Because of the Corona-situation, group therapy has been cancelled until further notice. Our therapist offers single video calls to keep in touch. At first I didn’t feel comfortable with it, would I be able to get it right?
Turned out there was nothing to worry about. It’s quite simple, you just need a PC/notebook/tablet/smartphone with camera and microphone. I logged in and waited in a virtual waiting room until my therapist started the session.
Our therapist has lots of experience with video calls and was very confident and cool, and I just needed to follow his lead. Soon it was like we really were sitting in a room together.
He asked if I ever had buried my disere to have children in a symbolic way (no, I didn’t). He asked what the child’s name would have been (our favorite name for a girl was Amanda: Starts with an A like my husband’s name and is latin, like my name). We quickly came up with the idea to bury a pacifier chain with this name. I am not ready for this yet, but I like this, despite all the pain. My therapist encouraged me to wait until the time is right and not to rush it. But I can’t get this out of my head, and I am sure I will follow through with it.
The video call lasted 50 minutes, like a normal single therapy session. After that I had enough to think about. Wednesday afternoon we will have our next video call. This time I know what it will be like and will be more relaxed.
It seems I have too many appointments on Thursdays: Group Therapy in the morning, OT relaxation group in the afternoon. Both appointments can’t be rescheduled, both are good for me. But two sessions on one day are too much. The decision is clear: Even without relaxation group, I have two OT-sessions every week, group therapy is only once a week.
Typical me: At first I thought I would be able to do both. As so many times before I had to admit I had bitten off more than I could chew. Well, at least I realise those things quicker now than I did in the past. But I am disappointed by myself anyway.
I don’t like to leave relaxation group. It was good to have this me-time once a week. I knew the people, and I felt at ease and safe with them. Group therapy is more demanding and brings me out of my comfort zone. But maybe this challenge is exactly what I need now and will help me grow. I need a gentle shove sometimes.
But I will always be thankful for this one and a half year in relaxation group. It brought me more tools for my personal tool box, and this is priceless.
Last year was a little bit like this bowl that I made in OT during my last inpatient stay.
I worked on this bowl in six sessions, each session lasted one and a half hour. It was hard, and at the beginning I doubted that my energy and perseverance would be enough. But I found strength in me that I didn’t know I had, and after a rocky start I enjoyed working on it very much. The bowl isn’t finished, and it isn’t perfect, but I don’t mind: It’s the message that counts. I put it on my nightstand, I have my morning medication and my alarm watch in it, and I see it every day.
2019 was a painful and exhausting year. But I also got a lot of help, and I surely learned a lot as well. I changed as a person, and I made changes in my life, so things hopefully will continue to get better. But right now I enjoy some quiet days and try to recharge.
Starting outpatient therapy right after my inpatient treatment wasn’t possible. Free places are hard to find. I have so many wonderful people around me, I’ll manage, but without support this situation can become difficult. This first time following the therapy is so important, new patterns have to be established. I know I am not alone with this, there is something wrong with the health system. This week I had another two preliminary talks concerning group therapy, but I still I don’t have a place. It was a stressful time, and I was glad OT had been cancelled.
Friday I visited my former fellow patients on the ward (every Friday afternoon coffee and cakes are served, and visitors are allowed). It was good to meet those wonderful people again, and I was included like I never had been away. A good time was had by all. But it was good to come home as well: Right now I don’t need inpatient therapy.
Next week there will be no preliminary talks. I will have to organize prescriptions at my GP and the pain clinic and pick up my new passport.
It’s not easy to get a place in a therapy group. My therapist provided me with contact information before I was released from the ward, but of course it’s up to me to do something about it. I was lucky, there is a place available in two groups. So this week the preliminary talks with the therapists started.
It was hard to go through all my problems twice more. And there are no psychoanalytic therapy groups nearby, and travelling was stressful as well. The therapists insist on at least three preliminary talks, so I will have to go through this again.
Our windows were cleaned on Thursday, and I visited my parents on Friday. I had not much time to myself this week, and this added to my already high stress level.
