Dear Dr. Darcy:
I’ve been on antidepressants since last year but it hasn’t helped. Now I’m starting to get anxiety and my doctor wants to give me medication for that but I don’t want to just keep taking medications because at some point I want to be off them. Do you think I should try therapy?
You should have had a referral for a therapist in your hand by the end of your first appointment with your doctor. That you weren’t told to go directly to a therapist’s office tells me that your MD is a quack – someone who either lacks the skills to treat you or who’s business model is reliant on you staying ill.
Yes, it’s time to find a therapist. For sure. Particularly if you ever hope to stop popping those ineffective pills. It just makes sense, right? How can you stop taking medication if you aren’t a) therapeutically processing the issues that caused your depression/anxiety, and b) being taught coping strategies to increase your peace and happiness? Pills alone are not the answer.
In addition to therapy, you want to start changing other areas of your life. Make sure you’re exercising at least 3 times weekly (cardio / 30 minutes or more), increase water intake to half your body weight in ounces daily, make sure you’re taking a good multivitamin, start a gratitude journal and reach out to friends weekly to stop the isolation that so often accompanies depression and anxiety. Because as wonderful as it is that you’re willing to enter therapy, at some point you want to be able to stop that as well – and you’ll only be able to do that if you’ve created a lifestyle that is supportive of you physical and mental health. Email me for names of therapists firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer's Stats: Female, lesbian.