Dr GaryTherapist

Dr. Gary McClain

Hi, I’m Dr. Gary. I am a therapist, life coach, author, and the founder of JustGotDiagnosed.com. I am looking forward to meeting you and walking along beside you on the road ahead. Let me know how I can help!

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Dr. Gary McClain is in our Depression Connect community to answer your questions.


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Featured Question

casedog
A:

Hi!

This is a really interesting question. I am familiar with light therapy for seasonal affective depression (SAD) and I have a client who uses light therapy during the winter months and has really benefited from it. I have heard that light therapy has been used in treating patients who are depressed but don't have seasonal affective disorder. One of the problems with any new treatment is that, because it is new, there isn't enough research to know how affective it is, and whether it can have harmful effects, and how it stands up against other more established treatments.

Depression affects sleep patterns, what scientists refer to as disruptions in circadian rhythm. It is my understanding that bright light can impact circadian rhythm, and elevate mood. But again, the problem has been lack of research. As a result, the question of "voodoo, pseudoscience, or legitimate," as you said so well, has not been answered. But that may be changing.

Here is a link to a recent article published in the New York Times that talks about a recent study that showed positive results for light therapy:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/06/ligh...

I suspect that we will be hearing a lot more about light therapy, and that a lot more research will be conducted regarding its potential effectiveness.

I am always interested in knowing more about potential new treatments for depression, always optimistic that we will learn about new and innovative ways to unlock this mystery and help more people to feel better. I hope that members who have experienced light therapy will check in and share their experiences.

And thank you for asking the question!

Gary

Answered By Answered by Dr GaryCA
Answered by Dr GaryCA Latest Activity April 4, 2012 at 10:28 pm Comments 1

Activity

Dr GaryCA answered klburr@outlook.com's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi klburr,

Nice to see you.

Depression is actually described as a mood disorder. But given your question, I am wondering if you are concerned that you could have a mood disorder that is characterized by both depression and manic episodes, like bipolar disorder.

You mentioned Abilify. So that tells me that you are working with a physician who has prescribed you a medication. Assuming so, then the starting place would be to sit down with your doctor and talk about your diagnosis. It's important for you to be aware of how your doctor views your symptoms and how your doctor has diagnosed you. I would also encourage you to make sure your doctor is aware of how you are feeling day to day, including your moods. If you don't feel that your regimen is helping then your doctor really needs to know this. This will help to assure that you are working together, and that you are on a regimen that is most appropriate for treating your mental illness.

You also mentioned veggies. I am assuming you are also watching your diet and trying to eat healthy. Health eating is a good thing? But again, your diet, and any expectations you have for how your diet should be impacting your symptoms, is best discussed with your doctor.

I am really sorry to hear you have also experienced cancer this past year. You have had so much to deal with. I hope you are working closely with your doctor.

Really glad you checked in. I hope you are taking good care of yourself, getting support, living a healthy lifestyle, doing what you can to keep the stress down, and working closely with your doctors. If you aren't in therapy, that could also help a lot. It's a great idea to have as much professional support as possible.

I hope you will stay in touch with us. And take good care of yourself!

Gary

January 9 at 10:49 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Lily81's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Lily,

I am not sure what you mean by mixed emotions, but I will try to give you an answer that I hope will be helpful.

I am going to assume that you are referring to what therapists call ambivalence, when someone has a range of emotions about a situation. An example might be when you are facing a change in life, like a job change, and you feel that it is good in some ways, not so good in other ways, and just plain scary. If this were the case, probably a lot of feelings might come up — excitement, fear, sadness, and others. You might describe yourself as being ambivalent, unsure as to how you really feel. If you had mixed feelings about a decision you had to make, it would probably be difficult to make the decision.

When you have mixed feelings, it can really help to sit down with yourself and a sheet of paper. Write down each of the feelings you are experiencing. And then, after each feeling, write down what you think is causing that feeling, or what images you connect with that feeling. This can help you to sort out your feelings, and get a better sense of what's going on in your mind as you evaluate the situation. You might decide that some of your feelings are based on thoughts that aren't very rational, while other feelings are the result of thoughts that you need to consider further.

The key to dealing with mixed feelings is to sort them out, taking a look at one feeling at a time. Otherwise, we have a tendency to kind of turn things into mud, and that doesn't help at all.

Talking with a therapist about your mixed feelings, gaining an objective perspective and some assistance sorting out your feelings, is something I would also recommend.

Now, if by mixed emotions you are referring to extreme highs and lows, back and forth between super excitement and super depression, then that is another issue altogether. That is definitely something to talk to a mental health professional, especially a psychiatrist, and as soon as possible.

Lily, it's nice to see you. Take good care of yourself, my friend, and stay in touch with us!

Gary

December 30 at 9:21 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered It figures's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi It figures,

Nice to see you and I am glad you checked in. Glad you are making use of technology to find supportive friends. Depression Connect is all about supporting each other, so you came to the right place.

So sorry to hear you have been having a hard time of things. Sounds like you have had a lot of difficult situations to deal with, including health problems.

Glad to hear you have a supportive husband.

If you are prescribed medication, then it is really important to stay on it. Are there any other options? Can your husband go and pick it up for you? Can you have it delivered?

Also, if you are afraid something bad could happen to you at the hospital, then I encourage you to tell you doctor that you have this fear. And also important for your doctor to know you are having trouble coping. I hope you will reach out to your doctor and let him/her know what's going on with you and that you are afraid to pick up your medication. Your doctor may be able to help, but only if you let your doctor know that you need help.

Take good care of yourself, my friend. Get help from your doctor.

And I hope you will stay in touch with us. You are not alone.

Gary

December 27 at 7:51 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Nerdynick's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Nerdynick,

Nice to see you.

Emotional numbness can be a symptom of depression, but it can also be a symptom of other conditions. So first and foremost, it's a really good idea to sit down with a mental health professional and talk about what's going on.

