Today July 17, 2012 I had my 2nd counseling (mental health) session. In last’s weeks blog I spoke at length on what drove me to counseling, and how I viewed the results. The most burning issue from that session was “How would the dying process going to work?” Linda (my counselor) and I had an extremely good session addressing this, and I was satisfied with the results of our conversation. I understood then and further understand that each persons experience is different, how they react is different, and their moods and emotions are in a constant swinging mode. But like I said last week, the answer and insight provided by Linda was what I needed at the time. And thru that conversation, I had received what I was looking for. I agreed to a 2nd session because it seemed like the right thing to do and because when I left her office last week I wasn’t sure I had all I needed. A week later I am pretty sure I in fact had what I needed and after another extended conversation with Linda we both agreed that nothing further would be gained continuing the sessions. But I did retain the right to call her and re-establish sessions if or when I needed them. Linda welcomed this, and that is how we left it.
Now on to a summary of today’s session. We kinda had a rehash of our conversation last week, we didn’t dwell on any particular subject, and we reinforced the key elements from last week. We again spoke of what the dying process could/would be like, what expectations I should have, what decisions need to be made before hand, and what rights I had during the process. We also talked about counseling, the criteria for selecting a counselor for a patient, the setting, what she as a counselor looked for, and how she had to work sometimes to get there, using a variety of tools (white board in particular). She used the conversation to determine the state of the individual patient, and from there built her therapy approach. This is me reading a lot between the lines. Having said all that we also discussed why I came to counseling in the 1st place. I decided to seek counseling because I was so far in the dumps, I had suffered my 2nd severe case of pneumonia in 6 months, and (at the time) 4 weeks post hospital stay, I was still on an intense IV drug treatment, and that I was still feeling like crap. My mental state was questionable to me, and many dark thoughts had entered my mind. All of this, plus input from family and friends took me where I felt it was necessary.
Shortly after I made the original appointment (with Linda), I started to make small gains in my health, the drugs were finally starting to work on the pneumonia, and I was starting to perk up. The improvement of my health, plus the conversation with Linda, did wonders in getting me over the hump, and pushing the dark thoughts back to their little cave. I know the dark thoughts will never go away completely, and I know now how important it will be to maintain a positive attitude. Linda’s assessment of me had me in a good state, according to her I am not a mental case, that I am rational, aware, seem to have normal mood swings, that my attitude is fine considering I do have a terminal disease, and that overall I am mentally okay. She did continue by saying that from time to time my situation may become overbearing, and that when that should happen counseling would be a good idea, if for no other reason to allow me an opportunity to vent. I immediately recognized the value of this, and promised to keep her number handy.
By mutual agreement we decided that no further sessions were necessary. But we would keep the book open to the possibility that I may need counseling further down the road.