There is no need to apologize. Nothing bad happened. It is okay to talk about how you feel.
I was depressed beyond believe at that point. I was failing school and I wanted to die. He asked what was going on and I told him. I told him about the way I felt and about the fact that I wanted to die.
It was very brave of you to reach out to him. It breaks my heart to see how he reacted though. You expected him to welcome you with open arms, care and understanding, while somehow he completely dismissed how you were feeling and guilted you.
Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t know how to react when it comes to mental health and depression. They are helpless because they are not equipped emotionally. For a lot of people it’s a matter of willingness while it’s not. There is a big difference between feeling depressed and depression. The quality of our relationships already can also really affect ones reaction. I don’t know how it was with your dad at the time, but the way he perceived your struggles was harsh, unfair, and show how unaware he was of that kind of experience.
Years after and despite the pain, I hope you know that the issue was not and is still not you. It is just that not everyone is meant to be able to listen and understand. Our struggles are real and valid. But somehow the people closest to us in our life are not necessarily the ones who are able to support us. It was not your fault. You couldn’t know before actually reaching out. What you have done that day was actually very courageous, and I’m so proud of you for not letting this experience from stopping you to reach out at all. Look at you today! Sharing here, talking to a therapist. That’s how you are building resilience my friend and reinvesting your right to speak.
I have not had the chance to tell my therapist. The only person I told about the way I feel is you.
Thank you for your trust. Really. As for your therapist, you have all the time you need to get there, okay? Safety and trust is something you will learn to approach at your own pace. It’s a little bit like testing the temperature of water in front of you and making sure your body gets used to it progressively. You don’t jump in and immerse yourself entirely to check! You try with a finger, then a hand, then you go in there progressively. It’s often the same with therapy. At first I didn’t talk about childhood abuse for example, because it’s been part of the things that are just deep in me and that I don’t associate with the idea of sharing with someone in front of me. Then I mentioned it with other words here and there. Until a day when I mentioned it vaguely and my therapist asked me examples of what happened. Which I shared a little bit, in a way that was very cold/insensitive. With time I have learned to really call that abuse and express how I feel about it. But in conclusion, it didn’t happen instantly that’s for sure, and there are still a lot of things for me to unfold there in the future.
I am too tired to care about a lot of things it is exhausting.
I guess it is the paradox of caring too much, and you’ve described it so well. And when I say “too much”, I don’t mean it as if it was inappropriate. Personally, I think having a real sensitivity is a great human quality. But it can become overwhelming and “too much” as it affects us too much.
Have you ever heard about the concept of “compassion fatigue”? I think it might be interesting for you to get some resources about it. It gives a lot of interesting insights regarding the benefits and power of empathy, but also how it can become destructive if not handled properly. You can see it as some kind of muscle to train. Compassion fatigue is something very common among healthcare and social workers because of the situations they are meant to see on a daily basis. There is a balance to find between using our empathy and creating an emotional distance that protects us too from feeling helpless and, by extension, hopeless. I can tell that I personally often go through a cycle made of that type of fatigue. I’m still not good at acknowledging that before it happens, but I’m getting better at it, and I accept more easily to do what is necessary to recharge and create more peace in me. I know you can learn that too, progressively.
I dont want to quit right now but i think I will need to talk to my therapist about some things. i was thinking about quitting because therapy is exhausting and It felt like me working towards something I did not want.
What do you think about making a list of thoughts/things you’d like to talk about with them? I think you’ve mentioned several things that are very interesting to talk about, like your initial expectations regarding therapy, the fact that you are afraid of people knowing the “real” you (or at least, the perception you have of yourself), this feeling of not knowing how to live for yourself/of being in two worlds at the same time, this interaction with your dad, the fact that you are tired and dissociate a lot lately, the fact that you’ve been wondering if therapy is for you or not. Each of these elements can be discussed in-depth with your therapist, at your own pace. And given how the conversations generally go, it would certainly also give you other food for thoughts.
There is something unfair and brutal with the process of therapy because it’s really exhausting. For me, even when we didn’t talk about things that were heavy, I was still really really tired afterwards, which brought me to claim that day the “therapy day” - meaning I would mostly sleep and do nothing difficult the rest of the day. Make sure to rest as well after a meeting. Going there is an effort that we can underestimate sometimes.
I’m proud of you, @Ashwell. I believe in you and your willingness to give yourself a chance. Make sure to take care of yourself through it all. Really. Therapy can be draining, especially at the beginning because it’s all new, there’s a shock when we are confronted to something we’re not used to. Kind of an explosion of thoughts, questions and emotions. Little by little, you will learn to pick one thing at a time and organize them more clearly, both in your heart and in your life.
Also, this might be a good sign:
It felt like me working towards something I did not want.
because after being used to numbness and suicidal thoughts as being deeply part of your life, what you don’t want might be what you need. Not saying that’s necessarily the case - it’s so important to be aware of not being with a therapist who would make you feel unsafe or uncomfortable! But when we’ve been depressed for a long time, our comfort zone really changes. Darkness tends to be where we feel whole, where we feel ourselves. What refers to life, learning to live and to keep moving on can feel absolutely wrong. When you feel this tension within you between these “two worlds”, I want to encourage you to remind yourself that you have not crossed the door of your therapist by mistake. You may not be able to put words precisely on the reasons that brought you there yet, or the reasons may seem contradictory, but there is a force within you that drives you a certain way, and from what I see it is the opposite of an attraction for darkness.
Once again, there is a balance to find between pushing yourself out of your comfort zone in a healthy way, and also asserting your needs and rights when that is necessary. Given the fact that this is something new to experience in itself, you are going to learn to identify how it works for you and in your present context.
For example, at first on therapy I thought I needed someone who would give me some kind of homework/exercises. When I realized that the therapist I’ve chosen was not doing that at all, I was upset and wondered if I should quit. But then I realized that I was actually very talkative during our meetings and I needed someone who listen. What I wanted at first was what has been giving me a false security for my entire life: being given directions to take, having someone to decide and think for me because I don’t trust myself enough, I don’t know what are my needs and I don’t think I’m capable of anything mostly. If my first therapist had gave me homework to do, I wouldn’t have progressed the same way. I actually needed the challenging space of talking, because I needed to learn to use my voice, to talk about my feelings and things I was afraid to share, so I could actually see that nothing wrong happened. No judgment. No rejection. Nothing. Only a neutral conversation. It is through therapy that I’ve slowly learned to identify my needs more and more, and to deconstrust the idea that I had of it at first.
I’m sorry for the long post. I know these can be draining to read, so I hope you take all the time you need.