Online forums

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please complete your profile

Complete your profile

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community.

Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Forums / Treatments, health professionals and therapies / Difficulties Understanding Treatment

Topic: Difficulties Understanding Treatment

  1. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1727 posts
    10 November 2021 in reply to P12

    Hi P12

    I truly understand your frustration in trying to find the right practitioner to help you. Please know that this is unfortunately a common experience when it comes to mental health.

    When my daughter fell ill with a mental health condition at age 13, we really struggled. Our family GP—the person who had cared for my daughter her entire life—was not helpful. He didn’t get mental health. I interviewed three others and chose a new one.

    We had more challenges trying to find the right mental health practitioner. With the second psychiatrist and third clinical psychologist we finally got the right help.

    It is a heartbreaking process. The initial hope, followed by disappointment and then despair. My daughter felt like she was a failure—not getting better despite the treatment. It wasn’t her, the treatment wasn’t right for her.

    I couldn’t sleep a lot of times, thinking to myself, “I’m just a mum, who am I to question this highly educated and respected professional?” But I backed myself and ploughed on because there was no alternative.

    The same is true for you. The people you have encountered thus far are not meeting your needs. So, you must dig deep, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and persevere. Forget about the odds because there is something bigger at play—hope. There is always hope for better days ahead, always.

    You are a unique and valuable human being. And, as a human being, you crave human connection just like all the rest of us. That’s why it hurts so much when we feel we don’t belong in society

    But you do belong here. I am grateful to have met you and to be able to talk with you.

    Kind thoughts to you

  2. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    romantic_thi3f avatar
    3151 posts
    12 November 2021 in reply to P12

    Hi P12,

    Apologies- I didn't see that you'd replied to me until now!

    I'm going to try and break this down a bit because there's a lot of different trains of thought on this post so I want to make sure I'm on the right track.

    With the actor example, yes- but actors don't 'start out' with followers. If you think of actors you like, you'd probably find a lot who couldn't find a role or working odd jobs just to work their way into the field. The idea was that their values of wanting to act were persistent enough with all of the setbacks that they've likely received. It's a hard gig to get into. You talked about writing; Dr Seuss was knocked back by 27 publishers and Steven King 30. You are relying on people to enjoy your work, but the persistence has to be key.

    I don't follow the idea that professionals believe great suffering is great reward. Nobody wants their clients to 'suffer'. You talked before about how a psychologist wanted you to change your values to be more socially acceptable; what were they?

    Your goals don't seem to be unreasonable or difficult; you mentioned intellectual satisfaction and contribution to society which is absolutely something to work for. You also talked about wanting to purchase a car/land/water which is also achievable although that does of course need money. There are certainly ways and lifestyles where you can 'live off the land'.

    Hope I'm on the right track here.

    rt

  3. P12
    P12 avatar
    36 posts
    17 November 2021 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    Hi romantic_thi3f,

    Here are three examples of values I was suggested to change.

    1. I told my psychologist that I was interested in the natural environment and sought intellectual satisfaction. He told me that most people don't seek intellectual satisfication and instead find satisfaction from having human friends or partners, and that I would also be happier if I did the same. But I am clueless how to make a friend or partner. Apparently one must simply meet more and more people until they find someone mutually willing to spend time with each other. In fourteen years of trying the most I've achieved is people laughing or criticising me, hence the reason for seeking intellectual satisfaction and spending time in nature. Several times I've asked for practical help but the suggestions haven't worked or I am met with a response such as "you know how to do that". I was hoping to receive help achieving my values of being alone, studying the natural environment, and receiving intellectual satsifaction given the obstacles I met, but all I've received is suggestion my values are inappropriate.

    2. I told my psychologist I wished to contribute to society by observing nature, postulating about its features, and sharing my insights. He told me Australia was mostly a free market economy meaning I had to demonstrate to someone that my efforts were valuable. He told me I would be happier if I did exactly as I was asked.

    3. I asked how to cope in my work environment given the exclusion I feel, ethical conflicts, and traumatic experiences I have had. After describing my experiences of my industry, he proclaimed it is essentially corrupt because it takes money from people without justification. He asserted I have a major problem. He suggested I move to a different part of the industry but as far as I can tell the sectors he suggested don't exist or don't want me. I am at a loss how to act as my attempts to change my industry have been unsuccessful, I apparently must work to earn a basic wage for living expenses, and I can't find a role that matches my values. These are the obstacles I've encountered, I was hoping to receive help from my psychologist but all I received is vindication that I do have a major problem. I am no closer to solving it.

