Charlotte Underwood is ready to consider a future where she will be stronger mentally and wants to get there via therapy
Therapy has been something I have avoided for the last few years.
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It’s the thought of having to tell my story over again and having to relive that past, which I keep repressed. I have this phobia that I will be forced into group therapy and my life will turn into the kind that the media portrays.
In the past I've attended therapy that didn't feel like it helped.
The experiences were not so good and I remember that I felt a little bit like a child who was being told off. I started to believe the stigma that all therapists are the same and don’t want to help.
I have been actively seeking support for my mental health for over a year now.
A dark place
I found myself in a very dark place where I would not leave the house for three months and childhood memories were coming to haunt me.
I was struggling so much because I thought I had been doing so well by fighting on my own without any aid. I felt ashamed and scared of reaching out because I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time.
It has taken the best part of the year to get myself on the waiting list for therapy.
I’ve been to a few meetings and have been bounced around due to the complexity of my mental health.
I have a plan set in place where I will be under the care of a care coordinator and a therapy team.
'Because my mind has shifted in perspective that I should not be ashamed of having a mental illness, I find myself excited to receive help'
It has been suggested that I should start cognitive behavioural therapy and trauma therapy. Group therapy has been suggested for my anxiety but they said that they would build me up to that, which makes me feel supported – like they are holding my hand.
Because my mind has shifted in perspective that I should not be ashamed of having a mental illness, I find myself excited to receive help.
'I feel like I no longer have to suffer in silence because I deserve to live a life not shackled by my ill mental health'
There is something comforting knowing that there will be a care plan in place for when and if I have a mental health crisis and that a whole team of people will be doing what they can to reach my mental health goals.
I feel like I no longer have to suffer in silence because I deserve to live a life not shackled by my ill mental health.
I met a member of the psychology team for an assessment last month, I was apprehensive as my appointment was at my local mental health ward.
However, when I met the psychologist, I just felt so comfortable. He reassured me and helped me to let out my genuine feelings and worries, he picked up on my embarrassment and let me know that I do not have to hid things, that made me feel better.
The conversation flowed and it felt like I knew this man straight away, we discussed more of my referral and reason for therapy.
Ready to go
I am sad that I let the stigma and a few bad experiences prevent me from seeking help earlier, as it has meant that I have even more layers that need to be peeled back.
'I have already learnt so much about myself and mental health – which is a great start'
For my future I am excited to start my therapy sessions and get treatment so that I can consider a future where I am stronger mentally and can come off medication.
My dream is to start a family, which I do not feel able to do yet but I feel like this is now possible because I have full faith that therapy will really benefit me.
I have only had assessments so far and yet in these appointments I have already learnt so much about myself and mental health – which is a great start.