CBT has… not had the results I would hope (and later I ended up reading academic papers that made it sound like my poor experience wasn’t unusual). I was going through the system (NHS) some time ago and it was pretty dire. Huge waiting lists for local psychiatric services and waved leaflets about doing it privately (which would have been great if I wasn’t living somewhere with unaffordable rents, a low paying job, and no spoons to do much about anything independently). As you say, the offers that did arrive seemed more volunteer based, so you’re basically reliant on friends and medication. Considering I initially just barely avoided being taken in for sustained observations (after ambulance/initial intake, I was released to care only because I had friends who said they would look after me) then it seemed my case was treated as rather unimportant when I had to see the GP and get scripts(/extended). He didn’t share my interest in finding medication that allowed me to be both functional and stable so I ended up signed off work enough that my job vanished (technically probably illegal dismissal but there was no chance of me fighting through a review and then taking it higher while still quite sick).
[TW: suicide] I ended up not finding a medication that stuck (but lots of people do and you should absolutely not think that not being medicated is somehow a goal - different things work for different people) but manage things by radically not caring (kinda radical acceptance, in the psych parlance). If I can’t do something then I don’t get into a spiral of despair about it, I accept I sometimes can’t do things. When I do have the energy and capacity I’ll do stuff but I’ll not tailspin when I can’t. Nothing’s worth that because there’s no point forcing myself beyond my capacity and killing myself. If I don’t do something what’s the worst that can happen? I lose a job - already done that and I can’t work when I’m sick/during an episode. So what’s the point of spiralling out of control with doubt, anxiety, and fear trying to force myself to get something done? I look for the signs of a panic attack and prepare myself, I know they’re coming, I ride them through, and I’m on the other side. Panic about panic attacks only makes them worse - over time they’ve gone from at least daily occurrences to some periods where they flair up and I might step back a bit and expose myself to fewer triggers and elsewhile I’m generally only getting minor twinges (a painful rush of adrenaline now and then but that’s about it).
I take every day as an extra. I got so far and then couldn’t go any further. But, in the end, I came out the other side of that so everything from here onwards is a freebie, a bonus. Anything I can do is pure positive and when I can’t then I can’t feel guilty because it’s all more than if I wasn’t here.
In the years since, I got a new degree, got a PhD, and have lectured on multiple continents. I’ve worked on cool projects, made new friends, reconnected with old ones, and learnt a lot more about who I am. I feel much better most of the time and have learnt coping techniques to manage it when I don’t.