  4. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    romantic_thi3f avatar
    3151 posts
    24 November 2021 in reply to P12

    Hi P12,

    1. I don't see any harm in wanting intellectual satisfaction and wanting to work towards that. It sounds like a very intellectual value. Perhaps your psychologist was on a different train of thought when he said they were inappropriate, or didn't fully understand what that looked like for you. While I do admire therapists and psychologists, they aren't the expert on you- you are, so if it doesn't mesh well that's totally fine and you don't have to take that on board.

    2. I'm not entirely sure if I agree with that either. We are all different and unique and that's not a bad thing. He is right in the sense of earning money, or at least having money- as you mentioned living off the land, but you would need money to set yourself up for this, but that could be a 9-5 in the same way it could be side hustles of mowing lawns.

    3. It's hard to know what this bit means because you haven't specified the job.

    I wonder, what would it be like just to map out everything that you want to do with no obstacles standing in your way. You've mentioned intellectual satisfaction a bit; what are you doing as an end goal? What does your day look like start to finish?

    I know this might not sound like a helpful idea, but maybe by being specific and detailed about the way you'd like to live it might get clearer about how to get there and the next step to take.

    rt

  5. Whimbo
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Whimbo avatar
    11 posts
    24 November 2021 in reply to P12

    Hi P12,

    It does sound like a lot of your anxiety is coming from your employment - have you though about seeing a career counsellor or a financial counsellor? Perhaps some of the misguided things your psychologist has said has been in response to these anxieties - remember that psychologists are people, and they're very smart people, but may not have all of the solutions.

    I've recently come to the conclusion that the career paths I want to enter make it difficult to jump in and start making money. For 1, I'm a musician, which is self-explanatory, and 2, I'm studying psychology, and they don't let just anyone go in and start counselling people people without qualification. So I asked my sister what work experience she had before she got her nice-paying job at a law firm and I expected her to say it was luck, but instead she rattled off about 6 casual jobs, internships, work experiences, and volunteer positions. The whole time she did that, to keep her head above water, she was working at a cafe downtown.

    My point is that if you're finding difficulty getting paid for your passions, if you wanted you could look for avenues where you could get into the industry for experience and see how other people like you are getting paid. I used to think it was just artists who had to do 'exposure gigs', but it turns out just about everyone needs to gain experience. But you need to make money - I've had awful experiences with casual jobs but it's worth remembering that if you're really passionate and confident about where you want to go, the dirty work is only temporary. Anyone this is just a suggestion, totally cool if it doesn't work for you for some reason!

  6. P12
    P12 avatar
    36 posts
    25 November 2021 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    Hi romantic_thi3f,

    I am a Structural Engineer. My work involves design, analysis, assessment, inspection, and construction supervision of buildings and civil structures.

    I found, however, that I am more interested in understanding and advancing knowledge of the mechanics of materials and how nature causes structures to behave than most people in the industry. I found that I believe more in reversing, than advancing, land development. And I found many people in the industry view it as a means to make money, rather than follow a technical interest, and that they exert considerable duress on others to achieve their desire.

    Normally I am moved between tasks regularly before I am able to reach a sense of personal achievement at the work I perform. My employer places pressure on me to complete tasks to an approach, standard, and speed that meets their expectations but often conflict my values. Several times I have experienced traumatic events as a result.

    Without obstacles I would walk through the natural environment and study it. I would study rock outcrops for features of fracture and stability. I would analyse existing structures to determine how they function, and I would encourage people to reverse land development.

  7. P12
    P12 avatar
    36 posts
    30 November 2021 in reply to Whimbo

    Hi Whimbo,

    Thanks for your feedback and suggestions.

    I haven't spoken with a careers counsellor but I have participated in two mentoring programmes as a mentee and am about to begin a careers coaching program as a coachee with a not-for-profit organisation.

    You appear to be correct about barriers preventing people from performing the type of work that interests them. I honestly don't understand this aspect of society. Apparently I am partially able to satisfy myself by working on my interests in my own time, outside business hours, by myself and for free. Though it is only partially fulfilling because I must limit myself to interests that don't conflict my employer, some information I could use to improve my work is unavailable to the public, and I found some of my values and interests have been disproportionately damaged by my experiences in work, which hinders my experience outside work.

    My experience of volunteering has been mixed. Most organisations in my areas of interest whom I've contacted reject me as a volunteer claiming they don't offer volunteering roles, and that accepting me as a volunteer would create a liability to the organisation. If this is the case, how is someone able to gain experience of an industry sector? However, I was successful at being accepted at a university as a co-supervisor of a masters research student conducting a research project.