My clients sometimes report feelings like emotional numbness that just seem to come out of the blue. When we spend some time talking about what's been going on in their lives, they may identify a potential cause — a life event — that they hadn't considered. By taking about life, the connection becomes clear. The cause of their feelings can be something like a disappointment with a friend, stress at work, spending too much time alone, among many others. The cause can be a specific event, or a situation that has been going on for awhile and finally took its toll. And talk therapy can also help you to find your way forward.

Other times, the cause may be related to a chemical imbalance. If so, it may be necessary to consider medication for a period of time.

You might want to do some journaling about how you've been feeling not over the past month, but also in the months leading up to the past month. You might find some connection.

Again, if you are feeling this way, I really encourage you to reach out to a professional. Don't go through this alone.

Gary

December 16 at 9:52 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered fdelafuente@1952's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi fdelafuente,

Difficulty in having satisfying sex, including anorgasmia, can be related to psychological as well as physiological causes, or a combination of both. Also keep in mind that the use of antidepressants can cause anorgasmia as well.

If you are experiencing anorgasmia, it is a good idea to sit down and talk about this with your physician, and evaluate the possible causes. A physician can help you to figure out what's going on and recommend possible treatments.

So get checked out by a doctor. Keep us posted on what you learn.

Gary

December 16 at 9:42 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Red17's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Red17,

Glad you checked in. I want to begin by saying that you are certainly not alone in what you have experienced. So many people have had setbacks in their retirement funding. It is really a national tragedy.

I can certainly understand how you are feeling. In the face of economic challenges, it is human nature to feel defeated, that the future looks hopeless. But I also want to encourage you to do what you can do turn this thinking around.

I know it's hard to feel motivated when life feels so bleak. What I encourage you to do is to not wait until you feel motivated, but to decide to take action to go through the daily motions of your life. Do healthy things for yourself, whether you feel like it or not. That means giving yourself a gentle push to get your workout routine back on track, to do things you enjoy like playing golf, and spending time with people you enjoy being with. Empower yourself to take the best possible care of yourself. It is especially important to do this when life feels like an uphill climb. Take action and let the motivation catch up with you.

I also encourage you to give yourself a gentle push to stay involved in your work. Now is the time to do the best job you can, for lack of a better term, "to fake it 'til you make it." Sure, you can't control the future, but you can control how much you do to maintain quality and productivity at your job. And again, act and let the feelings catch up later.

Believe me, I know that feeling of feeling overwhelmed by forces that you have no control over. So many people feel that way in the tumultuous times that we live in.

What we all have control over is doing the best we can in our own corners of the world, taking care of ourselves, doing the best job we can, being supported and supporting others, and finding moments of enjoyment. That's the best way to cope with uncertainty about the future — doing what can, day by day.

I also encourage you to talk to a therapist, if you aren't already and if that is at all a possibility for you. I think it could help a lot to have an objective listener to site down with, to get some additional perspective, and to work on some new coping skills.

At the risk of being repetitive, take really good care of yourself, body, mind, and spirit, each and every day.

And stay in touch. Let us know how you are doing.

Gary

December 12 at 10:34 am · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Red87's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Red87,

That is an interesting question.

What I think is that the events of life can wear us down over time. Constant challenges, and losses, can leave us wondering if life is ever going to get better, or even if life is against us in some way. This can cause us to fall into an attitude of hopelessness, and to question our beliefs, including our spiritual or religious beliefs.

And someone who is experiencing depression often lives with a double whammy: depression tells you how awful things are and depression tells you that there is nothing that can help you. That's a lie, of course. But when you're feeling that way, questioning your faith may follow.

If you or someone you know is at risk of losing their faith, then I really encourage them to sit down and talk with a mental health professional about their emotional state and how it is impacting their thoughts and beliefs. I would also encourage this person to reach out to a clergyperson from their chosen spiritual or religious community, and have a talk about their faith.

I always encourage my clients to take good care of themselves, physically, emotionally, and spirituality. And I hope you are!

Gary

December 6 at 9:03 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Poohbear69's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Poohbear69,

Nice to see you. I am glad you checked in with this important questions.

You didn't mention if your boyfriend is verbally abusive or physically abusive. So I will address both issues.

First, no one has the right to treat another person in an abusive manner. I think it's really important to make sure your boyfriend is aware that this is not okay. It hurts you and it hurts your relationship. I would let him know that you don't have to put up with that kind of behavior. And then when he becomes abusive in any way, remove yourself from the situation. Tell him abusive behavior won't be tolerated and show him it won't be tolerated.

It might also be helpful to encourage him to get some help from a mental health professional. You may even need to make it clear to him that he needs to get help if he wants to have you in his life. Again, no one has the right to abuse another person.

Now, if your boyfriend is verbally or emotionally abusive, when he becomes this way, make it clear that you are not here for that. In a calm and firm voice, let him know that he has to stop talking to you that way or you will leave. And then if he doesn't, walk away from him. If you live together, this might mean staying with a friend for a day or two, or more, until he calms down and takes ownership for his behavior. Being treated like this can wear you down, and can contribute to anxiety and depression. Don't allow yourself to be repeated verbally or emotionally abused. You are not his punching bag.

If your boyfriend has the potential to be physically abusive, or has been in the past, that is another manner entirely. Have a safety plan in place, so that you can quickly get to a safe place, and support, if you sense that he is about to abuse you physically. Call the police immediately for assistance. The best approach to physical abuse is zero tolerance. You should not subject yourself to someone who is physically abusive in any way, if that is indeed something you have experienced from your boyfriend. Get help for yourself. If this is the situation for you, then it would be a good idea to Google on support services for women who are victims of domestic violence in your area, and get advice and help.

Keep in mind that repeated verbal/emotional abuse can escalate into physical abuse over time. And again, it takes a toll on your mental health.

