• Quote of the Day
    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."
    Nelson Mandela, posted by Daniel
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lately i'm wondering if i can really, truly change with the help of therapy. i am finding it a little difficult to believe that i can be a different person with a new outlook on life.

i worry that even if i can change my ways now, that i will slip back into old habits. which means i will end up depressed again when the next sad thing happens in my life.

i feel so unequipped for life's normal losses.

does therapy really, honestly help people change and keep them from falling back into their old ways? can i really, honestly become a me with good self-esteem and a positive outlook? with self-confidence? can i ever truly become happy with my life? these are all things i've never had or been.

i'm feeling like a failure with my therapy because i've been going since march and it was one emergency situation after another that we seemed to keep dealing with. only for the past 6 weeks or so have we finally been doing some cbt. i feel so stupid. why am i still stuck. i am so ashamed of myself and i don't know where this is coming from. i don't know what's wrong with me.

thanks for reading.
 

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Re: effectiveness of therapy

Hi BBC,

I believe that therapy goes in stages - not necessarily in any order, but perhaps a crisis brings us there in the first place, so we deal with the here and now - this could be the emergencies you've been working through. I believe once the emergencies are under control, we can better look at what caused them, what can we change about them, how can we better cope with them, etc...so that's when we start picking apart our lives and doing more work that is not so much about putting out fires. And then I believe we do get to a point where we are stable but still attend therapy for maintenance. Kinda like my car. She runs real good, but I still take her in once or twice a year for a check-up and tune-up. It's this process that will help you to not slip into old habits. But it takes awhile, and we need to be patient and expect to have moments of doubt, regression, progress, anger, frustration, success, etc....all of those build the experience.

It's a slow, slow process (sometimes) and it's important to not expect immediate, fast change. That can sometimes be extremely dangerous, so take it slowly. With work, and sometimes meds, you can be happy and healthy. But don't expect to ever be "perfect" or never have a bad day again. That doesn't happen to ANYONE!

Hang in there. Embrace every small step, and don't dwell on the times you might take a step back. Look at that as an opportunity to resolidify the work you started in that area.
 

Daniel

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Re: effectiveness of therapy

It may help to--yet again--put things in perspective. For example, the brain changes every nanosecond and is always making new connections. Terri Wallis "woke spontaneously after 19 years from a state of minimal consciousness." After that came out in the news, I started to become much more optimistic about my future since depression is nothing compared to that.
 

Halo

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Daniel I don't quite understand your comparison between depression and being in a state of minimal consciousness? I guess the part that I am trying to figure out is your statement of "depression is nothing compared to that"

Do you think that you could explain what you meant by that for me?

Thanks
 

Daniel

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I just meant that it's a lot easier to feel happy than to wake up from a coma.
 

Daniel

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Actually, waking up from a coma can be pretty easy if the coma is mild, but my point is:

Since it's possible for a brain to wake up after 19 years of minimal consciousness, then it's certainly the case that one can recover from depression. So it's very "old school" to think that things won't change or that the brain of a depressive is on permanent vacation.
 

ThatLady

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Hard work, therapy and medication can change things for you, bbc. Believe me, it can. It doesn't happen overnight, just as that which brought you into therapy in the first place didn't happen overnight. Yet, it does happen. We just have to persevere.
 

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Also, there are many different ways to define progress. Just surviving one's afflications can be a major success, and, naturally, people tend to take survival for granted.
 

Halo

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Thanks Daniel for explaining that a bit further I was just a little confused by that statement and needed a bit more clarification.

BBC I really think that proper therapy does last and will be effective however it may and probably will take a long time to learn and impliment into our lives and I really can only echo what BG said. I think she hit the major points in her reply.

With just starting true therapy myself I feel the same doubts and concerns that you do so I don't think that I am in any position to be the one to give any great advice but I do believe and think like BG does.

Take care
:hug:
 
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so what do you do when you find yourself avoiding the real issues? because this is what i seem to be doing.
 

Halo

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I guess I am pretty lucky because I have an email address for my psych and I use it. I make a list of the things that I know that I am avoiding or that I need to talk about and know that I will "conveniently" forget to bring up when I see him and email him the list between sessions. If I didn't have his email then I would make a list and bring it with me and give it to him at the beginning or end of the session or leave a voicemail. Somehow I would bring it up without having to face him. That way I have let him know that this is an issue or issues that I need to talk about without having to be face to face and say it.

Just some options of how I approach it.
Do you think that any of these would work for you?
 

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When I was working with the therapist and psychiatrist at Kaiser, I had their e-mail addresses as well, and they didn't mind an e-mail exchange. John, the therapist, would also talk with me after-hours or on Monday nights. So that helped a lot. It wasn't as though we hung out like friends, but he was showing a bit of an "above and beyond the call of duty" approach.

Not sure how to address your other concerns, bbc, except to say that you're probably making more progress than you may think. After all, the initial crises are out of the way and you're into the CBT. That in itself is progress. So I would say, just take heart and hang in there.
 

ThatLady

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so what do you do when you find yourself avoiding the real issues? because this is what i seem to be doing.

I don't think it's unusual to find oneself avoiding the most volatile issues, bbc. Heck, those are the hardest to face for ourselves, much less talk to someone else about! I think Nancy's suggestions are excellent. Either write them down and put them in something that you always take with you (wallet or purse), or email them to the therapist ahead of time. That way, the therapist will know what issues you really need to deal with, and can help you to get those out on the table without you having to walk in the door and blurt out: "Okay, so this is what's bothering me!" :hug:
 

Halo

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Another good one BBC that I use to use before I had the email of my psych was to hold the piece of paper in my hand when I walked in the door so there was no way that I could "conveniently" forget to give it to her if it was stuck in my purse. I have used that one before. Oh, did I forget to give it to her again??? If you hold it in your hand either you are going to give it to her/him or she/he is going to ask about it. That is another good option.

:hug:
 

ThatLady

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Heh. Yeah, I guess you'd need to be sure you took the writings out of whatever you put them in before you go into the office. Otherwise, there they'd lay, eh? :D
 
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i tried before to bring up issues. i was really pushing myself hard and i got very very anxious. i ended up sending a letter. but because of another crisis by the time i saw him again we never really discussed the letter. now i just panic at the thought of bringing these issues up again. i got very anxious again a few weeks ago about discussing my real thoughts and at least was able to let him know this. but - i am still not talking. i feel like giving up but i know that's not an option.
 

ThatLady

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Hmm. Since you've already sent him a letter addressing your need to talk about these issues, perhaps you could send another letter to remind him of the previous one and let him know that you still need to deal with the contents of the original letter. He may still have a copy, or remember what the issue is. That way, you don't have to repeat it all and he'll know what you need to talk about.

It's something you could try, anyway. If he remembers your previous letter, you've saved yourself a lot of grief. :hug:
 

Halo

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What about calling and leaving a voicemail saying that you really need to address the issues that you wrote about in the previous letter that you sent him. That way you can give him the heads up that those are the issues that you need to discuss without having to bring it up face to face.
 
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thanks for all the suggestions. something's majorly stopping me though. so i'm not sure what i'm going to do. any form of letting him know there's a problem is threatening to me, be it email, a phone call, voicemail, a letter. i guess i'm just going to have to find a way to get over that. he knows i'm struggling so that's something at least.
 

Halo

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Do you know that the something that is majorly stopping you is?
 

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