  8. P12
    P12 avatar
    36 posts
    2 December 2021 in reply to Summer Rose
    Thanks for sharing your experience Summer Rose. Yes, being an outsider is not fun. As you mentioned I will just keep looking and acting integrally despite the obstacles I've faced.
  9. P12
    P12 avatar
    36 posts
    4 December 2021 in reply to P12

    Two days ago I visited my local park and cried for fifteen minutes. Sadly it was the highlight of my week. Earlier in the week I participated in an online workshop but left early because I felt too much an outsider. I am seemingly an outsider in everything I do. Why can I not be independent? On another day I was told that an area of national park that I would like to visit will effectively be closed to the public permanently. Why does society control its population to this extent?

    I am depressed because I seemingly cannot achieve my goals and I am anxious because I feel like I have exhausted the treatment methods available to me but yet they haven't worked.

  10. P12
    P12 avatar
    36 posts
    7 January 2022 in reply to P12
    Last month I found a free mental health service, Head to Health, which accepts me for counselling sessions although I already have a Mental Health Care Plan with another practitioner.
  11. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1727 posts
    7 January 2022 in reply to P12

    Hi P12

    That’s awesome news! Congratulations on being both resilient and resourceful.

    Have you had any sessions yet? If so, how did it go?

    Kind thoughts to you

  12. P12
    P12 avatar
    36 posts
    8 January 2022 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi Summer Rose,

    I have had two sessions. I feel the sessions will help me learn and practise specific skills and gain a little confidence from speaking to someone about my difficulties. It is only a short term treatment and will not address what is apparently my mental illness that is the cause of my specific problems, but perhaps it will stimulate some change in that area. I guess I will need psychological treatment for many years or decades.

  13. P12
    P12 avatar
    36 posts
    1 February 2022 in reply to P12
    I have now reached the end of my sessions with the clinician I mentioned above. I feel I tried hard to make progress, but at the last meeting I sensed the clinician was at a bit of a loss to explain what I should do, which made me feel I hadn't actually progressed. I guess I will just continue searching and meeting new practitioners for the next few years or decades.
  14. P12
    P12 avatar
    36 posts
    17 February 2022 in reply to P12
    I understand one of the main goals of mental illness therapy is to reduce dysfunctional feelings and thoughts, but cognitive talk therapies apparently try to achieve this using more cognitive activity; suppression, thought challenging, attention shifting. Are these not contradictory?
  15. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1727 posts
    18 February 2022 in reply to P12

    Hi P12

    Thanks for keeping us up to date with your journey.

    Please don’t be hard on yourself regarding how the sessions concluded at Head to Health. For some people a short term approach is helpful, but for others it’s just not enough. Did you pick up anything of value?

    Interesting question you pose. From my experience, I don’t think the two are contradictory as in the end cognitive talk therapy can and does (for many people) reduce dysfunction thought and feelings. Kind of like choosing to fly or drive from Melbourne to Sydney. In the end, you still get there.

    The caveat of course is that the people need to find the right therapy to help them and everyone is different.

    Kind thoughts to you

  16. P12
    P12 avatar
    36 posts
    6 March 2022 in reply to Summer Rose

    Here is my summary of my recent discussions with a mental health practitioner. I asked for help finding a friend or at least finding worth for my place in the world.

    - After I described everything I have tried in my life to achieve my desires, the practitioner agreed I had tried much harder than almost everyone else, but as it wasn't working, the only option was to continue trying and hope that eventually I might succeed.

    - The practitioner suggested I continue analysing my interactions with others hoping that I might identify why they weren't interested in communicating with me and techniques to establish empathy. They told me I had three options: choose someone at random to try to create a friendship with, choose someone I know and would like to create a friendship with, choose someone I have tried in the past to create a friendship with but failed.

    - Areas to search for a friend include: work, industry groups, recreational clubs, Meetup, mental health groups, online forums, volunteering, religious groups, organising my own and attending others' activities.

    - The practitioner informed me that statistically most people would not meet my criteria for a friend, not have the have same values and interests as me, or would only share one small interest with me. I was told that most are able to overcome this by forming multiple friendships, one to address each interest and value. The practitioner suggested I try to disconnect my values and interests from myself and try to think about myself and others as objects. Then I would be void of feelings and not want a friend.

    - The practitioner discussed options to continue treatment. A clinical psychologist appears to be best option despite the difficulties I've encountered finding one suitable. I could try to receive NDIS funding to cover costs although I understand my condition isn't covered.

  17. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1727 posts
    9 March 2022 in reply to P12

    Hi P12

    Please accept my sincere apology for the tardy response. I read your post but wanted time to think about my response.

    In my opinion, you got some good advice. I like the clear explanations that you received and agree with almost all of it.

