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"Talking it through"

About: Inclusion Thurrock (IAPT)

(as a service user),

I want to preface this by saying that I am no stranger to mental health services. I have spent nearly half of my life attempting to control or gain some reign on my emotions. Like many others I have felt the pain, isolation and humiliation that reaching out for help can sometimes bring. My experiences have been largely negative; thrown from service to service, nothing ever feeling quite right, nothing ever really helping and on occasion, feeling like it never would. This sounds really negative but bear with me, it gets better. 

I had heard that finding the right therapist was key but IMO that sounded a lot like a cliché. Still I persisted. I’m sure many people will read these words and relate; sometimes it truly feels as if nothing will ever help and no one is going to make a difference, and you’ll just be stuck in your deep depression-pyjamas phase forever. When I was assigned some talking therapy through Inclusion I was a little pessimistic, given past experiences. But there was still a small part of me that hoped that *someone* out there would listen to what I had to say, and wouldn’t judge me for how I said it. 

I was assigned Ian and we worked together for a number of months. If Ian ever got tired of me repeating my same mundane and miserable problems week in, week out he never showed it (not that I would have blamed him). Sometimes even I cringed at the things I had to say, feeling bad about myself and my inability to just get my life and emotions together like everyone else. But week in week out Ian listened and never, ever judged. I never felt like I had to be anything other than honest and I never felt any less than completely heard. The structure of therapy helped me get through my days - if I was having a bad week I knew that on X day I would get to talk it through and unburden myself and my poor tired brain. On really bad days that thought alone did a lot to help get me through.

Speaking with Ian also helped me to uncover some things about myself that I hadn’t fully given thought to prior to therapy. For me that has been helpful because understanding myself a little better means that I am a little less harsh on myself. We covered a range of topics but I often circled back around to the same thing - which for me was helpful. Sometimes being mentally unwell makes you feel you have lost autonomy over yourself and your mind - so being able to choose the topics and not be forced in any one direction was a peaceful and gentle way of going about it. Ian was always professional and polite yet kind, which made me feel I was talking to a friend. I think that’s really important when you’re having talking therapy. 

Overall Ian really made a big difference to my weeks and has been a huge support. Am I completely cured and better? No. That will take a long time and a lot more work. What I am though, is more self-aware. More able to identify what I’m feeling and why I’m feeling it. I am more positive and open to new experiences and growth regarding my mental health journey. And perhaps most importantly I am reminded that there are people out there in the world who do care; people who will listen to your problems no matter how big or small you feel they are. Sometimes when the world seems cold and life feels difficult, knowing that compassion and empathy can exist for you helps in immeasurable ways.

Thank you Inclusion and thank you Ian - you make a difference. 

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