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Therapy making me worse?

(17 Posts)
redandorange Tue 03-Oct-17 11:30:37

Apologies in advance if this is long and/or makes little sense.

I'm scared that therapy is making me worse. I've been going for almost a year, started due to PND realised there's a whole lot more to it and frankly I've needed to do this for a long long time. Had several courses of cbt/mindfulness course/short term counselling in the past, on and off anti depressants since I was a teenager. Need to sort myself out long term as terrified of affect on baby.

I'm feeling more fucked up that when I started, although I think this comes in waves, and I'm sure it's because a lot of the stuff that's coming up has been shut away for so long. I'm also coming off citalopram at the mo which probably is in the mix. I feel like I'm going to have a self harm relapse and it's been 13 years since I cut myself and I'm terrified. I can't stop thinking about it although I haven't done it, I do keep hitting myself in the face and digging my nails into my skin. I feel like I'm obsessing over therapy, like I'm continually having conversations with her in my head, I'm so frightened of becoming too attached, I feel like she knows too much about me, I'm scared to keep going and scared to stop and just a bit hopeless really. I got so angry with my poor baby this morning, I shouted and I never shout and I'm so tired and i feel like such a terrible mum and everything is so intense and I feel so stupid for not being able to be ok. I don't even know why I'm writing this.

chocolateworshipper Tue 03-Oct-17 19:03:04

Sometimes you need a break from therapy and then go back to it later. Therapy can be exhausting - do you think you need a rest from it for a while? Another thing to think about is to explore techniques that deal with the past without needing to talk about it long-term e.g. EMDR. Might be worth talking it through with your therapist.

redandorange Wed 04-Oct-17 08:50:02

Thanks for replying, yes maybe a break could be a good idea - it's all so intense at the moment. I'm just worried that it would be running away/avoiding which is what I do with everything! Also just thinking about having a break is terrifying me right now, there doesn't seem to be a good option...Don't know much about EMDR, I'll have a look into that too, thanks.

Fekko Wed 04-Oct-17 08:56:30

Have you had any long term therapy?

Some people dabble in a string of therapies - often it is a tactic to avoid 'getting better'. I know it sounds perverse but there are many reasons to be scared of working through issues and problems and some people want to hold onto trauma/fear etc.

What has helped you in the past? When were you happy - really happy on yourself? What calms you down? Who is your real life support - and more importantly who is your saboteur?

What does 'better/fixed/cured' look and feel like? When will you know you are over therapy?

Sorry for all the qs (I was a therapist donkeys years ago).

LunaTheCat Wed 04-Oct-17 08:59:29

That sounds so hard and it sounds like you have been very persistent about wanting to change thinks - that takes a lot of courage.
Maybe see your GP and coming off citalram maybe not good timing right now.
Try to take care of yourself - plan something each day to look forward to, try get some exercise and eat well.

Fekko Wed 04-Oct-17 09:00:28

Its been a long road though.

redandorange Wed 04-Oct-17 13:50:57

Fekko, no this is the first long term therapy I've had - I'm a year in and apparently just at the start which freaks me out!

Absolutely, I know for sure I am avoiding getting better on some level, as shit as it is for me to be like I am it is terrifying to imagine how to change and there is a lot of resistance coming up. Having a hard time figuring out whether that's what this is all about.

Honestly I don't think I've ever been really happy in myself. Yoga and meditation help if I can get into a good practice but I find it hard to allow myself this. My support is undoubtably my husband and my saboteur is undoubtedly myself...always.

Better/fixed...would be managing to live without constant fear of judgement/abandonment/rejection, have some compassion for myself, have the confidence to have a career, not hate myself, resolve family relationships.... the list goes on and on... Feels like there's a whole lot of fixing to do. I guess self acceptance is at the heart of it.

Luna, thank you. You're right re exercise, eating well, doing stuff for me - I just find this practically impossible with a baby! I struggle with self care in general though. You're prob right re GP & medication too but I can't stand taking them and feel like the GP is pretty useless tbh.

fessmess Wed 04-Oct-17 13:59:20

I'm a trainee counsellor and it's well recognised that clients will likely feel worse before they feel better. Often people stop at this point. Maybe carrying on will get you closer to where you want to be. Change is hard and it is scary. Good luck.

NolongerAnxiousCarer Wed 04-Oct-17 21:14:31

Therapy often stirs up difficult emotions and it is orten said that you will feel worse before you feel better. That said the first psychologist I saw told me this and things definately got worse and kept getting worse until I changed therapist and saw a different therapist with a different approach and immediately felt dramatically better from the first session. The different approach was IEMT ( integrated eye movement therapy ) similar to EMDR and also a therapy which doesn't involve talking about the difficult events. It is actually recognised by some psychologists that in some cases (PTSD in particular) talking about trauma can make symptoms worse by retraumatising you.

