I remember the first therapist I worked with very well. She was an older woman with a petit frame. Back than I was 15 years old, I was feeling sad, depressed and had a lot of trouble to give words to my feelings.
It didn't click with her at all. There were awkward silences all the time and I didn't felt comfortable being there. It's so important to have a connection with the person who can help you fight your depression. I now realize that I wasted precious time and energy working with a psychologist or psychotherapist where I didn't feel safe and heard.
Feel safe and connectedThe best therapists I worked with were my last two 'helpers'. The first one was a woman my age with whom I got in contact with in my twenties when I developed a depression out during my first job. What was important to me was that we were on the same level, it was an equal 'relationship'. When I was younger I felt a lot of distance between me as a teenager and the mature or grown up therapists.
But with this woman I felt a connection. She really listened to me and helped me focus on the bottlenecks in my life that had influence on my depression. Cognitive behavior therapy really helped me a lot. I was able to talk about practical problems and my therapist would help me find solutions for them. Changing my thought patterns was an essential part for me to get stronger and develop mechanisms to stop myself from sliding down a negative spiral.
The last therapist I worked with was also a woman, a few years older than me and and a mom as well. What I found helpful is that she asked me a lot of questions to help me understand what I was feeling and how these feelings originated. Having someone who listens to you without judging is essential. You have to feel safe, heard and connected to begin your healing proces.
Health care insuranceFinding help for your problems can be difficult when your health care insurance doesn't cover those expenses. Here in Holland basic health care changes every year. I remember there was a time when my therapy wasn't covered by my insurance. I was a high school student back than (I did a special course for grown-ups to get my high school diploma). For 45 minutes of therapy I'd get a bill for E 80,- dollars. My parents were divorced and our financial situation at home wasn't good.
That was a very hard time. I knew I needed the help but couldn't really afford it.
So make sure you know what costs are covered by your health insurance.
Waiting list mediation
Having to wait for help when you finally take the step to work on yourself is awful. I remember when I finally had the courage to ask for help I was placed on a waiting list for 6 months. Your health insurance can be a big help when it comes to waiting list mediation. When I was seeking help for the depression I was fighting during my first job I was told the waiting list for psychological help was so long it would take months to get an appointment for the first intake session.
I called my health insurance to ask if they could help me out. They helped me by checking the waiting lists of several psychologists and they actually found me one were it would only take a few weeks for me to get help. I was so glad I called!
I learned that you can always ask and you might just get what you want.
Time and place
When you're still in school or working it's also important to plan your therapy sessions on a time convenient for you. Make sure you find out beforehand on what days your therapist is available.
When I was in therapy while I was working I tried to plan my sessions at the end of the day as much as possible. When you had an intense session it's nice to be able to go home and reflect instead of getting back to work. Some therapist even offer evening office hours.
The last advice I want to give you is time. Starting your journey towards healing is the hardest. You have to be ready and willing to work on your problems. You have to do it for you and not because someone is forcing you to take action.
There is a song from a band which really helped me with their music to connect my feelings to words.
It can feel safe to stay in that dreaded depression because facing your feelings and problems is frightening.
To read more about my battle with depression click here