    What really stands out as important to me is the need for you to develop empathy techniques. This will provide an important foundation for your future success making friends.

    I’m wondering if there is a book you could purchase or borrow from the library to assist? Perhaps also looking at the actions and beliefs of empathetic public figures could assist?

    I am told I am empathetic, and I would be happy to assist you with your learning. Please feel free to ask me anything.

    Did you know that beyondblue has volunteering opportunities? Check it out on the website. There may be an activity of interest to you and you would have a common interest with everyone you meet. Could be the start of something great and an awesome opportunity for you to give back to the community!

    Kind thoughts to you

  18. P12
    P12 avatar
    36 posts
    12 March 2022 in reply to Summer Rose
    I have read the following books, which I believe try to explain and teach empathy in different ways.

    * Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg
    * People Skills by Robert Bolton
    * The Definitive Book of Body Language by Allan and Barbara Pease
    * Emotion: A Very Short Introduction by Dylan Evans
    * The Social Animal by Elliot Aronson
    * The Penguin History of Economics by Roger Backhouse
    * Nichomachean Ethics by Aristotle
    * Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
    * How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

    I would like to ask these questions:
    * The books I've read could be largely grouped into those that try to explain what humans think and feel and those that try to teach compassion skills. In the second type, successful compassion appears to rely on a continual exchange of communication between two people. How does one establish empathy if the other person simply stops communicating?
    * Even if it is possible to understand what another person is thinking and feeling, what reason does the first person have to force themself to think and feel similarly?
    * In practising empathy with another, one may presumably either be true to themself or act falsely. If they are true to themself and express their thoughts and feelings, but they are too unusual such that the other person isn't interested, how may one then establish empathy?
    * If they choose the second option, and spend time and effort trying to falsely practise empathy with another, presumably they must spend less time involved in activities in their interest area. Does this not cause greater long term distress because the individual is unable to achieve their true goals?
    * How are empathy techniques proven or verified? As I have tried unsuccessfully, empathy seems little more than pure chance and trial and error.

    I wasn't aware that Beyond Blue accepted volunteers, so thank you for the suggestion. I will keep this in mind. I am involved in multiple volunteer roles.
  19. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1727 posts
    13 March 2022 in reply to P12

    Hi P12

    I really liked your reading list; I’ve read some of those books myself and found them helpful.

    I’d like to suggest another book that you might find useful: A Fearless Heart by Thupten Jinpa. I’m also a fan of Stephanie Dowrick and you could peruse her titles to see if anything interests you.

    I’m not a MH professional or any kind of expert, so I’m just going to approach this as your fellow human being.

    For some people empathy is hard-wired, for others, as you well know, it’s something that needs to be learned. Empathy is really important because of it’s link to compassion.

    I read somewhere (sorry I can’t remember exactly where) a simple explanation that has stuck with me. The Dalai Lama explained it like this: If we see a person who is being crushed by a rock, the goal is not to get under the rock and feel what they are feeling; it is to help remove the rock.”

    Compassion connects empathy with acts of kindness (Jinpa explains this fully in his book if you choose to read it). This is the reason why it is worthwhile to learn empathy.

    We humans are social beings—and as the pandemic has shown us our very survival can depend on the rest of our community. So, if you want to have a happy connected life and set yourself up to reach your true goals, you need to develop a concern for others.

    Empathy leads to compassion and they take you to social connection which leads you to a better life.

    I hope this makes sense to you.

    Kind thoughts to you

  20. P12
    P12 avatar
    36 posts
    19 March 2022 in reply to Summer Rose
    Thank you for your suggestion, Summer Rose. The book you recommend is not owned by my local libraries, but I will search for a way to read it. As you allude, I don't understand empathy well. I hope I may be able to improve and obtain a friend.
  21. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1727 posts
    19 March 2022 in reply to P12

    Hi P12

    I know that you can improve. Anyone can. You can do this!

    It’s about understanding and recognising the emotions and emotional states we humans experience. Not just happy, sad and mad. But insecurity, disappointment, resentment, irritably, being perplexed, love, jealousy, etc.

    Then you need to able to put yourself in another person’s shoes to respond appropriately.

    So, if I told you my dog was sick and I didn’t think I could make it to work even though I had to make a big presentation and it was causing me a lot of stress, how do you think I’d be feeling? What if you could hear me sniffling? Or, you saw tears in my eyes? How would you respond if I asked you for advice?

    I’d be feeling sad, anxious and worried about my dog. I’d also be feeling guilty about missing work and concerned about letting the team down. I’d be feeling torn between my two responsibilities. What I’d really be seeking, even though I’d never say it, is permission from you to take the day off work and care for my dog.

