Why Talk Therapy Didn’t Cure My Depression And What Finally Did

By Anni


Aside from some drunken escapades in strange cities, I was a good girl growing up. I followed the good life template and did what I was supposed to. I got straight As and went to college. I married the boy I met in high school. I got a graduate degree. I got a respectable job in a fancy building. I was good at my job and kept getting raises. I bought a house.

By every measure, I was successful.

Except that I wasn’t.

You see, I was terribly unhappy. So unhappy that I checked off most of the little boxes on the “symptoms of depression” list.

But I was a good girl following the good life template. So again, I did what good girls are supposed to do. I sought professional help for my problems. I went to therapy.

Now, therapy does help a lot of people. We all know that.  But it didn’t get me where I needed to be. I don’t think it caused any irreversible damage, and in certain ways, it probably even helped.  But it didn’t get me anywhere close to where I needed to be.  It didn’t cure my depression.

Many years have passed since all this happened, and after a lot of reflection, I know exactly why it didn’t work for me and what eventually did.  So if you have tried therapy – and I do think it’s worth a try! – but you are still seeking solutions, I want to share my experience in case you can recognize some of your own struggles in my story.

Talk therapy didn't cure my depression. In hindsight, I understand why and what I needed to do to overcome depression instead.

REASONS WHY TALK THERAPY DIDN’T WORK FOR ME

1. I’m an introvert

I’m an introvert, so anything with “talk” in the name is probably doomed to failure from the get-go. 😉

In all seriousness, the typical format of therapy sessions – a 50-minute session once a week – just isn’t ideal for the kind of introvert that I am. My brain doesn’t work fast enough to fully process conversation as it’s happening.  And even if the other person pauses to wait for me, I’m too distracted by the presence of the other person to engage in deep thought. I process all conversations later when I’m by myself. So this means that in therapy I ended up having lots of half-assed conversations, reacting to whatever the therapist was asking or saying without being able to really consider it or think about it until I was home. And then I would think of a way to say what I really meant. Except I couldn’t say it until a week later and by then I would have forgotten all about it and we would start the whole cycle all over again.

Now had the therapy been conducted via written correspondence, I think it would have had half a chance. 🙂

2. I’m a future-oriented person

As I have become more aware of what makes me tick, I’ve realized that I’m a very future-oriented person. I’m most content when I’m making plans and implementing them. I love coming up with ideas on how to improve things (hello, this website!). Whenever I get close to falling into depression again, the first sign is that I get “stuck” in the past or the present. I lose my ability to daydream of a better tomorrow, and therefore, the one thing that consistently makes me feel good.

Now it just so happens that traditional psychoanalysis is very past-oriented.  As in let’s talk about your childhood and every other thing that has ever happened to you and let’s nitpick and analyze it from every possible angle. I did have a somewhat troubled childhood, so it probably wasn’t a terrible idea to address it briefly, but for a person like me, it wasn’t helpful to dwell on the past as much as the therapist wanted to. In this sense, I feel like therapy might have held me back in the “stuck” place much longer than necessary rather than help push me forward.

3. I needed change – not sympathy

Every week, the therapist would start the session by asking how my week had been, I would present my current complaints, and she would give me sympathy.  And the sympathy was nice. I lapped it all up.  But it’s not what I needed to get out of the funk.

It was never stated this bluntly of course, but here’s what I now understand the mental health establishment was telling me: There is nothing really wrong with your life. Your depression causes you to not like your life. Here, have some tissues and a phone number of a good psychiatrist who can get you a prescription.

But the thing is that I was unhappy before I was depressed. I became depressed because I felt stuck and didn’t know how to fix the things that I was unhappy with. My work and relationships were not meaningful. I had entered adulthood full of hope and then been slapped in the face with the unpleasant reality of it all. I felt hopeless because I had no clue what to do about it. I was too young – too short on life experience and self confidence – to know that I had options. That I could change things. That I could follow a different path.

And that is what I needed to learn.

I didn’t need help learning how to love my current life. I needed help learning how to change my life.

