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!

Ask Dr. Gary

Qa

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


500 characters remaining

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 3

Activity

Dr GaryCA answered jaminthesky's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi jaminthesky,

Welcome to Depression Connect. I am glad you are here, and that you reached out with this great question. This is a question that comes up a lot with my clients.

My clients who are living with mental illness often talk to me about their relationships with their partners. Unfortunately, some have partners who are very unsupportive, and even seem to blame them for their mental illness. Others are more fortunate, like you, and they have partners who are not only supportive, but fear they aren't doing enough.

Often, the person who is living with mental illness can help their partner by educating them. I call this "patient" education, being patient as you help your partner to understand what's going on with you and how they can help. Here is a link to the article here on Depression Connect:

http://www.depressionconnect.com/discussions/...

Reassurance can help, just gently reminding your husband that this is something going on inside of you, not something he is causing in any way. He may need to hear this often. Sometimes people just need to hear the same reassurance over and over before they can start to accept it.

I suspect your husband may be feeling helpless, this is a common feeling among family members. He wants to help and doesn't know how to. You can help him but letting him know that just being there is helpful to you, knowing that he loves you and wants to help. That's a lot, right? It might help to let him know that. And reassure him that just being present, listening, helps you during a rough time.

You can reassure him that not only does he not cause the way you feel, but you appreciate how he helps you to cope during a rough time by his presence.

Here's another idea. If you haven't already, you might ask him to accompany you to a doctor's appointment or, if you are in therapy, to one of your therapy sessions, if your doctor or therapist are okay with this. The three of you could talk about how your depression and anxiety affect you, where it comes from, and how he can help.

Again, your husband sounds like a great guy. You can work together to support each other on the road ahead.

I hope you will keep in touch and let me know how you're doing.

Gary

July 4 at 10:23 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Rosie 7's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Rosie,

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

It is hard to say what might be causing your delusions or hallucinations. Your feelings of depression and anxiety may be related to various causes, including events going on in your life that are overwhelming you emotional, your brain chemistry, or a combination of factors.

Only a mental health professional can make this determination.

Sitting down with a mental health professional could help you a lot. A professional can talk to you about how you're feeling, and explore what's going in your life, how you're feeling, how you're thinking. A professional would then suggest a potential diagnosis and talk to you about the way forward.

You have taken the first step by identifying your concerns. That is a great start. The next step is to reach out for help.

Here is a link to an article I wrote awhile back about getting connected with a mental health professional:

http://www.depressionconnect.com/discussions/...

Again, I am really glad you checked in. And I am concerned about you. I really encourage you to reach out for professional help. If you aren't sure where to start, you might even ask your regular doctor for a recommendation. What you are experiencing is treatable.

Don't go through this alone, my friend. Take really good care of yourself.

Gary

July 3 at 11:09 am · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered cberna10's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hey cherna,

Thanks for checking in with this great question. The topic has come up with my clients.

I have to admit that I am not in any way an expert on this topic. So your question motivated me to do some research on my own. Here are some links to articles I found especially interesting:

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/...

https://cannabissupport.com.au/news/weed-watc...

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-condition...

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321...

From reading these articles, it seems that marijuana use may be negatively associated with depression. And it also seems that here is a whole lot of research that needs to be done before we can really understand this connection and understand fully whether marijuana use can be used in depression treatment. The jury still seems to be out.

What I always encourage my clients not to do is to self-medicate. Any mood-altering substance should only be used under the guidance of a psychiatrist.

So I really encourage you to work with a medical doctor if you decide to explore this further.

Take good care of yourself, my friend!

Gary

July 3 at 10:57 am · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered AtmaPrema's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi AtmaPrema,

Nice to see you!

I have to confess that I haven't heard of Ignatia before you asked me this question. And this is a very interesting question.

What I would recommend is to tread very carefully where homeopathic or any other complementary treatment is concerned. If you are already taking medication, then I encourage you to talk to your physician to make sure your current medications won't be affected by Ignatia. Drug interactions are something to be cautious about.

If you are not taking any medication, then I would encourage you to consult a homeopathic physician, if at all possible. I know homeopathic physicians may not be practicing in your area. If you can't, then I would encourage you to do lots of research, including potential negative side effects and recommended dosages, before you consider moving in this direction.

I hope you will move cautiously. Be careful about anything you put into your body. Do your research carefully.

I hope you will let me know what you decide to do.

Take good care of yourself!

Gary

June 12 at 8:30 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Kaela01's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Kaela,

I'm glad you checked in. This is a good question. As you can probably imagine, it is one that therapists are often asked.

It's really hard to lose a relationship with someone you care about. The loss leaves a big gap. You remember the fun times you had together, just having someone around to spend time with, having someone to share your thoughts with, knowing they were in your corner. The loss leaves you with a lot of questions. Why? Especially when the end of your relationship wasn't your choice. You're left with feelings of sadness, anger, betrayal.

When you lose a relationship you go through a grieving process. Everyone grieves in their own way. The process takes as long as it takes.

And as hard as it emotionally to grieve, going through the process helps to come to acceptance and move on with your life. So allow yourself to feel how you feel. Cry when you need to. It can really help to talk things out with friends, even if you tell the story over and over. Each time you tell it, something clicks into place.

I also encourage you to stay involved with your life. Take care of yourself, eat healthy, get rest. Do things you normally enjoy. Get some exercise, whatever activities you normally do. Spend time with friends and family.

I know this is a rough time. Take it one day at a time. Again, take good care of yourself.

Gary

June 12 at 8:17 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Eleahann's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Eleahann,

Glad you checked in. I often talk with members here as well as my own clients about symptoms they are experiencing, and what this might mean for them in terms of a diagnosis.

The feelings of emptiness and sorrow you describe can be signs of depression, but they can also be signs of other mental health conditions. You also mentioned that you are feeling jealous. Sounds like you may have a situation in your life that is causing you some distress. Emptiness and sorrow can be the result of jealousy as well.

Here's what I encourage you to do. I think you might potentially benefit from speaking with a mental health professional. Sitting down with a counselor would give you the opportunity to sort out what's going on with you. A counselor could help you gain some perspective, and help you to learn some new ways to cope. That could help a lot. A counselor could also listen to what's going on with you and offer a diagnosis, as well as suggest a treatment plan to help you to feel better.

Also I just want to encourage you not to diagnose yourself. The Internet is full of great information, including information about mental illness. But it can be all to easy to fit your symptoms into a "recipe" for a specific mental illness and make the assumption that the label fits you. Mental health professionals are trained to listen for and to observe symptoms that may support a specific mental health diagnosis. It's a complicated process requiring a lot of training. So please be careful not to diagnose yourself. You can cause distress in yourself that may only make you feel worse.

I think you have taken an important first step. You asked an important question. Now, I hope you will take the next step and reach out for some help.

