Wary of Opening Up to a Therapist

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From India: Hello. I used to live a fulfilling life until an event a few years back which took a drastic emotional toll on me. After that, life seems just to be going downhill from here. As of now, I’m depressed, suffer from very little to no sleep with unexplained weight losses and general disinterest in everyday social situations. I approached a doctor about this but the medication did not seem to have any effect. It was then that I began thinking that it might be a mental issue.
I’ve been wanting to talk to a mental health professional because I’ve also been starting to see unexplained things and have lots of time gaps lately. I’ve had recurring suicidal thoughts for a long long time and my parents are very unhelpful about this – mainly because I don’t trust them enough to open up to them – and I am very intimidated about going to talk to a therapist alone, or thinking that he/she might judge me, or mistake this as just a case of ‘having the blues.’
What I do know is that I’ve suffered with this for more than two years and it doesn’t seem to go away, and the quality of my life is getting affected, and I want to cope with it and get back to how I was before. At the same time I am very wary of opening up to a therapist. How should I go about this?

A: Medication alone is usually not effective in cases like this. You can trace the start of the depression to a particular event. It’s likely that the sleep disorder is making things worse. You need to talk to a therapist who can help you make sense of what has happened and who can give you needed support while you recover.

I understand that you are wary of talking to a therapist. But that’s exactly what you have to do. You’ve written an articulate letter about how you are feeling and your concerns about therapy. I suggest that you make an appointment and take a copy of your letter and this response with you to your first meeting. Give it to the therapist. It will immediately provide him or her with important information about how you are feeling and your worries about treatment. And, please, if the first visit doesn’t go well, don’t judge all therapy as being unhelpful. Sometimes it takes interviewing several therapists before a person finds someone they feel they can trust.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Jun 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). Wary of Opening Up to a Therapist. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/06/01/wary-of-opening-up-to-a-therapist/