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Melancholya

I'm not sure my psychotherapy is really helping me, but I don't know what I need

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I see a psychologist at the hospital every couple of weeks for an hour. We talk about how things are going and it always seems to be the same, she encourages me to try new things and practice mindfulness and challenge how I think about myself... But I don't really feel I'm getting better. I think I have naturally matured and progressed since my depressed teen years, and my life is a lot less traumatic now than it was then, but I still have this pervasive sense of dread hanging over me, insecurities about my ability and worth and if people like me or not, and anxiety about the world in general. But, I don't know what sort of help to try and seek because I don't really know what I need or what would help. Sometimes I feel quite blank about my emotions and don't know how I feel about things. My therapist often talks to me about not letting myself be idle - finding things to do that I enjoy, but I actually am not sure that I really enjoy anything. I seem unable to occupy myself when I get downtime. I get 12 hours a week to myself when my daughter goes to daycare, and I literally do nothing with that time. I just browse social media or sleep to try and pass the time. Even reading is such a taxing activity at the moment. 

Does anyone else feel like this? I wonder what I should try doing next? 

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I've been in and out of therapy, I always felt like most of the time it wasn't helping.  Like you say it just ends up filling the hour a lot with small talk and same old same old.

Are you in a better mood after coming home from the therapist?  If so, I'd say continue, if not, I'd say find another one.

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1 hour ago, BrianOCD said:

Are you in a better mood after coming home from the therapist?  If so, I'd say continue, if not, I'd say find another one.

I dunno... Sometimes I am. But lately I've mostly been finding it a chore. Getting a new therapist is risky... And like a true kiwi I hate having to give negative feedback! 

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holy shit yes. last session with the therapist came down to ok, now what? find something i'm passionate about. yeah, that's going to be the hard part.

if you find out how let me know.

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10 hours ago, Melancholya said:

I see a psychologist at the hospital every couple of weeks for an hour. We talk about how things are going and it always seems to be the same, she encourages me to try new things and practice mindfulness and challenge how I think about myself... But I don't really feel I'm getting better. I think I have naturally matured and progressed since my depressed teen years, and my life is a lot less traumatic now than it was then, but I still have this pervasive sense of dread hanging over me, insecurities about my ability and worth and if people like me or not, and anxiety about the world in general. But, I don't know what sort of help to try and seek because I don't really know what I need or what would help. Sometimes I feel quite blank about my emotions and don't know how I feel about things. My therapist often talks to me about not letting myself be idle - finding things to do that I enjoy, but I actually am not sure that I really enjoy anything. I seem unable to occupy myself when I get downtime. I get 12 hours a week to myself when my daughter goes to daycare, and I literally do nothing with that time. I just browse social media or sleep to try and pass the time. Even reading is such a taxing activity at the moment. 

Does anyone else feel like this? I wonder what I should try doing next? 

OMG, I couldn't have said this better, my exact experience. I've been in therapy for 20 years and see little improvement from it (tried about every modality also). I think the improvement I have made since my teens is mainly due to maturity and life experience...

And I'm very pro-active, not lazy. I do the work, exercises (meditation, activities, etc) I reflect a lot. I often prepare an agenda of important problems to discuss. I am self aware of my patterns. I try to engage in challenging myself and my thoughts, doing new activities. Yet I don't enjoy anything, it's all been a chore to endure. I'm not passionate about anything, I'm not especially skilled at anything, no matter how much effort I put in. I am good about self care. But I am always exhausted, discouraged, feel incapable and depressed. It's extremely difficult to remain hopeful when this has been the case for literally 2 decades. I'm at a loss of what to do.

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I was in therapy for many years and ultimately had some destructive experiences that really screwed me up. After that, I have avoided it. I did have a great one at my HMO but didn’t (wasn’t allowed anyway) to see her much. I learned how to do ok without them, which given my bad experiences, wasn’t as hard as you might think. I saw the last one starting when I was very symptomatic but when I got on better meds and got used to my HMO s infrequent therapy policy,  I didn’t really feel the need so much anymore. So I don’t know what’s best for you, but I can say in my case therapy wasn’t doing me as much good as it seemed it should be. And I’m doing ok without it—NOT saying anyone should quit, but I’m at a point in my life where I’m functional without it, and wary of getting a bad therapist again. I’m no longer convinced everyone needs therapy all the time no matter what. Good therapy can be life changing but bad therapy can change your life in a bad way, too. Not sure I’m making my point clear here at all, but sometimes a break can be ok. Maybe a break without cutting off, then re evaluation. Does that make sense?  

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Therapy is most beneficial if you know what you need to talk about, or if you have a specific goal in mind (i.e. grief counseling, anxiety management). Otherwise it can feel stagnant.

Therapist: Hi, Gearhead. Anything new going on?

Me: Nope.

Therapist: ...Still bipolar?

Me: Yup.

Therapist: ...

If you’re afraid of losing your therapist, you could try making your next appointment for months out. That keeps you active as a patient, but gives you a break. If you have a crisis in the meantime, you can call and take a shot at getting an earlier appointment.

 

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26 minutes ago, Gearhead said:

Therapy is most beneficial if you know what you need to talk about, or if you have a specific goal in mind (i.e. grief counseling, anxiety management). Otherwise it can feel stagnant.

Therapist: Hi, Gearhead. Anything new going on?

Me: Nope.

Therapist: ...Still bipolar?

Me: Yup.

Therapist: ...

If you’re afraid of losing your therapist, you could try making your next appointment for months out. That keeps you active as a patient, but gives you a break. If you have a crisis in the meantime, you can call and take a shot at getting an earlier appointment.

 

I like that idea 

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I run into some similar things with therapy. I think for me one of the difficulties is that I'm already a certain way along in the process, and I did all that work during a time when I didn't have access to therapy. So now that I'm working with a psychologist I am already doing a number of the things they would recommend. I'm getting some benefit from what I'm already doing, but it's hard for both of us to figure out what strategies might be able to build on that further. My tdoc and I handle this by using some of our time in sessions to talk about therapy such as how well certain approaches have worked so far and we try to gauge the potential in other approaches we could try.

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I recently moved states and had to trade in a wonderful therapist that did art therapy with a woman that just seems to want to push paperwork at me. She's friendly and upbeat and I know she knows what she's talking about because I've been around the block a few times and I recognize the keywords, but something isn't clicking for me. I see a psychiatrist in the same office and they've been switching my medications around so that may be part of the issue, but I'm feeling like therapy hasn't been working since I moved to Oregon. I receive SSDI and I have to show that I'm making attempts to get better, but I'm frustrated by therapy and feel, in a sense, that I'm in limbo. 

It's made even more difficult by my severe social anxiety that makes leaving my bedroom a constant challenge. I know my therapist tries (other than the paperwork -- seriously, I could start a forest) and I kind of feel like I'm letting her down at this point. She once asked if she thought another therapist would be better and I told her I didn't want to switch because the only other person they had available was someone by teleconference, but maybe that's the best way to go at this point. 

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