It is still amazing and incredibly inspiring to see this journey of yours, and how much you are willing to keep trying despite the obstacles on the road. All the questions that you ask are absolutely valid, and should we say understandable after being disappointed by the meetings you had with this new therapist. When we seek therapy, it’s generally when we’ve already bottled up a bunch of feeling, memories, and feel like we’ve already reached a point that requires external help. So, the expectations are high, and the stress as well.
I personally think therapy can be for everyone, but its effects are also conditioned by the context we’re in - our story, our culture/the place we live in, the type of therapy, the therapist itself and whether we are ready or not to give it a try. You are, without a doubt, ready for it. But unfortunately, there is still this complex combination of right therapist + right therapy to find, which can be laborious at first and feels quite draining.
From August 2019 to March 2020, I’ve been in that struggle bus. In the past, I’ve tried therapy but ended up giving up and going away - I wasn’t ready and didn’t feel safe enough mentally. Last year I’ve reached a breaking point and decided to seek theapy again. Gave a try with one that was specialized in hypnosis, which has been helpful to me in terms of processing grief and losses, also just to be more comfortable with the act of reaching out. But honestly, I didn’t feel always comfortable with this therapist. I felt obliged to “please” her somehow, which has pushed me to go away again. Then had quite a big breakdown during winter, and ended up trying with a psychiatrist. I was glad to finally get medications for an untreated depression, but… it was also a disaster. I didn’t like her. She took notes during the session but wouldn’t remember what we said during the last one. She wasn’t very warm and made me feel like she was judging internally whatever I was saying - those were all my insecurities speaking, but that also revealed that she wasn’t the right person to help me. She also prescribed me way too many medications while I mentioned not feeling comfortable having all of this at home, given the suicidal thoughts I was having. But she kind of ignored what I said, so… that was the final red flag to me.
I honestly thought about giving up after that one. I felt like I was the problem. That my issue was that I over-analyze people’s behaviors and my standards are too high. That I could see and understand directly their methods, why they ask this or that, what’s their intention, etc. As a care worker yourself, I imagine that you understand the struggle of being trained yourself and having this double way to read the interactions happening with a therapist. I honestly felt like I was cursed to never find the “right” one.
But I finally took the time to reflect on what I’ve learned from those experiences. What frustrated me before. What I needed. I needed a space to talk. I thought I needed to be stimulated, to have exercises and practical tips. But no, I freaking needed a space to just express myself and… be me. Definitely needed a talk therapy, not with any kind of specialized therapist, but simply a psychologist. Since March I have found an awesome therapist (for me), and oh boy that must have been hard to talk to me after those frustrating experiences and all my internal walls, lol. But she happened to be extremely human. She remembers what we discussed before and refers to it many times. She freaking shares even personal experiences from time to time - without taking all the space -, which I value a lot, as it helps to see her as a human being before a practitioner. She’s been really helping me to trust again while I thought that would be IMPOSSIBLE.
Reason why I’m sharing this is because even if it feels really hopeless, it’s not. I thought I was doomed. Doomed to not find someone that would be “human” enough. Doomed to always be able to read between the lines and actually “see” the persons training instead of being fuly immersed in the conversation. Doomed to put walls in front of me and never be able to help them help me. But those were all lies, and it would have been so unfair to give up on the possibility to experience something different. It’s not a “success story” very simple as we’d see on social medias or whatever. It was really hard. And it comes from someone who was putting a rope around their neck less than a year ago. Now that I am on the “other side”, I can tell to the dear friend that you are how much it is worth it to keep trying to find the therapy/therapist that would really match with you. You deserve it.
I’m not saying the next therapist you’ll see will be the right one. But it’s ALWAYS worth it to keep looking for that person, because it’s about you, your life, your well-being. The process can be draining, exhausting, discouraging at times. But from each experience, you can also reflect on what you like and what you didn’t like. What you want and what you don’t want from a meeting with a therapist.
As for the timing, you mention something really important. Our emotions can run in cycles. And yes, we consider more naturally to reach out to a therapist when we are not okay. Then we feel better at some point, and we wonder why we even thought about it. Don’t let yourself too trapped in this cycle though. That’s exactly what made me refuse to seek therapy for years and years. I would hit rock bottom, feel desperate, but need would slowly heal and recharge and wonder why I’d even think about therapy… until I’d break down again. In the long run, I’ve realized that I was mostly existing on a survival mode. That this breakdowns were also displaying something deeper that needed to be adressed for a long time. So, regarding your question: yes, therapy is worth having while doing ok. Because it will still teach you something, it will still be an opportunity for you to reflect on yourself, to work on things you’d like to work on. It will still be a time for YOU.
Keep trying, Trev. You’ll get there. And we’ll keep supporting you through this journey. Let us know how it goes for you I believe in you 1000%.