WHAT HELPED CURE MY DEPRESSION

In the end, curing my depression wasn’t just a matter of one quick fix.  It was a combination of several things. And I’ll talk about the specific combination of things in another upcoming article.

But if I had to pinpoint a few overarching realizations, they would be these:

  • The good life template is not good for everyone.
  • It’s ok if you need different things to be happy than most other people.
  • If you have lost your will to live, let that life go. Create another life worth living.
  • You can change things. You may not know how yet. It probably won’t be easy. It probably won’t happen overnight. But you can learn how. And you can nudge your life in a different direction little by little.

HOW I VIEW MY DEPRESSION NOW

Nowadays I like to see my depression as an alarm. An alarm that rings from my brain telling me that something isn’t quite right. I’m in an environment that doesn’t work for me. Or I have a need that is going unmet.

Depression is an alarm that propels me to seek change and to improve my circumstances.

P.S. WANNA UP YOUR CHANCES OF THERAPY SUCCESS?

I no longer need therapy, but if I did, there are a couple of things I would do differently.

  1. I would set clear and measurable goals to make it easier to track whether I was actually making progress.
  2. I would use writing alongside talk therapy to help clarify my thoughts.

There’s actually a workbook that helps you do these things.  It’s called My Therapy Companion and it’s written by a social worker.  You can check it out by clicking here.

OTHER ARTICLES YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN:

About the author 

Anni

Hi! I'm a life coach, a Certified MBTI® Practitioner, and a mentor for stressed out introverts and highly sensitive people. I used to be one myself! My mission is to help you discover your true self and create a life you ACTUALLY like.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I overcame my depression once I realized that I needed different things to be happy. I kept thinking I needed what society told me I needed and none of these things were helping me find my happiness. Once I let that go life became so much easier.

  2. I had severe PPD after baby #1. Just talking it out didn’t help me either. I love that you call your depression symptoms an alarm now. That is an amazing way to look at it!

    1. Thank you for commenting Beth and sorry to hear you had PPD. The alarm comparison really is helpful in reminding me that whatever dark place I’m in is temporary and I have some work to do in figuring out what needs to change. Nowadays it’s usually that I just need a few hours of peace and quiet. 😉

  3. For me overcoming depression was as simple as acknowledging it. If I know which things trigger what feelings, I know to either avoid or plan. I too am a planner so as long as I know in advance what is coming my way, I am ok. And, getting out into nature also helps take loads of anxiety away!

  4. great share…i’ve been there myself and when i first began talking to a few close people about it they said ‘but you’re not the type’ but honestly is anyone the type? i’m an introvert as well and personally have found change not therapy to be healing too. cheers!

  5. This is so me right now! Thank you for the wonderful insight and putting your story out there. I’m sure it will help many in the understanding that what works for one may not work for another. I now know what I need to work on for myself. Now, I just need to figure out how the heck I’m going to do it, being the situation I’m in. Thank you!

    1. Thank you for commenting, Christina. It can take quite a while to figure out what works for you, but it’s worth it in the end. Take care!

  6. Im anxious to read your next article! This was great I took a different kind of therapy called cognitive behavior therapy and it didnt focus on the past. But on building a positive environment and thoughts. I feel it helped but was a ton of work so its kind of difficult to do when I’m in a funk.

    1. Hi April! I’m glad to hear you found a type of therapy that helped. I have an article in the works about the combination of various things that work for me and I hope to post it in a couple of weeks.

  7. I haven’ tried out therapy yet but I will be. I feel like I need to start somewhere and kind of “cancel out” things that don’t work. But I’m excited to work my way through your blog! Judging by the titles there are so many amazing reads

    1. Yay, I’m glad to hear you saw some interesting titles on the blog! I think therapy is definitely worth trying. Different things work for different people. 🙂

  8. I am very glad that you were able to discover what your needs were in order to improve your mood.Great insight. Can I also encourage those who are reading that Psychoanalysis or Talk therapy may not be the best approach for everyone. It is also true that there are different approaches in therapy and pyschanalysis is only one. There are more solution focused and future oriented approaches as well. The things you discovered to heal are also things therapist can help others do for themselves as well. Often true healing will come from you and within… and therapy just points us in the direction or uncovers the path.

