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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I'm based in the U.K. For the past 5 and a half years I have

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Hello. My name is ***** ***** I'm based in the U.K. For the past 5 and a half years I have suffered on and off with depression, anger and paranoia. I say 'on and off' because I haven't always been feeling low or paranoid for the entirety of this period. My symptoms have always come from events that have happened that have been both significant and, in my opinion, a big disaster. In March 2006 my Mother was diagnosed with Cancer. This triggered a period of depression. This was treated, in my opinion, fairly successfully. My GP at the time sent me for a course of psychotherapy which I felt relieved the problems somewhat. However, without warning and shortly after that therapy finished, my Mother died unexpectedly in late November 2006. I was fine for a couple of months. Then things took a turn for the worst again in around February 2007. I was put on anti-depressants and then felt a bit better by end of May. The summer passed without too much problems. I then was happy until March 2008, when I then became depressed again. From here on, I felt a lot more helpless. I went to see a counsellor, which did no good and I found her very rude, less than helpful and quite belittling. It was in this year that I really thought to myself I was bereaved. I continued to see this counsellor hoping things would improve; they didn't. She then referred me to a dedicated bereavement center in early 2010. This did help with the bereavement. However, my depression continued over other issues. At the end of 2010, I sought more help using a private life coaching service that was advertised. This is when things got really complicated. The life coach and I had a few interviews to target what I wanted to achieve from the service. We agreed a few goals and I agreed to have what is called a 'breakthrough session' on 5th Feb 2011 and 'release' the negative emotions that I find cause the above problems. This went well. We then agreed on follow up phone calls and therapy sessions to see how I'd be getting along. On 12th February another disaster occurred. In the town where I currently live I was the victim of a horrific assault and my leg was broken during the incident. I then felt like all of the work for the breakthrough session had been a waste of time. I was in hospital for a week and my mind immediately jumped to disaster and I felt that another opportunity to solve all of my problems had been wasted. I then had an operation, and spent the next 5 months recovering. During this period, the life coach and I attempted to ease my obvious trauma over the incident. Physically, I recovered very well and I now have no lasting problems with the leg. However, I did not feel that the trauma of the incident was dealt with fully by the life coach, despite our best efforts. Following my complete physical recovery from the incident, I chose to forget about the emotional problems and try and get back to normality. Since then I have had a lot of depressive thoughts and thoughts of extreme anger. I'm now at a point where I realise that I am still deeply troubled by the incident, and I want to get over it so I continue with my life on a much better path.
My question is this: I have to find a new form of counselling which will deal with this trauma successfully. What type of counselling would you recommend? Can I be referred to a decent, reliable service through this website or do I have to go back to a GP and be referred from them? If I have to go back to a GP, then what type do you think I should say I need? I ask this question as I'm too afraid of yet another counselling opportunity being wasted. Also, what medication, if any, would you recommend I get for such a problem?
Please Help.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

I am sorry you have been through so much. I can understand your distress over how you feel and your search to find an answer.

Before I can work on your answer, I wanted to ask a question. You mentioned that you feel depressed, angry and paranoid. When you say paranoid, what do you mean? Can you describe this symptom a little further?

Thank you,


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The paranoia has stemmed from after my Mother received news that she had been diagnosed with Cancer. I also had a very troubled childhood and I felt, back in March 2006, that I'd already been through my fair share of trouble and that I didn't deserve this mis-fortune. As every attempt to rectify my problems has always been followed by another further disaster, this feeling has got worse and worse. This is coupled with the fact that I have had several unsuccessful attempts at counselling and now I'm extremely paranoid about any advice given to me may not work. Also, following the assault in Feb 2011, I'm now permanentally paranoid that people are after me in this town, which is impacting on my social relationships.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Perhaps I should have detailed a bit more about the actual behaviourial traits; when I say paranoia, it is all about the thoughts I have inside my head, i.e. jumping to the conclusion that "this will not work" immediately. In addition, I have spent a few years with a problem where I will argue with friends and always see just the negatives, permanentally questioning what could possibly go wrong, and accusing friends of being against me at every opportunity.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for the additional information, Tom. It helps me get a clearer picture of your situation.