Take good care of yourself, my friend. And please let me know how you're doing.

Gary

June 3 at 2:31 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered My-Keya Rivera's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi My-Keya,

It's great to hear from you. This is a good question. Maybe it's just the times we live in, but I have been talking to a lot of clients about anxiety and panic lately.

First, I am really glad to hear you went to the ER when you were feeling panic. I always recommend to my clients that if they have any physical symptoms whatsoever, they should get the advice of a physician. The symptoms that may arise during a panic attack can be psychological, but they can also be the result of a physical condition. So the physician should always be the starting place. Also glad to hear you followed up with your physician. That is taking very good care of yourself.

There may be more than one reason why you aren't quite feeling yourself.

Having a panic attack can be scary. It qualifies as a potentially traumatic event. Because of that, it can take some time to recover psychologically, just as it would from any scary event. Your emotions may be adjusting to what happened. You may be in the process of regaining your balance.

A panic attack can also result in some ongoing anxiety. This is called "getting anxious about getting anxious." My clients often describe feeling afraid after a panic attack that they will have another one. While on one hand they know they would get through another panic attack, having had that experience, it is also something they don't want to through that again. So they may not feel themselves because of some nagging doubts and fears about what might happen in the future.

What I would encourage you to do is to consider getting some counseling. A mental health professional could have a talk with you about what happened, give you some perspective, and help you to cope with how you're feeling. A mental health professional could also help by giving you some ideas of how to manage your anxiety and potentially avoid panic attacks in the future, as well as to cope better if you have another one.

I also encourage you to stay connected with your life. Do things that help you stay grounded. Spend time with friends and family. Make sure you are eating healthy and getting enough rest. Do things that relax you but also get some exercise. Basically, go through the emotions of being your best self.

I am sorry you had this experience. But it sounds like you know how to take care of yourself and are very self-aware. These are excellent coping strengths. Again, consider reaching out for some help as you continue to recover from this experience.

Keep me posted on how you're doing. And continue taking good care of yourself!

Gary

June 3 at 2:15 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered cantwaite95's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hey cantwaite,

It's really nice to hear from you. I am so glad you reached out.

First, you are not a baby. Feelings of depression can come out of nowhere, or they may be the result of an event in your life. Either way, these feelings are not a sign of immaturity or weakness. So I encourage not to get down on yourself for the way you are feeling. I think admitting you need help and reaching out for help is a very brave thing to do. I wish more people who feel like you do would reach out for help.

And you are correct, swallowing feelings doesn't make them go away.

What you are experiencing is treatable. And you have taken the first step toward getting help. I really encourage you to reach out for help. Here's is a link to an article I wrote awhile back that you might find helpful:

http://www.depressionconnect.com/discussions/...

If you have insurance, you can go to your company's website and look for therapists in the behavioral or mental health section of the site. If you have Medicaid or Medicare, you may also be able to access this information online. If you have a job, you can also see if your organization has an employee assistance plan you can call. You can also mention to your regular physician that you are having symptoms that you are concerned may be depression, and ask for advice or a referral.

A mental health professional would meet with you and talk about how you are feeling. They would suggest a treatment plan, which you could work on together. This might include medication and/or psychotherapy. Keep in mind that you have options, and you have a voice in your treatment plan in terms of the directions you feel comfortable with.

I hope you won't go through this alone. You have taken the first step by raising your hand and saying you need help. A very brave and a very grown up thing to do. The next step is to advocate for yourself and find your way to someone who can help.

Again, what you experiencing is treatable. Don't go through this alone.

And please keep in touch, my friend, and let me know how you're doing.

Take good care of yourself!

Gary

May 31 at 2:48 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Amini's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hey Amini,

I am sorry to hear you have been struggling with depression for so long. I am glad your reached out.

First, I have to say to you what I say to all of my clients. Depression is treatable. There are a lot of treatment options to help someone who is living with depression.

Mental illness is no different from any other illness in that it is not something you choose. Mental illness is not a sign of weakness. Mental illness can be the result of an imbalance in your brain chemistry. Or it can be the result of things that have happened to you, life events that have occurred over the years. Or a combination of the two. But again, it is nothing to be ashamed of. You didn't cause or ask for this.

Having said that, I want to also offer you some encouragement. Reaching out for help when you are experiencing depression is the bravest thing you can do!

I am going to assume you aren't currently getting help with your depression. Here is a link to an article I wrote awhile back on how to get connected with treatment:

http://www.depressionconnect.com/discussions/...

If you have insurance, check out mental health providers on your insurance company website. If you have a public healthcare provider, like Medicaid, you can also check out a listing of local providers. Or Google. You can also talk to your regular physician about what's going on with you and ask for help.

One thing I was encouraged by in your question is that you seem to have a supportive family. And you have a job you love. Those are two very important strengths.

I also encourage you to continue to go through the motions of your life, like you seem to be doing. Keep pushing yourself to get up in the morning. Put yourself into the work you love. Spend quality time with family and friends. Eat healthy and get rest. Getting exercise can also improve your mood.

And if you are ever feeling really overwhelmed by your feelings of depression, get help immediately. Your local emergency room is equipped to help with mental health emergencies. Or you can call 911 and get help.

But again, I really encourage you to reach out for help. Depression is treatable! So take really good care of yourself by taking that first step and asking for help.

I hope you will stay in touch, my friend. Let me know how you're doing.

Gary

April 28 at 8:58 am · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered AndyI can's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Andy,

That is a very good question.

Depression can be the result of a chemical imbalance in your brain. Someone who has had depression over a long period of time, and if the depression is not the result of any specific events in their life, then the cause may be chemical. If so, then medication may be required to treat this depression. Often, those whose depression is caused by a chemical imbalance may have family members, e.g. a parent, who also suffers from depression.

Depression can also be caused by life events. For example, a loss, like the death of a loved one, or a relationship breakup, or loss of a job, can result in depression. Stress that has become overwhelming can cause depression. Being abused or bullied can result in depression. Other life events can also cause depression.

Depression caused by life events can be treated through psychotherapy, though some medication may also be recommended for a period of time.

The best way to know if you are suffering from depression, and what might be causing it, is to sit down and have a talk with a mental health professional. A therapist can evaluate you and provide a diagnosis, as well as a treatment plan for the road ahead.

If you suspect that yourself or a loved one is depressed, then I encourage you to reach out to a mental health professional. If you don't know where to start, you can check out the listings of therapists on the website of your insurance company, or ask your doctor for a referral.

Depression is treatable. Don't go through this alone!

Keep us posted on how you're doing.

Gary

April 24 at 10:42 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Darkman25's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI Darkman,

Nice to see you. And that is a good question.

Anxiety can come out of the blue, for no apparent reason. Or they can be triggered by specific events or environmental conditions. Sounds like you are experiencing anxiety that comes out of the blue.

