Therapy and My Limited Expirience With It

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  1. While I would like to ask everyone who's had more extensive therapy about their experience with it, I decided this may be left for the counseling section because of how potentially personal it is. So just to be clear: I'm curious to hear feedback on therapy and if it has helped or even harmed people. This thread is less about me and more about a general curiosity.

    To preface my own limited time with a therapist, just know that I was diagnosed with a brain tumor when I was in the 4th grade. It was, and still is, life threatening. It is in a unfortunate position; If it begins to grow again, it must be removed. If it is removed, I will die. Even under some miraculous circumstance where I wouldn't die, my doctor (obviously ball-parking it) said it would take roughly 40% of my memory with it and the memory problems that accompanied it would return anew. An important characteristic of the type of tumor I have is spontaneous growth even after years of being dormant. Most cases I learned about showed spontaneous growth within 8 years of it stopping. For me, that was more than 10 years ago. So, essentially, it's a time bomb that's long overdue.

    As a result, being introduced to my own mortality at such a young age had my parents get an idea that therapy might be a preventive measure to bolster my mental health. At the time, my tumor still actively was impacting my life in a very direct way (In the form of short term memory loss and headaches) so if I were honest my biggest grievance had to do more with how much I hated school rather than my little guarantee that I wouldn't be dying of old age. Indeed, as far as my social life goes, I consider my middle school years to be my happiest. So I didn't fully understand the need for a therapist, but of course went anyway.

    If I were honest, the therapy was just a massive waste of time. I'd even argue that it actually just surfaced problems that didn't need to be addressed and made my life just a little more difficult. Apparently my opinion on my own tumor at the time was very blahzay and not going where my therapist (Nice lady, mind) was going. So, somehow, the talked went to become about me and my dad and our general lack of a relationship. She eventually had me crying over something petty (I think it had to do with him not liking a movie we watched together or some sillyness like that) and it basically brought our not-actually-terrible-but-not-awesome relationship to the surface of my mother's mind. Queue the next many years all the way up through high school trying to get me and my dad to find anything in common.

    I love my dad, and it's reciprocated, obviously. We have nothing in common as far as hobbies or anything goes, so if he was a stranger we'd likely not be friends, but it's never been that awful if I'm honest. Yet, because of a few therapy sessions (Which I convinced my mom to pull me out of thank goodness), there was an early-set drama-llama set loose in my house. I'm sure our lack of connection would have came up eventually, especially during high school, but I blame those worthless therapy sessions for summoning it forth sooner.

    So, I know this has a rant tag (Due to wall-o'-text) but I'm curious: Have any of you done therapy? Do you think it helped/is helping? Would you recommend it to others?

    Since I bothered bringing it up, while it's not really the focus of the thread, if you're super curious for some reason I'll also answer questions about my life with my medical condition. Just know that as of now I've literally been living with it for a vast majority of my life and as such am not really buggered by it. Though it has changed my perspective on living as a whole, I consider myself happy. Maybe not like sugar-plum-fairy levels of happy but definitely not very depressed~<3
  2. I'd say that it depends entirely on the situation at hand. @_@ And particularly, whether or not you're actively going through anything that would warrant it.

    My first experience with therapy started when I was around... 9? 10? I thought my mom signed me up for them because I didn't socialize well as a kid and I didn't have a lot of friends, plus I had some anger management issues (more on this later!), and, well, we didn't even call it "therapy", really, nor did I think of it as such at the time -- it was group therapy with about 4-5 other kids, so we just called it "group", and I guess that colored my perception of it to some extent. It wasn't so bad at first -- I think I kind of liked it. I got to hang out with people -- some of whom I actually felt like I became sort of close friends with at the time -- and... yeah, it was kind of nice. I remember that even in the early sessions, though, the actual lesson of each meeting wasn't exactly my favorite part. It was basically "Making friends and being nice to people 101". I don't remember whether or not I felt like I found this helpful at the time. I just remember that the part of the session where we just got to talk and do our own thing was always my favorite part, for obvious reasons.

