The police, your friend
After my in-law horror story I was advised by a police inspector to seek help at a center for general welfare, which to be honest I had never heard of before. He described it as 'a place where you can go explain your problems and they will help you solve them'. I didn't have the courage to go on my own as being depressed had led to severe social anxiety, so my sister dropped me off and that's where my journey started.
I told my story, sobbing in front of a woman I didn't know and was, immediately, referred to a center for mental health care. At this point I had dropped out of school, been a stay at home girlfriend for a year, had no job, no future plans and I was so utterly miserable I wanted to die. The lady listened carefully, took notes and explained to me how she was going to contact professionals that would be able to give me the appropriate care, for free or a fee way lower than professionals with a private practice. I was very relieved she was the person who was going to make all the arrangements and appointments. She also checked on me for 2 or 3 times after that, calling me once a week, which was very comforting and on top of that something I could hold onto.
I don't know how long I had to wait for an appointment but eventually I had an 'intake chat' with a psychotherapist. I'm not sure why, but I ended up going back for an interview two times after that. In the beginning I was very annoyed, the people working there seemed so disorganized. I was told they would already know a little bit about me from the lady I went to talk to at the welfare center and instead they didn't know, or either pretended they didn't know, anything. I was asked to present myself, talk about my issues and say what my expectations were. Even though I could not put anything into perspective at that time I was very aware of what was going on with me, so my answer was: if I knew who I were, knew about my underlying issues and what I expected from anything I do, I wouldn't be here.
The psycho bitch
The second person I was referred to, for another interview in the same center, was a psychiatrist. She didn't only make me wait for almost an hour, she also approached me the wrong way: really picking and choosing the direction of the conversation, blaming people, pointing fingers and passionately disagreeing with my biotarian upbringing. The worst part was that I felt like she tried to put words in my mouth, trying to make me say things that were/are not true. I was told I was in urgent need of therapy and advised to be taken care of in a psychiatric ward, as they couldn't give me therapy themselves because of a long waiting list. I'd be able to get in the ward immediately and have intense therapy sessions. I was so upset about that interview and the psychiatric ward proposal that I contacted my GP. I thought the idea was a bit extreme and I needed a second opinion. Needless to say I never saw the psycho bitch again after that. Luckily my GP agreed and said the way I was treated wasn't right. I asked her to prescribe me birth control again to regulate my homone levels in the hope they might bring my mood swings to balance, and I patiently waited for a phone call from the mental health care center, to get therapy with them, for months after that. I was very nervous about it as they kinda had been bouncing me left and right, sending me to different people. I told myself that I at least had to try and that if I didn't like it I could always back off.
Therapy, does it work?
Right now I am in treatment with an actual therapist/social worker there and I feel like it's going very well. I didn't have to go over my issues all over again and any notes that are taken are not hidden, plus there's an actual conversation. I was very open about the fact that I didn't like the way my case was handled, that I have trust issues and that it's difficult for me to go there, even though I do feel comfortable once I am on site. So far I like that my therapist is able to put another light on the things I struggle with and is able to make me put things into perspective. Something I do need to share though is that once they had called me back I had overcome most of my depression myself already (which I plan on writing about as well). I decided to go through with it anyway to avoid another relapse, and really get to the bottom of this.
Do you live in Belgium, and are you having a difficult time? This is the center of welfare where I went when I needed help: if you're an adult click here, if you're a youngster click here. You can call, chat, email them, make an appointment or just drop in during visiting hours.
If you live in Belgium and you don't speak the language, this Community Help Center offers the same kind of services in English.
Q: What do you think about therapy? Do you struggle with depression and anxiety? Share it it in the commenst below!
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