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Wheredoistart

Therapy making things worse?

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Hello everybody, sorry for the rambling nature of this post, but it’s been a rough few weeks.

So I’ve been to several therapists at this point, most of whom have claimed that they do cognitive behavioral therapy in some form or another. I suffer from depression, which I believe to be a combination of genetic and situational. Basically I always feel worthless and inadequate. Always, all day long. What I’m coming to realize through therapy and talking to friends and family is that my low opinions of myself are pretty accurate, or worse than I thought. It’s not as if they think I’m horrible or mean or something. It’s just that nobody thinks much of me at all. They see me as incapable, shy, mediocre, and only good for doing tasks that no one else wants to do. I have been needing to start a new career for some time, but because of family obligations I have very limited time, money, and energy. I have always worked in the service industry, never having the skills or intelligence to work somewhere that offers a regular schedule, which is what I would need. I have tried volunteering, joining a support group, medication, exercise, multiple therapists, learning apps, meditation apps, yoga, walking, exploring new interests. I’m just... bad at everything, even things that I’ve been practicing for years and like to do (or used to). Worse is that even the people that I am closest to think the same thing. They can’t imagine any kind of meaningful success for me. My current and former therapists have supposed that I’m projecting my inadequacies and that’s why no one thinks positive things about me. That’s fair, I guess, but where would positive thoughts even come from? Anything positive I can think of seems unrealistic and, if I’m being honest, social media has ruined positive thinking and gratitude for me. I keep trying, but right now it seems like the worst is true and I really am just that worthless. 

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Hey WDIS

I have just started Therapy, so cant comment on how its going to make me feel, 

From what I get from your post is you feel low, and unfortunately this is the hardest cycle to break.  People feed off our energy, and if we send out positive vibes then we get positivity returned.

We have the power to go get anything we want,  the hardest bit is our attitude towards life in general and our motivation.  When we are suffering it makes us lazy, un motivated and this then spirals into feeling rubbish.  I have started up a new company, and today I was at work with a huge positive attitude and the amount of work I got done was incredible,  however I came home and my personal life issues started to bother me and three hours later I just want to curl up and rot!.  Our minds are very powerful.

Someone said to me recently "What ever we send out, we get back in return"   For example, if we bounce around happy then the people around us will do it back.  I have two great examples of this,  and without knowing your situation, I will use my experiences as example.

1).  My kids,  10 years old,  if I run down stairs and start chasing them around, playing tag and jumping up and down on the couch signing a verse of spice girls,  I can GUARENTEE they will get all hyper active and start playing with me.

2) If I start excitedly start calling a dogs name and running up to it and puffing about happy and throwing a ball,  you watch how the dog reacts to our energy.

Now, this hardest bit is making yourself in that "playful" mood in life!!!!!!  its something I cant break yet as feeling like that goes against my mind and my mind is saying "stop it,  we are unhappy remember!"  and it feels wrong somehow.

This probably doesn't help much, but all I can say, try being positive, one thing at a time, and the world will respond around you.

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Hi Saprkzz,

Thank you for replying. I understand your point about projecting positive energy. It can be very difficult at times, but I do try. I think that my problem is deeper than positivity can cover for, because there simply isn’t anything there worthwhile. I’ve had trouble identifying my strengths and I’ve asked friends and family what they think I might be good at or what they think my talents are and they couldn’t really name anything. I’ve asked my SO what he thinks I should do for a job and he thinks I could answer phones. My therapist suggested data entry or working with the elderly. I’m sure these are very worthwhile jobs and that there are companies that need people to do them, but it was depressing to hear. I had hoped that someone would see something that I hadn’t but they see very little value in me. It really reinforced my feelings of worthlessness.

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Hello WDIS, I'm sorry I haven't read your thread previously.  But, if you've read other threads here, you know a lot of us have been in the same boat.

I notice, too, that meds haven't been effective for you...again, similar to what a lot of us have experienced to one degree or another.  Honestly, I wish I had an answer for you.  Have you found that the exercise you enjoyed has been useful at all lately?

idk if my personal observation at this point would be at all useful, but perhaps you can hear me out.  One thing personally destructive to my mental health is the whole "think positively" thing.  For me, it's not unlike the idea of "putting out positive energy."  Welp, tbh, when I've repeatedly failed at that, it just drive the point home further that I'm a complete failure.  And, frankly, I now just avoid those philosophies as much as possible.  For me, they're self-defeating.

Frankly, those ideas are too close to the one that we're "not trying hard enough" to manage our own depression.   To me, that's a bit like trying to think away the cancer with positive thoughts.  It's a dead end.

I suppose that's my rather long-winded way of encouraging you to perhaps jettison the pressure of not living up to someone else's expectations.  Sometimes, only sometimes, I've been able to tell myself, even if it's not "good enough," this is the best I can do today...and that will just have to do.  (I've even sometimes had to become adamant with others on that point, a small way of standing up for myself.)  That's to say, I believe you're doing the best you can.  You're here pouring your heart out, for one.