    While I was kind of lukewarm about it at first, I remember getting really fed up with it by the time I got to be about 12-13... I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I just felt like I was maturing as a person in general, so the way that it was run just felt... babyish. Especially since I could recall, in the earlier years, when I was one of the youngest people in the room -- and then, I was one of the oldest. And the other kids who were the same age as me had all been taken out of the program already. Plus, as I became older and more perceptive, I definitely started to notice that the whole thing felt like it was for... "the special kids". And it just didn't feel right for me. I didn't see myself with those kinds of mental issues -- especially since I was getting older and better at managing my emotions -- plus, after a while, I never learned anything new. It was just the same lessons over and over, and it just made me feel like I was being talked down to like some dumb, literally retarded kid. I eventually got my mom to take me out of the program when she found out how much it was upsetting me. >_> After I got out of it, I really felt like I started to grow out of my awkward childhood and get better at the whole friendship thing, so... yeah. While it may have been helpful early on, I do feel like it started to hold me back after a while, as feeling so "special" wasn't the best for my confidence at the time.

    My second experience with therapy was much... shorter. It was when I was 16, and I went to see a psychiatrist about how I felt like I just could not concentrate on important things (like schoolwork) even when I really wanted to, so I thought I might have some sort of real attention problem. I only ever really went to a handful of sessions with this one -- pretty much just enough to talk about my issues and go through the necessary tests needed to arrive at a diagnosis. Once my ADHD diagnosis was official, I was told that I could either try taking medication for it or keep going to sessions to learn other strategies to deal with it. I chose medication, and, since it worked well for me, I basically stopped seeing my therapist after that. These sessions weren't a long, ongoing thing and I can't think of much that was brought up during them that was hugely significant (except for one thing) -- but I still consider this a hugely important milestone in my life, since my diagnosis was honestly one of the best things that ever happened to me and my life improved in so many different ways beyond that point. And if I hadn't gone to those sessions, well... I don't know where I'd be today. @_@

    So I guess it depends on how much use you're getting out of it. If you feel like there's a reason why you should be going to therapy, then, yeah, it makes sense to go -- but if you don't see any problems in your life that need addressing, then... yeah, it might just make you feel worse. :/

    On an interesting note... it was during the early stages of the ADHD sessions that my mom was talking to one of the doctors and said something like "well we've done group therapy before, and they said that she might have aspergers..." and I was just. like. I HAD NEVER BEEN INFORMED OF THIS??? @_@ Granted, a lot of things made sense after that revelation... seeing as how, looking back on it, I did have a lot of quirky traits as a kid that definitely would've seemed sort of autistic, but, the thing is, I feel like I completely outgrew all of those things... somehow, which explains why I wasn't diagnosed with aspergers when I went back for therapy again as a teenager. Anyway, it definitely explained that whole group therapy thing (as well as a few other, similar programs I went through on the side...) and why they made me feel the way I did. On the one hand, it feels sort of fucked up that I went through all of these things without being told the reason why, but... I dunno. I like how things turned out in the end, and I worry I may not have ever gotten there if I had known about the potential aspergers thing, as I may have wound up blaming my future problems on that. :/ (Also, I now know that ADHD can also cause kids to have a lot of social problems, with symptoms that overlap quite a bit with that of aspergers, which would explain the confusion on that front.)
  3. Very informative <3

    I can even somewhat relate, particularly to being considered a 'special' kid. When my symptoms first emerged it certainly looked a lot like ADHD (When in fact I literally jsut forgot things within seconds) and was diagnosed with a learning disability. Even after the diagnosis, for the rest of my days in school I was technically considered on the spectrum even though I went to normal classes with the exception of a period dedicated to me getting help with homework early on. While this was 100% necessary in my early years, by the time I reached high school my brain had both grown around the problem and rerouted itself so I could function more or less normally. The biggest thing was a special clause in my record that basically said "He is allowed to take as much time as he wants on homework and will not be held responsible for any deadlines". Again, super useful early on, but by the time high school hit I absolutely hated being classified as special and adamantly refused to ever play that card, even when I was coming dangerously close to failure. I just wouldn't do it. So you're story about not wanting that kind of label, and even it's early usefulness, I can definitely relate to.

    As far as group therapy, I haven't the slightest clue how those normally work, so this was rather insightful. Worth noting that it also was something done when younger too. It makes me wonder how they work in the adult world; Maybe even something like alcoholics anonymous and if that helps.
  4. Yeah, I have no idea how adult group therapy would work. The program I went to was definitely intended for kids, which I think is one of the reasons why I felt increasingly uncomfortable about it the older I got, and it probably only added to that awkward "special" feeling. :/

    I also think it has less to do with just having a label and just feeling like you don't need it. Because, nowadays, I'm more-or-less comfortable mentioning my ADHD to people and I appreciate when people try to be mindful of it and find small ways to better accommodate for it -- because I'm aware of my own limitations and I don't feel ashamed about admitting them. But back then, I just... I was being lumped in with people that I felt I didn't belong with, and I felt like I was being talked down to. And, again, the aspergers thing was never mentioned to me until long after the fact -- and I think that's why it was so off-putting. Maybe if I believed that I did have aspergers, then it wouldn't have been as bad.

