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Struggling with Therapy
I just joined up today because I've been feeling extremely overwhelmed lately. I moved to Australia from America about 2 years ago. My anxiety and depression have been pretty severe since then, and I suspect I might also have body dysmorphia and ptsd though I've never been diagnosed. I don't have much of a support system here. I have my husband, but no other family or friends. I also have no idea how health care (or anything, really) works here. I feel so lost and confused. It's like I've been drowning.
I started to see a therapist who I found online not long ago for video sessions. We had about 4 or 5 sessions and long story short, she became more and more unprofessional until she just didn't call me for a session we had scheduled, and she stopped replying to my e-mails altogether. I have no idea why. It's very frustrating and confusing. I don't want to let this discourage me from seeking the help I need, but I'm worried this will happen again, and I really don't want to relive the things I've already opened up about in therapy.
I'm not even sure how much more help I can afford. My husband has been struggling to support us. I have no car, no job, and the savings I had left after moving here are already dwindling from the few sessions I've had. I just don't know what to do. I apologize for the long post, and I'm also sorry if some of this was a bit incoherent. As I said, I'm very overwhelmed, and I've been having trouble articulating.
Thank you for reading!
I’m so sorry this happened with your therapist. It’s hard enough to reach out for help without being let down in such an unprofessional way. I hope you won’t let it discourage you though - there are so many good psychologists out there. My one is a real gem and has made a huge difference in my life. I was wondering if the therapist you were in contact with is properly Australian accredited? I believe psychologists here have to be registered with the Psychology Board of Australia and you can check their registration on their website:
I know getting help can be expensive and you mentioned this is an issue. I was wondering if you’re entitled to Medicare here? If you are you can ask your GP for a Mental Health Care Plan that will entitle you to free sessions with a psychologist, 10 times per year.
It must be confusing not knowing how the medical system works here. It might be worth getting in touch with the Beyond Blue helpline on 1300 22 4636 or their online chat service as they can give you information that’s most relevant to your local area and situation.
I want you to know that you’re not alone and being very brave for reaching out here. Your situation sounds pretty tough and being let down like that when you needed help I’m sure has nothing to do with you, but is surely their own issue. Please don’t let it stop you because you deserve to be supported.
My wife is also from the US, and has had some similar issues living in Australia, which have fortunately improved. She had a lot of issues with some psychiatrists, both in the US and one in Australia, who were often doing more harm than good (such as putting her on medication that causes weight gain and then telling her she's fat, which she isn't at all).
Fortunately as she has improved, she no longer requires any medication, but has still been seeing a therapist who she met through the Beyond Blue program, and they have been amazing (I'm not sure if I'm allowed to recommend specific people or not, so I won't send their details unless the mods say it's all right). If you haven't already done it though, I highly recommend the Beyond Blue program in general, as it can be very helpful in many different ways.
Personally, I think the most important thing in a therapist is someone who genuinely cares and has empathy for people. Dealing with ones who barely seem to remember who you are each session and have no connection can really get to you. I wish I could give some secret formula for finding the perfect one, but unfortunately I think it's just trial and error. Any time you end up with someone who is a bad fit for you, don't hesitate to let them know it isn't working out and try someone else.
Lastly, make sure to give yourself enough credit. It's easy to think that you should be doing better, but you have already shifted to the other side of the world, which is a huge, huge change and achievement. It's good to try to keep on improving a little bit each day, but also take a bit of time each day to congratulate yourself on all the things you have done and are doing, no matter how small they may seem. For some people, just getting out of bed in the morning is a big thing, and if that's the case, they should congratulate themselves, and maybe they will even get something else done, and slowly grow to do more and more.
Or for other people, they might make $900k in a year and then beat themselves up because it wasn't a million. No matter how amazing it is to one person, it's a failure to another. At the same time, what may be a terrible failure to one person might be an amazing success to another.
Getting things organized financially in a new country can be extremely hard, and honestly my wife and I are in a similar situation. At the same time I think far, far more people are in the same situation than we often realize.
And as a matter of fact, I do have access to Medicare now. We should really look into that, 10 free sessions a year would be extremely helpful. Thank you for the info!
It's horrible that your wife had so much trouble with her psychiatrists, I can't believe they would treat her so horribly. It's good to hear her situation is improving though. I'm glad she found a good fit.
I'll try to be less hard on myself, because you're right, I really don't give myself enough credit for all the hard work it took to get here. Thank you for that.