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Asking for help after years of therapy.

Hey guys.

 

So I've been sitting on this frustratingly difficult ....thing.... for months and months now. Wondering if anyone else has encountered it?

 

I originally reached out for help in 2008, and since then have been in and out of psychiatric hospitals, seen multiple psychiatrists and been on more medications than I could ever remember. I've also done a buttload of therapy groups and seen five different counsellors/ psychologists (one of which significantly changed my life).

So after you've read all that, it seems like I 'should' have it all together by now, right? Well that's exactly how I've felt about it all for a long time now.. like I 'shouldn't' need help (or so much help) anymore... and I don't know how to stop thinking or feeling it.

 

It's been five years since I started this help seeking journey here on RO, but right now I feel like I'm right back at square one. Only this time, I don't have as many options at my fingertips, because I've exhausted so many resources around me. After all, once you've used the system, there's nothing left. And that's where I'm at.

Plus, my psychiatrist is incredibly judgemental on my level of wellbeing (though she'll say she's not). At the moment she's extremely happy with me, because I've recently finished a degree and got a job, and have been out of hospital since January. So I'm afraid to tell her that things aren't as great as they seem... If I do tell her, there's nothing she can do anyway. She's tried everything.

 

The hardest part of all of it is constantly feeling like I am a massive burden on the people around me... particularly my friends. There is one friend in particular who has been with me, walking with me, since the very beginning. She took me to my first ever psychologist appointment because I was too afraid to drive myself or tell my Mum I had to go. She keeps telling me that it's ok to tell her what's going on, but she is married now, and has a 1 year old son... and although I believe her when she says it's ok, there's still a huge part of me that feels like I shouldn't be saying anything or worrying her anymore. But if I don't, there is no one else I can randomly message in the middle of the night, or show up on her doorstep after work in need of a debrief...

 

So... there is a purpose for all that rambling...

Does anyone else feel like they should stop asking for help from professionals?

Have you ever felt guilty for being 'ill' to some extent for so many years?

What do you do when there are no professional or family/friend resources left to draw on for support?

 

Over the years there have been many times when I've been guilty of having suicidal ideation, but this lately it has increasingly felt like it's not just the 'only option' but moreso the 'best option'.. for everyone.

 

Thoughts on any/ all of this would be amazing. Thanks guys/ girls xo

Re: Asking for help after years of therapy.

hey bluebird,

 

I'm sorry to hear things are so tough for you at the moment. It can be very exhausting to feel that you have tried everything but have not yet been 'cured'. So I think it's awesome that you are continuing to reach out for support and advice on what might help you get through.

I have always seen the journey of mental health as very similar to that of physical health. We all recognise that staying physically healthy requires maintenance. That you can't eat healthy for a while or exercise for a while and expect that to ride you through the rest of your life. I believe it's the same with mental health. It's a daily program of maintenance. Doing all the things you need to do to stay well. For as long as you need to keep doing them.

And it seems to me that a part of what has worked for you in the past is sharing this with your friend and family. I think it's great to keep doing that. It might just mean managing your expectations a little so you can account for your changes in their life. It's probably not going to be great for your friend with the baby if you rock up in the middle of the night but I'm sure she can find time for you. Maybe you can provide support for each other. I know lots of women struggle in the first few years of their children's life, she may benefit greatly from all you've learnt in your journey.

And congrats on getting your degree and a job. That's an amazing outcome!!

Re: Asking for help after years of therapy.

Hi bluebird... really tough questions for a tough situation. It really does suck that you are feeling like you have few options, because no one should feel that way. Our mental health system is far from perfect and it sucks that you are feeling the brunt of that in this moment. For many people, managing their mental health is a lifelong journey. That can be a hard thing to come to terms with, but the mental health system should support you over a lifetime - it doesn't have a use by date or expire after a period.

It sucks that you feel like your psychiatrist judges you and that's why you can't be honest with her about how you are struggling, but I think you owe it to yourself to tell her exactly what's going on and if she's run out of options then she needs to talk to her supervisor, learn about something new, or refer you on to someone with more experience because it's not good enough to make you feel like you can't tell her that you are struggling!

