Today I had my first counselling session at my clinic. I said yes to counselling on the day I rang my clinic to tell them the result of my OTD was a negative. At this point I was fighting back tears and thinking I needed all the help I could get to get through. This was just over a month ago now and I thought I was ok about things but decided to go to the appointment anyway. I have seen many people about mental health & emotional issues over the years. I saw a counsellor in high school about being bullied and my self harm. I saw a counsellor when I was depressed & had to leave university for the second time due to my Epilepsy. I went to cognitive behaviour therapy to try to help with my newly diagnosed anxiety disorder after I had to leave work due to my Epilepsy two years ago. I had found none of them helpful so wasn’t really sure what to expect from today’s appointment.
I arrived early, as per usual and waited for my name to be called out with knots in my stomach. I had no reason for this, as soon as we got into the counselling room I felt completely at ease with my assigned counsellor. The woman I saw was brilliant. As this was our first meeting it started off as a getting to know eachother session, so I could decide if I felt comfortable with my assigned counsellor or wanted to continue, it soon evolved. In fact she has already helped me so much and I definitely will be going back. I want to keep some of the things we discussed private but I’m happy to share some things.
One of things we spent a bit of time on was my feeling like I’ve not accomplished anything in my life. By my age my mum had a degree, a university lecturing job, had her own mortgaged house, sold the house, met my dad, got engaged and was pregnant. My younger brother just turned 21, has a degree, is about to start a graduate job with good money, goes on holiday regularly and is looking to move in with his girlfriend in a different town before Christmas. My counsellor (herein known as M) helped me see that they didn’t have the daily battles that I do. They don’t have things getting in their way. They may have accomplished things society deems as good but I’ve done so much without even realising it. As she put it I “run full speed just to be walking at the same pace as everyone”. M said she was in awe of me, as I’ve been through more in my 24 (nearly 25 years) than some people go through in a lifetime. I was asked what I do for me to offload. I told her about this blog. How I started it to help others with Epilepsy going through fertility treatment, how I hadn’t found anyone else who seemed to be in my position and I didn’t want people feeling the loneliness I had felt. M said I was pioneer and I needed to feel proud of this. It may have started off as my usual trying to help others pattern of behaviour, but it has evolved into somewhere I can be myself. I can be open and honest without worry of repercussions or what people think of me. Everyone needs a space for this.
M also helped me realise the reason I wanted to lose weight was not to prepare my body for our FET but instead to prepare it for a fresh cycle. After all we have the embryo already so I don’t really need to prep body BMI wise in the same way. This is all because I was/am expecting the next step ie our FET to fail. My brain has associated our frozen embryo with the embryo from our failed cycle. It has assumed that because shortcake didn’t stick that this one won’t either. I’m no longer looking at the now or the next step instead I am looking further into the future. I would rather mentally and physically prepare for a fresh cycle then think about our real next step. This is not good and I need to work on this. Our FET has just as much chance of success as a fresh cycle. This embryo isn’t shortcake and that’s a good thing. I will be carrying on with my IVF Diet 2.0 but have now realised this is more for me than for IVF. I want to feel comfortable in my skin and that’s good. I’m doing something purely for me! To accomplish something for me!
I left the session feeling exhausted but positive too and with homework! I know homework! This includes reflecting on what we talked about, do more things for me like indulgences you can’t justify, think about creating a proper journal for seizure dreams & feelings. Also have a cry and howl in the shower, to let the anger and grief out. If your clinic offers counselling I would really recommend you giving it a go, at least one session. Not everyone will like it or find it helpful but you don’t know until you try! I thought I was ok and then once we got talking I realised I wasn’t. I have a lot of things to work on surrounding my epilepsy and IVF. I have found a positive of this whole journey though, my counsellor!
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