I very much appreciated that my therapist from the ward called me yesterday to ask how I was doing, like she said she would. There was no need to do this, I am technically not her patient anymore. She offered me that I can call anytime if there are problems. That’s good to know, but I hope I don’t need it.
Yesterday evening I was very tired (I can tell the difference, it had nothing to do with depression). After walking the dogs I fell asleep on the couch and just went on to bed a few hours later.
This morning I still felt tired. Today is one of these misty, dark winter days. I just take it easy.
Next week is also full of appointments. There will be more preliminary talks, and on Friday I will talk to my old therapist. I am relieved OT has been cancelled next week.
I just hope everything goes well and I can continue therapy soon.
I finally finished my part of the mosaic. We started planning this project in January – almost six months ago, and there are still some small things to do.
It was a difficult time. Soon I recognized making a mosaic isn’t my favorite thing to do. I have almost no control over how the glass breaks. And I like having control. This doesn’t match.
There were times when I just wanted to give up. My life is hard enough as it is, I don’t need this on top of everything, or do I? Wouldn’t it be better to focus on the nice aspects of life and save my energy? Another member of he group quit after a few months, and this made me want to throw in the towel as well.
And still. I want to finish what I start. In the past, I often didn’t know when to stop. This lead to lots of frustration, and I try to learn from that and avoid it.
I was so afraid to repeat mistakes of the past, that I almost made a new mistake in the present. I wrote here about how the mosaic became fun, once I let go of my perfectionism.
I learned from that I should be careful when it comes to these kinds of decisions. Sometimes you just need to give things an opportunity to get better after they start poorly.
We are working on a mosaic in group OT. Each of us works on a part, and when the parts are put together, you see a wind rose. It is a lengthy procedure that requieres a lot of patience. The upper picture is taken before, the lower picture after the last session. It is very obvious I will not be finished soon.
After a few sessions I lost the interest and just wanted to stop working on it. Now I found out why: I am not very patient with myself, even though I am very patient where other people are concerned. I expect from myself that I get everything done NOW. I don’t care about the circumstances (for instance, I don’t know beforehand how the tiles will break – I just have to look for the right space for every piece).
It’s always amazing how OT mirrors life.
My aim for the next sessions will be to be kinder to myself and just enjoy this tricky puzzle game. Maybe I even can bring this attitude into my everyday life.
Friday I started to make appointments. I was afraid this would make my agenda very full. But on one hand, my GP, pain doctor and therapist are on holiday. On the other hand, one group at Occupational Therapy was cancelled, and there are no single OT sessions availible until November. So I will still have a little more time on my hands for now.
I am enjoying these wonderful sunny fall days. The good weather makes it easy for me to use my new all-purpose weapon walking. To keep moving helps me fight depression, anxiety and back pain. But right now my main concern is getting fit again. One year almost spent lying around didn’t help.
I noticed that I am a lot more active than before my hospital stay. Getting up in the morning is quite easy, and I manage to stick to my goals. If that means I have to take a break, so be it. And my goals are realistic.
So I had a good start. Now I have to keep it up to get really used to my new routines. I hope I have enough self discipline for that.
Tomorrow I will see my podologist and go to an OT group that practices relaxation techniques. This should not stress me out, and I should be able to squeeze in an hour of doing chores. And that will be all.
Today I drew this picture in creative therapy, in which I am standing at a wall. With wide spread arms I try to hold the wall in place. I am afraid to let go, because the wall will crush me if it breaks down.
The wall, that are the many small and big things life put in my way.
Therapist: How did you get there? Did somebody tell you to do so, or did you go there because you wanted to?
Me: Life put me there! I didn’t go there because I wanted to.
Therapist: *smirks* That’s good to hear!
Nontheless turning around and leaving the wall is difficult. If it’s not my task to hold the wall in place, what else should I be doing?
Surprisingly everything goes smoothly. The new hospital called today, I will be admitted next Thursday (16.8.).
I and everybody around me think this is a good thing.
Now I have a week to bring everything in order and pack my things. That’s plenty of time, and unfortunately I am a seasoned things-needed-for-a-hospital-stay packer.
This week I have cancelled all my occupational therapy sessions, I needed the quiet. I will do the same next week, because there are things to do.