Some people have found it helpful to deal with anxiety in a proactive way. Staying calm. Making sure they are eating healthy and getting enough rest. Avoiding anxiety triggers where possible.

You can also learn techniques to manage anxiety when it hits.

Below are some links to recent articles that I think you might find helpful:

http://www.depressionconnect.com/discussions/...

http://www.depressionconnect.com/depression-a...

http://www.depressionconnect.com/depression-a...

A mental health professional could help you manage your anxiety better. He/she would talk to you about your anxiety symptoms and recommend a way forward. You could learn techniques for managing anxious thoughts and feelings. I really encourage you to consider getting some help.

If your anxiety attacks are interfering with your quality of life in any way, your ability to enjoy your life, to work, to have relationships, then it is especially important to reach out for help.

Anxiety is treatable!

Take good care of yourself, my friend. And let me know how you're doing.

Gary

April 18 at 2:56 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered mstoner415's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI mstoner,

I think it says a lot about you that you are this concerned about your boyfriend, and want to do what you can to be supportive. He is fortunate to have you in his corner.

What I thought about as I read your question was the importance of caring for the caregiver. Often, individuals like you who are supporting someone they are close to and who is living with mental illness don't take good always take such good care of themselves. For example, they give a lot of emotional support but don't get a lot of support themselves. The person they are supportive may have so much going on that they can be very supportive in return. Or the person giving the support doesn't ask for much support in return.

Being supportive for someone who is living with mental illness can take a toll on you. It can leave you feeling emotionally drained, and depleted.

It's really important to take really good care of yourself, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Here a few of the things you might consider making you build into your life to enhance your own wellness. Getting adequate rest. Eating a healthy diet. Getting exercise. Talking things out with an objective, non-judgmental listener. Doing something to calm yourself. Doing things you enjoy. Getting intellectual stimulation.

It's important to stay involved in your own life, to stay grounded, to keep growing.

You mentioned shutting off in your question. I assume you meant shutting off to your boyfriend. What you may be experiencing is called compassion fatigue. This is a normal reaction to being worn out from taking care of someone else's needs. The things I mentioned to enhance your own wellness can help with compassion fatigue. It's all about building yourself back up when you're reeling drained.

I also strongly encourage you to seek out your own counselor. It could help a lot to sit down with a mental health professional to talk about what's going on in your life, to get some additional perspective, and to learn some ways to cope better, including how to communicate and support your boyfriend. Most of all, a counselor could help you to take better care of yourself. That is job number one. You mentioned having experienced a loss, a counselor could help you to process that loss.

So, I hope you will make yourself more of a priority. Look at it this way — The better we feel, the more we are able to give to others. Again, care for the caregiver.

Take good care of yourself. And let me know how you're doing.

Gary

April 18 at 2:44 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered labrys67@gmail.com's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI labrys67,

Glad you checked in. This is a good question, one that I am sure a lot of people can relate to.

Sorry to hear you are dealing with all this anxiety, as well as the recent deaths.

You asked about getting help in coping with anxiety online, so I am assuming you are interested in a technology-based solution, like an app. There are some really interesting apps available these days that you can install on your smartphone and use to help you manage your anxiety.

What I would do is to go the app store of whatever smartphone, e.g. Apple, you are using, and then search on anxiety or anxiety relief, and see what comes up. You will see a list of apps with descriptions as well as ratings. I suspect you will find something that looks helpful, and you can give it a try.

If you are interested in a website, here is a link to a list of online resources for help with anxiety:

https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/best-anxiety...

There really are a lot of technology-based resources with both information and tools built in, and you might find these resources helpful in providing you with techniques and tools to manage anxious thoughts and feelings.

Approaches that include cognitive behavior therapy and/or mindfulness might be especially helpful.

I hope you will keep me posted on what you come up with. Take good care of yourself!

Gary

April 18 at 2:08 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered lonely18's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI Becky,

So glad you checked in. This is a really good question about an issue that so many people deal with, including my own clients.

That was interesting advice you received from the local crisis center. I have heard that coloring can be therapeutic in its own way, and something you can do on your own. But, as you said, not for everybody.

First, I am wondering if you are receiving any kind of treatment. Just in case you aren't, I will start there. For someone living the conditions you have been diagnosed with, therapy can help a lot. Again, if you aren't seeing a therapist, that could help a lot. Just someone who can sit down with you, talk about what's going on in your life, give you some perspective, and talk about what you could do to feel better. I hope you are working with a mental health professional.

But beyond that, there are some things you might also consider to help you cope day to day.

I think it's really important to stay involved in your day-to-day life, whether you are feeling it or not. Get up and around each morning, go to work if you have a job, or get moving around the house if you are home. The day-to-day routine of life can be therapeutic in it's own way, participating in life can be affirming, give you a sense of mastery.

Doing things that give you pleasure can help a lot. Getting out for a walk, doing some kind of activity or exercise, having a craft or hobby you enjoy. Even if, at the moment, none of these things give you any pleasure, I encourage you to do healthy things for yourself anyway. Take action, let the feelings catch up.

I also encourage you to get support. I hope you have friends or family members you can just spend time with. If they can listen to how you're feeling, without judging you or trying to tell you what to do, that's even better. If they can't be good listeners, just being around people who are kind, caring, upbeat, can help you to feel supported. You might also look into a support group, www.nami.org has a list of support groups nationwide.

You might also look into other ways to connect with people. Volunteering is a great way to give back, and to meet like-minded people.

Eat healthy, be careful about junk food, alcohol. And try to get plenty of rest.

Taking good care of yourself is extra important when you are living with mental illness.

I hope you will stay in touch. I would like to know how you are doing.

You are not alone, my friend!

Gary

April 11 at 6:56 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Shaig's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI Shaig,

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

This is a good question. I can tell that you are really concerned about your stepson and want to do what you can to help hem when he is released. From what you described in your question, I am assuming you and your wife will be the people he relies on the most when he is released.

In answer to your question about whether this is anxiety or depression, what I would say is that a situation like the one you are facing could bring up some anxious feelings about what might happen in the future, as you described. However, you may also be feeling overwhelmed. So you may be experiencing some feelings of both anxiety and depression.

I don't think it is so important to figure out if this is depression or anxiety. What I think is important here is for you to get some support for yourself.

On the positive side, you have three and half years to prepare. That's a lot of time. What you might want to do is to do some exploration, maybe some Googling, on social service programs for individuals who have been incarcerated. You may be able to find some programs that are sponsored by your state government or through non-profit organizations. You might also look into job training programs. They certainly exist.

I think having some support resources in place would help. Here are a couple that I found by taking a look through Google:

http://lionheart.org/prison/state-by-state-li...