I know you care a lot about your boyfriend. But he has to treat you with love and respect, and not abuse you, if you are going to be together. Encourage him to get help in managing his anger so that is not directed toward you. You can offer to help him find help, but also make it clear that you expect him to follow up if you are going to be a couple.

Again, take good care of yourself. And keep in touch with us!

Gary

December 6 at 8:55 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Scorpioqueen's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hey Scorpioqueen,

Nice to see you! That's a good question.

There is more than one cause of sudden mood changes, from sad to angry. The causes can be related to a physical condition, an emotional condition, or a reaction to what's going on around you.

Sudden changes in mood can be caused by mental illness. But that may not be what's going on with you.

The absolute best thing to do is to have a talk with a professional about how you're feeling. You might start with your physician, who could evaluate you for any physical health-related causes. If your doctor thinks your changes in mood are related to mental illness, he/she could also refer you to a psychiatrist.

You might also consider reaching out a mental health professional on your own. A professional could evaluate you and, depending on his/her conclusions, talk to you about next steps, which might mean further evaluation or a treatment plan.

Again, the best thing to do is to reach out to a professional. I hope you will take the next step.

And keep us posted on how you're doing.

Gary

November 20 at 6:25 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered aardvark1's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi aardvark,

It's really good to meet you. I am glad you checked in.

I am really sorry to hear you lost your husband. It is so hard to lose someone we love. I am glad to hear you are going to grief counseling. That's really important. And I am glad to hear you have the support of your daughter, that you had a home with her for a few months.

Grief can really take a toll on your emotions. It is not uncommon to experience a lot of sadness, and other symptoms, when you are in grief. If your medication was working for you before your husband died, then what you are experiencing now may be more the result of grief than your medication regimen. For example, feeling alone and unloved may be the result of losing your husband, and the grief you are experiencing.

What I would first recommend, if you haven't already, is to make sure your doctor is fully aware of how you are feeling, including the feelings of being alone and unloved. The two of you may want to have a conversation about how your medication is helping you during this very difficult time, and talk about whether your regimen is effective or not. Definitely an important question to have.

As you are probably learning in your grief counseling, it's important to talk about the loss of your beloved husband. Tell the story, over and over if you need to. Each time you talk about your loss, you help yourself in coping emotionally, and you take a step further toward dealing with the impact of this tremendous loss. I hope you are getting lots of support.

It's also important to stay active in your life, as much as you can. Take care of yourself physically, try not to isolate. Stay in close contact with your daughter. As you are ready, you might also try to get out and be around people to spend some time with, old friends, or new people. Take things one step at a time.

Again, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Take good care of yourself. And stay in touch with us. Keep us posted on how you are doing. You are not alone.

Gary

gary

November 19 at 8:49 pm · Comment · Like
  • Comment View all 4 comments
  • Dr GaryTherapist Dr GaryCA

    Glad you are reaching out for help. Thanks a lot for letting me know. And please keep me posted on how you're doing, my friend.

    1 month ago

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Dr GaryCA answered LLCoolj123's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI LLCool,

Depression is often treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. The medication can help keep your mood steadier, without the lows, so that you can function better day to day. Therapy can teach you ways to cope with the challenges of life, also to help avoid going low.

Depression is treatable. The first step is to reach out for help.

Gary

November 19 at 8:31 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered LLCoolj123's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hey LLCool!

Nice to see you. Thanks for checking in your question.

The symptoms you describe can be symptoms of depression. But they can also be symptoms of other conditions, both physical as well as mental.

If you have a regular doctor, I would recommend is that you talk to your doctor about how you're feeling. He/she may want to examine you to see if you have a physical condition that may be causing you to feel this way.

I also recommend that you reach out to a mental health professional. A professional could talk to about your symptoms, and would probably ask you a lot of questions. He/she would then render a diagnosis, if there is one to be made, and work with you on the way forward.

If you are indeed diagnosed with a mental health condition, your treatment might consist of medication, therapy, or a combination of both. A regular doctor, like an internist, can also prescribe medication for mental health conditions.

You mentioned that you don't have any health insurance. You might look into public options like Medicaid. For mental health treatment, you might also look into community mental health services in your area. If you have a nearby university, you might check to see if they offer mental health services to the community. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you can also report to an emergency room to seek help.

Don't go through this alone, my friend. Reach out to available services. Take good care of yourself.

And keep in touch. Let us know how you are doing.

Gary

November 19 at 8:28 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Muna10208's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Muna,

It's nice to see you.

Sounds like you are feeling really down. And when you are feeling this down, it's so important to reach out for help. The best way to stop feeling the way you feel is to get help from a mental health professional.

A professional could assess your for depression and other mental health conditions and then, based on his/her assessment, work with you on a treatment plan. If you are depressed and especially if you are suicidal, it is really important to get help from a professional.

If you don't know where to start, you can ask your general physician for help. If you are currently working with a doctor or a therapist, I hope you have let them know how you are feeling.

Also, if you are feeling especially overwhelmed, and concerned that you could harm yourself,then it's a really good idea to report to an emergency room or call 911. Don't go through this alone.

You referred to yourself as unrepairable. Please know that what you are experiencing is treatable. So I hope you will reach out for help.

And stay in touch with us. Keep us posted on how you're dong.

Take good care of yourself, my friend.

Gary

November 17 at 9:43 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Rammie52's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Rammie,

It's nice to meet you! And I am glad you checked in.

I am really sad to hear that you are dealing with all of these health issues, and that you are not able to be as active as you used to be. And so sorry about the loss of your husband. This is a lot to deal with, and I am sure that living with depression has made all of this even more difficult.

I can understand how November 20 must be an especially difficult day for you. Here are some ideas to help you around this time of year:

Get some support. Connect with friends and family members, spend some time together so you are not alone. Talk things out.

Stay involved in your daily life. Give yourself a gentle push to get up and around every day. Try to do a few things you enjoy.

Remember. You might want to sit in a quiet place and think about times you spent with your husband that you enjoyed. We love people we love, but we can keep the memory of them alive. Share memories with families or friends.

