Joining the back of the queue

I had a bit of a setback earlier this week. Turns out, the waiting list for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in my borough is considerable and I’m at the back of the queue!

I’m feeling a little cut adrift, to be honest. The psych appointments are all well and good, and I fully appreciate that they are necessary but…. point number one: they make me feel like a bit of a mentalist (I am a bit of a mentalist so I’m allowed to say that) and point number two: I worry that the focus on the symptoms and the feelings somehow reinforces the symptoms and the feelings, if you see what I mean. I’ve followed CBT courses twice before and found the approach incredibly helpful. I like to understand and I like to have a plan and using CBT techniques provides both. Over the last month or so I’ve tried to put as much of what I have learned in the past into action, but I do feel that both a refresher course and some regular contact with a specialist is something that would be helpful for me at the moment. Nevertheless, for now I need to hang on in there by myself for a little while longer. There are plenty of excellent self help CBT tools on the web, so I guess I’ll be turning to them* for the time being.

I don’t suppose for one minute that I’m the first person to have found the energy and courage to admit they need a little help only to be told that whilst help is available it will be a long time coming. At the same time, it’s certainly no secret that mental health services are under resourced and over-subscribed so NHS waiting lists in excess of 12 weeks are hardly surprising. The question is, what can I do about this state of affairs? The depressed me says nothing – people get what they’re given, and have to suck it up and hunker down; the ‘other’ me says not a lot, but maybe a little!

Mind are a fantastic charity who do a lot of brilliant advocacy work and play a huge role in keeping the issues associated with mental ill health on all kinds of important agendas. They also work closely with those affected by mental health difficulties providing advice, services and local support networks. Mind do great things and have an important role to play both in providing much needed resources and in ensuring the needs of those experiencing mental health difficulties are at the forefront of the minds of our policy makers. I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days now and I’ve decided that doing something to support Mind could be just the little thing the other me could do!

And so I’ve found this on the Mind website and I think I might give it a go. Even if I only manage to raise a couple of quid, I’ll have done something positive, right? I’m also fairly confident that the exercise, and the outdoors will do wonders for my well being and hopefully the challenge will give me an external focus whilst I wait for my name to reach the top of the CBT queue. Finally, maybe I’ll be able to do a tiny little bit to raise the profile of Mind and the awareness of mental health difficulties amongst my friends and family as well.

I’m not entirely sure that I know what I’m letting myself in for – I do a fair bit of walking and I’m not altogether averse to running now and again but I’ve no idea how many steps I actually take in an average day. 10,000 sounds like quite a lot, doesn’t it?! Anyway, I’ll be signing up this weekend and I’ll keep you posted.

Of course if anyone reading this is looking for something to do over the summer, they’d be more than welcome to join me – little things added together make big things after all!

* Mood Juice is a particularly good one.

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5 comments

  1. I totally hear you. I was lucky enough to be offered CBT straight away but it wasn’t really thought out because I had my most severe depression and couldn’t get out of bed often- so the CBT appointments being miles away and starting at 9am was too difficult and I mever made it. For the first session they were kind enough to send me the class work and from those photocopies I got to see what book they were using. I bought that book plus another wonderful one through Amazon and started doing them and it really helped me… but like you say without someone to go to, a structure, some guidance, feedback, it’s difficult to follow through especially for someone who is fighting depression every minute. Now my doctor is saying to wait for CBT until I see a psychiatrist. Yes, it’s been 7 months since my depression, and I am on 40 mg Citalopram that are not working as well as they could and they still haven’t got me to see a psychiatrist!!
    Anyway the books are:
    Overcoming Depression one step at a time, Michael E Addis and Christopher Martell, and the other one which became my bible for a while (and I should start rereading) is:
    Overcoming Depression, Paul Gilbert

    I think it’s wonderful that you’re going to do the mind – step thing. I went on the page and was motivated by you to do the same- but I can’t afford to spend money at the moment due to not working… But it’s a wonderful idea and good for you for coming up with that 😀
    Also thanks for the Mood juice link- gonna read more of it now.
    x

    1. Thanks for the book recommendations. I’ll take a look. I agree the registration fee is a bit steep (must be an expensive pedometer!) You could always just try and do the challenge without signing up? I know I’m always able to cope a bit better when I’m getting regular exercise.

  2. For me, when I am down, focusing enough to read and do much of anything is very hard so it maybe more then you can do alone – don’t beat yourself up if you can’t. It’s ok.

    It looks like you have some sources, that’s great. Here is a site that has some useful stuff.

    http://www.helpguide.org/toolkit/emotional_health.htm
    http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_tips.htm

    Something that I have found helpful as an alternative to CBT is ACT. ACT is as tough to get going for yourself but it does have some nice self comforting things you can do pretty quickly.

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/two-takes-depression/201102/acceptance-and-commitment-therapy

    Both CBT and ACT (and from my experience, all therapies) share is the idea that Thoughts are just things your brains create and they are NOT facts. They are not always accurate.

    Thanks for sharing

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