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"Unveiling the Client Experience: Working with Helen from Their Perspective"

My Therapy Journey with Helen

So like most people ‘I’m fine, no I don’t need help, I definitely don’t need a therapist ’

I wasn’t fine, I did need help any yes I did need a bloody good therapist!

I was very lucky that one of my friends was always very honest about being in therapy and I’d listened to her stories and thought, that’s so brave that you can share this so openly. I, like most people thought, that's great for her, but I won’t ever need therapy.

In 2021 my dad passed away after a tragic accident. I was heartbroken, but I kept going and going and trying to remain strong, I managed this for close to a year after his death.

What I hadn’t realised is that I hadn’t actually dealt with the grief, I’d just shut it out as it was too hard for me to deal with. If I ever felt like I was struggling then I’d drink as much wine as possible to make me fall asleep. Turns out this was me in survival mode. I was doing what I needed to do to get by.

Things came to a head when I lost my way with life and started acting recklessly and turning on those who had supported me the most. Even then I was still adamant that I was fine.

One night I lay on the sofa and It hit me hard. I AM NOT OK.

So now what? Luckily I remembered how honest my friend had been and thought I’m going to ask her some advice about therapy. It was possibly one of the hardest messages I have ever written. I sobbed typing it and pressing the send button made me have the strangest feelings. At last I’d admitted I wasn’t ok. In return she sent me the most beautiful voice note which made me sob again but she gave me Helen’s details.

I didn't opt for the free 30 min chat I just booked an initial appointment with Helen, I was really nervous in the days that lead up to it but I knew I had done the right thing.

On the day of my appointment, I sat on my bed, phone in hand praying I could remember how to use zoom, I’d only ever really used it for quizzes during lockdown! Join meeting came up on my screen, at this point I wanted to turn back time and stop what I was doing, I didn’t, I had my big girl pants on and joined the meeting.

I was greeted by a welcoming, friendly face in Helen. I made it very clear this is my first time and I’m not sure if this is going to be for me. We spoke for an hour and she explained how therapy works and that not all clients and therapists will always connect etc. We chatted briefly about where I was in life, we swore, we smiled and I cried. And that’s ok!

After my first chat with Helen I saw her for an hour every single week for months and months, some weeks I thought why are we talking about stuff from 20 years ago? I’m here because my dad died. What I didn’t realise is how events earlier in my life had actually affected me and again I’d buried my head in the sand and not dealt with them.

I remember one week we spoke about me as a mother, I’d admitted how hard I originally found being a mum and how much I had hated being on maternity leave. Helen gently pointed out that maybe just maybe this could be postnatal depression (my daughter was 6 at this point) it was like a lightbulb had just come on. Back then if someone even suggested postnatal, I was so defensive that even I believed I didn’t have it and now 7 years later I can actually admit. Yes I most probably did have postnatal but never realised it. Learning this gave me a better relationship with my daughter and I can’t thank Helen enough for this.

Some weeks we would talk about my dad, some weeks we would talk about my job or what was going on at home. Helen has this amazing way of letting you talk about what you want to talk about and sometimes I don’t feel like going right to the grief of losing my dad, and that’s ok!

After a good few months I dropped my sessions to every other week. This was daunting at first but I kind of knew I was doing ok and didn’t need as much support as I initially did. In this time we spoke about my job and my future, Helen by now knew me well and we spoke about a different career path. I’d been so comfortable in my job for a while, I liked easy, however it wasn’t a challenge. I started applying for jobs and had a couple of interviews and actually landed myself a new job. I wasn’t due to see Helen for a week or so but I emailed her to tell her and thank her for the support. She sent me the most beautiful email reply, that I still read to myself now when I don’t feel in a great place, it reminds me of how far I’ve come in the last year and a half.

Now I'm doing great (I think) I still see Helen once or twice a month (depending on who or what has annoyed me) my life now is a happier place, I’m stronger, I’m braver, I’ll deal with my feelings and take time to understand them. I understand why I behave in the ways i do sometimes. If you don’t understand yourself then how can those around you understand you.

In short what I’m trying to say is for me having my friend (she knows who she is) be so open about her therapy and putting me in touch with Helen has changed my life a million percent for the better. Sometimes I spend the session crying and others I’m laughing like a hyena and calling her a dick (she can be a dick sometimes).

Helen thank you for coming on this journey with me, I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready to ‘go alone’ even if it’s just checking in with you every other month. However this time last year I couldn't go a week without seeing you so who knows!

Thank you from the bottom of mine and my family’s hearts (I think they appreciate you more than I do)

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