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/if-we-wa...

https://www.bop.gov/inmates/custody_and_care/...

https://www.prisonfellowship.org/?sc=WB187100...

I would also encourage you to look into programs within your specific state and community.

Keep in mind that your stepson will need to motivate himself to get his life back on track. You can be supportive and encouraging, but he will have to be willing to do the work. You only have so much control here. The future is in his own hands.

So I think getting yourself informed, having some resources in place, will give you some peace of mind. You might also look into getting some support for yourself, through a support group for family members, or through a counselor. It's really important, I think, for you to get your own support in coping with your feelings about your stepson's release. The more you help yourself, the more you will be able to help him.

Again, consider these three and a half years as a time to prepare, not as a deadline. Hand your stepson the tools you have accumulated. You can give him encouragement while he prepares for the road ahead.

I hope this helps. Keep me posted on how you're doing.

And take good care of yourself.

Gary

March 28 at 2:52 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered KP_2896's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hey KP,

It's good to hear from you. I am glad you checked in.

First, so sorry to hear you lost a parent. That's rough, I know.

Through my own personal experience and with my clients, as well as what I learned in my training, I can say with confidence that grief is a unique experience for each of us. We all through the grieve process in our individual way.

This may include dreams. When we are asleep, our defenses are down, and our minds are free to express our fears and desires through our dreams. This may include reliving something we have already experienced, or watching something we have thought about played out as if on a stage. We may remember our dreams, we may not. And our dreams may wake us up, leaving us feeling sad, anxious, afraid.

Dreams can also be a way for our subconscious minds to work through an event, such as a death.

It is normal to have dreams about someone you have lost. These may be more frequent during the weeks and months after that person has died, these dreams may shift and change as you work through your loss, and they may subside over time.

So, a couple of things.

Again, the nightmares may be part of how you are grieving. But I would add that I really recommend that you talk about your loss, with friends, family members, anyone who is willing to listen without judging you or trying to tell you what to do. Tell the story of your loss over and over, share memories, express your feelings. This will help you to come to terms with your loss. Talk about your nightmares as well. The best way to cope with grief is to talk. I also recommend considering meeting with a grief counselor to get some help with your grief.

But if the nightmares are causing you distress during your waking hours, or if you find yourself fearing or avoiding sleep for fear the nightmares will return, then I highly recommend that you meet with a therapist. A mental health professional could help you to understand better what's going on, and to help you find ways to cope.

Most of all, I encourage to take really good care of yourself. Get support. Stay active in your life.

I hope you will keep us posted on how you're doing.

Gary

March 17 at 5:54 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered AmandaPanda09's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hey Amanda,

It's great to hear from you. And I have to start by thanking you for introducing me to something I had never heard of before. But I am big fan of new age music, including listening to sounds like storms and waterfalls. I found a website featuring various binaural beats and really enjoyed listening to them.

I have to also say that I know nothing about these sounds in terms of how they might impact depression or insomnia.

But here's what I can say from my own experience and that of my clients. I do find that listening to these sound can be incredibly relaxing, helping me to feel calm and at peace. From experience, I can say that listening can potentially help you to feel more relaxed which can, in turn, help you to get to sleep. I have listened to sounds like waterfalls myself to relax, and my clients have reported the same. So again, not a recommendation as such, but what I and my clients have experienced. And I have to of course add that not everyone I have talked to has experienced the same benefit.

I can't make speak to how listening to binaural beats might help with depression. But I can speak to the value of feeling peaceful and relaxed, and having adequate rest. This can have a positive impact on your mental health.

Thanks again for introducing me to this term. You may want to do some Googling to see if you come up with any studies that might provide evidence of the value of binaural beats. And if you do, please let me know.

Take care of yourself!

Gary

February 20 at 9:59 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered itsjudyd's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi itsjudyd,

Nice to hear from you. This is a good question.

I am sorry to hear your husband is struggling with depression, and not yet getting the help he needs. I can understand why you would be considering inpatient treatment. There is a lack of adequate inpatient treatment nationwide. Many state-run facilities have been reduced in size or closed, so the number of available beds is less than in the past. And as you experienced, care may be limited t medication management. This is not say that medication is not helpful, because it can be very helpful for someone who has been diagnosed with depression. But I also agree that counseling can help as well, alone or in conjunction with medication.

There are facilities that offer what you are seeking. The problem is that this level of care can be very expensive. Depending on your ability to pay and your insurance plan, you may find that some of these facilities are available to you and some are not available.

When I have clients in your situation, I recommend they call the behavioral health, or mental health, department at their insurance company and ask for a list of approved inpatient facilities, as well as the discuss the procedure for gaining admittance. Your insurance company probably has a specific procedure as well as a list of approved facilities. Your insurance company may be surprisingly helpful. A recommendation from a psychiatrist may be needed. If your husband has a regular psychiatrist, this would also be a conversation to have with him/her.

If you have Medicaid coverage, then you would also want to talk to someone at your Medicaid office about what is involved in finding in patient care.

I did a quick Google search on inpatient mental health facilities in Southern California and came up with the following links that you might want to check out:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/treatment-...

http://mental-health-facilities.healthgrove.c...

http://losangeles.networkofcare.org/pr/servic...

I am sorry to say that I don't have any contacts in Southern California so I unfortunately can't make any recommendations. I also can't vouch for these sites, but they popped up at the top of the list on Google. As always, do your own careful due diligence as you explore the options.

In the past, clients have done their own Google search and found sites that provide a list of facilities, like the links I gave you. They then did their own calling or emailing to facilities that looked interesting, and then talked to a rep about what is involved in getting admitted and what the financial requirements might be. They were then able to go through the process of getting a bed there.

Your husband is fortunate to have such a supportive partner. I encourage you to continue to be an advocate, to talk to your insurance company, or Medicaid/Medicare, and find out what your options are.

You might also want to consider getting some of your own counseling, if you aren't already. Get some support for yourself as you travel the road ahead with your husband. Care for the caregiver.

I hope you will stay in touch. Let me know how you're doing.

Gary

February 10 at 2:27 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Jacky_L's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Jacky,

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

I am assuming that you are still seeing your therapist. Therapy can help a lot when you are living with depression and anxiety, so it's good to know you have been working with a therapist, and making progress. Therapy works when you do the work! That's great.

As for the medication, some people benefit more than others. But what I would also add is that it can take some time and patience to get to the regimen that is right for you. So if you and your therapist decide you might benefit, keep in mind that you might do better with a different regimen. Just throwing that out there. Again, I assume you and your therapist, as well as your psychiatrist, have talked about all of this.

The connection you have made between increased anxiety and depression and your menstrual cycle is certainly worth pursuing. This is something I would encourage you to discuss with a physician.