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6 hours ago, Wheredoistart said:

Hi Saprkzz,

Thank you for replying. I understand your point about projecting positive energy. It can be very difficult at times, but I do try. I think that my problem is deeper than positivity can cover for, because there simply isn’t anything there worthwhile. I’ve had trouble identifying my strengths and I’ve asked friends and family what they think I might be good at or what they think my talents are and they couldn’t really name anything. I’ve asked my SO what he thinks I should do for a job and he thinks I could answer phones. My therapist suggested data entry or working with the elderly. I’m sure these are very worthwhile jobs and that there are companies that need people to do them, but it was depressing to hear. I had hoped that someone would see something that I hadn’t but they see very little value in me. It really reinforced my feelings of worthlessness.

I understand exactly where you are coming from, as you explain my last few years perfectly, feeling useless, no value, and just at the bottom of the pile. I am not as good as doing as I preach 😀

Asking friends what your strengths are is a tough one to put on people, as no one will truly know.  And to be honest If I asked MYSELF that same question, I wouldn't know how to answer it.

I think getting through life isn't concentrating what a strengths we have  but asking yourself what you enjoy doing personal and work related.

I have a high profile job, top of the food chain, and I am in way too deep now to change it as I have 100's of people depending on my success,  but if you were to ask me my strengths I would say teaching people,  (for the record this isn't what I do now), not because I am great at it, but I really really enjoy it.  I would give up my full time job in a heart beat to go teach people how to ride motorcycles!..  It would be a dream job for me, but I just cant financially.

So my point is,  fantasise about what you truly love to do,  even if its going for walks in the forest/mountains,  going for bike rides and this can lead on to every thing in life.  

answering phones, data entry are not the right job as these a usually fill in jobs and would be boring over time, but working with elderly is amazing!.  this is giving something back. I call it a satisfaction job.

I used to be a volunteer firefighter,  we used to get paid for it, but I would have done it for free as I LOVED it so much,  this is the energy you need to find.  Find out what you love to do, and see if you can adjust your life slowly.

 

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11 hours ago, MarkintheDark said:

Hello WDIS, I'm sorry I haven't read your thread previously.  But, if you've read other threads here, you know a lot of us have been in the same boat.

I notice, too, that meds haven't been effective for you...again, similar to what a lot of us have experienced to one degree or another.  Honestly, I wish I had an answer for you.  Have you found that the exercise you enjoyed has been useful at all lately?

idk if my personal observation at this point would be at all useful, but perhaps you can hear me out.  One thing personally destructive to my mental health is the whole "think positively" thing.  For me, it's not unlike the idea of "putting out positive energy."  Welp, tbh, when I've repeatedly failed at that, it just drive the point home further that I'm a complete failure.  And, frankly, I now just avoid those philosophies as much as possible.  For me, they're self-defeating.

Frankly, those ideas are too close to the one that we're "not trying hard enough" to manage our own depression.   To me, that's a bit like trying to think away the cancer with positive thoughts.  It's a dead end.

I suppose that's my rather long-winded way of encouraging you to perhaps jettison the pressure of not living up to someone else's expectations.  Sometimes, only sometimes, I've been able to tell myself, even if it's not "good enough," this is the best I can do today...and that will just have to do.  (I've even sometimes had to become adamant with others on that point, a small way of standing up for myself.)  That's to say, I believe you're doing the best you can.  You're here pouring your heart out, for one.

Markinthedark, I think you hit the nail on the head here. Hearing from friends and from my therapist that I’m not putting out positive energy or that I don’t try hard enough is often the catalyst that sends me into a downward spiral. As much as I try to be positive and outgoing, it isn’t a natural state for me, and people are smart. They pick up on that. So even though I’m trying and I may get away with it for a while, the longer I know people, the more they see that it’s just a front. I want to be myself, but that person isn’t likeable and doesn’t fit in. Ugh, it’s so hard not to downward spiral on here. Sorry. Thank you for replying!

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I guess if I were to speak from my own experiences, therapy can be helpful when you find the right fit. I been to a couple and felt I was stuck because my therapist wasn't able to identify that their usual style wasn't helpful. I can be relatively non-verbal in therapy (not that I can't speak - just in the sense that I find immense difficulty talking about what I am worried about). I kept meeting obstacles and frustration that I am still feeling this way until I met a therapist who was able to use alternative methods to help me express and process my thoughts and feelings - helping me to find words. She used creative art therapy which was a modality that helped. She was sharp in picking up my non-verbal cues quite accurately and she pointed out signs which I didn't want to acknowledge then. 

I no longer work with her due to changes in the approved provider for services but looking back, she hit the nail in a lot of areas that I wished I had considered it more and heed advice to look into those issue. Perhaps I wouldn't have reached the point that some days, I feel like I am in crisis myself and that I am experiencing frustration with my current therapists in terms of trying to manage my overwhelming emotions that has been bottling up over time.

So in short, if you just want a summary - therapy can be beneficial and that if it isn't helpful, maybe it wasn't a right fit and that is okay. We each have different styles as clients and as therapist. Try to explore alternative methods (e.g. right now, I try to use some form of art expression in my own session with my current therapist to work through my own trauma and we are still figuring out if we can come to some comfortable compromise or if it is a case of not a fit).

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