Hello Eagerlearner. I am probably the person with the different experience, since for me, while I have nothing abundently against professional therapy, that was the bit which didn't work.
firstly, as for what decided me to change, well it began when i was 25 in 2007. I knew I'd been gang raped as a teenager, but that was fine I was over that right? I kept on telling myself that quite successfully, not atributing my fear of crowds, my panic reactions at being in any state of undress, not the least my total lack of any sort of relationship, my genophobia or any other of my reactions to this, since that was ten years ago and I was alright?
It was my attempt however to break my own pattern and this time when i fell in love with a girl, another female friend as it happened, to actually be more forward than I would ever considder being. Bare in mind "forward" in this case meant taking and holding her hand. I tried this, and it didn't end up working out. So I'd put aside all my! barriers for nothing. needless to say i cried for pretty much 24 hours solid, and at that stage I decided that no, my abuse was not particularly over and dealt with.
My parents (who weren't involved in the abuse as it happened at school), were too close to really talk to about anything, so we mutually decided on therapy, ---- unsurprising considdering my dad before he retired was a community psychiatric nurse. I had a couple of sessions with a private psychodinamic counseller, but that didn't work out as expected both because she seemed more keen on looking into the fact that I was born prematurely, and also that she didn't really have a use for what I was saying. The only really good thing about that therapy was my chance to talk to someone.
After a few sessions I found that my university had a counselling service and started with them, since my parents would no longer have to foot the bill for that, ---- but since the uni service was basically much more about exam stress than anything else, that didn't work hugely well and after a few weeks they passed me over to the charity relate who dropped my case, that is they said "they'd get back to me" and proceeded to promptly forget about me.
Weerdly enough the closest thing I had! to therapy was from a friend of mine who happens to have a masters in humanistic counselling, ---- a lady I know in her fifties who is also a doctor of chemistry, several phone calls to her helped, though that wasn't so much therapy, more talking to a person who happened to be a lot older than me and very ensiteful.
Probably the most helpfull things I found to do were firstly talk on ms, since being across the internet it is impersonal enough to be easy, but personal enough to help, then reducing my phd from full time to part time since this meant all those days when i was literally! unable to work, I wasn't having to force myself as there were times when I'd write three pages of my thesis, take one look at it and due to my intensive self disgust delete the hole thing.
I also started several commitments just so that I had somewhere to go each week, for example I began attending lectures in a subject other than mine.
I did try medication which helped to a limited extent, not that it reduced what was happening, but just because it limited the affects slightly so that I wasn't knocked out for quite as long a period, though after a year on that I felt I could stop.
Most of the best things I did however were coping mechanisms and methods of understanding I developed entirely alone, or by talking on this site. For example, I got to realize that pretty much all I needed to do o get through bad points was be persistant, that everything goes in waves and cycles and all i had to do was slog on through the bad parts. This isn't hope or good expectations for the future, it is just the recognition that nothing lasts forever.
I also know that while I am a natural intravert, isolation can become a drug. Spending a weekend alone is one thing, ---- but spending over a week without seeing the sky is quite another. Much as I don't particularly like to admit it, I had to realize that I do need people occasionally, and that the worse I'm feeling the more I'll be inclined to be alone.
I'd imagine if someone who was married was doing this, it could be pretty hard on the other party, indeed I think my parents probably got spared this because I was obviously living alone in my flat.
I also now know that my own judgement of myself and anything I do is intrinsically flawed, simply because I am not a reliable critic of my own actions. Whether writing, singing (soemthing else that is important to me), or even my personal appearence, I just know! I will believe anything I do to be rubbish or my appearence uggly. Thus I simply do not take any notice of my own self assessments at all, since I know where I am concerned I'm ridiculously biased.
These sorts of insites however were not things I particularly got easily, and took a lot of slogging through rubbish to find, since whether or not a person has! professional therapy, there really isn't a particularly easy way to deal with this sort of thing other than go through it.
heck, even though now I admit myself I'm far better, that I'm not in a constant depression, I still have my phobic reactions, and I still have odd days, I just understand them a hole lot more.
I hope some of this is helpfull.