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#1 Posted by vdortizo (285 posts) -

So I've been dealing with depression and anxiety my whole life, and I recently decided to give the betterhelp site a try. It's been some months but I really don't feel like I'm improving in any way, got some nice tips to handle anxiety from my therapist but most of the time I still feel the same, plus I feel that they don't answer to questions in a timely manner -- usually it takes two or three days.

Have any of you that are or have been in therapy feel that it has improved your life in any way? Should I keep at it and be more patient?

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#2 Posted by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) -

If it has been going on your entire life, consider talking to a doctor about medication. Sometimes therapy won’t do much, other times it will do quite a bit. I will say that it’s often a slow path so it may be worth sticking with it for at least a year before making a decision.

Or do what I do: spend more time in the wilderness. Sounds cheesy but dear God is it helpful to just release and be out in true nature with nothing to think about, just engaging my body and disengaging my mind is therapeutic in ways nothing else can ever be, for me anyway. I think in part because a lot of my frustrations or blue periods come from just being incompatible with the modern world lol. Therapy may help you get to the root of your struggles and discover a way to cope with and treat your issues. L

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#3 Edited by chaser324 (8650 posts) -

Yes, I have been in therapy at various times, and it has been helpful to me. Sometimes you just get yourself into a rut (emotionally, mentally, physically, etc.) that can be very hard to pull yourself out of without someone to talk it through with.

If you have the time and money to do in-person sessions, I think you could possibly have a better and more productive experience that with online sessions. It can take some trial runs to find a therapist you connect with, but it'll be worth it if it helps you in the end. I realize that setting up and attending in-person session carries its own anxiety, but you should try to give it a shot.

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#4 Posted by htr10 (1048 posts) -

Any other options available to you? In the mental health world, waiting 2 to 3 days to get an answer to a question seems like a bad relationship.

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#5 Posted by vdortizo (285 posts) -

@opusofthemagnum:I've thought about medication, but in latin america getting medication to treat illness of this type is expensive, not as easy as in the States or in Canada, so I've never really considered it.

@chaser324: I tried a couple of therapists in person before, but I never really felt like I connected with them, they always ended up giving me worksheets and felt more like they were just trying to keep me busy rather than listening to my problems, that's why I tried online sessions to see if it was any different.

@htr10: I could ask to change my current counselor, but I think that I should talk to them first, to sort out any issues.

Maybe I should give this thing a longer run, maybe some more time could provide some improvement.

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#6 Posted by madman356647 (827 posts) -

Honestly, the combo of therapy AND meds is very good. But, if you aren't clicking with your therapist I would consider making a switch. That said it takes time. I know the worksheets seem boilerplate, but many of them are exercises you can use inbetween sessions. But changing therapists isn't a bad thing. Sometimes you just don't gel with the person (and everyone's different) and they will understand.

That said, depression and anxiety don't cure quickly through therapy. It'll take time. Some cases may only need a handful of visits, and others may need years. But, as Chaser said, in person is the way to go if you can.

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#7 Posted by DPEP56 (49 posts) -

Definitely agree with the people talking about considering therapy and meds. Therapy worked for me when I was having issues back in high school, but everyone is of course different. Personally, I would encourage you to inquire about some medication since it seems like therapy is having some roadblocks. There's no shame in getting some extra help. I have several close family members who take medication for some really extreme anxiety, and it has done wonders for them. It won't make all of your problems go away, but it really can make things easier. Just be sure to be very aware of whatever medication you are given because side effects can vary widely for different people. I know this can be really tough, but know that there is a myriad of people out there going through the same thing.

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#8 Posted by HarbinLights (194 posts) -

I get told to see therapists by people all the time. It feels like at best people feeling unqualified, unable, or unwilling to help me. And at worst a way to dismiss me, and thus my opinions, and viewpoints, as "insane" and invalid. People always recommend that, and talk about how I "need help", but I wonder if they realize how difficult it can be to get good help. And how terrible many therapists can be, that in my case, and in the case of many other people, can actually do more mental harm than help.

I have seen over a dozen therapists and want to give up, as not one has helped. In fact several have hurt me.

