I know best….

I was unsure when I first met with the counselor, she reminded me a bit of a headmistress type. The sessions were at her house and it was in a cosy sectioned off corner of her living room and she asked me why I was there and I started to explain, that I had been told I had anxiety, done the CBT etc but now it seems to have come back with a vengeance and I wanted to try to figure out if there was an underlying cause or trigger, after my explanation she just stayed silent, so I felt obliged to fill the silence and didn’t shut up for the rest of the hour, as with the CBT sessions, I felt lighter and like I it had been worth doing. We decided on fortnightly sessions and I booked in for my next appointment.

I’ll be completely honest, I wasnt sure if she was right for me, I felt a little bit like she was judging me which I never had with the CBT therapist, with her I felt like I was having a conversation with a friend but with my counselor, although she never really said much, I just didn’t get that click with her and maybe I should have changed counsellors but as you may have guessed, I am not a fan of change and didnt want to go through the rigmarole of opening the floodgates again as it could be quite emotionally draining.

One thing she did say to me, which  was true but at the time I just couldn’t believe it. She said I sounded like I was abusive to my boyfriend, not physically, but verbally and emotionally. I was stunned, I let the works spin around my brain and when I left the session I got in my car and I cried, not because I was upset at what she had said but because I knew deep down she was right. I love my boyfriend more than anything, yet the way I spoke to him when I was angry or stressed out was absolutely disgraceful, even worse if I had been drinking, I think I had been excusing my behaviour for shifting the blame or trying to justify it somehow, I’m not saying I shouldnt have been stressed out or angry, but I should absolutely have not spoken to him or treated him the way I did and I will always regret that. We are very different, he has the patience of a saint and a very long fuse whereas I have no patience and pretty much no fuse, but I am happy to say I am working on these things and coming along very nicely, but you’ll hear more about that later.

The sessions with my counselor went on for a few months, but I found myself not wanting to leave the house at all. I am usually a really sociable person, I would be out seeing friends a couple of times a week and out with my boyfriend once or twice a week, yet I found myself wanting to go home and get under a blanket and not see or speak to anyone, even to the point where I cancelled appointments with my counselor, although I never cancelled consecutive sessions. I had been seeing her for 3 months when I made my 3rd cancellation, it was a Tuesday, I’d had a shitty day at work and the trains were all screwed up again, I just wanted go home and be a recluse, so I sent her a text and asked to reschedule to the following week. I went home and had a much-needed early night.

I woke up the next day to realise that she hadn’t text me back as she usually would, I thought maybe she was busy but I never did get a response, I can only she assume she was upset that I had wanted to reschedule, I had only done this three times in the 3 months that I had been going and would rather she had just said that she didn’t think it was going to work out or something. I was confused and this did nothing to help my anxious mind, what had I done? Had she thought I was a drama queen and had no right being there? the list was endless. I would be fine anyway, I was training to the run the marathon and doing meditation, I didnt need a counsellor, plus, I had bigger things to worry about, like my idiot ex husband making more financial demands from me and just being awkward and spiteful, our relationship had ended several years ago and as far as I was aware he now had a family, why was he so hell-bent on trying to cause me misery?

D-I-V-O-R-C-E

Part of my anxiety means that I cannot be late. This is such a major dilemma in my relationship, as my boyfriend has no concept of time whatsoever, often leaving home at the time he’s supposed to be somewhere, I on the other hand like to be at least 10 minutes early, I allow for traffic etc. If I am late it sends me into a meltdown and its caused so many arguments between us. This went in my favour on the day I went to see the solicitor as I couldn’t bloody find it. I walked up and down the high street about 3 times before noticing it nestled between Lloyd’s Bank and the Pound Shop. I pressed the buzzer, no answer. Morning Barry! “What if they have mixed up my appointment?” “What if he’s off sick today?” Arrrrrrgh. Luckily before I could respond to Barry or talk to myself in the high street as everyone else would have seen it, two people arrived at the door with coffee. “Hi I have an appointment with David Beckham at 9am” bless the girl for not even flinching, my solicitors name was Dan Beckham! So just as quick as Barry shut up, there he was again. “She must think you’re a right twat!”