  9. Why it didn’t work for you:
    1. The one therapist you worked with wasn’t right for you. Finding the right therapist is like finding a romantic partner. You have to have complementary styles, shared values, a shared vision for the future, and also some sort of chemistry. Different therapists use different approaches. It’s rare to find the right therapist right away.
    2. Depression often has biological elements. Your brain chemistry may be off, your vitamin D level might be too low, etc. Talking through stuff doesn’t always change how you physically feel, and how your body functions.

    I’m glad you were able to figure out something that worked for you though.

    1. Thank you for commenting Alex. I didn’t detail all of this in the post, but I actually tried three different therapists and two psychiatrists. I also saw several other doctors and specialists to rule out physical issues. I tried several combinations of anti-depressants over a couple of years.

      Perhaps if I had spent more time looking I would have eventually found the right therapist. But I don’t think it’s a guarantee that the right therapist exists for everyone or is accessible because of the cost and insurance limitations. For me personally, reading and thinking things through in solitude have proven to be a lot more beneficial than talking.

      With this post (and some other related posts on this website), I have been trying to reach and offer hope to people who have already tried the traditional avenues and are still searching for answers. I agree with you that the right therapist can help and that depression can have biological roots. However, I don’t think we need to try to fit everyone in that same box when it comes to depression and the potential solutions for it.

  10. So has anyone told you you had a bad therapist?! I saw another comment mention cbt – which is what I was thinking you needed the whole time I was reading this. A good therapist is going to find what you need, and direct you to someone else if they can’t give it. So sorry it didn’t work like that for you and that you had to figure it out alone! I’m sure you’re not though, it likely made you stronger. But we shouldn’t always have to be so strong! 🙂 glad you found a way to change your life for the better!

    1. Thank you Payton! And yes, it could be that a different type of therapy would have worked better. It could also be that I’m just not talk therapy material. Even at school, I always found that I couldn’t learn from the teachers. I had to read everything in a book and think about it before I would get it. 🙂

  11. Hi Anni, I really appreciated this post! I have had similar experiences with therapy. I tried multiple ones, even those who were CBT oriented, and although I am an ENFP, talk therapy was only one tool in my repair kit. I now know when I need a mental tune up. However, my ENFPness throws some professionals, because I’m a natural chameleon it takes the therapist longer to identify what I need and why. Which when you are already in the dark place is not very helpful. I even had one therapist who told me I had nothing to worry about, because I was “successful.” I work in the field, and I don’t believe these holes in the practices of clinicians is being reviewed to see what can be upgraded. These are issues the whole community needs to address 1) identifying an introvert is a huge game changer, because talk therapy will not be as successful.Even CBT professionals use talk therapy 2) identifying therapists who belittle their own clients, ugh! They have a lot more free reign then physical medical professionals. 3) identifying the evidence based practices…show your work….is it working? How long did it take? What are you using to measure treatment success? You can be in talk therapy for years without reaching milestones needed in recovery. I applaud you for speaking out. And, if any clinicians are on here please note that ENFPs are ambiverts who love to entertain and please others.

    1. Thank you so much for the support and for sharing your thoughts, Jennifer! One of my very good friends is an ENFP and she has had a hard time finding the right therapy too. I probably should have added “I’m an intuitive” to the list in this post. 🙂 I think many of us have different needs than the majority of people. I also think it’s a shame that mainstream psychologists don’t pay more attention to personality type in general. If somebody had just said to me early on “You are an INFJ. Here’s what works for other INFJs.” it would have helped me solve the vast majority of my problems so much faster.

  12. I really appreciate your article! I have had depression since my son was born in 2004. I dealt with a lot of guilt for feeling the way did for so long. I too, did the “good girl life plan”. But now that I look back I was striving to make my parents, friends, boyfriends happy by doing what was expected. It actually took a few years of pp depression for me to realize that I was putting hardly in effort at all at making MYSELF happy. So if it was for the depression “alarm”, I would have never re-enrolled in college to pursue a career 180 degrees from what I earned my first bachelors degree in. I understand myself and what factors have a greater influence on my happiness. I still struggle and probably always will, but I like your approach in that we use our depression to help mold our ideal life. You put how I felt the past 13 into words. Thank you for that.

