Failed Treatments

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It’s been a while since I last updated, apologies. I didn’t get around to giving my therapist that letter but I did manage to express most of the thoughts in it.

Quite a lot has happened with him since I last posted. As I expected, after the awkwardness of previous sessions he explained (in a careful and considered way) that he doesn’t think that CBT is right for me at this time and that he felt like the sessions were “tortuous” for me because of the many questions that I have to answer about my thoughts and feelings (which despite how frequently I complain on this site, are hard for me to express verbally). In a way he is right, I do find it hard and I don’t think I really made any progress in the CBT sessions I had. To be completely honest, and this is not depression talking, I think my problems are far more complex and deep seated than the examples I have read about when it comes to treating social anxiety. My chronic depression makes things a hundred times harder because I cannot even answer the basic question “How do you want to be different?” or “What do you want to change?”. I simply cannot visualise myself as any different because I have been this way for so long, and the only memories I have from before I was so bad that it could be considered a mental health problem rather than just extreme shyness and sadness are from when I was a child. I have never experienced being an adult without depression, crippling low self esteem and self loathing. I have been suicidal in varying degrees for the past 6 years, I don’t know if I can ever shake that.

However much I could possibly change, even in this “magic wand” scenario they seem fond of presenting, presumably in order to give them some idea of what I should work towards being/doing, I can’t change the past and how much of a complete mess I have made of it and how much time I have wasted and pain caused to others. There is no part of me that feels like I would be better off alive than dead, it’s only the anguish that my family would suffer and lack of a quick method that is keeping me here and even those things are tenuous.

The result of all this is that he recommended that I would be better off having someone who I could meet with informally to discuss things with but I don’t honestly think that it would be any easier than talking to him in a therapy setting. I probably painted an unfair picture of him in my previous entry, in truth he is the only mental health professional that I have been able to speak to truthfully. I don’t trust any of the others any more. I can’t tell them about my constant suicidal thoughts, I don’t want the stupid useless crisis team on my back again. To be completely honest, seeing anyone for an hour a week (and that is the most frequent as it could get) is never going to change anything for a severely messed up person like me, it’s pretty hopeless.

A couple of weeks ago I went for the assessment (another one, yay!) at the city where I go to university and the people who “interrogated” me were quite unpleasant. I find it very unsettling when they go from acting like your friend one minute and then asking if you hear and see things that aren’t there and baffling questions about whether you think people have taken ideas out of your head the next minute. In addition to this, the fact that I just can’t answer any questions about myself as a person (what do you like to do? what kind of music do you like?) it made for an extremely uncomfortable hour. I left feeling more downhearted and disillusioned than ever about the mental health services. I don’t think this is a failing on their part entirely, I am just too much of a weird case and I don’t think they are equipped to deal with someone who is messed up in such a bizarre way.

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9 thoughts on “Failed Treatments

  1. Simon

    Nick

    I’ve never posted on your blog before, but over the last couple of weeks I have read a good deal of your posts. It is not my desire to patronise you or belittle you in anyway but I have been completely moved and sadned by your plight. I’m glad you’re still with the land of the living. I came across your site whilst searching for information regarding anxiety.

    Whilst I make no pretense that my problems run as deeply as yours, I too have suffered the anguish of anxiety. My anxiety was more general than yours insomuch as I was constantly anxious regardless of whether I was with people or not. It was and to a certain extent still is a lingering feeling of physical anxiety deep within my stomach and chest that was relentless in its hold over me. Of course, in the company of others these feelings would intensify and to cut a long story short it almost cost me my job.

    As I’ve said my problems were never as severe as you as I had a group of friends whom i could trust and around whom I felt comformtable, this is because I made them before my anxiety problems strted at the age of around 16, but meeting new people, especially girls was always extremely difficult for me and i had my fair share of awkward social situations and missed opportunities that I wasted more hours dwelling on than I would care to divulge.

    Anyway, to cut a long story short I had no therapy or saught any professional help of any kind, my help came from within. I merely changed the way i thought of myself or rather how others thought of me. In short I learned to not give a fuck what anyone else thinks of me and appreciate my self-worth. This all came from within my dysfunctional brain, Nick, no drugs ( well no prescription drugs anyway, I’m convinced that recreational drug abuse in my formative years were the cause of my problems)

    Basically what I’m trying to say is that we’re all in control of our own destiny, our own thought patterns and the impact we have on people and the universe around us. I realise that thse are only words and that real change must seem to you as unatainable as reaching for the stars or that your suffering is perrenial, but trust me it needn’t be. Change is within you and so is the courage to initiate it. It resides in everyone, it’s just most people are oblivious to it or are berreft of the will to see it through, either way it neednt be that way. I don’t believe anyone is ever a lost cause, your problems might be psycological or biological, who knows, what i do know id the human mind is the most powerful thing on this earth and it’s amazing what it can achieve with the right attitude.

    Anyway, i’m largely free of my affliction now, I can converse confidently at work, I have my dream job as a software developer and even have a girlfriend, and whenever i meet one of thos cocky self assured people that seem so intimidating to people of our creed, i litterally tell myself i don’t give a fuck what some (inwardly) insecure, offensive prick thinks of me as it feeds the negativity and the demons of doubt that reside alongside the afore mentioned power for change.