Good to know that your boyfriend is trying to be supportive. I think people who don't live with anxiety and depression can only understand what that's like at an intellectual level. They haven't really lived it. So while they try hard to understand what you're going through, they can only understand to a certain point. So I know this can be disappointing and frustrating at times. Nobody really understands what it's like if they haven't experienced it themselves. Friends and family often do the best they can, but that doesn't always feel like enough when you are really feeling bad.

I am wondering if it might help to ask your therapist if your boyfriend could attend a session with you. This way, your therapist might be able to help explain to him how you are feeling, what your challenges are, and what help you need from him. Some therapists are comfortable with this idea, others aren't. But it might be worth looking into.

I also encourage you to do things that enhance your wellness. Eat healthy, get rest, get exercise, do things you enjoy, get support from friends and family. I think it's important to have a strong social network of people who can be there for you, who can listen. Support is power.

Again, I really encourage you to stay connected with your therapist. You might talk about how to cope during times when you are feeling especially anxious and depressed. And again, consider talking to your doctor about this as well.

And you know that if there is a time when you are feeling especially overwhelmed, you can also report to an emergency room and ask for help.

Take good care of yourself. And please keep me posted on how you're doing.

Gary

January 17 at 6:50 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Jazz1359's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Jazz,

It's nice to meet you. This is a really good question and I am glad you asked.

First, let me address your difficulty getting in touch with the EAP. I work with a lot of EAPs. As a provider, I am required to get in touch with anyone who has been referred to me within 24 hours. And the EAPs themselves are responsible for connecting employees with help right away, within that timeframe. So you might want to call back the EAP and let them know you need to get connected right away. If they gave you therapist names and the therapists did not return messages or call you, then the EAP needs to know this. They are responsible for helping you. And they may need to get involved more to make a connection for you. So I really encourage you to call back.

Also, if the EAP is not being responsive then, if you feel comfortable doing this, you might also call your HR department and let them know about this. They may need to intervene with the EAP.

The EAP is your most immediate option, so I hope you will advocate for yourself here. The EAP is being paid well by your company to help employees, so they need to do their job.

It has been my experience that community mental health programs and not always reliable. I think they mean well. But they are generally underfunded and way over their heads with referrals. Again, it's a bureaucracy in which you really need to advocate for yourself to get help, I am sorry to say. This might also take repeated calls to make a connection. It's sad that people who need help can't get it from their own community resources, I know.

You may want to consider making an appointment with your doctor and speaking in person. I have found in my own life that doctors have difficulty tackling larger questions by email. It is time consuming for them and they aren't getting paid for this time. And this is a topic that might be more easily addressed in a conversation. Just a suggestion.

Again, I am sorry you are not getting the help you need. We have a long way to go in our country to make mental health counseling available to people who need it. But again. I really encourage you to advocate for yourself, starting with your EAP. You are worth it!

Take good care of yourself, my friend. And please let me know how you're doing.

Gary

January 12 at 9:54 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Gary the digger's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hey Gary the digger,

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

Sounds like you have a lot going on. First, congratulations on reaching out for help and getting connected with a therapist. That's an important first step toward getting better. And glad to hear you are maintaining your job.

There are a few things you might think about doing.

First, I always encourage my clients to maintain their wellness. This includes trying to have a healthy diet, avoid the junk food. Getting exercise is also important, whatever exercise is reasonable for you (you might want to talk with your doctor about what is reasonable if you aren't sure). Keep in mind exercise can include taking a walk. And getting sleep in also important, having enough rest can change your whole perspective on life.

Also be careful about how much you drink alcohol beverages, if you drink. Alcohol is a depressant.

Doing things that relax you, and that you enjoy, is also important. If you have any hobbies, or like to go to movies, or listen to music, for example. Make sure you scheduling enjoyable activities every week. Activities that bring you in contact with other people can be especially helpful for your mood.

It's also important to get support. If you have friends or family members whose company you enjoy, this would be a good time to reach out and schedule time with them. Especially people who can listen without judging you or telling you what to do. Don't isolate yourself from others.

Basically, I always encourage my clients living with depression to stay active in their lives, to live a healthy and active life. And whether they are "feeling it" or not. Take positive action, don't wait to feel like taking positive action. Let the feelings catch up later.

Take good care of yourself, my friend. And stay in touch. Let me know how you're doing.

Gary

January 12 at 9:23 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered adastra's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi adastra,

Nice to meet you.

I have had a couple of clients with this condition. I can't recommend how you should be treated, but I can tell you what we worked on together.

Both clients were very anxious. They had grown up in homes where their parents were anxious as well. They used skin picking as a way of coping with anxious feelings. Whenever they felt anxious, they began picking their skin.

Here is a link to a website you might find helpful, just in case you haven't checked it out already:

https://www.skinpick.com/dermatillomania

Both of them benefitted from cognitive behavior therapy. They learned to recognize thought patterns that led to skin picking. Basically, they identified their triggers for skin picking, and then learned healthier ways of coping when they were triggered. This included recognizing anxious thoughts and changing those thoughts, basically talking back to their anxiety. They also learned how to distract themselves from skin picking. And they learned to soothe themselves when they were anxious, without skin picking. One of these clients also chose to go on an anxiety medication.

I am not an expert in this condition and I can't recommend what you should do without knowing you. But the research I have read generally discusses behavioral therapy and medication as ways to treat it, either separate or in combination, as you will see on the website I suggested.

What I would encourage you to do is to get connected with a mental health professional. A clinician could help you to understand what's behind this condition and work with you on a way forward. A mental health professional could also help you decide if you wanted to consider medication or not. If you are on health insurance, you can check out the list of mental health providers on the health insurer's website. Or, you can talk to your physician and see if he/she can make a referral for you.

I hope you will reach out and get some help. What you are experiencing is treatable.

Take good care of yourself!

Gary

December 29 at 10:12 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Simply-Mush's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Simply-Mush,

Nice to see you. That's a great question. I am a big believer in the value of meditation, and I am always glad to help someone out who wants to learn.

First, you might want to consider picking up a book. Just get on a book site like Amazon and search on topics like "meditation" or "learning meditation" and you will probably end up with a list of books.

If you live near a city, you might want to check out local Buddhist groups. You don't have to get involved in Buddhism if it doesn't interest you. But most Buddhist meetings include not only a message on Buddhist thought, but also a group meditation. Through this meditation, you would learn techniques you could try on you own. Buddhist organizations often do classes on basic meditation as well. Keep in mind that people of other religions go to Buddhist meetings to learn about meditation.

YouTube has a lot of great meditations you can follow. Just search on topics like "mindfulness meditation" or "five minute meditation" and you will come up with a list of meditations, of various types and timeframes, to choose from.

There are some excellent apps you might want to try out, including HeadSpace and Calm. These apps, and others, teach you to meditate through meditations that they take you through. They also remind you to meditate.

