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  1. #1
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    Default Questions about therapy

    I've been dealing with severe depression and anxiety since the beginning of middle school, and I'm now a college freshman. I have major depressive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and had an adjustment disorder during middle school that set both into motion.

    My most important question is what to do about therapy. I went for about five months during my junior year of high school, hated it, convinced myself and everyone around me that I was okay, and quit. For the first couple of months I was crying too much for there to be productive conversation, and even when my medication was high enough that I was incapable of crying, I couldn't bring myself to be open. My therapist seemed to think it was a good idea to only ask about surface-level things, and I wasn't brave enough to change the subject.

    So I'm going to talk to someone at my school's counselling center soon, and I don't know how I'm going to do it. I should probably write stuff up in case I can't talk (seriously, I cry uncontrollably), but what all should I address, and how in-depth should I go? It says on their website that they refer people with recurring issues to mental health services in the community -- do you think I'll be able to choose a therapist/psychologist/etc., and if so, how do I choose? What types of therapy would you recommend for my situation? I'd rather not explain more publicly, so if you need more information to answer my questions, let me know and I'll PM you.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Couple of things to consider:
    Professional counselors are trained to not take it personally if you are or are not comfortable with them. You can go to a first session and tell them that you would like to meet a few to find the best fit. I've worked with I think five different counselors and I found all of them to be basically helpful, but only the last two have provided significant help. I found my best one through a referral from someone inside the mental health community.

    It is important to realize that you are in control of the process, and focusing on that can be part of the healing process. You don't need to feel any pressure from your therapist, but realize that you can open up on your terms and at the pace that feels natural for you.

    It does take courage to open up, and it can feel strange to do that with a stranger. One thing that has helped me practice is to open up in a private context. Most counselors will recommend writing in a journal while you are by yourself. You could even prepare a written out description of your feelings and concerns to bring to your counselor each week which they can read while you are crying if need be. This is one way you can have control over how much you share without feeling any pressure about needing to control your own emotions.

    It also helps to know that a therapist is bound by law to keep all of your information private. Once you find someone you trust, then you are free to go in as much depth as you choose. There is no social protocol to maintain, and counselors have heard it all, sometimes all at once, and sometimes waiting for months or years. Try to think of it the same as a doctor visit. When they see the parts of your body normally hidden, it is separate from regular social protocol. Therapists are there to see the comparable portions or your mind and experience.

    You can trust your own mind and body to have a wisdom of its own, and if you are crying during sessions and not able to communicate, it is entirely possible that this is exactly what you need as part of the healing process. There isn't one right way to heal the mind, but each individual has a unique path.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

    I want to be just like my mother, even if she is bat-shit crazy.

  3. #3
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    I have a pretty long history with depression and anxiety also, and two approaches that have helped me are a Buddhist, meditative, non-attachment, quieting of the mind, and EMDR therapy which I have only had five sessions with so far. I made a thread about EMDR.

    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...r-therapy.html
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

    I want to be just like my mother, even if she is bat-shit crazy.

  4. #4
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    I largely agree with fia, although I'm not sure about EMDR. Meditation is nice because it will give you a calm, peaceful, mentally quiet happy place. You then need to train yourself to go there when you start to get stressed out. This is the hard part.

    Overall, I would suggest that you need to train yourself to allow yourself to be really happy. Talking and thinking may or may not help you get there. Have you instead tried a dose of happy drugs? Step 0: Go to the gym, hop on the elliptical or treadmill and do 30 minutes of high intensity interval training. Endorphines. Happiness. You won't be able to help it. Step 2: Do it again two days later. Step 3: Do it three times a week or more.

    This is almost guaranteed to make you really happy for at least a few minutes per week, and studies show that exercise works better than antidepressants and anxiolytics on average. This is not to say that meds can't work, but that it's really hard to pair a set of medications with a set of symptoms. Which is why they usually get the pairing wrong. You can't go wrong with exercise though.

  5. #5
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    @decrescendo, I relate to what you say far too well- minus the crying part, and I have bipolar 2. My hypomania made me happy, fun, and daring when I was younger, now what happens is I get irritable as hell and restless and want to tear off my skin. Mostly, though, I deal with depression- especially the fatigue/ brain fog/ inability to motivate/ self-loathing aspect.

    Therapy has never done jack shit for me. I could go into the details as to why, but I won't make this be all about me (although I suspect it has a lot to do with being a 4w5 INFP). Still I have to go every month because I'm on medication and it is always incredibly frustrating for me. Medication is not a panacea, and although I'm not attempting to kill myself or engaging in extramarital affairs, my life is not how it should be. Like @fia, I've begun to dabble in mindfulness and meditation, and it seems like a very good thing. I also bought a DBT workbook which should be coming in the mail today and I'm hoping that will help. I'm hoping this emphasis on practical behavior modification will do something that therapy has never done. We shall see.

