(cont) more harm than good. But I don’t know how to convey it to them, and they keep telling me things like “what are you gonna do when we’re both dead and can’t support you? how will you get a job if you don’t deal with this now?” which makes me feel so paralysed I can’t respond. Do your parents ever tell you these things? How would you reply if they did? Do you think I should just bite the bullet and see a doctor? Sorry for unloading on your inbox like this but I’d really appreciate a reply!
Oh man, I feel you. I don’t have the obvious panic attack kind of anxiety, but this is hella familiar. My parents told me these things more before, to the point where being home was constantly stressful because I felt like i was going to get ambushed with a lecture every time i came out of my room, but it’s tapered off a lot in recent years. I think it’s partly that they realized pressuring me would only freak me out more and they got used to the situation, and partly that, being less freaked out, I started venturing outside again. it’s a bit of a chicken and egg thing.
I’m seeing a psychiatrist. She is an amazing, kind, generous woman and she never judges me, it is not her job to judge me but to enable me to understand myself so I stop tripping myself up so much and gain the self-help tools I need to do maintenance on my mind, and believe me I’m sure she has seen hella worse than me. She’s just like a body doctor, they see a broken leg they fix the broken leg, they don’t sneer at you over how stupid you were to have broken it in the first place, what do you mean a car accident don’t you know you should have blahblahblah — no! not like that at ALL.
It can be a bit hit and miss to find the right shrink who fits you, and the process itself can be stressful especially if you have a hard time rejecting people, even if it’s on a professional, “you’re not bad, you just don’t fit me” basis. (and like everywhere else a handful of professionals are assholes.) But once you’ve found someone who works for you, you probably won’t have to change again for several years.
At the same time forcing yourself to go when you absolutely don’t want to go and you just want your parents to shut up about it would not help.
this is some good advice right here.
i would tentatively disagree with ‘forcing yourself to go when you don’t want to wouldn’t help’, though. it’s definitely not the ideal situation, but even if the therapy doesn’t work out as therapy under those circumstances, it would take the fear-of-the-unknown out of it.
just don’t let your parents be involved in your therapy. it’s for you, not for them. like 90% of the ‘bad therapist’ stories i’ve heard were actually ‘parents got between therapist and patient and pushed their goals on both’ stories.
a big double thumbs up of agreement about switching therapists if your first try isn’t a good fit. if they’re remotely professional, they won’t make this difficult.
my shrink-before-last wasn’t a good fit for me, not because she sucked in any way, but just because she was gentle, motherly, and kind, and tended to focus on self-esteem and affirmation. these are great traits in a therapist! but i, personally, wanted a brain mechanic who could troubleshoot without bringing much emotion into it, because i was frustrated with my life structure and coping strategies. i didn’t want to be reassured that i’m a good person and deserve to be happy, i wanted to debug my cognitive process. so i told Shrink A that we weren’t a good fit, and why, and she recommended Shrink B and wished me luck. Shrink B was a great fit, and i still see her from time to time when i’ve got something to work through.
if i’d stuck with Shrink A out of fear of hurting her feelings, i would never have met Shrink B, who’s the best goddamn cognitive troubleshooter i ever met, and who helped me more than i ever thought possible.
I definitely disagree with not forcing yourself to go to therapy. There’s no reason to stall making yourself healthier if you have the means to do so. If you have a good shrink they’ll know not to push you too hard and give you the space you need on days like that.