I come from a family of people who have all suffered depression and anxiety. Over my life I have seen psychologists but never felt very comfortable with any of them and I would get really nervous before seeing them. Just before COVID, my GP referred me to a program in Victoria, that cost me NOTHING, a far cry from the enormous expense I had previously paid out over 20-30 years.
I was to see a psychiatrist and in between visits I was to see a psychiatric nurse. My visits to the psychiatrist were well spaced, three monthly and were the usual one-sided visits where, although the psychiatrist was pleasant and polite I would talk and they would listen but not offer anything about themselves.
Then I met Anna*.
I was to see her in person every couple of weeks. Very quickly we hit it off and one reason was, as she became more comfortable and trusting of me she would sometimes relate whatever we were talking about, to herself or her family and so everything we talked about was more relatable and real and I got so much more out of each session. Anna herself was physically unwell and I felt empowered that overtime I learned about this. After several visits it became like two people having conversations and I got so much more out of every session. When COVID caused the lockdowns, our appointments were on the telephone and even though the appointments were checking on MY mental health, we continued to chat about OUR lives and families and the general stresses of living.
I feel honoured that Anna made that decision that she could trust me to talk about aspects of her life whenever she thought it was appropriate as I knew she would not do that with all her clients. It made me more prepared to listen to her advice and guidance and she did make a real difference to the way I was feeling, acting and seeing life.
Sadly my sessions which had been extended twice came to an end but I still think of her fondly, not just as a health worker but as a lovely human being.
*Pseudonym used for privacy.