    1. Hi Jaime, thank you for letting me know you appreciated the article. It’s nice for me to hear that I’m not the only one who has gone through this and the feedback encourages me to keep sharing. 🙂

  13. The way you summed up why therapy/councilloring didn’t work for you. Is very close to my reasonings, but you put what I feel into actual words. Thank you for that.

  14. I really enjoy reading your articles. I am still laughing about being “slapped in the face with the reality of adult hood” it rings so true.

    Thank you for the excellent read

    1. Thank you Robyn! I’m in my forties now, but I have to say, I still don’t have the adulting thing completely figured out. 😉

  15. It sounds like:
    A) the therapist/therapy style was not a good match for you. CBT and EMDR seem like what you needed, just from what youve written here. Which ties in with:
    B) you didn’t communicate with your therapist about what you needed. Communication is KEY. Telling the therapist that you’re not looking for sympathy, you’re looking for solutions, would be the first step.
    C) you didn’t work at it long enough. Therapy is HARD. It takes time to heal, and first it will hurt, because you have to re-experience those memories to process them in a healthy way. With the troubled childhood you experienced, talking about, processing, and reframing it seems like a necessity–what the focus of your therapy SHOULD have been. I highly recommend EMDR therapy. You can’t feel better about today until you’ve dealt with and healed your past, and the maladaptive thoughts and behaviors that were learned/ingrained during that period.
    D) you weren’t doing your own work between sessions. You spoke about going home and realizing how you should have expressed yourself, but you would forget by the next session. This is where journaling comes in. WRITE IT DOWN WHEN YOU THINK/FEEL IT! Then bring your notes to your session. CBT therapy would also involve “homework.” Charting your triggers, noticing and writing down when you have a strong emotional reaction to something, noticing irrational thoughts/beliefs, and challenging those maladaptive thoughts. You won’t get anywhere in therapy if all you do is talk about how your week went, without doing any of the work.

    1. I think Anni knows far better why therapy didn’t work for her than you do, some stranger on the internet who has no idea who she is and how committed she was to therapy.

  16. I just found your site and I love it.This sounds so similar to my story. I realized through some techniques I learned in my education that is used in therapy, but I all your points I very much agree with. Thank you for sharing!

  17. I’m 23 and I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety since I was 13. I just recently stopped seeing my therapist because like you , I’m also an introvert and I don’t think it was helping me much at all. I really want to thank you for writing this post because it made me feel so much better and optimistic about finding some type of a solution to the way that I feel. Its given me a sense of hope if that makes sense. When you’re used to feeling a certain way for so long, you start to give up eventually and after reading this , I want to continue to put one foot in from of the other and and take the initiative to step back and analyze my life!

    1. Hi Robby, thank you so much for letting me know that the post gave you a sense of hope. It means a lot to me. 🙂 I know exactly what you are talking about when you say you’ve been feeling a certain way for so long you start to give up. I’ve been there and felt it too. But it’s very much possible to get out of that feeling. I think it’s just a little bit harder for some of us to figure out what we need and how to get what we need when our needs are different from the majority of people.

  18. Wow. I love the part about how you were too distracted by the presence of the other person to fully engage in that conversation. All my life, I’ve always gone home and analyzed conversations after the fact, wishing I had thought of or said certain things but like you said, it was usually too late or I eventually forgot what I wanted to say. I feel the same way in work meetings sometimes – I’m never the person that has the solution or something to say right away, I need time to go back to my desk and process. I’ve always been an introvert but I never thought of it this way. Definitely pinning this article.

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, Stephanie! 🙂 I find that I have the best conversations with people I see every day, like family members or co-workers. As in “you know how yesterday you said…”

  19. I too feel the same way about talk therapy because I didn’t think that it was beneficial for me, plus I only saw them every two weeks. What I realized is that the root of my depression comes from not pursuing my passion so I’m going to grind my way through these hard courses to get to my passion, Information Science. Also, thank you for the helpful tips.

