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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Follow Up Session Number One

Today was the first follow-up session at the Mighty Maudsley. It was nice to be back. I'd missed the place and my mental health dudes.

But there's also a strange feeling now which accompanies attending - the knowledge that you're at the end of treatment and that soon these little trips to talk about what's on your mind won't be around any more.

It especially hit home in the waiting room. It's rare to see other patients - for about the first ten sessions, I saw no-one, and I was convinced they don't let patients mix for fear that they will give one another new obsessive ideas.

But today I sat with two other patients in the waiting room. Looking at them, I instantly recognised the signs of anxiety. And realised that although I felt anxious, I looked relaxed in comparison. I wasn't bouncing my leg up and down, or picking at the skin on my fingers, or sitting in a tense pose. And as my psychiatrist walked by, telling me it would be a minute longer, we engaged in the sort of banter which comes once you've spent six months telling someone all about the inner workings of your mind.

I think one of my two waiting room companions was there for an assessment interview. In some ways, it seems like ages since I attended mine, and in other ways it seems like yesterday. But sitting there today, watching her being called into her interview, and knowing that I was about to be called in to one of my final sessions - it was a strange feeling.

The session itself was a run-through of events since I was last there. Now that I pretty much know what I'm meant to be doing, talking about these events takes on sort of a "So I Was Worried About This, But I Did This..." kind of dimension rather than the in-depth discussion of techniques that happens in earlier sessions.

My clinical psychologist once again declared himself optimistic about the chances of me staying OCD-free. There may be setbacks - times when the thoughts come again, but I know how to deal with them now.

I do feel now that I'm OK about the sessions ending. I'm sad about it, because I will miss the dudes.

But I think I'm ready for the safety net of therapy to be taken away now. Even if the thought does tend to put a lump in my throat.

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