    Also, it might have something to do with the way that children are treated for having such labels vs adults... And, as an adult, I'm more mature and comfortable with mentioning these kinds of things, but... yeah. :/

    Also, even now, I wouldn't want to be put in some sort of special program for my needs... I'd rather find ways to make "normal" schooling work for me as opposed to putting myself in some special little box where I'm free of consequence (and that thing about not being held responsible for deadlines would definitely have not been good for me in the long-run if I were given such a privilege...). Plus, often times, I feel like just mentioning my diagnosis so that people are at least aware of it is all I need to do to make myself more comfortable (and even then, it's not like I feel the need to tell every single person I meet). I very rarely ask for much more than that. And even then, it's usually only very small things -- because I feel like that's all I need in order to make a situation more easily work for me.

    I've tried looking into the sorts of services that my campus can offer for people with ADHD, if I decided to actually register myself for that sort of thing. None of it really feels like anything I'd actually want. I feel like I'd just feel "special" again, and I wouldn't want that. >_>
    #4 Kagayours, Feb 27, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016
  5. Well I have done both mental illness therapy for what turned out to be chemical depression and social anxiety disorder and grief counselling. Now I will tell you now my grief counsellor turned into my long time counselor but my original lady was a nutcase.
  6. I know exactly how you feel. When I was first diagnosed with ADHD, I did not at all like having that label put on me. My parents started treating me differently because of it, and that just really pissed me off.

    Oh on the subject of treatment, though, I'm pretty jealous that you actually got to choose which type. My parents chose the medication without ever confronting me about it; I wasn't even told that I had ADHD until after the doctor had already wrote the prescription, that's just messed up if ya ask me. Although I was diagnosed at a slightly younger age (because I was failing my classes), so I guess that's part of the reason why. I still don't agree with the decision, but at least it wasn't totally without reason. It's just that, given the opportunity, I would have definitely chose therapy instead and I'm a little upset that I was never even made aware of such an option.

    I did go to therapy later on for social anxiety, and I didn't appreciate that either because, once again, I wasn't given a choice. Lucky, I only went for one or two sessions, because apparently he couldn't find anything wrong with me. Ironically enough, though, now that I'm an adult, I'm actually wanting to sign up for therapy sessions for the very same reason as before (my anxiety's gotten a lot worse over the years). It's just proving to be rather difficult since there aren't very many therapists in my area and the ones that are here aren't taking anymore patients... *sigh*
  7. Yeah, it's probably the age thing. :/ I wasn't diagnosed until I was 16, so it makes sense that I'd have a bit more say in things. When kids are diagnosed a lot younger, well, I don't agree with it, but I can at least understand why the choice of whether or not to medicate falls almost entirely on the parent...

    And like, I'll advocate all day that medication for mental illnesses shouldn't have a stigma surrounding it and that there's no shame in taking it, but I definitely think that people should be able to choose whether or not they want it. >.< It's one of the reasons I'm kind of iffy about prescribing it to kids... especially since, given the fact that I was a near-adult when I started taking it, I was able to choose when I did and didn't want to take it, which meant that, even though I did take it most days (and still do), I still associated the medication with something that I take as needed in order to get work done, while giving myself the option of just staying off of it when I wanted a break, and boy am I glad I had that option... I can't even get into all the reasons why I wouldn't want to be on a totally regular schedule with this stuff, and why I certainly don't think it's a good idea to force kids to do that, especially if they aren't informed about what's going on. ><