Dan, as it turns out was lovely, he put me straight at ease, although now I wonder if these people were actually putting me at ease or I just realised there was nothing to feel uneasy about in the first place. One of the things I liked about him was his cutting comments about the other solicitor. “He can’t even spell his own clients name correctly” and “what kind of grammar is that” He was a total bitch and I loved it. He was very calm and matter of fact, told it to me straight and he drew up a response letter there and then, adding as many sniping comments as he could get away with. I came out of there pretty chuffed, called my boyfriend and then my dad and went on my way to work. I should have known it wasn’t going to be that simple.

The next few months resulted in a game that I didn’t want any part in. My ex husbands solicitor would send letters half full of lies, it would infuriate me and then upset me, this wasnt punch or cry, this had escalated to punch AND cry! I would speak to my solicitor, saying I didn’t understand why he felt the need to lie, the reason we broke up was my doing and I had never denied that, for him to pile lies on top of the horrible truth, he also added thinly veiled threats about not exposing our current partners to what is going on. Luckily I have no secrets from my boyfriend and hate lies so he could do what he liked. Not only was my anxiety back in full swing, I was stressed out. My face broke out in acne when I had always had clear skin and I was constantly coming down with colds and quite frankly I was awful to be around, I was miserable and there was no sign of my Divorce being over any time soon.

As I said before, I have no secrets from my boyfriend, so if I am miserable, he knows about it. After one huge argument (which I/Barry caused) we agreed that I would book in to see a counselor, something else to worry about! After a few weeks of putting it off and feeling pretty miserable, I went online and found one near my house. I couldn’t afford to be paying the fees of a counselor near my work so close to Christmas. The woman had a kind face and lots of qualifications so I sent her a message, which I always prefer, I hate speaking on the phone. I arranged an appointment for the following week. I’m going to eat my lunch now so we shall continue this later.

Barrys Back

The thing with Anxiety is, it’s always there, it’s never going away, the techniques I learned at my CBT therapy are great and do work, but you do have to work at it. I got a bit lazy. I finished the therapy in March, carried on doing the minimum (meditation etc) then there was a birthday and then we were off on holiday, great right? Apparently not for Barry. Barry decided that now would be a great time to start feeling insecure, so instead of lying by the pool sipping cocktails and thinking what a great time I was having, I was comparing myself to all the other female sunbathers, thinking that my boyfriend probably wished I looked like them, why don’t I take care of myself more? I feel disgusted with myself – all this whilst sipping several pina coladas I might add. I hated myself, but I didn’t want to do anything about it. All these negative thoughts I was having about myself was literally draining me, looking back now, I was slowly slipping into a hole. I tried to put a brave face on to my boyfriend but inside I was feeling quite sad, I put it down to hormones and got on with the holiday.

About 6 weeks later, I received a letter from my ex husbands solicitor officially starting the divorce proceedings, prior to this we had tried to resolve this between us, but it was clear that wasn’t going to happen, we did not part on good terms. He was making ridiculous demands and I had 14 days to respond from the date, so now I had 10. Enter Barry. I got completely stressed out, he was asking for money I didn’t have, I didn’t know where to start or what to do, my boyfriend tried to calm me down but I was too far gone in the state of what I call “Punch or Cry” I’m either going to punch something in a rage or burst into tears. My poor boyfriend, who although amazing and very understanding, does not deal very well with anger or tears and didn’t know what to say or do, sorry I should re-phrase that, he didn’t know the right thing to say or do, everything was just making it worse. So I followed my instincts and called the only person I knew who would calm me down. My Dad.

After being consoled and advised, pretty much the same advise the boyfriend gave me but worded differently but still. I went into work the next day, spoke to my boss, who was brilliant and very supportive, telling me to take whatever time I needed for solicitors etc. I booked an appointment to see a solicitor the following morning. I was so anxious that night I barely slept. Barry had become a full-time companion by this point, so any time it look like I might fall asleep he would whisper “what if you have to pay him thousands of pounds” even tho I don’t have a penny to my name and up to my eyeballs in debt it still worried me. It was going to be a loooooong night.