Ever since my marriage ended last August, I have been seeing a therapist who knows what she is doing. She is empathetic, perceptive, and always there for me when I need her. Thanks to her, I finally figured out that my lifelong melancholy was not me being ungrateful, it was a symptom of Clinical Depression. I learned that the constant ache in my chest and my hard-to-miss awkwardness in social situations were not a result of me being physically unfit or overwhelmingly shy, it was the result of Generalized Anxiety. What’s more, my constant flashbacks to unpleasant situations were not because I was living in the past but a sign that I had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Lastly, my black-and-white thinking did not make me a chronic pessimist, it only made me someone who had traits of Borderline Personality Disorder.
Yes, my therapist was able enough to diagnose me with Clinical Depression, Generalized Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and traits of Borderline Personality Disorder – all in the span of a few months. So why then was I thinking of leaving her?
The reason was simple – since the past few months, I have been feeling that we have hit a plateau. Therapy doesn’t feel—for lack of a better word—therapeutic anymore. In fact, I feel I am slowly reverting to my previous state of extreme suicidal ideation and lack of motivation to get anything done. Somehow, I just don’t feel that she and I are a good fit anymore. I am afraid that if I continue to see her, not only will my progress be stalled, but I will also deteriorate to a point of no return. I know, I know. That’s probably my anxiety responsible for this dramatic line of thought, but I just cannot afford to take chances anymore. Not after what happened to me yesterday for the first time in years.
Yesterday, I had a severe anxiety attack while standing in a queue to deposit some cash at the bank. Within minutes, I passed out without much warning. A lot of water had to be sprinkled on my face to revive me, and I felt weak and shaky for hours after the attack. When I went home and spoke with my neighbor and sister’s friend who also happens to be a psychologist, she asked me about my medication and how my therapy sessions were going. When I told her that both had been pretty much ineffective for several months, she suggested I consult a new doctor instead. And as soon as she said that, I felt that she was right. It was high time I put my wellbeing ahead of everything else and see another psychologist and/or psychiatrist instead. Soon after, I booked an appointment for the next day with the doctor recommended by my neighbor. And I did so without letting my current therapist know, which is why I now feel as if I am cheating on her by seeing someone else behind her back. The least I could do is let her know, right?
My guilt notwithstanding, I know that what I am doing is nothing wrong. Although my therapist feels a lot like a friend because of the personal feelings and incidents that I let her in on, at the end of the day, she and I are strictly in a professional relationship.
I am seeing her only so that we can work together to overcome my mental health issues. It is therefore not unethical if I visit a new therapist while I am still consulting my old therapist. Or for that matter, even seeing both therapists at the same time is fine, which I recently learned is something people actually do.
As I get ready for my appointment today, I am full of hope and apprehension. Oddly enough, I intend to tell my new therapist that I am still seeing my current therapist. Maybe it is my mind’s twisted way of trying to be loyal to my ‘almost’ friend. If everything goes well with the new one, I intend to consult both of them for a while and then decide which one to pick. Even if things go downhill at my appointment today, I am not too worried. Because who knows, maybe seeing someone new might make me realize that my current therapist is the right fit for me after all.