    Because, for me, I was given a pretty clear description of what the medication was supposed to do. @_@ Like, "part of your brain isn't as active as that of a brain without ADHD, so this pill will temporarily stimulate that part of your brain so that it acts more like a 'normal' brain, and then the pill wears off and you go back to your own 'normal'..." That sort of thing. I was also made aware of all the possible side effects that I might encounter. You know, all the things that a person should be told before taking any medication, no matter what they're taking it for. >_> And, perhaps most importantly, it was also made clear that nothing bad would happen if I skipped it for a day or two when I didn't need it -- in fact, my doctor encouraged me to not take it if I felt I didn't need it, and I'm very thankful for it! In fact, my doctor has always been very open about my concerns in general, which was why my prescription went through many tweaks to get to where it is now (in fact, I technically have two prescriptions for what is basically the same medication, because of the complicated system going here...). There were times when I would say "I feel like it isn't working as well as it should" and my doctor would suggest simply upping the dosage, but then I said "we could, but I'd rather try this other idea...", and then we discussed it until we arrived at something that the doctor agreed was safe and that I agreed I thought would work for me, all while she was always open to my criticisms about why I didn't want to go down the route of some of her suggested tweaks.

    And I am so glad that all of that has been working out so well for me. Because if I was just forced to take the stuff on an unchanging daily basis, with the dosage being periodically increased without me having any say in it? Yeah... I'd probably have a very different opinion on my medication. >.<

    So yeah, sorry to hear about what happened to you. :/ Again, I'll gladly defend medication for mental illnesses and insist that they should be available options with no shame or stigma attached, but I also feel like people should definitely be able to have open conversations with their doctor about what sorts of drugs they want to put into their own bodies. DX And even if it is the parents who have to make the decision (which I guess I can understand in the case of really young kids...), then I wish they would just be more open and aware of what their child wants, and whether or not their child really needs to take it every day.

    Because, I mean, there are some things -- like antidepressants -- that you really do need to take every day in order for it to have the intended effect. But there's no reason why a kid should need to take adderall every day. Especially if it's not even a school day -- and they're just chilling at home doing nothing that would require them to focus. >_> In fact, my doctor even agreed that not taking it on days when I don't need it would be better for me, since then I won't develop a tolerance quite as quickly, soooo...
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  8. Oh boy, what I would have given to have had that opportunity...

    And yet that's exactly what I had to deal with. I actually developed a physical aversion to pills as a result of this experience, meaning I literally cannot swallow pills anymore without feeling sick; that's how much I hated it.

    Ah, now see, I wasn't given adderall, I was given another medicine called Strattera. Unfortunately, it lost its effectiveness overtime, even as the dosage increased, which is the other reason why I stopped taking it as soon as I got the chance.

    The problem is I do kinda need something to treat my ADHD; I've considered asking my doctor about trying a different medication, like adderall, but for various reasons (such as my aversion to pills) I've been rather hesitant in doing so. That's was before I discovered that there was a therapy option, though...
  9. I was using adderall as somewhat of a generic term since I'm pretty sure the ADHD medications are all fairly similar. At least in the sense that they stimulate your brain for a while and then wear off, which is why it makes sense that they can be taken "as needed" as opposed to something like an antidepressant, which you would need to take every day.

    Well, perhaps you could try a "take as needed" sort of system? I know it worked wonders for me when I started taking it and put my life back together in so many different ways -- so perhaps having those kinds of positive vibes associated with taking the medication in a comfortable way will make it easier to swallow pills?

    I don't know how therapy was ever kept a secret from you. @_@ I feel like it would go without saying that there are ways of coping with a mental illness without taking medication (after all, what do you think happens to the kids who can't take medication even if they wanted to, because their parents won't let them?). Anyway, I can't say at all what ADHD therapy would be like, because I don't know. I chose medication because it seemed like it would be a much easier option than needing to go to some program on a regular basis just to get results that, in my eyes, didn't seem like they would be as effective as just chemically fixing the problem... but, that's just my experience with things. Regardless of what you choose, here's hoping you find something that works well for you.
  10. That does sound like it would be much more bearable. With Strattera, my doctor had always told my I would have to take it daily in order for it be effective, so I didn't realize there even was a "take as needed" option till much later. You can imagine my frustration.

    It's definitely something I'll talk to my doctor about; I happen to have a checkup coming up this month, so I'll do it then.

    I don't know, man, I wouldn't say that they kept it a secret from me, just that they never presented me the option or choice, and as a kid, I figured that must've meant I wasn't eligible for it or something. I hadn't really thought about it much since then, so eh. :/

    Honestly, I'm not completely against taking medication for my ADHD, I just think that therapy would be better for me. Plus, it would be nice to prove to myself that I can overcome my mental illness on my own, without the aid of mind altering drugs. I'm also not very fond of the idea of taking mind altering drugs in the first place, it's just my personal preference to avoid them.
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