A Week of Freedom

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It’s now been exactly one week since I officially finished my postgrad university course (after several extensions and having dropped the MA dissertation component) <– struck through as I’m really trying to be a bit less pessimistic – no ‘excepts’/’yets’/’buts’, I Am A Post Graduate!

My aunt picked me up from my university town last week, and we managed to get all my stuff into her car in 3D jigsaw/Rubiks cube fashion.

I’m off sailing aboard tall ships this coming week. I have my fingers crossed that the last year/two years have just been a blip…a long blip…and hopefully a summer of doing completely other things will allow me to come back in the autumn raring to go and able to apply for jobs with confidence. Fingers crossed at least.

Final session

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I had my final session with Celine this afternoon. I’m sorry that they’re coming to an end. I’ve felt like I’ve been making progress. This is a good feeling in itself. But the last couple of sessions have felt rushed, like I was jumping ahead of myself, simply because we were trying to fit too much in. I’ve had 10 sessions (actually 11, as one afternoon she gave me two slots), and she never made me feel like I was ‘using’ up my allotted time. She always told me that she would be there for as long as I needed. I’m grateful for that reassurance. Though I’m not sure how long she could have realistically been allowed to keep that up. Or else she always knew that I would be leaving my university town before she was forced to stop the sessions, so was safe in pretending to reassure me they were limitless.

Anyway, one way or another, yesterday was my last session and today I’m leaving the town altogether. As usual at the beginning made a list of what to do in the session:

  • First: do ‘blue print’ stuff – the thing for me to take away from the therapy in a neat, condensed form,
  • then: ask about how to stop getting upset when I’m on the verge of becoming upset (going through my printer woe from earlier in the week. Not the only recent wobble, but one I’d written about already and seemed like a nicely contained, typically trivial example),
  • lastly: go over the positives of the previous week

The blue printing stuff was fine. Fairly formulaic and obviously just something they want everyone to fill out during the final session. Sleep kept coming up. Isn’t there a saying about sledgehammers and overkill…did it really take 10/11 sessions with Celine, plus how ever many with SG before, to find that my problems could be solved as easily as just  forcing myself to get 8 hours sleep each night? I don’t think that sleep itself isn’t the cause, symptom or problem, but I do agree it is a barrier to dealing with things.  Anyway I wrote down that my “message in a bottle” for my future self is “Don’t lose heart, don’t lose sleep, put fun in wherever I can” – what I made as a key ring fob a while back.

How to not get upset…I recounted what had happened earlier, and filled in one of those hot-cross bun thingies: Thoughts/emotions/Behaviours/Physical reaction. I had sort of hoped she would have an easy solution to how to rethink the situation in a less upsetting way at the time, before I reached the point of public tears (ie how to do the 5 step ABTBP of Living Life to the Full module 3). I said that I could come up with other ways of thinking about the problem afterwards, in theory, but in reality that hadn’t helped me at the time. Interestingly she agreed that when you’re up against a deadline and realising you’re wasting time/money/opportunitity for advice, it’s only natural to be upset. So maybe this counts as a ‘real problem’, rather than a ‘bad thought’? or else just that she recognised it would be really hard for me, once on the verge of tears, to do the mental gymnastics to make myself feel better.

Instead she suggested I should try to approach what I do differently, to avoid problems altogether – like being more organised and realistic in the first place, and have a contingency plan for when things don’t go right, eg in this case maybe it was unreasonable to have expected myself to be ready for a Monday tutorial anyway, if I were to fit a bit of fun and sleep in as well, which hopefully no one would argue with. Or I could have made sure I had enough credit on my printing card or have left enough time to be able to find an ATM to get cash out to top it up.

Well we could all wish to live in an ideal world.

At this point she then pulled me up on how, “when you walked into the room today, you listed what you thought we could get through in the session, and I knew that was most likely unrealistic, and so warned you we probably wouldn’t get to the third thing, of going through your previous week’s activities”. Oh hum, I guess I should have warned her that I’d already Dx myself with “Over-optimism that invariably leads to a crashing low mood“. But I guess it does also match up to the post I wrote about brick walls – I tend to under estimate time and only give myself enough time to bash the walls down, which will always hurt and end in tears, rather than be realistic and give myself time to look at the problem and find the path of least resistance. On the plus side, hopefully recognising all that now is a step away from Einstein’s definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I also think those low moods are less deep than they were a few months ago, and hopefully that is directly linked to improving my sleep, and therefore sustainable, rather than pure chance.

I’ll write a more coherent summary of my thoughts and what I’ve learnt from my sessions with Celine when I’ve had a bit more time to reflect. In the meantime, maybe I do just need to try harder to be a more normal person to avoid problems, and then just accept I will be upset when I come up against some, so that hopefully I don’t waste more time being frustrated with myself for being upset!

Oh, we did have time to go through what I’d done the previous week. So maybe my problem isn’t over-optimism after-all! I didn’t bother to tell her though that her negativity just reminded me of typical hurricane forecasts: they’ll always predict the hurricane’ll hit, just so that on the off chance it does, they’re covered, and for all the rest of the time no one will complain that a hurricane doesn’t hit!