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Blog: Blog2

Jesse (19)

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

*Jesse first came to see me a couple of years ago on a recommendation from his GP. Jesse had seen LOTS of therapists & mental health professionals prior to meeting me. In fact, Jesse had been in & out of mental health treatment since the age of 12.

When I met Jesse it was obvious he was feeling incredibly hopeless. Jesse recounted his experiences with mental health treatment & how things had not gotten better- in fact they had gotten worse in many ways.

Jesse had a complicated family dynamic & felt a lack of support from his parents. Both Jesse's parents were dealing with their own mental health issues & had little capacity to help him.

Jesse reported feeling judged by many health professionals in the past, & that none of them could really help him. Jesse had a number of hospital admissions for self harm, but felt that the hospital staff didn't want him there & felt like he was taking up a bed that could be used by someone more 'deserving'. His self-worth got worse every time he had an experience like this.

Jesse was struggling with self harm & suicidal thoughts when I first met him. He could not imagine living past the age of 20, because he felt so hopeless. Jesse was having panic attacks almost daily & was struggling to hold down a job. Jesse did have some caring friends who were his main support- this was the only reason he was hanging on.

I knew when I met Jesse that it was going to take some time to build trust, given his bad experiences in the past. Jesse also had a firm belief that nobody could help him & that he could never feel any better. These were beliefs we slowly but surely worked on together.

Jesse & I started to explore the idea that IT WAS NOT HIM THAT WAS BROKEN- but in fact the mental health system that is broken. By recognising this, Jesse could start to feel some hope that he was not 'beyond help', but in fact he just hadn't found the RIGHT HELP for him yet.

We explored in detail his experiences in therapy in the past, & I worked with Jesse on dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) skills that worked much better than other types of therapy he had tried. These skills allowed him to build more tolerance to unpleasant emotions, & validate his emotions when helpful.

Most importantly, we started to understand how Jesse's behaviours made sense, given the distress he was dealing with. And the lack of other options being provided.

Jesse's story mirrors that of many young people I have worked with. Hopelessness & despair make sense when their attempts to get help are met with not the right kind of help. It is never the client who fails in therapy- it is the therapy that sometimes fails. This simply means they need to access a different type of therapy, until they find the one that does work for them.

Jesse & I got to work together for a couple of years & it was a joy to see him begin to like himself again. His increased confidence & sense of self-worth resulted in every part of his life improving. Thank goodness Jesse didn't give up & was willing to keep trying!

If you identify with Jesse, or know someone struggling with similar issues, encourage them to keep reaching out for help until they find the right help:)

*Names & identifying details have been changed to protect privacy

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