I do a basic meditation for a few minutes. I sit in a comfortable place, and look straight ahead with my eyes half open. Then I listen to my own breathing as I slowly inhale and exhale. When I have a thought, I dismiss it and refocus on my breathing. This helps me feel relaxed and centered, and more aware of myself. As I say to my clients, meditation doesn't take you out of your life. It brings you into your life.

If you are interested in meditation, I hope you will keep pursuing ways to develop your own meditation practice. If you don't relate to one approach, keep trying others until you find one that resonates with you. I think you will be amazed at how meditation can help you to feel calmer, more in touch with yourself, more able to react in the moment.

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

Take care of yourself!

Gary

December 6 at 11:09 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered jhen692's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi jhen692,

I am glad you checked in.

What you described could indeed be symptoms of anxiety, but also of depression. And keep in mind that anxiety and depression can go hand in hand.

I am first going to give you the advice I always give to someone who is feeling overwhelmed emotionally. What you are experiencing is treatable. I really encourage you to get connected with a mental health professional. I professional would talk to you about all the feelings you are experiencing. He/she would render a diagnose. And then, the two of you would work together on a treatment plan for the way forward. Keep in mind that you would have lots of input into this process. A mental health professional might recommend therapy, medication, or a combination of the two. The ultimate decision would be yours.

But here's something else. It has been my experience that people can surprise us. People who you feel may judge you may actually be very open and supportive. Believe me, we all have stuff to deal with, nobody has a perfect life. So you may want to consider sitting down with a friend or family member who is especially trustworthy and talking to them about what's going on. You start by letting them know you just need to talk to someone who cares about you, that you hope they won't judge you, and that you just need them to listen, not to tell you what to do or to "fix" you. Again, friends can surprise us. And if you have been showing your irritation to friends, they may appreciate knowing that it is not because they are doing something wrong.

We all need support!

I am glad you are here. And you are not alone. So stay in touch with us. Let us know how you're doing.

Take really good care of yourself!

Gary

November 24 at 3:12 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered ilifern's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI ilifern,

It's nice to meet you. Thanks for checking in.

I am sorry to hear You are feeling so poorly. Not getting enough sleep can be really hard on you, physically and emotionally. And I know how miserable headaches can be as well. You are dealing with a lot. It sounds like you are not getting a lot of emotional support. Again, sorry to hear about all of this.

First, I am assuming that you are under the care of a physician. That would be the first step, just in case you aren't. It's really important that a physician you trust is aware of both the sleep difficulties and the headaches. If you are taking any medications, it would be a good idea for any and all doctors you might be working with to be aware of each other, and any medications the others docs have prescribed.

I am also wondering if you are receiving any type of counseling. It could help a whole lot to have someone to meet with on a regular basis, an objective professional who can listen and help you sort out how you're feeling, as well as help you to develop some additional coping skills.

Do you have any friends or family members that you could sit down with and get some support?

Also, is it possible your family members might suspect you aren't feeling well, and be waiting for you to let them know what you need? Or, if they don't know, is it possible they would want to give you some help and support if the did know? It is always sad for me to see people who are suffering and not getting the help they need because they think they need to protect their loved ones.

Just wondering. You know your family and what you can expect from them. I am just suggesting the sometimes people can surprise us.

Take good care of yourself. Get some help with your emotions. And keep in touch. Let me know how you are doing. You are not alone.

Gary

November 22 at 3:07 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered CarolinaJones's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi CarolinaJones,

Nice to see you, my friend.

Sounds like you are trying to figure out how to get along with people in your life who might be kind of annoying at times. I think that is something everybody has to deal with at times, or maybe all the time. We love our families but they can get on our nerves sometimes.

When I talk with my clients about this, I always encourage them to have compassion for the people in their life. I encourage them to try and focus on what you love most about that person, the connection you have with them, how important they are. And also to remind themselves that everybody is doing the best they can, some of us are doing a little better than others. If you can focus on what you love most about someone, it is easier to put up with their behaviors that bother you at times.

You might be somebody who likes to be quiet at times, who doesn't want to talk all the time. It might help to try to get off by yourself when you can, even if it just means going into your room to rest and read for awhile. Make time for your own quiet time.

If I had a client in your situation, when their loved one is talking up a storm, I might suggest they just say something like, "I've had a long day. I just need to be quiet for awhile. Can we talk about this later?" I think anything that is said out of love and respect can be heard by the other person.

Again, make time for yourself. Go off by yourself to be quiet when you need to. Take good care of yourself!

And keep us posted on how you're doing.

Gary

November 16 at 6:56 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered janomano's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi janomano.

Good to meet you!

I am not familiar with Redi-Calm. So I looked it up. It seems to be an herbal remedy for stress.

Whether it would be good for depression is debatable. It would depend in part on what is causing your depression, for example, if you are experiencing depression as a result of stress. And it would depend on how you are affected by whatever this product is made up of. Some people are helped by herbal remedies, others aren't. But still others may be harmed by them.

I am always concerned about herbal remedies, mainly because they can be helpful, not helpful, or harmful, depending on your individual biochemical makeup. Also, they can interact negatively with other medications.

So I just have to encourage you to talk to your physician about using this product. It's really worth a conversation. You might print out the product information, including what Redi-Calm actually contains, and take that to a doctor's appointment with you. It's really important to make sure you aren't taking anything, herbal or otherwise, which might have a negative impact on your physical or mental health.

As the saying goes, buyer beware.

I am glad you asked this question. Let us know what you hear and what you decide to do. And take really good care of yourself.

Gary

October 26 at 6:57 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Bakernurse's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI Bakernurse,

Nice to hear from you. This is a good question.

I am wondering if you felt this way before you went on medication, and are concerned that the medications haven't reduced these symptoms. Or if you started feeling this way after you began your medication.

That foggy and zombie feeling can be a symptom of depression. But it can also be related to medication.

But either way, the next step is the same.

I know how hard it can be to get an appointment with a psychiatrist, believe me. But I think it would be worth it for you to set one up. The two of you could go over your current regimen and decide if it needs to be adjusted or not. Getting to the optimal regimen can be kind of a trial and error process, two steps forward, one step back, until you come to the one that works best for you. Patience is needed. But so is close contact with your doctor. Don't hesitate to be high maintenance. You're worth it.

In preparation for your appointment, you might want to keep a journal. Write down how you're feeling each day, along with how any symptoms you are experiencing, like fogginess, are affecting your ability to function at your best. See if you can identify any trends and bring them up with your doctor.

The more information and evidence he/she has, the better they will be able to help you.

I hope you will stay in touch. Let me know how you're doing.

And take really good care of yourself.

Gary

October 26 at 6:49 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered BrigSS's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI BriggSS,

Nice to see you. And that's a good question. Living in a house with other people can be challenging. Each one of us is unique and, as a result, it is only natural that we can rub each other the wrong way at times, or even pretty often.