Have your feelings. Let yourself feel how you feel. If you need to sit and have a cry, that's okay.

Take care of yourself. Make sure you are eating. Get a reasonable amount of rest but try not to oversleep.

During a rough time, like this time for you, we just have to place one foot before the other. Remind yourself that the anniversary of your husband's death is a rough time for you. Take things slow, baby yourself, get support. One foot before the other.

I hope you will stay in touch with us. Let us know how you are doing. And again, take good care of yourself, my friend.

Gary

November 17 at 9:37 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered johnnything's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI Johnny,

It's great to meet you. I am glad you checked in.

What I would really encourage you to do is to have this conversation with your doctor. You might want to make a list of questions in advance. Let him or her know of your concerns about ECT and ask them to provide their perspective, based on their experience with other patients. It's always a good idea to be clear about any concerns you have regarding a treatment you are about to undergo so that you can feel confident in your decision to go forward or, if not, to discuss other options.

It is good to know you are connected to a treatment team.

I hope you will stay in touch with us. Let us know how you are doing.

And take good care of yourself,

Gary

October 28 at 11:41 am · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered ellabella8's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI ellabella8,

Nice to see you. And I have to say that this is not the first time I have had this issue brought up with me.

You didn't mention how you came to the conclusion that your partner is living with borderline personality disorder. I am guessing that you did some research on the Internet and learned that their behavior is consistent with the standard symptoms of BPD. I certainly can understand how you might have come to this conclusion.

However, I just need to start by emphasizing that, while there is a lot of great mental health information on the Web, I encourage you to be really cautions about making a diagnosis based on what you have read on the Web. Symptoms that we might associate with BPD might also be symptoms of other diagnoses.

If you have described their symptoms to someone else, and they told you this was a likely diagnosis, I would also encourage you to be cautious about making assumptions.

Only a mental health professional can render a reliable diagnosis, and only after having one or more in-depth discussions with your partner.

So, having said that, how do we get your partner to a mental health professional to have this discussion?

Here are some ideas for how to have this discussion:

Remind your partner of how much you care about them and want the best for them and for your relationship

Tell them you are concerned about how they are feeling emotionally and want to help

Provide a couple of specific, concrete examples of recent behaviors that concerned you and why you were concerned

Tell them that you think they could really benefit from talking to a mental health professional

Offer to help them make a connection with a professional and even go with them

You may meet with initial resistance. If so, try to be patient. As opportunities arise, e.g. when you partner is showing behaviors that concern you, remind them of your care and concern, and again ask if you can help them to get connected with professional help.

What I don't suggest doing is telling your partner what you think their diagnosis is. Beyond "you seem to be really depressed" I don't think it will be helpful to diagnose your partner. Leave that to the professional.

Of course, if there is ever a time when you think your partner is in danger of self-harm or harm to you, call 911 or get your partner to an emergency room immediately.

Take good care of yourself. And keep in touch.

Gary

October 28 at 11:14 am · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Snax's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI Snax,

I don't that I would use the word "common," but depression can sometimes lead to thoughts of self-harm. The can be the result of feeling helpless and hopeless. Depression doesn't always result in suicidal thoughts, but for some people it does.

What's really important here is to reach out for help if you are feeling like they could harm themselves. Get in touch with a mental health professional if you aren't already. And if you are currently working with a professional, make sure he or she is aware of your suicidal thoughts. This is something to work on together.

Someone who is feeling like they are currently at risk for self-harm should immediately call 911 or report to an emergency room.

Take good care of yourself!

Gary

October 20 at 9:14 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered tallblueman's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hey tallbluman,

It's nice to see you. I am glad you are here with us on Depression Connect.

I am really sorry to hear you are feeling disappointed about the direction your life has taken, and that you so lonely. I really am sorry to hear this.

I guess it is not for us to understand why things happen in life, while one person has to live with something that doesn't allow them to accomplish all they had hoped to, while others get what they want in life. It's a reminder that life doesn't always seem very fair.

We all need support. I am sad to know that you don't have a lot of support.

I am wondering if you might want to check out some kind of support group. You might look at the groups listed on www.nami.org, the website of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They list them all over the country.

I am wondering if you might get involved in some activities that could bring you into contact with people, some volunteering maybe, or a church or other religious organization, if you aren't already. Some kind of organized activity might be a way to bring you into contact with people who could turn into friends.

What I think can help also is to look for something each and every day to be grateful for, something to find pleasure in. Even the simplest thing. And to stay involved in things that you enjoy. It's really important to stay active in your life, as much as you can.

You are not alone, my friend. You have a lot of supportive friends right here, including me. I hope you will stay in touch with us and keep us posted on how you're doing.

Take good care of yourself, and stay in touch.

Gary

October 19 at 9:51 pm · Comment · Like
  • Comment View all 4 comments
  • Dr GaryTherapist Dr GaryCA

    Hey tallblueman, thanks a lot for following up. So glad to hear you are involved with a church. That's great! And also glad you met someone. Fantastic. I understand what you mean about not feeling like you have a lot of options for meeting people. But one step at a time, it sounds like you are finding a way. The online world provides a lot of opportunities to connect with people in the real world. Thanks again for the update, my friend. Take good care of yourself!

    3 months ago

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Dr GaryCA answered Snax's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Snax,

Nice to see you.

Really sorry to hear you have had such a rough time getting to a regimen that works.

It has been my experience that each person is unique in terms of how they react to medications, and which medications do and don't work for them. i know this can be really frustrating!

What I would encourage you to do is to continue to work with a psychiatrist that you trust, or find someone new to work with. Make sure that the psychiatrist you meet with is fully aware of the medications and dosages you have been on in the past, as well as how you reacted to each one. From here, the psychiatrist may be able to recommend other options.

There are a lot of medications available to treat depression and other mental health conditions, including recently released medications that are showing good results. And sometimes medications may need to be used in combination with each other to get the desired results.