One other thing, believe your friend when she tells you it's OK to talk to her about this stuff, she does not sound like someone who is fairweather friend! From what you've described I really feel like she is being truthful when she tells you she wants to support you... Just because she has a one year old does not mean that she doesn't still have room for you too.

Online Community Manager

ReachOut.com

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Re: Asking for help after years of therapy.

Hey Soph,

 

Thanks so much for those comments... I can genuinely feel a sense of relief after reading them.

 

I think youre right.. the mental health system has alot of flaws, and I've always known that, but I guess I always thought the problems were centred around access and the sector being under resourced. I never realised the extent of the lack of ongoing services. I feel like I'm going to need support for the rest of my life, or at least the foreseeable future, and it worries me that there is such a widespread attitude that that can't happen...for whatever reason. I'm really lucky, and have access to private services, but I still feel pressure to 'be better' and 'move on'.

 

About my doctor... it does suck. I'm openly scared of her, and have told her that.. but then sometimes I get on really well with her, and shes really nice. Very unpredictable person. I did end up telling her how I've been struggling. My counsellor made me go see her and 'strongly encouraged' me to be honest with her. Which I was... mostly. But I still feel like I shouldn't be feeling worse.

 

And youre right about my friend. She's amazing and caring, but she also struggles to say no to people when they ask things of her. She doesn't tell people that, but she burns out from being so busy and giving so much of herself to others. So I'm super wary of being a cause of that burn out.

 

Is it normal..or usual... or heard of.. to feel bad for asking for help after so long? I dont really have anyone I can ask ..!

Re: Asking for help after years of therapy.

I think what you're experiencing is certainly normal.

I've been out of the system for a year and a half now after many years, and I feel like if I was to return now I'd be seen as a bit of a failure.
Which is also how I felt after having to constantly try new things and run our of options.

There's just a big image and understanding, even by many in the profession it seems, that you need help for a little while then you're able to take care of yourself.

It sounds like you want someone to have more of a focus on how you're feeling, which I'm assuming is also one of the reasons you rely on your friend so much - she cares about your emotions.

It's easy to feel like a burden. From the moment you begin receiving help I think it's easy to. For the psychiatrist, I think it's good to remember that they don't go in to that profession without wanting people to rely on them.
If you really don't feel comfortable with this one anymore, I think it would be good to push the idea of trying someone new.

With your friend, I think a really good thing would be to show how appreciative you are of her friendship. Doesn't have to be anything big or time consuming, just sending her flowers or something even just occasionally.
She sounds like a really great friend. It's not like you show up at her doorstep at 3am every other night, so it's likely all fine. If it was getting too much for her at some point, you'd likely hear about it from someone.
That you're so wary of it also suggests that you're not putting too much pressure on her.

Smiley Happy I'm not sure if any of this helped. I mostly just wanted to point out that you're absolutely not alone in these feelings.

Re: Asking for help after years of therapy.

Hey bluebird.

 

Your post really rang a bell with me. Can't help but butt in here. 

 

I also started my journey in 2008. I've seen a new psychologist every single year. This year, I have already seen 2 and trying to find a new one becasue they either move on or they're just not right for me. I am also giving my psychiatrist up because I felt worst after seeing her. It was a difficult decision because my psychiatrist is the only therapist that I've kept since the start. It is so hard when I have to repeat my story every year. But I realised I have to keep going if I wanted the right help. One day, I have to believe, I will find someone who will stay on long-term. Right now, I need to get every little, short-term help there is on offer. 

 

Sometimes what keeps me going is calling Kids Helpline. One of the counsellors there (of 2 years) is also moving on and is referring me to another counsellor (a lot of people has left or leaving me these past 2 years). But I can't let that get to me. I know people come and go in my life. Cherish the times when they are here with you, right now. I guess, this kinda link back to your friend. She is here because she can help. Trust her that if she really needs a break, she will let you know. I don't think you will ever be a burden on anyone. Trust yourself in that. 

 

Right now, Bluebird you need some extra support. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I also feel bad affecting other people because of me not coping. But I know at the end of the day, they properly remember how much of a  difference they've made to my days rather than the effort they have to put in to help me. People can be wonderful like that 

 

Try not to think too far ahead in the future. Everyone needs help time and time again. When you feel better again, try and help someone who is doing it a bit tough. Trust yourself bluebird, because I do. 

 

Take care,

Doris