If those five people are family members, then at least you have a connection that can help you to overcome your differences when they arise. That doesn't mean you will see eye to eye on everything, of course. But having a family connection may be able to help you accept each other, since you have a history together. But yes, those differences, even with family members, can be frustrating. And sometimes downright impossible to get past. It's amazing how people can grow up together, maybe even in the same house, and share so much history, and still be so different from each other.

If those five personalities are friends, or roommates you don't have much of a connection to, then you might be feeling less of an incentive to try to find common ground. But still, you have to figure out how to get along in spite of the personality differences.

I find that the easiest way to get along with people who have very different personalities is to just accept that they are who they are. We can't make other people behave the way we think they should. So what we can do is to try not to have expectations for them, just let them be who they are. Not having expectations for other people, not trying to control or change them, can make them a whole lot easier to live with.

It can also help to try to focus on something about each of the other people they you respect, or even like. If you can focus on something — a quality they possess, for example — this can make it easier to be with them.

If there is something specific someone does that bothers you, like not cleaning up after themselves, or making noise, then maybe you can sit down with them and work out a way to get along better. You might ask if there is something you could do better, as well. Compromising can make a big difference in how you get along.

To be honest, happiness may be a lot to ask for if you have major personality differences, or at least happy with those people. But there are a lot of ways to be happy, including the things you do outside of the house. You don't have to depend on the people you live with for your happiness. But you might find that, by accepting them, and focusing on what you can like about them, you can at least be content at home.

It's great to be in touch. I hope you will keep me posted on how you're doing. Take good care of yourself!

Gary

October 19 at 6:48 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Rinnie009's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI Rinnie,

I am glad you reached out. This is a really important question, not cliché at all.

When a relationship ends, we experience a loss. And then we grieve. Each of us grieves in our own way. So what you are experiencing may be the symptoms of grief, including the ups and downs depending on the day. It's normal to just feel sad a lot, to feel kind of empty.

The advice I give to my clients who are facing a loss is to allow themselves to experience their grief. To go off by themselves and cry if they need to, for example.

Here are some of things I encourage grieving clients to do: Stay active in your life, even if it feels like you are going through the motions. Do things that help you to feel connected, activities that you enjoy, or that help you feel calm and centered. Try to eat healthy, even if you are hungry. Take time for rest. And talk — tell the story of your loss over and over if you need to. Each time you tell the story, it clicks into place, and this helps you to come to acceptance. A loss is the end of a chapter, and the beginning of a new chapter.

It sounds like you are already doing some of things I talked about. Sounds like you are trying to stay active in your life. I understand "putting up a front." But I also hope you have people in your life that you can just be yourself with, who can listen without judging you, or him, or telling you how you should feel or what you should do.

This might also be a time to sit down with a counselor, to sort out your feelings and get some additional perspective. Just something for you to think about.

But if you feel like you can't function very well in your daily life, if you are feeling overwhelmed by your feelings of loss, then this is definitely a time to reach out for help. And if you are currently in treatment, you might also let your providers know what's going on, and ask for some additional support.

Talk things out. Don't go through this alone.

And please keep us posted on your you are doing.

Take good care of yourself, my friend.

Gary

October 12 at 1:06 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered mesomom's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI mesomom,

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

It sounds like you are not yet getting the results you need from you medications. I have a couple of thoughts for you.

First, you might have noticed that I used the word "yet." It has been my experience that getting to the optimal regimen can be kind of a trial and error process. Two steps forward, one step back, until you find a regimen that works. This takes a lot of patience, and a lot of team work with your doctor or treatment team. I have had clients that went through quite a process, trying different medications, dosages, and combinations of medications, until they found a regimen that worked for them.

I am not sure where you are in your treatment. But whether you are just getting started, or much further along, I do encourage you to keep working with your doctor and see what you can come up with together. I am optimistic about the potential of medication but, again, it can be a process.

So that is one consideration.

I have also had clients who found that being on medications, in conjunction with psychotherapy, was the one-two punch they needed to get more relief from their symptoms. So I also encourage you to consider finding a therapist you feel comfortable with, and who can help you, if you haven't already.

Clients have also talked to me about alternative therapies, including ECT, when they weren't getting enough help from medications. I can't make a recommendation here, but I have talked to clients about what they and their doctors are considering as an option. This is a discussion to have with your physician.

My basic message here is to encourage you to keep going, to not give up on the potential of finding the right treatment. And again, work closely with your doctor to determine next steps.

Take good care of yourself, my friend. I hope you will stay in touch and let me know how you're doing.

Gary

September 24 at 1:51 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered DeeCee831's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Dee!

Great to meet you. I am glad you checked in. This is a really good question.

The Internet has impacted our lives in so many ways. One major benefit is the availability of incredible amounts of health information. This has helped many to gain a better understanding of conditions they have been diagnosed with. And this information has also helped people to become aware of conditions they may be living with. But there are a couple of cautions that are important to consider in regard to health information from the Internet. First, there are lots of reliable sources information on the Internet, but also lots of unreliable sources. And second, it's all too easy to diagnose yourself, or to assume you have a diagnosis, when you may not.

So I just want to encourage you to be careful about diagnosing yourself. And to be careful about information you may pick up on the Internet and apply to yourself. Of course, you may not be gathering health information on the Internet at all. But just in case… please be careful about not assuming what you read applies to you.

Having said that… I just want to again say that I really glad you checked in.

What I encourage you to do is to reach out to a mental health professional. A professional could sit down and have a chat with you, talk about how you are feeling, the symptoms you are experiencing, and render a diagnosis. You could then discuss treatment options, and agree together on the way forward.

If you aren't sure how to get started in finding someone to help you, here is a link to an article I wrote awhile back:

http://www.depressionconnect.com/discussions/...

You have taken an important first step. You have asked how to find out what's going on with you. That tells me that you have an open mind, that you are want reliable information and, based on what you learn, that you are ready to get on the road toward feeling better.

Take good care of yourself, my friend. Reach out to a professional. And stay in touch. Keep me posted on how you're doing.

Gary

September 8 at 10:34 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered MonicaJade's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi MonicaJade,

It's great to meet you. And I am glad you asked this excellent question.

I am sorry to hear about what's going on with you. Sounds like you are having a tough time right now. But it also sounds like you are contemplating taking the next step, and getting some help. I am glad to hear that.

Asking for help is one of the bravest things you can do. I know it's not easy to admit that you need support. Us humans like to think we are in control and can do it all on our own. But, as you experiencing, sometimes we need to reach out to a professional and get some help.

I also understand that if you haven't worked with a mental health professional before, that can seem like kind of a scary idea. You may be unsure as to what to expect, or how you will benefit.

Just getting started can seem like a difficult task. Here is a link to an article I wrote awhile back about finding a therapist:

http://www.depressionconnect.com/discussions/...