This can feel like a long road, with setbacks along the way, as you have experienced. It can take time and patience to get to an effective regimen. But it is worth the effort.

So I hope you will keep trying!

And keep us posted on how you are doing.

Gary

October 13 at 10:27 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered shammi's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI shammi,

It's nice to see you. I am sorry to hear you and your husband are having so much difficulty in communicating with each other.

I know it's hard to be with someone who is unwilling to listen, who insists on being right, and who threatens you with divorce. It sounds like you have just tried to get him to listen to you and see you side, and I can understand why you would be feeling numb.

First, I would recommend that you and your husband reach out for some couples counseling. I think this could help a lot. However, from what you described in your question, you husband may not be open to this. You might bring it up with him anyway, it's worth a try.

Second, I encourage you to get support. If you have a way to get connected with a counselor, assuming you are not already, I think this could help a lot. A counselor could be a helpful listening ear, and could help you to learn some ways to cope with the situation with your husband. I really encourage you to consider this, if you can.

I also encourage you to reach out to friends and family who can be supportive. Find people to spend time with, who can listen without judgment, and give you some support.

And take good care of yourself. Do things you enjoy, make sure you are eating healthy, getting some exercise. When we're healthy, we are also more resilient, better able to cope with stress.

Take good care of yourself. You are not alone! Let us know how you are doing.

Gary

October 2 at 11:23 pm · Comment · Like
  • Comment View all 2 comments
  • Dr GaryTherapist Dr GaryCA

    Hi shammi, thanks for following up. That is great news. I hope you can get this underway soon. Please keep me posted on how you're doing.

    4 months ago

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Dr GaryCA answered sanjuan0023's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI San Juan,

This is a really good question, one that comes my way often, from clients and from friends.

It's hard to watch a friend suffering. It can leave you feeling really helpless. You want to jump in and help, to somehow make things better for them. But as much as you want to help, you aren't sure how to. And, when someone is depressed, they might not even let you help. So what can you do?

Whether it is apparent or not, your friend can really benefit from just having you orbiting around them, being present and supportive. You can offer to be a listening ear if they feel like talking. You can sit and be quiet with them. You can suggest things the two of you can do together. Offer to help with something your friend has to accomplish around the house. Your friend may or may not respond. And I don't recommend pushing too hard if they don't But continue to be a steady presence in their life.

You can also gently suggest that they could benefit from help. You might offer to help them get connected with a mental health professional, even offer to go to the first session with them. Again, the word here is to offer, not to push too hard or to demand. Just gentle suggestions.

When you feel your friend is caught up in a negative, the cup is half full, outlook on life, you might offer an alternative way to look at things. You might say something like, 'I know it's not what you had hoped for, but you do have …" Or, "how about if you thought about it this way…" Again, a gentle touch is recommended. Gentle suggestions of the brighter side of a situation.

Over time, you might have an impact on your friend. OF course, that's hard to predict. But being a steady, caring, and positive presence can be a great way to support your friend.

Your friend is fortunate to have you!

Keep us posted!

Gary

September 24 at 9:41 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Cici25's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI Cici25,

Nice to meet you. I am so sorry to hear about your brother.

Knowing that someone we care about is troubled, can leaving us feeling pretty helpless. We want to help, but don't know how. And trying to find a way to connect with someone who is depressed can be especially challenging.

What I encourage you to do is to just be there for him. Let him know how much you love him, remind him of that often. Offer to be a listening ear for him if he wants to talk. And if he talks, just listen, without judging him or trying to tell him what to do. If he doesn't want to talk, let him know you are willing to sit quietly with him. You might also offer to do things with him, something he might enjoy, or just offer to accompany him on places he may need to go, if he doesn't want to be alone.

If he is open to suggestions, you might come up with some ideas on things he can do to feel better, or things you can do together. But if he wants to find his own way forward, let him know you support him and are there when he needs you.

If he needs support, you might also offer to go to his treatment appointments with him, and sit in the waiting room. Or even ask if he would like you to meet with his doctor or therapist, so that the three of you could talk about how to best support him.

Just be a steady, loving, caring presence in his life. That's what a really depressed person needs.

And keep an eye on him as well. If you have any concerns that he may become suicidal again, or is not being compliant with his treatment regimen, let him know of your concerns, and ask if he needs any additional support. Watch for any signs that he may becoming overwhelmed by his depression and reach out for help for him if you need to.

You might also want to consider meeting on your own with a mental health professional, to talk about your concerns about your brother and get some additional support in helping him.

Your brother is fortunate to have such a caring sibling.

Take good care of yourself. Don't forget to care for the caregiver. And stay in touch!

Gary

September 18 at 9:27 pm · Comment · Like
  • Comment View all 2 comments
  • Dr GaryTherapist Dr GaryCA

    HI CICI25, you are very welcome. I am happy to help you in any way I can. I got it. I am glad he is at least getting some kind of treatment, someone to talk to. I don't know a lot about the Army system, to be honest with you. But I would encourage him to advocate for himself, to talk to his doctor or the person who manages his health care and let them know he is not getting the help he needs. Always important to keep advocating for yourself in the health care system. I hope he gets more help. Please keep me posted.

    4 months ago

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Dr GaryCA answered erinpoo's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi erinpoo,

Nice to see you.

I am not a physician so I can't give you a medical answer. It has been my experience that everyone has their own unique metabolism, and the medication works a little differently with each person. That applies to how long a medication stays in their system since the last dosage, as well as how long it takes to build up and take effect.

So I encourage you to stay in close contact with your doctor, and let him/her know how you are feeling, and especially if you are feeling overwhelmed.

Sorry to hear about the medical emergency. I hope you are doing okay and getting lots of support.

Take good care of yourself and stay in touch!

Gary

September 18 at 9:07 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Reginaburke's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hey Regina,

Nice to meet you. And glad you checked in with this question.