I am say to report that therapist has not worked for me at all. And as a personal anecdote, I would say it is not usual at all to struggle to find a good therapist.

My only hope is that to keep trying would help either of us and we would find a lucky strike of someone compassionate who is willing to learn, understand, and offer actually helpful advice. And be, well, therapeutic. I feel like I've just burned well over a thousand dollars trying to find help, when that money could have been better spent on things that would actually help me and leave me a more financially stable person.

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#9 Posted by Stonyman65 (3806 posts) -

Therapy didn't help me with my anxiety and depression but meds did. It wasn't a total cure but it helped me relax and work things out inside my own head, if that makes sense. Depression and anxiety are pretty personal issues so you kind of have to figure out the solution that works best for you. Everyone processes things differently, so while therapy and talking about things didn't help that doesn't necessarily mean that it doesn't work or wouldn't work for you and so on. On top of that there are certainty different levels of severity as well, so one person might need more in-depth treatment than others.

IMO, you should try whatever you can. It might work, it might not, but sooner or later you are going to find something that does work for you personally. There is no 100% cure, but it can make things better over time.

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#10 Posted by TobbRobb (6582 posts) -

Waiting days for an answers seems like a really shitty way to go. It's much easier to self reflect if you can get an instant response while you are still thinking about it.

That said. In my case I've only been once. And for the most part I was already halfway good on my initial goal as far as therapy went just through my own rumoring and reflections. The therapy ended up being a handful of hour long conversations to frame what I was thinking properly and to kind of mindstorm/bounce some new perspectives I wouldn't have considered on my own.

It's the type of thing where at the end of the day, it's all about what you yourself are thinking and feeling, and what you yourself want to do about it. Therapy becomes what you put into it. A therapist isn't a doctor that's there to solve your problems, a therapist is a mirror to aid you in reflecting on yourself and solve your own problems. So if you work hard and take it seriously, you will get SOMETHING out of it. Maybe not what you want to hear, but there will be something you can use or consider for sure.

But yeah, that online thing you were using sounds lame if it's that slow to respond. I would go talk to a real person, or if that's too much, at least an online one where you book an hour chat with instant response.

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#12 Posted by Raven10 (2284 posts) -

Successful therapy heavily depends on finding a therapist you connect with and can trust. It absolutely can work but it can take time to find the right person for you. There are a lot of different styles of therapy. Not all involve worksheets. Finding the right combination of therapy and therapist is hard but if you do find it then I promise you it will help.

As far as medication goes, I would only recommend it as a last resort. As you stated it is expensive and more importantly it can have significant side effects that are in many cases nearly as bad as the problem you were treating. Plus the withdrawal effects on many of them are comparable to getting off cocaine or heroine. So it isn't as easy as just saying that it isn't working and then stopping. But if therapy fails then medicine can work. Just don't think of it as any easy solution. These medicines are altering your brain chemistry not lowering your blood pressure. They can do a lot of harm.

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#13 Posted by dudeglove (13736 posts) -

A few years ago I went to a talk therapist of sorts and didn't really think it helped too much (not because they were incompetent- it was just an odd situation), though I think because I had taken that first step it sped things along towards me being not so friggin down.

I have had some success with - well it's not self help but might seem that way - cognitive behavioral therapy which, put very blunt, is the process of examining your emotional state and observing it with the goal of being mindful of your actual state and finding loopy thoughts or jumps in logic. Look up moodgym to find a site, or try the woebot app (both are free) on your phone. Woebot is more approachable and all the stuff is anonymous.

Of course I should note (as I am not an therapist) that it's not a cure all, as CBT is only one of many methods, usually used in combination with other techniques such as prescribed medication, but it *is* something you can do yourself and gives you agency. In both cases if they find that your survey responses are beyond the scope of CBT, they will point you towards direct therapy.

I hope you find something that works for you.

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#14 Posted by Warren2007 (82 posts) -

@vdortizo: I'm sorry to hear your struggling with this. I've had mental health problems for years now as well.

