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Is therapy making me worse?

Community Member
I'm in my early 30's and have had some form of depression and anxiety ever since a teenager. I grew up in a household that provided materialistically but I don't have any memories of affection or hugs and have an incredibly critical parent. I've never really had a relationship and have had counselling for the past couple of years to help me get past this. However I feel that i'm not at the lowest point i've ever been. I hardly see friends as they are all in relationships and many now have children. My family live far away and visiting them is so stressful that I know the distance is for the best. I have tried online dating and have been on a lot of dates but I don't ever feel a connection and none have lead anywhere and now I get feelings of anxiety even just opening up the online dating app. I feel as though therapy has made me aware of my problems and now I feel so broken that I've lost all hope. I spend so much time alone and the thought that this is the rest of my life is crushing me. Has anyone else experienced getting much worse after having therapy and do you get past it?
5 Replies 5

Community Member

Hi SquarePeggie. Welcome to the forums. Growing up the way you did probably made you feel a bit unsure with relationship issues. Relationships are not always 'black and white' either. With therapy, quite often, the hardest part is facing yourself too. Trying to put into practise what the therapy is teaching is difficult too especially when what you think might happens - doesn't. We build up in our mind conversations we would like to have with dating or therapy and we don't get the opportunity to have the conversations, so the confusion builds till we lose hope and stop dating or therapy. With the therapy, I would suggest you have a talk with your therapist, explain how you feel so broken and, if possible, what's making you feel this way. It's like taking AD's, till they 'kick in' and you feel better, you go through a multitude of emotions. Please keep seeing your therapist, tell him/her about the online dating situation. Perhaps you could ask the therapist to help you with the dating situation, like role-playing. You should start feeling more positive as you become more relaxed with your therapist. If, after a while, you still feel unsure re: your therapist, could you see your Dr (I presume it was through his/her referral initially) ask about another referral.


Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi SquarePeggie,

I have experienced getting worse after therapy. I thought that finally getting help would mean I would start getting better. I had an expectation that if I worked hard at getting better that I would see results and when my efforts didn't match my results it made me feel helpless. It's like taking 1 step forward and falling 2 steps back. I'm still working on trying to feel better but I do think I have at least learned some valuable skills from the therapy.

I hope you can find some friends to spend time with. Have you tried contacting your friends that are in relationships to re-connect? Would signing up to a team sport or volunteering be an option for you to meet new people? If you feel anxiety opening up the dating app it sounds like there's a lot of pressure on yourself to find a relationship, perhaps meeting people as friends could be more relaxed for you, if you find someone you feel a connection with then think about dating.

Thanks for your reply. I do contact my friends but if I'm not the one initiating it then I hardly hear from them. I am so envious of their lives too that part of me doesn't want to see them and hear about how happy they are. I feel like I'm on the sidelines, which is what I thought seeing a psychologist would help me with - engaging in life, meeting a partner, having a family but instead after years of therapy nothing has changed and I'm more alone and miserable than ever.

I agree that I've learnt some valuable skills and I understand myself a lot better but it hasn't translated into a change in my life.

Are you still in therapy?

I am still still in therapy, been going for less time than you so I'm not the best person to comment on how to get past the feeling worse after therapy, but I'm sure there are others here who have. I can relate to everything you're saying, I wish I could give you some better advice and then I could use it as well 🙂

I get the feeling from my friends that they would prefer to be around someone who's more lively rather than me and sometimes I get frustrated spending time with happy people because I wish I could feel like that too.

This is exactly how I feel! I was encouraged through therapy to be more open with my friends and let them in, so I did and now I hardly ever hear from them. I not saying that the two are related but I guess that I am taking their distance more personally as they know how hard I am finding things. I expected that I might get a "how are you" text even if they're too busy to catch up, but I don't get that. So I'm not sure if I'm too much of a downer now that I've taken off my mask of being happy or if it's just circumstantial.

I have also lost all faith in my own judgement with dating, seeing a psychologist has made me lose confidence in my own thoughts or feelings as though nothing I know is true. So now have more people to be envious of - those whose family didn't leave them totally unequipped to deal with intimacy 😞

I think the best advice is from Lynda above and that is to tell the psychologist how much worse it has made me feel.