Depression can affect people in a lot of different ways. Feeling angry, and that you don't care about anyone or anything, can be a symptom of depression. And depression can affect self-esteem, and make you not like yourself very much. The double whammy of depression is that it tells you how awful feel and that there is nothing you can do about it. It leaves you feeling unmotivated. And like you said, miserable.

To know if you are depressed, or experiencing symptoms of another mental health condition, the best thing to do is to get in touch with a mental health professional. A professional could talk with you, assess what's going on, and work with you on a treatment plan. So I really encourage you to reach out to a professional and get some help. What you are experiencing is treatable. If you aren't sure where to start, you might have a talk with your doctor.

I also encourage you, in the meantime, to set some small, doable goals for yourself, each and every day. To get up and around in the morning, to do some housework, to get to work if you have a job. But also, I encourage you to do healthy things for yourself, like spending time with supportive people, eating healthy, getting some exercise. It can help to go through the motions of your life, one step at a time, without pushing yourself too hard.

The best way to know if you are depressed is to reach out for help. I hope you will do that soon. Take good care of yourself. And let us know how you are doing. You are not alone.

Keep me posted!

Gary

September 18 at 1:07 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Annietasia's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Annietasia,

It's good to meet you. And I am glad you checked in with this question. I felt sad when I read your question. Two years is a long time to feel like this.

It sounds like you aren't getting much support, from what you described. I get the sense from your question that you want to talk about this, but are also holding yourself back out of fear you won't be able to express yourself.

You have already taken an important first step. You have admitted to yourself that you want and need to get some help.

The next step is to reach out to a mental health professional. I really encourage you to do this right away. If you know someone who has been in therapy, you might ask for a recommendation. Or go to the website of your health insurance company for their list of providers. Or ask your physician.

Therapy could help a lot. A mental health professional could have a talk with you and assess what's going on, whether i or not it is depression. The two of you could work together on the way forward. It would help to let whomever you meet with know that you are introverted and not comfortable talking about how you feel. A therapist should be able to help you feel comfortable talking about your thoughts and feelings. And if you don't feel a connection with the therapist, you can always find another one. There are a lot of us out there, and each therapist has their own interpersonal style.

I also encourage you to try to spend time with supportive people, friends and family who can just be there for and with you. And do what you can to stay involved in your life, try to do things that you have enjoyed in the past, that make you feel connected. Try to eat healthy and get exercise. There is a lot to be said for going through the day to day motions of life, even if you aren't necessarily feeling it.

What you are experiencing is treatable. So I hope you will take the next step and get connected with help. And remember that you are not alone. Stay in touch with us.

Gary

September 18 at 12:56 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Raegan02's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Raegan,

Nice to meet you. I am glad you checked in.

First, I am glad to hear you are getting treatment for your depression. That's great news. And the combination of therapy and antidepressants can help a lot.

Now, if you don't feel like it is helping, this would be a good discussion to have with your therapist. Therapists can benefit from knowing how their clients are feeling about the treatment. If you don't feel it is working, then you might review your goals and talk about the progress you have made, your expectations, and also discuss where you want to go in the future. I always welcome my clients to talk about how they think things are going so that we can make adjustments as needed.

If you don't feel your antidepressants are helping you as much as you think they should, you might want to also have this discussion with your doctor. Your doctor could talk with you about what to expect from your medication, and how the two of you are feeling about the current effectiveness of your medication. Always a good idea to keep an open line of communication with your doctor.

As for your mom, I have a couple of ideas. If you haven't already, you might sit down with her and talk about what it's like to live with depression, how it affects your life, as well as what you feel you are getting from treatment. Give here some examples of how depression affects your life. Examples can help.

Since you are still a minor, you might also ask if your mom might be willing to have a talk with your therapist, the three of you, if you are comfortable with this, and talk about what you have gained from therapy and where you want the therapy to go in the future. You and your mom might also have a conversation with your doctor.

I think it's really important to be open with your mom, how you are feeling, what your concerns are. It might take more than one conversation, but I hope you will keep trying.

And stay in touch with us. Let us know how you are doing.

Gary

September 14 at 9:49 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Adams1039's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI Adams,

I am glad you checked in. This is a good question.

First, I don't mean to lecture you. But it is never a good idea to suddenly stop taking a SSRI. It can cause all kinds of problems. This is something that should only be done under the guidance of your physician. Glad to hear you got through it okay.

But it is also not a good idea to suddenly start back on your SSRI without first consulting with a physician. I am assuming you started on your own, without first talking to your doctor. Again, this is a process, with a buildup of your dosage over time. Suddenly reintroducing your SSRI is also risky. I am not a physician, but it has been my experience with clients that adjusting to an SSRI can involve physical symptoms.

So again, it is not my intention to scold or lecture you. But it is really, really important to work closely with a physician when you are on any medication, and certainly an SSRI. So I hope you will get in touch with your MD and have a conversation.

Take really good care of yourself. And stay in touch. Let us know how you're doing.

Gary

September 6 at 10:18 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Mamma Brea's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Mamma Brea,

This is a very important question and also a very complicated one.

What I would encourage you to do is to reach out to a mental health professional and have a talk about what's going on and how you are feeling. A mental health professional could help you to sort things out and work with you on the way forward.

If you aren't sure where to start, then you might sit down with your physician and tell him/her what's going on and how you are feeling. Your doctor can most likely point you in the right direction.

And if at any time you are feeling overwhelmed in any way, you can report to an emergency room and they will help.

What you are experiencing is treatable. And help begins with getting connected with a professional.

I hope you will keep in touch and let us know how you are doing.

Gary

September 6 at 10:03 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Inside Lori's Head's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Inside Lori's Head,

I am so sorry to hear you are struggling to pay for your medication. I have stories like yours so often, here on Depression Connect and from my own clients. It's a shame when it is so difficult to pay for needed medications.