  20. I am the same way when it comes to getting things out in my hour session but can write it out later. My psychologist is AMAZING and allows me to email when I get home or even write things down in session which she can read. It seems silly but it’s much easier then actually saying the words. If it wasn’t for her and her support, I may not be here today! I left several therapists that just weren’t working for me, but after meeting her I knew right away I had found the right person. My depression and anxiety make me worry people will leave, so I end up pushing them away first. I go through this with her too. She promised me she will always be there to help. She said “even if I am the last man standing and fighting for you, I will still be standing there with you. There is nothing you can do to push me away or make me push away from you”. The right therapist can make all the difference

  21. A good therapist wouldn’t give you sympathy and pity you I know my counsellor wasn’t like that I feel like she deffintly understood and helped me unfold things and she didn’t go aww but then she wasn’t harsh And I feel way too many therapists do that they go there there when actually a good therapist like my school counsellor and was there to get me to change whilst understating but not pitying

  22. It sounds like your therapist wasn’t a good fit for you. My therapist is also an introvert, so she gets that it takes time to process. I just write down things that I feel need to be addressed and she lets me read it and then we discuss it. Many times this is in poetry format bc creating helps me to process. She’s an artist herself so she gets it. It helps to journal daily, then you can read over it before you come in and pick out the major issues. And I’m also future oriented who gets stuck in the past when stressed, but the reason I would get “stuck” in the past was bc I had never really healed from it. Once I let myself “feel and heal” my past trauma, rather than resisting and avoiding it, I could think about it without getting stuck. We often address present issues and future concerns, at least as often as the past. And my therapist is pretty intuitive and usually knows whether I need sympathy or a push or just encouragement, etc.

    Therapy saved my life, I was on the brink of giving up, and if I had read this article I likely never would have gone. I’m sorry you didn’t have the right counselor but discouraging people from getting help is being just plain reckless with other people’s lives. A better article would be to talk about the importance of finding the right therapist for you.

    1. Hi Anna, thank you for the feedback. My intention was not to discourage people from getting help and I’m sorry the article left you with that impression. If I may quote myself: “Now, therapy does help a lot of people. We all know that… So if you have tried therapy – and I do think it’s worth a try! – but you are still seeking solutions, I want to share my experience in case you can recognize some of your own struggles in my story.”

      I was stuck for a very long time because I was getting the wrong kind of help. I had a vague sense that it wasn’t working but I wasn’t able to articulate why at the time. The “helpers” kept insisting that I was in the right place and it took me a long time to gather up the self confidence to make up my own mind on this matter. My intention with this article was to help those who have already tried therapy articulate why it may not be working. Whether someone then chooses to seek a different therapist or seek other kind of help is up to them.

      The reason I don’t write about finding the right therapist is that I found other solutions for healing my depression and anxiety. These solutions are featured throughout this website. As stated in the sidebar, my purpose is to share what has worked for me in case it might help others who may be facing similar issues. I realize that what I have to offer isn’t for everyone, but wouldn’t it be sad if I felt like I couldn’t share what healed my depression and anxiety just because it wasn’t via the conventional pathways?

      I’d also like to point out that there are many causes of depression and no one-size fits all treatment. I think it’s sometimes hard for people to see that what helps one person may not help another.

      I think it’s awesome that therapy saved your life. I’m genuinely happy for you and for the gazillion others who have been helped. However, therapy did not save MY life. Conventional psychiatry did not save MY life. There was a point when I was on the brink of giving up, and if I had not read books and articles that offered me alternative ways of looking at my problems, I likely would have given up.

      Now that I’m healthy and happy, I simply want to share what got me here. I look forward to a world where we see depression and anxiety as the complicated problems they are and welcome as many approaches to overcoming these issues as it takes to find what works for EVERY single person suffering.

