Welcome to the Mood Disorders Forum. Questions in this forum are being answered by Peter Forster, MD and topics covered are anxiety, bipolar, depression, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and stress.
I've been diagnosed - by a psychiatrist - with Social Anxiety Disorder. I've been taking Lexapro for almost 2 months - started on 10 mg and the dosage was up to 20 mg two weeks ago. Also, for the last 3 months I've been speaking every week or two with a licensed professional counselor. My main problem is associating with people that are close to my age range, I'm 26. Honestly, I've never been on a date, I avoid hanging out with past friends - basically, all I really enjoy doing is staying at home alone. Well, I'm not sure I really enjoy that because, really, nothing seems to make me happy. I do work a full-time job and feel comfortable there - as far as anxiety goes - but am not happy at all. I feel stuck in a rut right now, actually I've been in it for 10 years. Anyway, I'm feeling frustrated because I'm not sure that the counseling is really proceeding where it is going to really benefit me. Sure, she listens to me whine and complain about my problems, and she does help me sort through feelings but she is not doing anything to really help me with the social anxiety. This is all new to me, as I've never seen a counselor before, but shouldn't she be at least trying to get me to do things out of my comfort zone/ We haven't discussed any sort of plans for how we are going to continue on with therapy. I guess I would just feel more confident and ready to work if I knew she had a plan in place that she could share with me. Maybe then I would feel more confident that she has experience dealing with this type of issues. Am I being unreasonable? I don't want to bring up this issue with her because I don't want her to feel as though I'm telling her how to do her job. Should I continue going to her or look for someone else? The thing is, I really do enjoy talking to her but then again I just am glad to have anyone really listen to me. I don't know what do to.
Yes I think she should be working with you on expanding your range of comfort by doing some things that seem a challenge now. What I would do is ask her that question directly, if you haven't done so, and see what she says. Sometimes therapists don't want to push people that they like and that doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't good therapists.
Thanks for your response. Her thinking initially was that she wanted to wait a bit for the medication to take effect because I was having a ton of anxiety. It's not just social situations bothering me as I have been having some health issues that have me worried. In fact, when I first went to her, I thought I was dying of some undiagnosed illness - actually, it was acid reflux. After having no health problems my entire life I've had surgery to remove my gallbladder, diagnosed with acid reflux, and now, for the last 4 months I've been dealing with sinus/ear issues. My doctor, after several courses of antibiotics and nasal sprays, just prescribed steroids and if that doesn't work is going to refer me to an ENT. I have fluid building up behind my ears causing them to ache sometimes even when I swallow.
I don't know why these things keep happening to me as I eat healthy, am just a few pounds overweight but not much, and I get a decent amount of exercise. Now, my counselor says that first we need to get my medical issues resolved because they are stressing me out. In the meantime, like I said before, she listens to me complain - I guess it does help - but we are not working on anything. I need someone who is going to kick me in the butt, honestly. She seems to just go along with whatever I am saying. I've probably had 8 or 9 sessions with her in the past 3 months. Initially she said we needed to get a better handle on the anxiety. Then, the health issues weren't bothering me as much but have only started nagging me more the last 2 weeks. Now, she wants to get that resolved before we work on social anxiety issues. I don't know what to do! What do you think?
Not exactly. I guess I just expected her to decide that. I really think I would like to go to someone else. In my opinion, I need someone that is going to push me. In my last session with my counselor, I told her that I was upset over an assignment I had due for a college class I'm taking. It was just an online introductory assignment in which I was asked to share info including my hopes and dreams with my fellow classmates. Even though it was online I still have a huge fear of people judging me and not feeling like I communicate as well as others do through writing. Anyway, her solutions was for me to just drop the class if I didn't want to do that. I couldn't really believe she would say that given that it's the first class I've taken in 3 years, she seemed supportive of my decision to take a class the week before, as I told her I thought it would be good for me to have something to occupy my mind. I guess it just wasn't what I wanted to hear from her. It's, undoubtedly, ridiculous of me to be upset because I didn't hear what I wanted to. She knows how badly I want to finish college. Anyway, I didn't take her advice and managed to complete the assignment. Feeling pretty good about myself where as if I would've listened to her, I would not. Honestly, I'm just so confused about everything.
I don't think she should have said that either. Therapists are not there to tell you what to do - give you some options, but not just suggest that you quit before you start. If anything, she should have asked to explore those feelings further so she can better understand where you are coming from. She is working for you (not the other way around) so you need to let her know what you need from her. If you are not getting it, you should ask her to suggest someone else. A therapist is there to help you, and if things are not working out should be happy to help you find someone else.
That said, therapists are just people like you and I, and can get caught up in the here and now too. She may not recognize that your anxiety is better because she is caught up in what you are telling her about it. Don't be afraid to let her know your thoughts about your therapy sessions.
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