Too Embarrassed to See a Therapist

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. I am not sure what’s going on. I entered the mental health system so to say in 7th grade when I was diagnosed with depression. I was seeing a therapist in response to self injury. I was put on medication but barely took it. as when I started to make friends at my new school things got better. than things were great. I didn’t cut myself for 2 or so years. 8th and 9th grade were awesome years. I went away to Germany for 5 months and then came back where I found things had changed a lot, but I adapted and got used to it. This past summer I started cutting myself again and at the end of the summer I had this weird alchohol induced psychotic episode where I just went crazy and started trying to hurt and kill myself. luckily I had a friend who came over. My friend and his mom came to try and calm me down. They said I was mentioning someone named sid and that he was in my head and I had to do what he said. I had never heard of a sid and thought this must be a joke or a lie. Well I got sent to a psychiatric hospital for 4 days where I was put on meds for bipolar disorder. they made me worse. I got out stopped taking them and things were better.Except as time went on the character Sid started becoming more real. Over the span of a month or a month and a half he started coming in a little stronger until I could eventually hear and talk to him. Around this time a lady started talking to me too named Alea. I remember I had once talked to her a couple times when I was younger and in 7th grade but didn’t think much of it. So now I have these two people living inside me. or at least that’s what it feels like. Like two different people with their own thoughts and beliefs on things. Sometimes different from my own. They talk to me about things. Sid says he’s there to help and watch over me and do what’s necessary to help me. Although I think his motives are inappropriate and don’t agree with them. Alea I like a lot better. She’s always there to calm me down and give me advice. Its nice. Along with these two emerging I’ve also been zoning out a lot. Forgetting things I normally should know. Not noticing things. Reality looks different sometimes. One time I walked out in the middle of the street without realizing there were 3 different cars driving around on it.

Now I have no idea what’s going on, but the only reason I’m concerned is because a couple of times these experiences have put me in some type of danger one way or the other. And at times I wonder if Sid will ever take full control. Or maybe he’ll just back off. Its really hard to say. They only come through on their own time. I read about psychological disorders because of my interest in psychology. I’ve read about Dissociative identity disorder since it has many of the symptoms I’ve been experiencing. but i haven’t really been abused as a child. The only thing that’s happened is my dad died when I was 6. Please help. I’m not sure what to do…and am too embarrassed to talk to a therapist.

A. Please do not be embarrassed to talk to a therapist. There is nothing to be ashamed of. You’d consider a personal fitness trainer if you needed help getting your body in shape for a marathon. You would not feel embarrassed to hire a trainer for your body. Think of a therapist as a personal trainer for the mind. There really is no difference. They are both smart decisions.

There is unfortunately a stigma still attached to the act of seeking help. Some people feel that they are being “weak” if they have to ask for help from others. These commonly misheld American cultural beliefs are unfortunate because they can effect one’s decision to seek help. The end result in many cases is that people who desperately need help do not get it and they continue to suffer.

One should seek help if he or she is suffering or feels that their life is out of control. The truth is that the person who seeks help when they are suffering is better off than the person who stubbornly refuses to seek it because of pride. The person who seeks help often receives it and can move on with their life. With the aid of therapy, one can learn to reconstruct their thinking and behavior in a way that is much more psychologically healthy. This is the path you should consider.

With regard to dissociative identity disorder (DID), there is no specific “history of abuse” criterion. It is true that people who have been diagnosed with DID are more likely to have been abused but people who have not been abused can also be diagnosed with the disorder. There are also many cases of people with DID who have no recollection of being abused and later learn or remember that they were in fact abused. There may be other causes of DID that are not related to a past history of abuse. What this means for you is that you could still have DID even though you have no memory of being abused.

The bottom line is this: you are having significant symptoms that are majorly interfering with your life. You said you feel out of control. You feel that other people are taking over your life and you’re not sure if these people are even real. You are experiencing memory loss, black outs and you wound up in the middle of traffic and could not recall how you got there. It is time for you to seek help before you have a complete mental breakdown in which you end up hurt or in the hospital. Don’t believe conventional wisdom that says you should be able to fix your problems on your own. When help is needed be wise enough to recognize it. Now is the time.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). Too Embarrassed to See a Therapist. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/10/06/too-embarrassed-to-see-a-therapist/