      1. And now that I’ve had a chance to process this further ( 😉 ) I want to add one more thing. I’m open to the fact that there may have been the right therapist for me if I had kept looking. The problem is that at the time I had no idea what I was looking for or what I needed. All I knew was that I was deeply depressed and anxious and I had no clue why and I had no clue why what nothing these mental health professionals did or suggested would help. Everyone I saw claimed expertise and told me they had the solution but I was left disappointed time after time.

        By the time I knew what kind of therapist might have helped me and what kind of wisdom and support I needed, I had already figured out how to meet my needs on my own and no longer needed professional help. It’s like I had to cure myself in order to know why therapy wasn’t working and what I should have asked for. Perhaps I would have eventually gotten to that point had I kept trying therapist after therapist, but I believe I got there faster and cheaper by exposing myself to a ton of different viewpoints via books and articles and personal development courses, researching further when something seemed to fit my situation, and by engaging in a lot of quiet self reflection.

  23. I realize this entry is getting a bit long in the tooth, but thank you for writing it Number 1 really hit home with me. I was in therapy for a year about 6 years ago, then for a few months with a marriage counselor, and then 6 weeks more recently. I had the same problem every time. Every week, I spent the in-between time thinking of all the things I should I have said in session, but by the next week, we moved on to something else that felt as important to discuss. Every session was a sort of half-assed conversation that I wished I could go back and redo.

    I understand that I might find the right therapist if I keep going, but at this point I have spent literally thousands of dollars on therapy that didn’t help me get anywhere. I’m not sure how much more I need to spend on the hope that I might find someone who works for me. So I’m going to look into other means of getting what I need.

    Thanks again for your blog.

    1. Hi, thank you so much for letting me know the article hit home with you. I can definitely relate to the cost issue. Looking for the right therapist can get really expensive and it feels like a waste if you are not making progress.

      I’ve been thinking about all this a lot given all the commentary and I’m going to revisit this topic soon in another article.

  24. This article hit home with me 30 years after 7 years of therapy ended. I was 29 when I was sent to therapy, very depressed and anxious. I had severe insomnia, couldn’t sit still, concentrate, or stay at a job or in college. I am an introvert, too. Walking down the hallway to her office my therapist once asked me how I felt and I said I felt “as if I was walking to the electric chair.” I rarely spoke spontaneously or shared anything important – certainly nothing about “feelings.” My most common responses were “I don’t know,” or “Whatever.” I eventually was put on Elavil by another doctor and it changed my life. Perhaps there are many people who want to share all the “traumas” of their childhood and spend years in therapy picking them apart. I did not need this nor want this and had told my therapist as much. I thought therapy would be over with in at most 6 months! I did keep a journal during my first year of therapy when I was very depressed and getting worse and was even hospitalized. It is sad to read the journal now (I found it cleaning a closet) and it is sad to think that a therapist could watch someone decline for over a year to near suicide (she did admit Elavil changed me and eventually prescribed it). Thankfully, my GP saw the decline and put me on Elavil. I have managed to have good life without delving into all those “inner demons.” Perhaps, my life “could” have been even better if I knew how to use therapy, but I am happy enough.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story! It’s good to hear you were able to find something that helped. Different things for different people. 🙂

  25. Oh Wow. You are exactly right. I have tried a number of different therapists and felt exhausted having to talk about the past. The head tilt of empathy was not what I needed. I kept asking for tools to change my future and they would shrug and say they had none to teach me.

    I ended the last series of therapy sessions more upset because everything I specifically had said was not what I wanted, she suggested. Medication, a nice 9 to 5 office job (I’m a freelancer) and many many many more appointments.

    I don’t want to talk about history, rehash the trauma and relive the pain. I am an introvert forced to tell the story over and over and then left to cope with the inevitable emotional turmoil which follows. Rinse and repeat.

    Thank you for your insight. It has changed my perspective.

    1. Hi Ali, thank you for sharing your experience. The tools to change your future DO exist – you just sometimes have to look for them outside the therapist’s office.

  26. The title of this post is completely misleading. You did not write at all about what helped your depression. Please choose more informative and appropriate titles.

