A counselor’s main responsibility is to be there to help end your negative thinking, and get you back on track towards positivity. So what happens when they reinforce the negative thinking? Unfortunately I’ve had this experience.
Okay, a bit of truth first. He wasn’t just a “friend”, he was my boyfriend.
Hopefully I don’t lose to many followers due to being homosexual, but it is what it is. It’s who I am.
I was, and will always be upfront and honest about my struggles with mental illness with a person I date. If I’m not it could lead to an even bigger mess when the monsters rear their big, ugly personalities. Unfortunately this means putting myself out there in ways that other people don’t have to. It means revealing something major about myself and answering any questions that they have, even if it makes me uncomfortable.
This was no different with Josh. I was honest and upfront with him about what I was suffering from. I made it clear that I was aware that at times dealing with me was difficult, but the one thing that I wanted most was for him to be upfront and honest about how he was feeling. I would remind him, I would ask him if everything was okay, if there was anything that he wanted to talk about. He always responded with everything was fine, and he didn’t want to talk about anything.
He made his mistakes, and I made mine. His mistakes struck me to the core. He used words so powerful and hurtful to me that I don’t know if I will ever fully recover from them. We had our arguments and I worked like hell to put the past behind us. I struggled everyday with those inner demons.
Everything was fine for him, until one day it wasn’t. I got that text “we need to talk” and within a second my heart was about to beat out of my chest. I could feel every heart beat thinking it would be my last. The pain was real. The panic was surreal.
We had that “talk” and it was over in the blink of an eye. I was blindsided. Suddenly all of his promises were a series of lies.
The next few months were a series of highs and lows, ups and downs, on again off again between us. We decided that we would try couples counseling through an app called Regain.Us. That’s when things took a turn for the worse for me.
I already had my personal counselor and I was about to throw someone new into the mix. Someone that I didn’t know, and wasn’t completely comfortable with. I was willing to go for it though. What could I lose?
I could lose a lot apparently.
She quickly told Josh that he wasn’t responsible for my feelings, and that became he new favorite line, along with “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
She forgot to tell him that he needed to take responsibility for his words and actions. That any normal human being is going to feel hurt when they are cheated on or they’re told “your not attractive”, “you meant nothing to me”, “I enjoyed none of it”, or “he’s troubled”.
Everything, all of the stress related to our relationship, the uncertainty about what we actually were from day-to-day, if Josh was going to leave that day or not, was quickly taking it’s toll on my mental health and I quickly spiraled back into those suicidal thoughts. I was admitted to another mental health unit trying to deal with everything flashing through my mind. I had no control anymore.
She eventually told him I was abusive, and there it was, the ammo that my depression and anxiety needed. Even though she had never met me, didn’t know who I really was, she made that call about me based on what she had heard, not the facts. She later retracted that statement, but it didn’t matter. My depression had it, and it held onto it.
Suddenly I was reminding myself over and over that a counselor thinks I’m abusive. Nobody could stop it. I was constantly telling myself that I’m a horrible person and had no reason to live. The world would be better off without me. Everything that my depression and anxiety fed me up until this point, all the psychological abuse that I went through as a child, it was all right.
I went in and out of mental health units until finally they just asked what I was doing there and sent me home the next day. The doctors told me I just needed to be happy, and keep working with my therapist. It didn’t matter that I had the plan laid out. It didn’t matter that if I tried to carry out that plan, I would be gone. It didn’t matter that I had all the materials for that plan at my disposal, and they just gave me more. It didn’t matter that I kept crying out for help and telling them that I hated myself so badly that I didn’t want to be here anymore. None of it mattered, and my depression just had more ammo given to it.
It continued with Josh. One day he was leaving, and the next he was telling me there was no way he could leave. I was so confused. We talked, he placed his hand on my leg and told me to talk to him, but it didn’t matter because the next day he was gone again.
We got a new relationship counselor and things blew up in my face. One day Josh is telling me that he wants to be part of my support system, and the next day he is telling me to never talk to him again. My depression and anxiety reached a peak.
One day I used the NotOk app and sent out an alert to trusted contacts that the thoughts were consuming my mind once again. I was standing on that ledge looking over, thinking that the bottom wasn’t so scary after all. It was going to be painless, and the rest of my pain was going to melt away. It was going to be over. The anxiety and depression were controlling my mind, and what they wanted me to do would be my last action.
Within seconds my phone blew up. One person left the movie theater, another was shopping and dropped it all. Josh though, he chose to ignore it. The first time I’ve used it, and I vowed to only use it before I was about to carry out a plan.
The people who did respond talked me down from that ledge. They calmed me as much as they could, but my depression and anxiety were still boiling over. I logged into the relationship counseling app and said what I needed to.
The counselor responded with a relationship needing communication and I tried to explain to him that is what I’ve wanted, but Josh was not interested in communication. Whenever I communicated something to Josh, he would use it against me the next day.
That wasn’t good enough for the counselor and I quickly became frustrated that he wasn’t listening to me. Instead, he told me that I was aggressive and toxic. He told me that Josh had every reason to not want to talk to me if this is how I acted.
More ammo for the depression and anxiety. This was all it needed. I had suffered for years telling myself that I wasn’t worth this life, and I just had two counselors tell me how horrible I really was. It didn’t matter what other people said at this point.
The next time I attempted, I had to be held down and pushed back. I didn’t want anyone or anything to stop me from carrying out my plan. I just kept telling myself how horrible I was.
Two bad counselors costed me years of professional therapy. Their words and actions cut deep and now it seems as though my counselor is trying to convince me of the opposite all over again as I sit there and tell him how bad of a person I am.
Let this be a lesson to everyone reading this, just because someone is a professional, doesn’t mean that they are the right professional for you. The thought of having to “shop around” for counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists is scary. Hell, just going and finding one is scary, but don’t be afraid to tell them they aren’t the right one for you if you don’t feel comfortable with them. Don’t be afraid to tell them that they just aren’t working out for you. If they are a true professional, they will understand.
Just like the wrong medication can have negative side effects, the wrong professional can have negative side effects on you. Don’t just “go with the flow” when it comes to your care. It’s yours, own it.