The Power of Conversation- Ally's Story Part 2

It wouldn’t be an overstatement to conflate conversation(s) with saving my life. It was/is the hardest thing to do - speaking out about ones suffering. It was admitting defeat. I was a narcissistic and egotistical young man who loved who he was and not what he had become. But you have to concede and be brutally honest with yourself in defeat. The hardest part, yes, however, speaking candidly about my struggle was fundamental to starting my recovery. Paradoxically, it was hardest to confess to the people I loved the most. As a proud young male it was extremely difficult to open up to my peers - my best friends. I was scared of losing them, scared of pushing them away. Scared of damaging our relationships because of my damaged mind. Scared that we wouldn’t connect the same way again. It was extremely difficult to talk to my parents because I knew they would suffer vicariously through me. Nevertheless, I spoke out. I am extremely lucky to have such people in my life who were there for me, to listen to me more than anything, when I needed it most - indeed, I have a new depth of love for them. (I appreciate, and my heart goes out to those, that not everybody does. In this light, JCADE is so important). I was apprehensive of speaking out, afraid of my suffering being incomprehensible to others, afraid of it being shunned and misunderstood. These conversations weren’t, and didn’t necessarily have to be, the most candid. They were not professional therapy, nevertheless a very important initial outlet. Indeed, the act of the conversation is a powerful tool in and of itself. It is therapeutic by its very nature, regardless of who it is with. The act of conversation is like opening the floodgates of a dam. The stored water building up huge pressure on the floodgates, like the weight of anxiety and depression on the mind, only to be released and float away downstream. Until you do release the floodgates, this force is festering, maturing and entrenching itself with age. Once you do, you have started to unravel and provided an outlet for the release the negative energy that exists in the interconnections between your body and mind. Having offloaded this energy through conversation, its significance diminishes.

In speaking to my parents and close friends, I had lifted the initial load of the heavy yoke on my shoulders. They were now onboard with my recovery. I sort professional help, and through this learnt there is not efficacy in every conversation. My first conversation with a pill-peddling GP left with me a prescription for 20mg of Fluoxetine (a standard issue SSRI), only to leave me to think that he hadn’t really listened to me or properly understood me. A few medical red lines of poor sleep and a lacking libido had sufficiently roused his sensibility to prescribe drugs and, parenthetically, talking therapy. Looking back, I would sooner have sort a professional talking therapy before seeking the help of drugs.

My first encounter with a therapist at university was my second encounter with a conversations’ lack of efficacy. Simply put - you don’t connect with everyone you speak to, and that is fine, and a normal aspect of everyday life. I couldn’t connect with her. Active in helping, my dad had been given the details of a private therapist by his GP who came recommended from several of his patients. This time I made progress. The efficacy of a professional conversation, I think, is a subjective concern, so I won’t dwell to much of the right and wrong of what or wasn’t said. One thing I will say is that I felt like sufficient time was taken, before assessing my prescription and pushing the need for drugs, to really, deeply understand me and the situation, and in doing so help me understand the situation. Here, the relationship was more candid - it started with me, my life and my habits before my symptoms. More than anything, it came down to a better rapport with one over the other, and that is for you, and you only, to decide.

Ally Gill

Team JCADEComment