It sounds like you are doing everything you can think of to advocate for yourself. I am wondering if it might be a good idea, as you already suggested, to sit down with your doctor and let him/her know your situation, and see if there are any adjustments you can make in your regimen to make it more affordable. I have had clients do what you suggested, ask their doctor to make substitutions when possible, and it has helped a lot.

You might also ask your doctor if the company behind your medication has a prescription assistance program. Your doctor might need to recommend you for this program. Some companies have programs that make their products affordable for people who can't pay for them.

There is a also a website you might want to check out:

www.needymeds.org

This site has ideas the might be useful.

I feel bad for you. Again, I hope you will continue to advocate for yourself, to find a way to get what you need.

And I hope you will stay in touch. Let me know how you are doing.

Take good care of yourself!

Gary

September 4 at 8:11 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Pantuso's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Pantuso,

Glad you checked in.

It sounds like you have a lot going on inside of you right now, and that you are struggling. I am sorry to hear this.

What I really encourage you to do is to reach out for help. If you are working with a mental health professional, a doctor or a therapist, then I hope you will get in touch with them and let them know how you are doing. If you aren't working with a mental health professional, I hope you will. Don't go through this alone.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, you can also go to a hospital emergency room and ask for help.

Get some help for yourself, my friend. And stay in touch. Let me know how you are doing.

Gary

September 4 at 7:52 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered MS31's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi MS31,

Nice to see you. I am so sorry that you had such a terrible experience with this medication.

When you have a bad experience with side effects, like you did, then it is only normal to be afraid to move forward with another medication. I can understand your concern.

But I have to also say that is has been my experience that it can take time and patience to get to the right regimen to treat your depression. Doctors follow the established guidelines, and use their own experience and clinical judgment. But each person is unique in terms of their body chemistry, the events in their life, and how they personally experience depression. As a result, a medication that from all indications has a potential to help may not be so helpful. As you experienced.

So I really encourage you to keep working really closely with your doctor. And I encourage you to stay optimistic. Many of my clients have experienced excellent results from their medication, often after experiences similar to yours. Two steps forward, one step back, but stay on the path. What you are experiencing is treatable.

I am wishing you the best. And I hope you will keep in touch and let me know how you are doing.

Take good care of yourself!

Gary

September 4 at 7:44 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Altodoit's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Altodoit,

Nice to see you. Glad you checked in with this question.

I can certainly understand why you have so much concern about your partner. What you describe here in terms of his symptoms can be an indication of depression, but can also be associated with other mental health diagnoses. It would help for him to be evaluated by a mental health professional who talk with him and evaluate the symptoms he is experiencing. They could work together on a way forward.

Unfortunately, when someone is isolating themselves, they may not be open to doing anything to help themselves. If your partner is indeed depressed, this can be the result of depression. Depression tells you how bad you feel, and it tells you that there is nothing you can do about it. That's the double whammy of depression. It's not true. What your partner is experiencing is treatable.

I know this must be very hard for you to watch. It can be a very helpless feeling to watch someone suffering and not be able to do anything about it. You can't force your partner to get help. But you can continue to be supportive, to remind him how much you care about him, and to encourage him to reach out for help. That may not always feel like a lot, but it is.

I also encourage you to get support for yourself. Talk with family or friends, vent when you need to. If you are not talking with a counselor, that could also help. A counselor could give you day to day support, and help you to help your partner. Care for the caregiver.

I feel bad for you. I know how hard it is to watch a loved one suffering so much. I hope you will stay in touch. Let me know how you are doing.

And take good care of yourself!

Gary

September 4 at 7:19 pm · Comment · Like
  • Comment View all 2 comments
  • Dr GaryTherapist Dr GaryCA

    HI Altodoit, thanks so much for following up and letting me know more about what's going on. I feel sad for you. You are dealing with a lot. I do think it's important to take a look at not only the best way to help him but also the best way to take care of yourself. Again, care for the caregiver. I really hope you will be able to follow through on talking with a therapist. I think the outside perspective of a mental health professional could help you a lot right now. Please keep me posted.

    4 months ago

  • Default Small

Dr GaryCA answered Kaylaaaawayla's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hey Kayla,

Sometimes we run into news that just sets us off for some reason, and gets stuck in our minds. It may trigger a memory that we haven't had in awhile, or not. Sometimes the reason is clear, other times it isn't so clear. Either way, it sounds like the news about the boy's suicide brought up a lot of feelings in you. Suicide is so sad. When you hear about someone taking their own life, you can't help but feel sad for that person, and wonder what was going on in their life that led them to make this decision.

It might be a good idea to bring the headaches and lack of appetite up with your doctor.

It might help to sit down with a friend or family member and talk things out. It can help a lot to get your thoughts and feelings out in the open, and not hold them in. If you are in therapy, this would also be something to talk to your therapist about.

I hope you will get some support. Don't sit with this all alone. And stay in touch!

Gary

September 4 at 6:46 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered dragonfly803's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI! I remember you! I am so sorry I haven't responded to your post. I don't always know when someone has responded to a discussion unless I remember to keep checking in. I will look for that discussion and follow up on your post. Thanks for the reminder. And so sorry. I certainly didn't intend to ignore you. I also sent you a friend request. I hope you are doing well. Gary

August 13 at 8:46 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Aristacat's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Aristacat,

Nice to meet you. And I am glad you checked in.

From what you described in your question, it sounds like being around people is causing a lot of discomfort and that you are isolating yourself. These symptoms can be associated with depression or anxiety, or other mental health conditions. And both and anxiety and depression can be the result of stress.

I really encourage you to set up a time to meet with a mental health professional to talk about what's going on in your life and how you're feeling emotionally. A professional clinician could evaluate your symptoms and suggest a diagnosis, and the two of you could work together on a treatment plan. It's really important to start with a diagnosis, to help assure that your treatment is headed in a productive direction. I can't emphasize enough how important that is.