    Best of luck to you.

    @mingularity, while exercise helps, I find too strenuous of exercise makes things worse for me. That said, I have bipolar so I can overdo it when more manic and it becomes an unhealthy addiction. It's how I used to self-medicate, along with eating disorders. I've found walking around out in the world, looking at things- especially nature- helps me get out of myself and my despair more than pushing myself hard in a gym ever did. Perhaps because it's a form of active meditation, because I focus on my present surroundings and exist in a sort of silence. Also, I always feel better outdoors than I do inside. I think you, as an ISTP, might get a little more from the gym experience than an INFP would. My ESFP husband goes to the gym every day, works out as hard as possible and it's a lifesaver for him.

  6. #6
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    @brainheart, an exercise addiction on its own is very healthy! If one had something like BDD, however, the exercise addiction could feed it. The manic phase of bipolar could also interact weirdly with it, I definitely agree.

    However, ALL of these problems are solved by exercise! If you can stick to a healthy exercise schedule and don't let any of your disorders turn it into crazy time, then you will be practicing self control, which is a general source of problems here.

  7. #7
    brainheart
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    Quote Originally Posted by mingularity View Post
    @brainheart, an exercise addiction on its own is very healthy! If one had something like BDD, however, the exercise addiction could feed it. The manic phase of bipolar could also interact weirdly with it, I definitely agree.

    However, ALL of these problems are solved by exercise! If you can stick to a healthy exercise schedule and don't let any of your disorders turn it into crazy time, then you will be practicing self control, which is a general source of problems here.
    An exercise addiction is not healthy, especially when you are already underweight to begin with. Addictions, by their very nature, are not healthy, because they don't function within the parameters of self-monitoring.

    It's easy to say 'if you don't let any of your disorders turn it into crazy time' but that's what a disorder does! It's belittling to say you can just control it- it's like saying it's all in your head. This is the deal. My brain gets seriously fucked up and it does not work properly. I can't 'make' it work properly. Medication has saved my life in many ways that you can't apparently understand, that all the therapy and self control in the world will never do. Self control doesn't make the delusions and psychosis go away, that's for damn sure. Now that I'm medicated I can do things like work towards engaging in healthy amounts of exercise and behavioral modifications. It isn't a panacea, like I said, but it is a lifesaver. (It kind of downgrades bipolar to cyclothymia.) Obviously you don't get this. My guess is you don't have a severe mental disorder?

  8. #8
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    An exercise addiction is one of the healthiest things imaginable. The word addiction has no intrinsic negative connotation. Cite. The principles of addiction are the same principles that govern almost all kinds of healthy learning in the brain.

    There are an infinity of mental disorders. And there is learned helplessness. But if you can look yourself in the mirror and use your inner voice to tell yourself that you are going to fix this problem - with determination and gusto - , and to then take the first step towards fixing it, you will do more for yourself than any medication or therapy.

    If you are interested in my background you are more than welcome to PM me!

  9. #9
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    Have you tried taking supplements while you explore to discover what the deeper issues are? You can start writing posts online, or talking to people in chat rooms, and maybe you'll come across a few that can help you.

    Try any or all of the following:

    - 3g (regular) Niacin, 3g Vitamin C, 1g Vitamin B5 (gradually up your dosage 250mg-500mg every few days until you get to 3g)
    - Aniracetam + Noopept
    - Brainwave Entrainment (http://www.transparentcorp.com/dl)
    - etc (search longecity for more ideas)

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by decrescendo View Post
    I've been dealing with severe depression and anxiety since the beginning of middle school, and I'm now a college freshman. I have major depressive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and had an adjustment disorder during middle school that set both into motion.

    My most important question is what to do about therapy. I went for about five months during my junior year of high school, hated it, convinced myself and everyone around me that I was okay, and quit. For the first couple of months I was crying too much for there to be productive conversation, and even when my medication was high enough that I was incapable of crying, I couldn't bring myself to be open. My therapist seemed to think it was a good idea to only ask about surface-level things, and I wasn't brave enough to change the subject.

    So I'm going to talk to someone at my school's counselling center soon, and I don't know how I'm going to do it. I should probably write stuff up in case I can't talk (seriously, I cry uncontrollably), but what all should I address, and how in-depth should I go? It says on their website that they refer people with recurring issues to mental health services in the community -- do you think I'll be able to choose a therapist/psychologist/etc., and if so, how do I choose? What types of therapy would you recommend for my situation? I'd rather not explain more publicly, so if you need more information to answer my questions, let me know and I'll PM you.

    Thanks.
    That's not unusual at the start of therapy.

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