    So, imagine you said to me: “I know how much you love your dog. It’s okay, take the dog to the vet. Work can wait. You can give your presentation tomorrow.” You would give me comfort, reassurance and relief.

    Then imagine you said, “I’m not working today, I’ll come and pick you up and drive you to the vet.”

    Can you see how it works? Empathy, compassion, an act of kindness—and all of this builds a friendship. I would be grateful and appreciative. I would then be highly motivated to do something nice for you in the future.

    Now, maybe you wouldn’t naturally be concerned about my dog and you might think I’m silly. But if you pushed through that to be kind I can guarantee you that you would feel good about yourself. It feels good to help other people. There is an immediate benefit to you.

    Hope you can find the book.

    Kind thoughts to you

  22. P12
    P12 avatar
    36 posts
    9 April 2022

    Last month I concluded a coaching programme with a charity organisation, where during six sessions a coach helped me in difficulties I face in employment. I am employed full-time but encounter much distress.

    Here is a record of the meetings.

    - I should develop search criteria and searching plans to identify roles and opportunities in my interest areas.

    - The industry sectors most likely to be accepting of me are universities, not-for-profit organisations, and small and medium enterprises. However, the industry sectors most likely to offer paid jobs are government, larger organisations.

    - Statistically, I will probably never be paid for a role in my interest area. Some people conclude that life is purposeless. I can instead be more self interested, make achievements that I do alone, and criticise others for actions that harm me.

    - The best strategy we concluded is to continue my current strategy of as best as possible performing a role imperfectly suited to me and causing me distress, while volunteering as much as possible in my interest areas outside business hours. I should try to use the volunteering strategically by receiving recognition, connection, or new skills.

    - I should try to develop an agreement between my manager and I about how I can work more effectively. For example, my objectives are to work on projects in my interest areas, to work on one project at once for an extended time, and to take regular extended unpaid leave. These are all possible in my organisation, and are even written in policies, but always with the condition "... if agreed by your manager". I should try to formulate these "difficult conversations" to improve their outcomes.

    - I should seek professional, public, community, and self-help to overcome the psychological costs I experience in performing my current role.

  23. P12
    P12 avatar
    36 posts
    9 April 2022

    Earlier this week I visited a new clinical psychologist for the first time.

    I felt most sad when I was asked whether I liked myself because I was unable to answer this question. I instead said that I felt life was meaningless.

    I still don't entirely know how to answer the question, but I feel that my response is in the negative because of the symptoms I experience.

    I think that if I liked myself I would want to be a friend to myself and the type of people I would like to befriend would share my interests and values but find me valuable to them and therefore want to spend time with me.

    How is one supposed to be valuable to themselves unless they somehow live with two separate personalities? Is this what is meant by being a friend to yourself? At this moment I think life is meaningless.

  24. P12
    P12 avatar
    36 posts
    18 April 2022

    Two days ago I had a small realisation about the processes of mental illness treatment that I have experienced. Here is a summary of my realisation.

    • Self-esteem, independence and self-actualisation are the highest goals of an individual.
    • Mood disorders are symptoms that an individual is lacking self-esteem, independence and self-actualisation.
    • Cognitive behaviour theory is the primary treatment of mood disorders. Its objective is to increase self-actualisation.
    • Once CBT is mastered and independence achieved, the individual may then exercise actions to asset themself and gain followers. This is usually done with graded exposure and behaviour experimentation.
    • Most of the human population functions normally, meaning that they are self-actualised. They know what they want, their purpose, and how to achieve it. Gaining compassion with others (interdependence) is a large part of their goal. Often, however, they must compete with others to achieve their goal.
    • A moderate percentage of humans are dysfunctional occasionally. A short course of CBT will restore their function.
    • A small percentage of humans are dysfunctional for an extended time.
    • The small percentage also use CBT to attempt to restore self-actualisation. However, though they too desire compassion with others, they are perpetually unable to achieve it.
    • a) They are unable to self-assess their personality and goals.
    • b) They are unable to effectively identify and manage emotions.
    • c) They are unable to integrate socially and sub-ordinate others to their goals.
    • Therefore, their life goal is independence, not interdependence. They do achieve compassion but it is intellectual, intangible, and with nature rather than other humans.
  25. Summer Rose
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Summer Rose avatar
    1727 posts
    18 April 2022 in reply to P12

    Hi P12

    I really admire your perseverance to better understand yourself and improve your mental health.

    From your recent posts it seems that you are learning a lot. Thank you for sharing and letting us know how you are getting on.

    I really hope the process and exploration is beneficial to you.

    Kind thoughts to you

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.


Sign me up