Depression, eating disorder, anxiety…For the passed year I’ve been feeling so depressed and anxious. Last year I dropped 30 pounds so my parents decided to send me to a therapist and nutritionist. At first I resented it but now I like going to therapy. I always leave the session feeling a little better. My parents are now telling me I should stop seeing the therapist because they think I am/becoming to dependent on it. They think I should handle things on my own. The truth is, I can’t. I feel so depressed all the time and I can’t stop crying at night. My eating is all messed up. Some days I eat way too little, then others I binge. It’s an ongoing vicious cycle that I cant seem to break. I don’t know what to do because although I like my therapist, things don’t seem better. I’ve been seeing her for a year and I still feel so depressed. I feel so helpless and I feel alone. I don’t feel like anyone understand what’s going on with me. Besides seeing my therapist once a week, I have no one else to talk to. Please tell me what to do or give some piece of advice. I’m desperate at this point. I can’t live like this anymore. I feel like I’m in a never ending black hole.
A. I am sorry you are feeling distressed. You are dealing with a challenging dilemma. It’s understandable that you would be upset. You’re experiencing bothersome symptoms that aren’t going away as fast as you’d like them to. You also have your parents telling you that you should be fully recovered by now and you’re not. No wonder you are stressed. Anyone in your situation would be.
Understand that therapy can take years to be fully effective. This is the mistake your parents are making when they say you should be fully recovered and able to deal with your problems on your own. You will be fully recovered when you are fully recovered. No sooner and no later. If it takes you years to get to the point of full recovery then that is how long it takes. You can’t expedite your recovery. You can only do what you have been doing which is to attend therapy on a weekly basis and to put in the effort to get better. It seems as though you are doing the best you can. That is all anyone could and should ask of you.
There is no specific time frame that depression or anxiety treatment should take. The same is true for an individual dealing with an eating disorder. How quickly a person recovers depends on many factors such as their history, the way they were raised, their support systems, and so forth. Insurance companies put yearly limits on how many sessions they will pay for. The implication is that there are a specific number of sessions that it “should” take to treat mental health disorders. This is unrealistic. The truth is that some problems can take years to cure. Some may take only a few sessions and some may take many years. The important thing is if you are progressing towards a cure. Are you feeling progressively better each month?
My advice is to continue therapy. You said that you feel a little better after each session. That is how you should feel after each therapy session. From my perspective, you are on the right track. You have a therapist who you like and who seems to help you. As you mentioned, if you didn’t have your therapist you’d be lost and alone. For that reason and many others, it is in your best interest to continue therapy.
You should discuss this matter with your therapist. Let her know how you are feeling. Also, if you haven’t already done so, inform her that your parents are pressuring you to end treatment. Perhaps the both of you can speak to your parents about the deadline they are placing on your recovery.
Family therapy (conducted by your current therapist or a specialist) may help resolve this issue, or at least ease the tension between you and your parents. You may also want to consider group therapy in addition to individual or family therapy. This way, you would have additional support from individuals in similar circumstances. You might find this very beneficial.
I hope you’re able to remain in therapy and to continually get better each week. Please remember that there is no specific time limit for your recovery. The best way to know if you are improving in therapy is if you are feeling progressively better. I know that you are not fully recovered but do you feel better this year than you did last year? If you feel better after each session, then you are likely working toward a cure. If you’re not sure you could always try seeing another therapist. Thank you for your question.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Oct 2009
Randle, K. (2009). Should I Be Cured By Now?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 7, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/10/22/should-i-be-cured-by-now/