    1. Hi Scott, thanks for the feedback.

      You are right in that this article was more about why therapy didn’t work than about what finally cured my depression. Although I did address what finally worked, it was a smaller section at the end, so it’s probably easy to miss.

      If you would like more details on the “what finally worked” piece, you can find a bunch of articles related to depression recovery here: https://www.solutionstoallyourproblems.com/category/depression/

  27. This is so relevant to me! I thought I was alone in the whole, “not being able to process quickly enough in the moment” thing. I’m glad to know that my brain isn’t just broken. I process once I’m alone and trying to articulate everything in the moment is often counterproductive. Thank you.

  28. I can really relate to #1. I’ve been thinking of giving myself a writing assignment every week to share with my therapist. I’m fortunate in that she offers sympathy when I need it but is generally very practical and forward looking. That said, sometimes examining the past helps illuminate the sources of some less than helpful beliefs about who I am, or what I can and cannot do which in turn can help me let go of those beliefs. If they know you well enough a good therapist can shine a light on your blind spots and (kindly) call you on your bullshit. It can be hard to find a good match though.

    1. Hi Susan, I totally agree with all your points. And if I were still doing therapy, I would definitely incorporate writing one way or another.

  29. You know I’ve tried at least 3 Therapists myself and I can say that also being an introvert that yes talking to Therapists is pretty much impossible. I used to hurt myself and wish for death but since I removed myself from people in my life that made me feel life was no longer worth living, I dare say I do not hurt myself anymore. I have to live with the scars I made and avoid those who would do me harm. My life still isn’t that great right now either but removing myself from toxic people and toxic situations at least I can try to work towards a better future for myself. On a side note I feel there’s no way for me to be understood if I can’t even begin to understand myself.

    1. Hi Sandra, thank you so much for writing and sharing your experience! It sounds to me like you’re very much moving in the right direction. Two of the things you mentioned have been super important for my recovery as well: leaving toxic situations and working on self discovery.

  30. I found this article and website a month ago because I googled “What do you do when therapy doesn’t work?”. I was in a pretty dark place after being on leave for a nervous breakdown after years of being in the wrong job without improvement from medications and therapy. This was one of my more mild internet searches of that night. The other websites before and after this article predictably lectured me. Basically, they told me that I wasn’t trying hard enough, I didn’t ask for enough homework, all that I wanted to do is complain, I wasn’t honest or realistic about goals, and that I should also be working on finding a medical doctor to change medications (as if I hadn’t done this out of desperation for years). Finally, there’s that encouragement to try to find your soul mate therapist while being in emotional agony with limited time and resources. If anything this advice just makes me feel worse. I thought this article would be the same; Suck it up and just go see another mental health professional. I was wrong. Thank you for your bravery in sharing your truth. In doing so, you illuminated my own truth. It never occurred to me that I was living out of alignment with my own nature. It never occurred to me that I had a nature with different needs. I just thought there was something inherently wrong with me for not being successful in a culturally dominant modality for mental health. I feel like alternatives are not really discussed (at least not in my experience) outside of “self care” advice not geared towards the introverted or highly sensitive. I really appreciated your story and that you used the words “change” and “create” instead of “cope”. You gave me a new perspective that is priceless because I felt like giving up before finding this article. I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic, it’s just that I was on the precipice of something not good and synchronicity was on my side in finding you. After exploring the rest of this website, life finally makes sense and I don’t feel doomed. Again, thank you!

    1. Hi Dawn,

      Thank you SO much for taking the time to write and share your story and let me know the website has been helpful. It really means a lot to me. I’m conflict-averse by nature, so it’s not easy for me to publish some of these articles that I know go against a lot of the mainstream discussion out there. It’s the encouragement from readers like you that keeps me going!

      I sincerely hope that you are now in a place where you can start identifying your true needs and getting them met. A life that feels much better will follow from there. 🙂

      Anni

  31. Yep. Slot of what you say makes sense to me, especially the part about being distracted by the therapists presence and processing conversations AFTER they happen. 100%! Thanks for writing something so relatable, even thought it's not part of the typical self-help narrative.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Don’t miss the FREE video class on creating a life you ACTUALLY like!