    As i said, i’m not trying to patronise you, I only hope that you can take solace in hearing from someone who has beaten their demons. You can do it. You really can. Go out tomorrow talk to someone, you’ll surprise yourself. Always look at the positives, for a start you have an amazing command of the English language. That’s a gift that few people share, if only you could articulate with your mouth as you do with a keyboard, you’d be beating of friends with a shitty stick.

    You’re still so young and it’s not too late for change and a forefilling and happy life, or at least a life deficient in sadness and anxiety.

    I wish you the best and let us know how the world traets you, with all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it’s still a great place to be.

    Simon

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  2. Rachel

    So,

    I don’t know if my opinion matters, but I (somewhat) understand where Simon is coming from. A couple of years ago I really didn’t like myself—to the point where I stayed up at night obsessing over every little thing I did wrong the day before. The depression took hold of me, and the anxiety made it impossible to tell even the few people I trusted completely about the problem.

    I was never as bad off as you appear to be, but I had some serious issues to work through. I also managed to get better without the therapy or drugs. It took getting really upset about something, and then realizing that other people didn’t care and that the world kept moving on regardless, to start my healing process. The majority of the time, people don’t care when others mess up. It can be easy to pick apart everything you personally have done wrong, but try focusing on other peoples’ mistakes. This can be a lot more difficult, and the process of forgetting what other people have done goes by more quickly. Just because you remember something that does not mean that everyone else does too. Sometimes putting the world into someone else’s perspective can help.

    I don’t think I’m completely better yet, but I’m living and moving forwards. I hope you find a way to make living more than just bearable.

    ~Rachel

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  3. @Simon
    Thank you Simon, your comments really mean a lot to me. I’m glad that you managed to overcome your problems and I wish I had the belief that it was possible for me to do the same thing but I don’t think I have the mental strength that it takes.

    @Rachel
    I’m sorry you have been in that place where you constantly doubt yourself too 😦 I understand what you mean about trying to remember that people don’t really care about mistakes you make, but unfortunately I spent far too long around people who would constantly remind me of embarrassing things I did and even though I didn’t see it this way at the time, it was years of psychological bullying and destroyed my self esteem to the point where I’m so afraid to do even simple things that it’s hard to believe.

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  4. Emily

    Hey,
    I didn’t have luck with getting help either. Basically he said he couldn’t help me ’cause I couldn’t talk. WHAT?! I know how complicated SA is. Sometimes it’s pretty difficult to fix. Sometimes I do one little thing and my world comes crashing down again and I feel like an absolute idiot. However, there is hope. I think to myself, there is hope for a brighter tomorrow so why end it now and never see that tomorrow? That’s why I am very un-suicidal. People say mean things about you, people are mean. but there are so many beautiful people, so many people that truly care. your story matters. I am glad that you’ve shared it. now I don’t feel like the only one some of this has happened to. and it wasn’t necessarily that WE failed. our helpers failed too.
    maybe we don’t even need people’s help. maybe we can find the strength within ourselves (that is there). Maybe write down all your negative thoughts and challenge these thoughts? I recently watched a lot of byron Katie videos. I think you should check them out. at first I thought it was stupid but it really is amazing what she has to say.
    I believe in you. Don’t give up.

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  5. @Emily
    I really don’t want to try and drag you down with me but I can’t say I feel the same way about the future 😦 At this point I can’t see any hope for a brighter tomorrow and I’d rather not be here than see 20,000 more painful and crushing days.

    It sounds hyperbolic but I don’t think anyone can help me, nor can I help myself. I don’t think I even want to help myself any more.

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  6. Stuart

    Hi Nick,

    I was right where you are now…….only 6 months ago. I was going to end it all. I know how it feels to feel as alone as you feel now. Most others cannot even to begin to understand the torture life is with social anxiety.

    But you have now reached the perfect juncture. Keep living how you are….and keep suffering.

    or……do what I did, look at yourself and just think i have now got nothing to lose.

    Go put your face out in public, go talk to strangers or people you know.

    Sure you may find it near to impossible to begin with. And yes you may blush, sweat, shake and your voice may quiver………….but its the only way this goes.

    You can’t feel any worse!?

    You have to almost view it as a subject – and you wont get good socially from sitting at home. Get out there, and give it a go.

    I am certain that at the start you will just want to run away……but stick with it…..it WILL GET BETTER.

    I had social anxiety for 8 years. I am never going to be anxiety free, but i can control it now and i am happier than ever.

    Learn to be positive, do not focus on the negatives – even if you feel you are being fake to yourself. Just acting for 2 weeks like this and you will make perm changes.

    You will pull through this, but only you can force the change…..it will not be easy….but you haven’t anything to lose now.

    Don’t ever give up.

    Stuart

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  7. Emily

    Ok. Just hoping you hold on and find that brighter tomorrow. I know how all this can suck and drain the energy out. 😦 I still believe in you.
    Happy almost New Year,
    Emily.

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  8. Emily

    No, I quite accept that. I understand why you would be. I just don’t want this world to lose you. 😦 My head is pounding because I was just crying… Don’t you just despise some people? We shouldn’t let them get to us but it hurts… then we hurt ourselves? What is this crap!? Damn… okay it’s not my head it’s the bridge of my nose and it fudging hurts.

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