s advisor (Enise), who then told me about the local Talking Therapies service with the IAPT team, and eventually I made the appointment to be assessed. But still, I appreciate that it was relatively very quick with little waiting time, only a bit of time at the start being passed from person to person). My friend, who for whatever reason isn’t going through the university access route, has been given a waiting time of three months, for the same service in the same town.

I’m grateful too that the university has been very understanding, more than I had imagined they would be. The deadlines have been flexible, and it’s helped rethinking them as ‘dates to work towards’, rather than a killing guillotine. I may have missed this term’s external examination board, but I can still catch the next one in September, so I will still be able to graduate at the same ceremony along with my peers. In the grand scheme of things a few weeks really doesn’t matter. I’m still nervous that I could find myself in the same position again feeling horrible about myself and my work, and that in the future it would be in a real job being paid to supposedly produce actual work, and to me that is an even scarier thought. But I think I’m making progress (I’m not in tears thinking about it right now. yay!)

So, I’m learning that CBT and the IAPT service hasn’t been the solve-everything-make-a-little-happy-Zee. But the idea that something could be help me relatively quickly did make me feel a little bit better. If I had been told at the start, well after nine-months-of-interrupted-face-to-face-sometimes-telephones-self-help-with-some-help you might start to feel a bit of progress, I probably would have just curled up in a corner and not even tried.

It’s obviously a fine balancing act they have to play with individuals, especially crucially at the beginning and they don’t even know you, and that’s before they add into the mix budgets, targets and other number games. It also helps them that my issues were mostly imagined. They didn’t actually have to get their hands dirty digging deeper. I suspect they are not very good at that. Maybe I can take some credit too: its in my nature to persevere (aka stubborn), maybe if I hadn’t felt so desperate I wouldn’t have bothered making sure that just because I’d had six sessions with SG (back in Jan/feb time), or bothered to try to do session homework (even if it is just an hour the night before), I wouldn’t have reached the point I’m at now.

I finally feel that I might be safe to consider myself in the waiting period on my anti-depressants. If I can get through the next six months feeling more or less as I do now (or even possibly better if I dare wish), then I think I will be confident to begin to come off them. I have no idea, and no way of knowing, if that’s just the nature of the depressing beast (I hate calling it a Black dog. I like dogs too much!) and it happens to be lifting now, if its because of other things settling in my life (though arguably transitioning from the security of education to the big bad employment world is actually a fairly major change), if my anti-depressant medication is now a good one for me (currently mirtazapine 30mg/day), or because of therapy. In reality it’s probably a combination of them all.

<taking cover now, waiting for the crash>