Knittedbreasts Thu 05-Oct-17 07:55:49

Hi people often feel much worse when they are in therapy as things and feelings come out that you weren't consciously aware of. It's important that you tell your therapist all of this and they may offer you exercises to deal with it alongside the therapy itself

DollyLlama Thu 05-Oct-17 08:09:58

Have you tried psychotherapy? I.e. Talking through things with someone rather than CBT.

I was doing the latter for a while and found my anxiety went through the roof and I ended up in a very bad place.

I'm pregnant at the moment and ended up speaking with a crisis team and was referred to a psychotherapist and although I'm only doing my second session this afternoon, I've already found it ALOT more helpful than CBT.

I also came off citalopram at the start of the year, make sure you are doing it very gradually. I would speak with your gp as things seem to be up in the air for you at the moment.

I can only talk from personal experience, so I'm sorry if it's not relevant. Good luck.

redandorange Thu 05-Oct-17 10:08:35

Thanks all.

Yes, I'm aware of things getting worse before they get better being a thing - I guess I just wasn't expecting it right now a year into the process. But then I guess we've been working on deeper stuff recently so it makes sense.

I have wondered about changing therapist and if the approach is right but I fear this will just be another avoidance tactic in my case.

Dolly, it is psychotherapy I'm having at the mo. I've done CBT several (million!) times in the past and whilst I totally get the theory it doesn't work for me, or doesn't stick and then I end up feeling even worse as I can't bloody do it! The med withdrawal has been very gradual. Hope your current therapy works for you, being pregnant with MH issues is tough, I'm glad you're getting support.

Will see how my session goes this afternoon and will bring all this up.

NolongerAnxiousCarer Thu 05-Oct-17 10:39:25

For me changing approach didn't avoid tackling the issue. The new approach involved tackling the issue head on immediately, but it was done in a way that felt much safer for me (thinking about it but not actually talking about it).

It's definately worth telling your therapist how you are feeling though as they may be able to ease of for a bit and give you techneques to help you cope with the difficult feelings.

Woolycardi Thu 05-Oct-17 12:21:34

I am sort of where you are in my therapy, I have all these conflicting feelings about it, and my over-riding instinct is to carry on as I think that conflict is kind of the root of my long term depression. I am always half in and half out. So for me, I am sticking with it, it's messy, horrible, and I don't want to, but I have some level of hope that it won't be like this forever. I wouldn't have said that 6 months ago.

Knittedbreasts Thu 05-Oct-17 13:07:35

Whatever you are feeling please share it with your counsellor as there is usually a process or defence you are experiencing that is useful for your therapist to be aware of. It's really where the work is in therapy is resistance etc

MysteryJellyfish Thu 05-Oct-17 17:29:43

I’ve been in therapy for three years with my “regular” psychologist and two with the one who works specifically on my trauma things (yeah, it’s a complicated life!). It is unbelievably hard at times, a lot of times. I’ve been to others before and for a variety of reasons from cost to them leaving or me leaving had to stop. So I would suggest two things.

1. Tell your therapist what is happening. It’s so hard, but even the bits about being afraid of getting attached - this isn’t something only you have gone through - because they’re really important. The self-harm fears etc. All if it. In fact just read out your post!

2. Keep going! Think of it like marathon running (I’m not one either!). There are times when it’s ok and others where you just have to keep pushing, but when you get through that block you feel better. Then it’ll be good for a while and difficult again. This is on the proviso that you are 110% honest with your therapist though. If you’re going on but self-harming, for example, and not telling her, there’s no point in being there. Same with obsessing between sessions. Be 110% honest about everything.

2b. When you start with another therapist, especially with long term problems you have to get to know them and go over the same things again. This one knows you.

I would only recommend changing if you feel you’re not getting anywhere OR you don’t feel a connection/don’t like her.

There are times I’ve wanted to stop, especially when I look around and think it’s unfair that I had to go through what I did to land me there and then have to go through it again in therapy (also EMDR where you don’t talk much but it can be v hard too), while other people are having more “normal” lives. But then I think that if I stop I’m not going to get rid of these problems, so I put my head down and carry on. I don’t know if that’s the right way for you, but thought I’d share how it is for me.

DollyLlama Thu 05-Oct-17 20:37:21

Sorry redandorange I wrote this while half asleep this morning confused

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