How long does therapy take?

I started my recovery from sexual abuse more than 2 decades ago, with the help of a therapist. Before that, I had been reading psychology and self help books for a few years, looking for answers already in my adolescence.

At the time, one of my most pressing question was: how long will my recovery take before I feel better ?

What I wanted is to be over and done with as soon as possible, as something I could cross on my to do list. I wanted to move on. I would have loved someone to tell me, you know, it is going to take two years, two years and a half, max. Then you can go on and live a normal life.

Fast forward to now, coming back from a few weeks of holidays: wether I like it or not, it is never over and done with. My recovery is still happening now, even when I decide that it is not because I’m on holidays and I’d like to relax.

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Signs you are depressed

Depression from the inside

This first post on depression described its diagnostic criteria. It’s more of an external point of view, very useful to understand quickly if someone suffers from the Black Dog. It’s also very interesting for doctors and clinical psychologists exchanging information about a patient or clinical studies.

But these standardized descriptions do not tell what depression feels like from the inside. And I believe sharing this inner experience is important. It’s easier for us to relate to emotions and thoughts than to a DSM 5 list of symptoms.

Most of us spend a lot of time and energy criticizing what we believe are our character traits (along the lines of : stop being so sensitive, lazy, procrastinating…), not realizing that they are classical symptoms of a disease.

And it is true the distinction is difficult to see especially when we have been living with depression for a long time, sometimes from early childhood.

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Are you depressed ? (the quiz)

How I met depression

I spent my 17th year like many other young women: obsessed with a young man. Unfortunately, the guy was showing no interest. At all.

At the time, I still believed that I could change someone else’s feelings with unlimited love, patience, and sheer persistence – I’m sighting as I’m writing this, but well, you know, I was 17.

And then, the inevitable happened: nothing. The guy continued showing no interest. But my obsession turned into a nighmare, and I was getting worse. At some point, I had the distinct impression I was going crazy.

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Me too: what is sexual violence ?

Stranger violence

My friend Sara always stayed in her home country, France. For reasons she never articulated, she did not like the idea of travelling abroad. It was not a real problem for her though, and she organised her life around it.

One day, Sara was promoted. Part of her new responsibilities included travelling abroad. Before her first trip, anxieties mounted to an almost unbearable level. When the day came though, her business trip web very smoothly, and she came back relaxed and satisfied.

This episode triggered some self reflexion: why was it initially such a problem for her ? She remembered that as a yound adult, she travelled to North Africa with a few other friends. The whole time, the group of girls had been harrassed by unsolicited, insistent and intrusive male attention. Some nights, it was impossible to sleep because of the never ending ringing at their doors. Sara realised that her anxiety at the idea of travelling appeared after this unfortunate first experience.

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