So I've managed the 12 weeks and I've learnt loads of things that are actually very useful. At the last weekly session, all of my mental club chums turn up looking as nervous and concerned as me. It's been lovely having somewhere to come each week and share about the madness. Now we have to go out into the world alone and practice our techniques and survive the world alone. The general feeling is one of fear as we won't have the group to fall back on, and most people are terrified of a depression relapse. The worst thing in the world is feeling well, then having your joy snatched away from you, not knowing when it will return. We all dread it on some level. There are no guarantees of wellness.
The therapist uses the analogy of doing your driving test. You have your block of 12 lessons, pass your test and then you have to go out and drive all on your own. You know intellectually that you can, but you're going solo and its a little bit scary to say the least. Its exactly the same as CBT. You have to go and put it into practice. Some poelple will have a car crash, some will have a few scrapes and some will drive aorund, blissfully unaware of any trouble whatsoever. Its a case of suck it and see.
I've done my score sheets that compare to my first week session feelings to my final week session, and they show that although I'm still depressed, my social functioning and anxiety are much improved. For me, this is fabulous as I know depression won't just go away, but I have a deep need to be able to function and get on with my life. Giving up is not an option. And I have been getting on with it. I am managing to juggle 3 days at work and 1 at home, looking after the kids, having more fun and generally being more involved in my own life and relationships. Its good news.
However, I now have to face another recovery hurdle which is deeply rooted and not easy to shift. Friends, I introduce you to low self esteem. "Low self-esteem means that you think you are a lesser person than others. It can often be traced back to early childhood experiences, such as heavy criticism, being abandoned, feeling unloved, or being ridiculed or abused. It can also be a symptom of depression." (www.thesite.org) In short, whether or not I am depressed, happy or otherwise, generally I think of myself as the dirt, which is on the turd on your shoe. And I am going to do another course which will help me to overcome this. Its going to be uncomfortable (which really means excruciating) , last 10 weeks (A bloody lifetime), but it will help (yeah right, but not for me, which I'm told is a typical low self esteem remark!).
Welcome to hell.