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Help? Counselling. Not taking full advantage....

This is probably a stupid post but here it goes anyway...


I've struggled with depression/anxiety for the past 4+ years -which has included struggles with self harm and suicidal thoughts, 2 short hospital admissions, various medications and countless visits to a GP and psychologist.
I don't really feel as though I'm getting anywhere.

It's my fault, I know.

But I've no idea what to do either. 

I go through waves of feeling OK and of feeling an emotional mess. There is no pattern, no warning. 
The change can be quick. Unexpected. Without identifiable cause.


I go and see my Psychologist, only I never seem to know what to talk about. Is that stupid?
And when I think I do know what I want to talk about I struggle to get the words out. Rarely am I able to talk about anything...

I don't feel like it's an issue with my psychologist as such, but then I don't know...

Majority of the time I feel as though I'm wasting her time.


Something I'm stuck on is what should I use my sessions for? What should I be talking about? 

I probably shouldn''t be asking these questions, I feel like I should know... But I don't really know what to do anymore...

Re: Help? Counselling. Not taking full advantage....

Hey @Bubblez!


Your situation sounds like it must be confusing and frustrating for you - it feels like you're doing everything to get the right support for your mental health issues, but like you said you seem to move between feeling okay and feeling terrible, sometimes without warning. It definitely isn't a stupid question, and it makes perfect sense to want to know how to make a session with a psychologist more productive, especially if you are getting frustrated with the way in which they are going at the moment.


Have you spoken to your currrent psych about how difficult it is for you to get things out? Sometimes our feelings are so intense and complex that trying to find the words for them can be tricky at best. Maybe try describing them in terms of how they feel physically (i.e. I feel cold/like there is a weight in my stomach/hypnotised, etc), or using colours or imagery to describe them. They could also be a good starting point to talking in more depth about your feelings.


Of course, there is always the option to find another psychologist, but if you feel like the one you are with right now is fine, then there probably isn't any need. Don't be disheartened, though, when you start to feel like an 'emotional mess' again. It's perfectly normal to go from feeling fine to feeling awful, and it doesn't mean that you are failing in your recovery. It's just part of the process.


Long story short: if you haven't already, talk to your psych about how you don't really know what to say, and together you could find out why. Also - maybe keep a journal to note down how your mood changes between sessions? That could give you something to talk about as well.


Hope this helps Smiley Happy

Re: Help? Counselling. Not taking full advantage....

Hi @Bubblez - it's definitely not a stupid question, and it's not an uncommon one either. We often get encouraged to seek professional support, but not many people tell you what you should do once you have it!


I echo what @safari93 said about letting your psychologist know that you're having a hard time getting the words out. It's not easy to communicate exactly how you feel. Sometimes we don't know what to say because we haven't even worked out how we actually feel or think! But a good psychologist will be able to help you with that, which is why it's important to tell them.


You mentioned mood swings that come on without warning. Is that something you're hoping therapy can assist you with? If so, there's a great place to start! You can ask your psychologist to help you work on managing the moods, or identifying how and why they happen.

Re: Help? Counselling. Not taking full advantage....

Thanks Safari93 and ElleBelle. Smiley Happy


I feel as though I shouldn't need help, I should have my 'crap' together and that I'm only wasting my psychologists time.

I'm frustrated with myself because I recognise I'm not using therapy to it's full potential and I'm not OK like everyone thinks I'm or like I should be but I don't know what to do...

And I don't feel like I'm trying but I am and I'm just not sure what to do or what I should be doing.

(I think I'm repeating myself here? sorry if I am.) Smiley Sad


I see my psychologist tomorrow (although I did try and cancel...) and hope that I can bring myself to voice my issues but I'm not sure... I've been seeing her for almost 2 years and yet haven't really progressed -and i'm sure it is entirely my own fault. ANd I get the feeling my psych is frustrated with me...

And I'm tired and have had enough. 

I need to look at the way I think, they way I feel. The 2 are interwined I know yet I feel I have no control over either...


I don't even know anymore.

Re: Help? Counselling. Not taking full advantage....

Hey @Bubblez, just wanted to start by saying that you're definitely not wasting your psychologist's time! And y seem like a really self-aware person, which is awesome! 


When you mentioned you don't feel like you're using therapy to its full potential, do you feel you'd be more comfortable writing down your concerns and passing them to your psychologist? Sometimes that's easier than speaking about it.


Remember your psychologist is there to help you, so I don't think they'd be frustrated with you what you've accomplished so far while seeing them Sometimes therapy can take a long time to progress and if it does, that doesn't mean you're not making the most of it!


I hope your appointment goes well tomorrow. Please keep us posted on how you go. Smiley Happy

Re: Help? Counselling. Not taking full advantage....

I've often thought about writing things down but I never actually do it when I think of things... 


Saw my psychologist yesterday and we chatted about general happenings and discussed that maybe my medication is the cause for my current decline -I started a new anti-depressant a month ago...


I get the feeling she doesn't know what to do or how to help me either.

I've made an appointment for a months time and hope that maybe I can figure things out and workout how she can best help me in the mean time.


I also saw my GP in regards to my medication and instead of stopping it, the dose has been upped.. I hope I did the right thing by agreeing to the medciation increase. Smiley Frustrated


Feel like I've hit a deadend. 

Re: Help? Counselling. Not taking full advantage....

@Bubblez an appointment sounds good - I think it's best to just come out with how you feel, and then start from there. Maybe use this thread to start the conversation? You've already mentioned some of your feelings about your therapy here, and you seem self-aware about what's been going on in your life and what could be contributing to your feelings

Re: Help? Counselling. Not taking full advantage....

Hey @Bubblez


Would it be worth chatting with your psychologist and your GP about managing your medication? Starting on a new medication may not be the best option for everyone, so it discussing why they believe it's necessary for an increase could be a good way to start too. Do you think that creating a plan involving both pros would help - like where you could go or what you can do when you're feeling alright or having a really bad day? 

Stay excellent

Re: Help? Counselling. Not taking full advantage....

When talking with my psychologist I said that I felt worse on my new medication (It's been a month) and she agreed that she has seen me doing better and was concerned with the down I was in and could falling further.....


My doctor and psychologist are both in the same practise so can see one anothers notes and communicate as needed... After seeing my psychologist Thursday I saw my GP straight after. My psychologist mentioned to her about the medication between appointmentsand my GP read the session notes.. 

I discussed medication with my GP who suggested an increase. I was incredibly reluctant and was going more towards stopping my medication but my GP convinced me to increase... And to follow up I see her in 2 weeks. Smiley Frustrated 


My GP also mentioned the possibilty of a diagnoiss of Borderline Personality Disorder and suggested I think about that...


It has not really been discussed what to do if I'm having a real bad day.. Other than contact my psychologist or a helpline.


I feel so lost and confused right now. I've no idea which way is forward. Smiley Sad

Re: Help? Counselling. Not taking full advantage....

@Bubblez It sounds like your GP isn't being terribly supportive but your psych is. Since they read each others' notes, can you ask your psych to discuss with them about your medication concerns? 


You could follow up with them in two weeks and see what they have to say - otherwise, it may be worth seeking out another GP. For a pro to vaguely suggest that you may have certain disorder is not ok. Some people are ok with placing a name with what they're experiencing, as it gives them self-control over their next steps to treatment and recovery. Others may not feel the same way, and ruminate further about what they may have. 


Regardless of their field, if you don't feel comfortable with a pro - it's better to move on and find one that you can build a rapport with. 

Stay excellent