In terms of therapy, I have had one to one CBT and an off and on Doctor when decisions are needed. I didn't find the therapy in of itself very helpful but it did start me thinking about what I thought I actually needed and what was helpful to me. So in the long run it helped me understand my own situation better.

I now work in mental health here in the UK and I have seen a lot of people go through a variety of therapies with varying results.

There is no quick or guaranteed results in mental health so it's best to stick at something and think about what is and isn't working with it, then move to something else armed with your new knowledge. The best therapist you will find is yourself, it might just take some time to trust your own conclusions.

If you've been at this therapy for months, it's probably best to start winding it down and finding something new to try that is more your style.

Hopefully this thread will point you in some new stuff to try.

Good luck and keep at it, Duder.

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#15 Edited by soulcake (2753 posts) -

I seen a lot off therapist when i was a kid and it left me with a cynical view on psychologie as a "science" for me it didn't really work that well even with meds at the end it ended up with me facing my own demons and fixing my own problems. But i heard a lot off good stuff from other people if you feel you need counseling just do it. In the end ,it's you who's gonna deal with the problems you have inside your head.

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#16 Posted by geirr (3759 posts) -

I spent about 16 months of my life in a mental hospital (in and out 3 times) back at the end of my 20s
and while I realize it depends a lot on where you are on this planet, it helped me immensely.
I'm not "cured" of my depression or anxiety, and while it took about a decade,
I've gained the mental "tools" to endure the darkest of days.
For this, me and my closest, are very grateful.

It takes a lot of guts to seek help and just starting the dialogue is a step you/anyone should take pride in.

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#17 Posted by Sahalarious (770 posts) -

So a lot of this thread is going to be anecdotal, as different things work differently for everyone. I got to a point where i was going to lose my family, didnt get out of bed, and would drink at work.

In my depression comes anger and cynicism and so i was waiting for a chance to dismiss my therapists too. Leaning all the way into whatever treatment you seek is the most inportant first step.

If you believe things will work they're likely to have a more positive effect. But what they did was put me on celexa. Hated it. Switched to prozac, and i wasnt angry anymore. Didnt have anxiety attacks in public or put my fist through the wall anymore.

The downside to meds is i also felt like i was a robot, everything was distant and unimportant, though i was content. I ended up getting off the meds(which is in itself a bad time) and havent gone back.

What i did gain from a few months time on meds was a chance to reflect and take a personal inventory. It gave me time to straighten out my priorities, and to make some changes.

Now i still have bad days, but ever since the meds ive been eating healthy and not drinking. Its worth a try even if you dont stay on them.

Now this last bit is what saved my life, but of course is not safe to reccomend depending on you. I started taking mushrooms once every month or two, and now i also smoke a very small amount of marijuana at night. Since making this change i have become a more dedicated father and a more supportive husband and have felt great about myself. Getting "fucked up" is always destructive, but treating your mind with healthy plants that help you see the side of you that you keep buried is the most eye opening and cathartic treatment ive found in many years. I hope one of the replies here helps you, good luck.

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#18 Posted by HarbinLights (194 posts) -

@diz said:

For example, it is a thing that people in England talk about how many Americans are being conned out of their money in therapy. I believe many therapists are good natured, kind hearted, unknowing scammers, but some knowingly scam you too.

This definitely feels like the case with me. And I've often come back to times when I needed to do house work and could have really used the money. Recently a water pipe broke. Things like this happen. I stopped seeing therapists, because among other things, having money more necessities like this is more important.

Having someone to talk to and understand, and offer guidance, can be great for mental health. What can also be good for mental health? Financial stability and disposable income.

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#19 Edited by Cerberus3Dog (1025 posts) -

I agree with other posters that said if you believe therapy will work, its chances are better that it will. Kinda like hypnosis in that regard.

I've only done in person therapy sessions, but here's my take on those. I understand that there is no way around therapy being a business but "the business side" of it has affected how I view the industry. During the times I've been in a session, when my hour is almost up, and the therapy worker says, "We're out of time for today", I become jaded and cynical of the whole practice. I start thinking to myself, "I'm opening up with all my problems and you're now cutting me off?" I'm reminded that they are only here for me as long as I am their customer. I'm not trying to blame them. My relationship with the therapy worker is a professional one, we aren't friends, he has his own life to live and I don't expect them to put in extra time outside of their work life to worry about me. Never the less, I don't know if I'll ever get overcome my view of the business side of the industry because it makes it seem, in some way, hollow.