It sounds like you have been hit by one loss after another. Your mother's diagnosis, then her death, then the attack. Add to it the time spent dealing with the therapist who was rude and unhelpful, and you have good reason to feel as you do.

You mentioned that your depression begin when your mother was diagnosed. An illness such as cancer is usually a big blow to the person who is ill and the family supporting them. It changes perspectives and makes life seem fragile and fleeting. As a result of the stress, it is easy to develop problems like depression.

Once your mother passed, your feelings from before when she was diagnosed where probably brought back up again and intensified. At this point, I believe that you began to grieve the losses you had been through. The loss of your mother's health then her death felt overwhelming and hard to cope with. When the counselor did not help you, it probably made things worse.

It does sound like the bereavement center and life coach did help, at least until the attack occurred. This probably brought back your feelings of loss and depression as you experienced before. It is like you got up only to be knocked down again.

To address how you feel, the best therapy would be individual therapy with an emphasis on Cognative Behavior therapy. CBT is helpful in changing your thinking so you feel better and less depressed. Also, you need to find a therapist that is trained to help you with your specific issues.

Finding a therapist is much like finding a good doctor. You sometimes need to search to find one that you feel you can work with. Try asking your doctor for recommendations. Or ask family and friends. You can also search on line at or Some brief research and a couple of referrals should help you find someone you can work with.

And let your doctor know that you are in need of a therapist that can handle your grief issues. Be up front about what you need. That is the best way to find someone who is good.

You can also help yourself at home. Self help is a great way to get the help you need because it not only helps you learn more about why you feel they way you do, but it provides you with a variety of options. Here are some links to help you:

When considering medications, remember that they should be used to help you alleviate your symptoms until therapy can help you. Medications should not be used long term unless you feel you cannot cope.

Also, consider support groups either in person or on line. It can help to be with others who feel as you do and understand your perspective like few others can. Here is a link to help you find a group:

I hope this has helped you,

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for the further explanation of your feelings of paranoia. I do believe that your feelings are normal for what you have been through and not the clinical paranoia that occurs when someone has a serious mental health disorder.

I think it would be natural for you to feel the way you do after what you have been through. You have come to expect the worst and that is where your thoughts are right now. Someone telling you differently, especially when they have not gone through what you have been through would not help you.

I think if you are able to connect with others through a support group who understand what you have experienced and find a good therapist, you may be able to overcome the paranoia you feel that something else bad is going to happen.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for your response, there are many good points to take away from this, particularly when looking at your advice surrounding support groups, self-help, and the types of counsellors that can help. I would like to clear something up. The Psychotherapist that I saw during the summer of '06, I felt DID help me. However, as with the Life Coaching, I felt like I got up only to be knocked straight back down again. The Life Coach I found harder to understand as it always felt a bit wishy washy and a technique that I didn't really grasp properly. The bereavement counselling helped with the bereavement only, however, I do feel as if my Mother's death is something I have closure on now. It was the general counselling service more than anything that I felt was a total waste of time. Would this change your advice to me as where to go to?
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for the information.

I still believe that the right counselor is your best bet. And I say right counselor because it is tricky to find someone who can help you by offering the right amount of support along with the appropriate technique. It is not impossible by any means, though. It just takes some work to find one you feel can help. But by going to an individual therapist, you have a better chance of having your treatment tailored to your needs rather than be in a program that everyone follows together.

It also helps to check the counselors background, including education and experience. Some of the sites on line are good about giving you that information and some you have to search a little.

Referrals are also a good way to find someone. Someone else's experience really helps.

Along with the self help, groups and individual therapy, I think you can expect to feel better very soon.


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