Inspired by this blog article.
Its a thorny issue when you are depressed how much you let a professional tell you that there are changes you need to make in your lifestyle/circumstances.
Often when you get to a point to where you want help, one of the things you want help with is where stressors and problems lie and with working out what changes can be made – but there are some things that can’t be compromised.
For example my beloved wife’s smother is a major source of stress and heartache for both of us but my wife is determined to keep her in our lives. I respect that and any therapeutic relationship she has needs to respect that too. For me, I am not prepared to sacrifice my relationships for a therapist and thankfully I have never been asked.
Despite a perfectionist streak about a mile wide and a massive desire to please and to be loved, despite the fact I tend to blame myself for other people’s problems, even at the worst moments, even when we argued – I knew what needed to change was not having two relationships but how I approached those relationships. I was lucky because I had a counsellor who agreed.
But whilst at no point was I pressured to believe my ‘lifestyle’ was to blame I did have to spend a lot of time explaining myself.
I believe that when I started serious therapy and first talked about my ‘support network & family situation’ my counsellor thought that having 2 relationships was symptomatic of my low self-esteem, setting myself up to fail and probably more than a little odd, hell I worried about those things, but he never voiced any concerns only questions.
Some were questions about what my relationships were like for me, How was I treated? How did I cope with their feelings and jealousies? What benefits and what problems were there? All things that were about me evaluating my life and being deliberate about my choices, relevant regardless of the number of relationships I had just with a different twist.
But others were more personal or practical; questions that were born out of ignorance and confusion, not malicious or hurtful but difficult because they forced me to explain myself when I had other things on my mind.
Its not easy to manage any relationship when one (or more) party has severe depression and figuring out what you want out from your love life is a pre-requisite for good relationships for everyone so a therapist who can help you work towards a healthier, happier, honest and open life and relationships is brilliant. But that is easier to do when your therapist isn’t starting on the back foot information-wise