What Happened When my Therapist 'Broke Up' With Me
When I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder at 17, my doctor gave me two options: Take medication and go to therapy or go inpatient long-term at a mental health facility. Since my mom was in the room with me, she spoke up before I had a chance to fully process what was going on and said that I would take medication and go to therapy. Without another option, I reluctantly agreed to try this "therapy" thing out.
In November of 2012, I started seeing John*. It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and I actually dressed up for my first meeting with him. We sat and talked for over two hours, like old friends. He asked me about any major things that happened in my childhood (like divorce, a death, something like that) that could now be triggering my depression, so I told him, basically, my life story.
I started seeing John every Tuesday after school, but I didn't tell anyone about my appointments. I would normally make up an excuse for why I couldn't hang out on Tuesdays because I wasn't sure how my friends would react to my seeing a therapist. I was positive that they would laugh at me or call me crazy and mean it.
Once I had been seeing John for about three weeks, he became worried about my mental health as I was showing obvious signs of being suicidal. In an effort to keep me safe, he sent me to a short-term mental health facility. After my first stay there, though, I realized that I had to be honest with myself and my friends. So, I told a few people that I was seeing a counselor (I've always preferred the term "counselor" to "therapist" because of the stigma surrounding therapy). Instead of saying, "Oh, I have a thing tonight. I'll be free after 5," I started saying, "I can't, I have an appointment with John, and I can't miss it." Most of my friends told me I was brave for seeing John, not knowing how badly my depression was affecting me.
In August of 2013, though, John "broke up" with me as a therapist, and I felt broken. He handed me over to his colleague Joan*, and I began seeing her weekly. I'll be honest, though, I didn't like Joan nearly as much as I liked John. But Joan and I got to see me grow a whole lot more than I expected to grow with a therapist. She was more of a therapist than a friend which, to be honest, is what I needed more than anything else at that time. I continued seeing her until the end of May/beginning of June 2014, which was right before I moved to North Carolina.
Since moving here, I've been trying to get insurance, so that I can go to therapy again. The biggest thing about therapy is going to be, honestly, finding a therapist who isn't always your friend but doesn't make you feel bad or stupid for your choices. Sometimes you'll click with the first therapist that you see, but other times, it may take a little bit of hopping around and trying different people before you find the therapist who's right for you. Do you; take care of your mind, body and soul. Therapy isn't the cure all for everything that's happened in your life, but I want you to know that sometimes it does help. It's not going to make depression or anxiety or ADHD go away, but it will help.
* not their real names