Today, I had my last session of Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy. It's been a really challenging time, and I've struggled with the process, but I hope, with time, it will prove beneficial.
The psychotherapist working with me recently, believes I can recover. I'm working on having that same belief and hope, but it's a definite work in progress. Without the belief that I can recover, I won't. I fear a devastating relapse, despite knowing that fear is unhelpful, and I can't help feeling that way. It's going to take some time I think, and I'll need to keep reinforcing the way I want to think and feel.
Recovery isn't easy. It takes determination and fight and strength, all of which I'm not sure I have just now (despite everyone telling me I do). If I'm not strong enough now, I hope my recent work will give me the knowledge and understanding and experience to improve when things fall into place in the future.
Would I recommend ISTDP, particularly to others with NEAD? If you don't feel much (emotionally, not thinking or physically), then it can help you get more in touch with the things that are currently unconscious. It can help suppressed emotions (that are so so damaging) be expressed rather than internalised. You need to be open to the mind-body connection (which is massive) to get anywhere with it though. More than anything, you need to be brave and ready to face difficult experiences, feelings and emotions; that was something I didn't fully appreciate prior to starting if I'm honest. You might feel angry or sad or so many other emotions during sessions. They might also seem scary (I was terrified and panicked at times). Physical symptoms like seizures, movement symptoms and body flashbacks might be triggered, but that's ok, and you'll be safe with your therapist, as they'll understand these bizarre symptoms. The whole aim is to learn to tune in to your body, feel again, understand what's behind the symptoms you experience, and learn to express emotions outwards. I realise I've deviated and not properly answered the question, but I think it's too early for me to say for sure what my opinion on ISTDP is. I think I've learned and experienced a lot, and I hope that will make a difference to me moving forward. It's been really really really hard, and things have got worse before they (hopefully) get better, but I hope it's meant things can change in my future.
Looking back on my ISTDP experience, I'm glad I did it, but at the moment my mind is still quite a mess. I'd be lying if I said it's helped right now, because at the moment I'm still having daily, long non-epileptic seizures and actually going completely unconscious for significant parts of some of them. I'm scarily depressed and hopeless just now. I'm still turning a lot of negative emotions inwards and beating myself up rather than expressing them healthily in any way. I'm not in a great place just now.
In a way I'm relieved it's over, but I'm grateful for the opportunity and hope I can use this period of intensive therapy as a springboard to boost me forwards and aid my recovery, rather than reverting back to all my automatic processes that seem familiar and in a way 'safe'. Mentally, I'm pretty much at rock bottom, but I hope I've gained the skills and knowledge to work my way back up, with continued support from professionals, family and friends.
I want this blog to detail an eventual success story. I want to be the person that has overcome every obstacle put in my way. I want to be sharing my recovery with you all and giving others hope. If I can recover from my severely affected state, then I believe anyone with these functional disorders has the potential to recover with the right help and support and opportunities and an open mind.
Unfortunately, I'm not in that place YET. I'm still really struggling mentally and am finding that my mind frames things negatively/unhelpfully. I'm trying to notice and resist that and fight against my automatic responses, but it's not easy.
I'm trying to believe that I've not been broken by all I've gone through, even though at the moment it feels like I have. I'm trying to acknowledge my struggle but trying to remind myself that I have survived, and I don't want to let the events of my past wreck my future.
I have choices. I have options. I don't always have control of my thoughts at present, but I'm trying to be more aware and mould them to a greater extent. I still want to give up, more than anything really, but I also have the option to take more control and eventually make what I want of my life. With time and effort, there are so many possibilities..