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So far 'help' hasn't helped and that's been hard

So I'm struggling quite a lot, and that's not new. Had a challenging childhood that made/ makes it hard for me to trust people and not be scared of them. That makes it hard for me to connect with people which is pretty lonely, and makes it seem to me like I won't be able to contribute anything good to anyone's lives or the world in general. In high school had problems with an eating disorder and self harm (in the past now), and considering suicide (still current).


I started trying professional help a few years ago at 18/19 and I've just been really disappointed? I've seen gp's, psychologists, counsellors, headspace and a couple of times been to emergency departments. Some of those experiences were really awful, and the ones that weren't were just unhelpful but that contributed to a sense of hopelessness that things could ever get better. Aside from the awful experiences of people being jerks, I've found there's just so much energy needed to try and get the story/ picture of what's happening across, and you can never get it all across perfectly accurately because it's a lifetime worth of stuff, and that nothing good comes out of that? Like there's no answers or things they can do (or suggest I do) that will actually make it better. Tried medication despite reservations on the advice of a doctor, had a bad experience,don't want to try it again. It seems so dangerous taking something that will mess with my brain provided by a professional sphere that all my other interactions with has suggested can't help me.


But... things are really bad and I can't handle it.


Does anyone have any advice on how to get professional help that actually helps? Or even just testimonies that it's helped them (that might give me a little bit of hope and make it seem less like a big damaging scam)?

Re: So far 'help' hasn't helped and that's been hard

Hey @hellofriend I am so sorry for the pain you've been experiencing. You are definitely not alone in feeling a bit disappointed by the professional supports you've given a go, sometimes that can happen - it shows an incredible amount of self awareness and resilience that you were able to reflect that these modalities/supports weren't working for you.

Whilst we can't give testimonials here, the ReachOut members can share their own journeys and share what worked for them. It's important to note what works for some will not others, for example I don't benefit much from clinical psychology but I have friends that do.  I am going to list below a few of the professional options that require a great deal of training/accreditation, you could google a few of these; I will also tag some members to share what worked for them.


- psychotherapy

- psychology

- psychiatry

- acupuncture

- kineseology

- support groups (and of course a tonne of body focused tasks such as yoga, meditation, sports)

If you feel the drugs weren't working for you, you know your body best, totally okay. Heart Regarding the suicidal thoughts, are you safe right now?

Re: So far 'help' hasn't helped and that's been hard


Re: So far 'help' hasn't helped and that's been hard

Hey @hellofriend

Don't give up on getting professional help! 

I first saw a psychologist when I was 12 and I hated it, I did not get along with him at all and I was forced to go see him as my parents were so desperate to get me help for my anxiety. Eventually they realised that he wasn't helping me, but that experience turned me off of seeing a psychologist for many years. I was eventually diagnosed by a doctor and put on medication for my anxiety which really helped me.

Then when I was 18 I was experiencing panic attacks and because of that I needed to see psychologist again but this time I saw someone who I connected with. She is amazing and she really understands me which  makes all the difference. 

The reality is that it might take 10 different psychologists until you find someone you connect with and can help you. Once you do find someone though it will be worth it and you will notice the difference straightaway. 

Hang in there and keep seeking professional help eventually you will find someone Smiley Happy

Whatever it takes I know I can make it through!

Re: So far 'help' hasn't helped and that's been hard

Hey @hellofriend, thank you for sharing your story with us Heart I'm sorry that you've had such painful and traumatising experiences in your life; it shows enormous strength for you to be asking for help and wanting to get better. 


Recovery is different for everybody, so different things will work for each person. 

I know that you've said you've seen many counsellors/psychologists/other health professionals, but as @ErinsAntics stressed, sometimes it does take a while to find someone that you really click with. It could be a matter of continuing to search for a professional who fits with your values and needs. There's also many different kinds of therapy - for example, cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy, eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy. Exploring other types of therapy could be helpful - some forms may be more effective for you than others. 

(Just fyi not all forms of therapy are available under the public system so depending on whether you rely on medicare or if you have private health insurance or NDIS funding your options may be different). 


For me, although I've done/am doing several forms of therapy, tried many medications, and had stints in hospital, actually the three things that have helped me to heal the most are occupational therapy, peer support, and writing. I've only had access to very brief OT while in hospital, so again am unsure how available it is, but basically it was very helpful for me in learning how to self-soothe, be more present and enjoy things more, and helping me connect with other people. Peer support (again in hospital mostly) was something that helped me a lot, too - spending time with others who understand trauma and mental illness can be very helpful and supportive. Many local health districts and community health centres have peer support workers or groups. 

Although I definitely encourage you to keep seeking professional help, I know that a lot of people (me included) benefit from finding passions or interests that help give meaning to our struggles and help us to process events. For me this is writing, for others it could be religion, art, exercise, being in nature, anything really. 


Also, you mentioned that your experiences with the public system e.g. emergency departments have been really awful. Know that being treated badly is never okay, and you have a right to complain. You might be able to make a complaint to the hospital, local health district, or your state's ombudsman Heart


I hope this helps a little. Please keep trying, recovery can feel endless at times but I believe you can get to a place where things are less of a struggle Heart



Re: So far 'help' hasn't helped and that's been hard

Thanks for the support/ suggestions/ stories, guys, they are honestly very much appreciated.


I find it hard to trust the tactic of keeping on trying until I find something that works, because it's persisting at something that's just been harmful every other time, with no guarantee that it will ever yield different results. I guess there's no real way around that though, even if it is a bit sad.


Not sure what I'll do next... maybe at some point when/if I have the energy I'll google some of the things you guys have mentioned that I haven't tried.


I'm safe at the moment @Bree-RO (kinda wish I wasn't though :/ )

Re: So far 'help' hasn't helped and that's been hard

@hellofriend Hey, Bree is gone for the evening but I'm glad to hear your keeping safe for the moment, do you have any plans for the evening to self care?


Re: So far 'help' hasn't helped and that's been hard


A good first step to help you find something that works is to write down all the services you have used and the good and bad about them that way you have an idea of what services you want to try next. 

Also you mentioned that you saw Headspace a few years ago? It might be worth revisiting them as the workers do change as does the programs they run so maybe they might be a better fit for you now?

@Bree-ROdidn't mention it but Art Therapy is really good and as it's done in a group it's also like a group therapy session too. The place where I did my placement (I'm studying community services) last semester ran it on Wednesday mornings and I really enjoyed participating in it. You could also look at doing group therapy sessions targeted to young adults. These sessions are also good at finding out about different types of treatment and therapies available and getting recommendations of psychologist and counsellors too. 

As @DruidChild was saying a lot psychologists have different areas of specialities and types of therapies they use so it's a matter of finding one that you connect with and will also help you. My psychologist uses a mix of CBT and other types, which really help me but that might not work for you. I know it might seem complicated now but hang in there Smiley Happy


Whatever it takes I know I can make it through!

Re: So far 'help' hasn't helped and that's been hard

@TOM-RO not really, I've got an exam tomorrow morning that I should be studying for and I guess I should figure out something for dinner, but I don't really have the energy or motivation to do either of those things or anything else

Re: So far 'help' hasn't helped and that's been hard

@hellofriend It sounds like your quite exhausted, could you use tonight to self care instead and try to get an early night in to study for the exam in the morning?