Breathe. Remember to ask directly for coping techniques which go beyond popping pills. Don’t let her talk about her own life. Don’t get caught up in conversation. Focus on skills. Test her. See if she lives up to your expectations and if she doesn’t, try not to get angry at her. She’s not your diary. Don’t start talking about how much things suck. She knows this already. Ask for suggestions. Ask for homework.
I tried to ask directly for coping skills and she spoke about the importance of breathing. My homework is to try breathing for 3-4 minutes, twice a day. I told her I would give it a try.
Excerpts from our session:
Me: At my group, everyone was given praise except me. Everything I did was shit.
Her: They said that?
Me: Well not exactly in those words… I just seemed to do everything wrong. I hate them now.
*Notes are taken*
Her: What are your plans for Christmas?
Me: (Haven’t we had this conversation before?) I don’t want to talk about Christmas!
*More notes are taken*
Her: Do you spend Christmas alone?
Me: (That’s a trick question!) No, ugh. I wish. *Explains plans.*
Her: Is there anything you would like to do next year?
Me: I think I’ll probably just die.
Me: Don’t write that! I don’t want a record of that!
Her: Do you have a plan?
Me: Probably just what I planned to do last time but chickened out of at the last minute.
Her: Did you go to hospital after that?
Me: No, I didn’t tell anyone and I am not going to tell you any more than that.
Me: Stop writing notes!
Her: These notes are just for me.
Me: No they’re a written record of me! If anything happens to me then all of these notes will be scrutinised!
Her: Have you ever been in Suchandsuch public psychiatric hospital?
Me: No, but I have been in several others.
Her: I hear Suchandsuch is the worst.
Me: I heard it is like Thisandthat, which I have been in. Anyway, Jailmasqueradingasahospital is waaaaaaay worse. *Explains why*
Her: Try to stay out of Suchandsuch.
Me: I’ll try to stay out of the whole bloody lot of them!