In the meantime, It could be helpful to spend time with supportive people, friends or family members who can just be with you. Can you give yourself a push to get some support?

I also encourage you to pay attention to your wellness. Make sure you are eating healthy, avoid the junk food. If you use alcohol, be careful not to use drinking as a way to cope. Get outside, even on your own, and get some exercise and sunshine. Do things that you enjoy.

Take good care of yourself, my friend. Get some support.

And stay in touch with us. Let us know how you're doing.

Gary

August 11 at 11:58 am · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Rich55Scott's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Rich,

I am glad you checked in. It's nice to see you.

I am really sorry to hear about your experience with hypnotherapy.

I definitely encourage you to get connected with a mental health professional, and I hope you will do it soon. What I encourage you to do is to find a professional clinician who has experience in working with clients who have a history of trauma. You might also want to find someone who is qualified and experienced in evaluating clients for PTSD. It's important to get evaluated by a qualified professional and get help. What you are experiencing is treatable.

It sounds like you are motivated to find out what's going on with you and get help. That's a good first step.

If you have insurance, you can go to the website of your insurance company and search for mental health clinicians within your network. The insurance company may also have a number you can call for assistance. If you have some form of public assistance for healthcare, you can also go on their website. Or, if you aren't sure where to start, you might also talk to your physician.

I hope you will reach out for help soon. Don't go through this alone.

And I hope you will keep in touch and let us know how you are doing. Take good care of yourself, my friend.

Gary

August 11 at 10:47 am · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Mz Deb02's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI Mz Deb02,

Good to meet you. I am sorry to hear you are feeling so sad.

One thing that can help is to reach out for support. Spend time with people you care about, and who care about you. Talk about what's going on in your life. It can also help to focus on your wellness. Get exercise, eat healthy. And get involved in activities that you enjoy. Stay involved in our daily life.

And I just of course have to also encourage you to reach out for help. Talk to a mental health professional about what's going on in your life. A professional could give you some additional perspective, help you sort you what's going on with you, and help you learn some new ways to cope. If you aren't sure where to start, you can talk to your doctor.

Don't go through this alone. Reach out for help. Take good care of yourself.

And let us know how you're doing.

Gary

August 10 at 7:40 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Errata's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hey Errata,

It's great to meet you.

It sounds like you have been through so much, and that you have tried to get help but have had disappointments along the way. And I'm sorry you have had so many narcissists in your life.

What I wold encourage you to do is to work closely with your treatment team. If your doctor is recommending in-patient treatment, then it would be good to have a discussion about how this treatment will be organized, as well as the treatment goals. Be clear going in what to expect from the experience.

Treatment for mental illness is a process. It takes time and patience, two steps forward and, at times, one step back. But it's so important to stay on the path. Each treatment is a learning experience, you learn more about yourself and your mental illness, and this learning can help to inform the next step. Again, it's a process.

So again, I hope you will work closely with your treatment team and be patient. Take good care of yourself, my friend. And please keep us posted on how you're doing.

Gary

August 10 at 5:22 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered BestVersionOM's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi BestVersion,

Nice to see you again. I am sorry to hear you are feeling so down right now.

That feeling of helplessness and hopelessness is something that many people experience who are living with depression. Depression tells you how bad you feel. And it tells you that there is nothing you can do about it. That is the double-whammy of depression. But it's not true.

What you are experiencing is treatable. Depression is treatable.

It sounds like you are going through the motions of your life, even if you are not feeling it. That shows what a resilient person you are. I always encourage my clients who are feeling like you are to take things one day at a time, one step at a time, and to stay involved in their lives.

I also encourage them to get support, to spend time with caring, supportive people. I hope you have someone in your life who can give you support. But you are not alone. You also have a lot of support right here from people who understand what you are dealing with because they have experienced it themselves.

And of course I just have to encourage you to reach out to a mental health professional, if you haven't already. It's really important to sit down with someone who can help you sort out how you are feeling and work with you on a plan for the road ahead. Treatment works! Don't go through this alone.

I hope you will stay in touch with us. Let us know how you are doing. And take good care of yourself.

Gary

August 9 at 7:50 pm · Comment · Like
  • Comment View all 2 comments
  • Dr GaryTherapist Dr GaryCA

    Hi, thank you for the follow up. I appreciate that you let me know more about what's going on. I still encourage you to talk to a therapist. Therapy can be a safe place not only to get support but also to learn how to build relationships. Just something for you to consider. I hope you will stay in touch. Take care!

    4 months ago

  • Default Small

Dr GaryCA answered Doomeddreamer123's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI Doomeddreamer,

Nice to meet you. I am glad you checked in with this question.

Anger that, when triggered, is difficult to control, can be the result of an underlying condition, such as depression or anxiety. It can be related to conditions like PTSD, among other conditions. A mental health professional could evaluate you and make this determination. So what I really encourage you to do is to reach out to a mental health professional.

A professional could sit down with you ad talk about what kinds of situations trigger your anger, and how you feel when you are angry. He/she would evaluate you and work with you on a treatment plan, a way forward, as well as help you to develop ways to proactively avoid being triggered and cope more effectively when you are triggered. A mental health professional might also talk to you about the potential role of medication in helping you.

What you are experiencing is treatable, and there are a lot of treatment options. It sounds like you are motivated to do something about your anger. That is an important first step. The next important step is to reach out for help.

If you aren't sure where to start, you may want to sit down with your doctor and tell him/her what's going on. He/she may be able to recommend treatment or refer you to someone who can help. I would recommend talking with a mental health professional, either that your doctor refers you to or one that you find on your own. Your insurance company will have a list of in-network providers who you can contact and meet with.

And if you do ever feel overwhelmed with your anger and in need of immediate help, you can report to an emergency room or call 911.

Don't go through this alone, my friend. Be an advocate for yourself and reach out for help.

And keep in touch with us. Let us know how you are doing.

Gary

August 7 at 11:22 am · Comment · Like
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