Therapy didn't worsen my problems however. The worst it's been for me is when I kept those self-destructive thoughts bottled up inside and not willing to talk to anyone about it. If that sounds familiar, you should try to change that. If therapy, or just telling someone else about your issues, allows you to open up, it might be worth it.

The things that has actually helped me in the end is talking with family and focusing on self-improvement. My parents didn't charge me for their attention. Their wish for me to get better is undeniably genuine and not tied to any monetary issue. Opening up to them about my life was important. I also went to the gym, I cooked meals/eating healthier, I read more, I limited time spent on social media, and I tried to learn new things to become a more well-rounded person. Most of the change came from myself in the end, which is what I think the "mission statement" of therapy wants to help you eventually realize. If therapy does help you realize that your problems require your own effort to address them, I think it's worth it.

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#20 Posted by vdortizo (285 posts) -

From what I'm seeing, the online thing is not going to work out, waiting for three days for a response is not great and it actually feels like I'm being ignored, I'm going to try the in person approach again, as it seems a more useful way of handling it.

Thank you duders for all your posts. at least it has helped me see that there is more than one way to skin this cat.

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#21 Posted by MrWakka (322 posts) -

Medication plus talking to someone about it helped me immensely. I was on the verge of suicide and had even set the date. I had decided to speak to a doctor about it beforehand, and getting diagnosed was an immense relief, it felt like I was taking charge and not letting it control me. I am off meds now and doing drastically better as a result of my time getting help.

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#22 Posted by Cure_Optimism (81 posts) -

It absolutely helps. I've had depression since I was a kid and going to therapy and seeing psychologists has definitely given me a different outlook on life. You learn to become super aware of your own emotions and suppress them whenever you feel you're gonna have an anxiety attack, or a bout of depression is about to kick in. Of course, it's not a be all, end all solution to your mental issues. It takes a lot of effort on your part to get to a better place mentally. Whether that means dieting, exercising, taking medications on a regimented schedule, doing cognitive therapy and pushing yourself to be more social and leave your comfort zone. Doing all these things with the help of a professional can definitely improve your life.

Good luck, man. Hope you're feeling better soon.

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#23 Posted by Vookatos (21 posts) -

I've suffered from depression for most of my life, but once it got so bad I had to go to therapy, and it certainly helped.

And it does usually take some time. I remember being barely human for a few months - unable to eat, vomiting all the time, trembling and shaking, being physically uncomfortable doing anything... I do think meds helped me moreso than conversations did, but to be fair, I was never fully comfortable with my psychologists. If that's the case I would suggest looking for somebody else.

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#24 Posted by diz (1394 posts) -
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#25 Edited by Jaalmo (1749 posts) -

Not really.

I went for about 4-6 weeks? In person btw. After talking about my entire past and present, my therapist told me what I already knew (low-self-esteem, anxiety and social problems) and she thought the course of action was to just talk with people on the street and maybe go to the gym. I knew its intent but... all it did was make me feel worse about myself when I couldn't do it. I lied often so she wouldn’t sign-me off but then it just came to the fact that she wasn’t helping so I left anyway.

The anxiety that I felt a lot more than just social ineptitude but I guess it came across that way.

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#26 Posted by poveren (318 posts) -

I found a lot of my anxiety disappeared when I stopped smoking. Heavy lifting at the gym also does wonders, it's like meditation. I do not approve of medication unless its small dosage over short term, that stuff is bad new bears.

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#27 Posted by pants (135 posts) -

Therapy is super useful, if you find a good therapist. Exercise, and especially in my case diet, are wildly underrated ways to help with depression and anxiety. I feel like my body is one whole unit, not some separate mind/body divide, and so it truly seems that if I put garbage in, my brain makes the garbage out end of that equation me being depressed. Also meditation super helped to calm my mind when my anxiety gets bad.