I am a therapist so of course I am little biased. But I really think treatment works. I have seen many, many people who feel like you do experience really big improvements in their overall quality of life. It starts with taking the next step and raising your hand for help — making a few phone calls to connect with mental health professionals.

A professional is a trained listener. You won't be judged or told what to do. A mental health professional will listen as you tell him/her what's going on with you, ask you some questions, and then make an evaluation as to what may be going on. This may result in a diagnosis. A professional with them work with you on a treatment plan for a way forward. Again, this will be a discussion, with the professional making recommendations.

I really encourage you to reach out for help. It sounds like you're ready.

I hope you will stay in touch with us. Let us know how you are doing. You are not alone, my friend.

Gary

September 3 at 12:18 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Mr. Fizz's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Mr. Fitz,

This is a good question. I did some thinking about experiences I have had with my own clients, and also did some research.

The research I did on this topic, for the most part, indicated that emotional bluntness is related to the regimen you are on, the choice of medication and the dosage. It sounds like your research has also led you in this direction. Given that emotional bluntness is quite possibly the result of the regimen, then tackling this issue may start with having a conversation with your doctor about your emotional blunting and how your regimen may be involved.

As you already know, medications used to treat mental illness are not without side effects. The benefits may be accompanied by some undesired side effects. My clients often talk to me about the side effects they are experiencing from their medications, including emotional blunting. Generally, they admit that the benefits of their medication greatly outweigh the side effects. However, I encourage them to make sure their doctor is aware of how they are feeling. By teaming up with their doctors, they can work together to get to the regimen that helps them the most with the least amount of side effects. Or determine together that they are at the best regimen possible, and discuss how to live with the side effects. Don't hesitate to be a high maintenance patient — keep your doctor in the loop about how you are feeling.

My clients often say, "This medication is helping me so much that I am willing to live with the side effects." But this is often after working with their doctors over time to get to their optimal regimen, with some patience, and some frustration, along the way.

Working with a counselor can also be helpful. A trained mental health professional can help you to learn ways to cope with side effects. And provide a sounding board and ongoing support.

Mr. Fitz, take good care of yourself, my friend. And keep us posted on how you're doing.

Gary

September 3 at 11:57 am · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered DenaSuz's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi DenaSuz,

It is really great to meet you. I am glad you checked in.

So sorry to hear about the family problems you are having. I wish families could be more supportive but they often are not. As a therapist, I spend a lot of time talking with clients about unsupportive family members. Including narcissistic parents. I know it must be very hard to recognize this characteristic in your father, and watch him mistreat your son.

I am often asked by clients if they should contact someone who has been unkind to them in some way to express how they feel and attempt to talk things out. That is always a difficult decision.

Here is what I tell my clients in this situation. First, I encourage them to put themselves first. I suggest they ask themselves: Is this something I really need to do for myself? And why do I need to do it. It's really important to be very clear with yourself whether or not this is something you need to do and why you need to do it.

This leads to another question: Just exactly what are you expecting in return? Understanding? Reconciliation? An apology?

And then ask: How realistic is it that I will get what I want from this person?

The next question is: What are the possible ways this person might respond? Asking for forgiveness? Totally unable to understand? Refusing to understand? Laughing at me? Telling me to get lost?

And then, based on these possible responses, I would ask my client if they can be okay with any of these possible outcomes. Not necessarily like all of these possibilities, of course not. But go into this conversation, if they choose to have it, open to the possible responses and knowing that, whatever the response, they will be able to cope with it.

And also, to have support in place in case they need it if the conversation doesn't go well.

Again, I really encourage you to take good care of yourself. You have been through a lot. Make yourself a priority by protecting yourself emotionally.

I hope this helps. Take time to think through this carefully, and feel comfortable with your decision, before you move forward.

You might also consider talking with a counselor about this, and getting some help in sorting out your feelings, as well as being supported, before you decide.

I hope you will stay in touch. Let me know how you're doing.

Gary

August 24 at 9:04 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Sere29's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hey Sere29,

It is great to meet you. And I am glad you checked in. This is a great question.

I am not a physician so I can't give you specific advice regarding Wellbutrin. But I can share something that I have learned from my clients over the years.

The first question I would have for you is, how long have you been on the Wellbutrin? It can take some time for a medication to become effective, and symptoms you experience at first may go away over time. Did your doctor talk to you about what to expect?

But here is another consideration:

Each of us has our own unique body chemistry. Your biochemical make-up can result in mental illness like depression. Your biochemistry can also directly influence the way in which you experience the symptoms of depression. And your biochemistry can influence how specific medications affect you.

As a result, how individuals are affected by medications like Wellbutrin varies from one patient to the next.

Because of that, getting to the best medication regimen can be a process. It is not uncommon for someone to start on one medication, and then move to a new dosage, or a new medication, or a combination of medications, over a period of time, until they get to a regimen that works for them. This can be frustrating, I know. And I can understand why you might be frustrated that a medication that you are taking to pick up your mood instead seems to be doing the opposite.

What I always encourage my clients to do is to work really closely with their physicians. Don't hesitate to be high maintenance. After all, they are the doctor and this is your mental health. I hope you will let your doctor know how you are feeling so that the two of you can team up to see what steps you may need to take next.

So, whether you are new to Wellbutrin or have been on it awhile, if you are not getting good results, and are potentially even feeling worse, then it is really important to let your doctor know what's going on. The more your doctor knows, the better he/she can do their job.

So take good care of yourself, starting with being your own best advocate. And stay in touch with us. Let us know how you're doing.

Gary

August 8 at 10:18 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered CarolinaJones's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi CarolinaJones,

It's nice to see you, my friend. And that's a really good question. I think a client asks me this question about every week.

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. And it's not true. Depression is treatable.

I know it can be hard to live with depression. You might experience some good days, some just okay days, and other days when you really feel down.

First and foremost, I really encourage you to work closely with your doctor and/or therapist. If you are living with depression, I hope you have some kind of treatment in place, whether it is medication, therapy, or a combination of the two. Getting a treatment plan in place is the starting place for feeling better.

You might also talk to your doctor or therapist about things you can do to feel better day to day. Here are some of the ideas that I suggest to my clients:

Eat healthy and get adequate rest

Spend time with supportive people, don't isolate

Do things you enjoy, just the simple pleasures of life

Stay involved in your daily life, have some kind of a routine, starting with getting out of bed in the morning and getting your day underway

Pick something every day to be grateful for

Depending on the advice of your doctor, get some kind of regular exercise, even just a walk outside if you can

What I always encourage my clients to do is to take action in their lives. Positive action. Even on days when they don't feel like it. Take positive action and let the feelings catch up.

Again, I really encourage you to work with a mental health professional. Have a treatment plan in place and then stay in close contact with your doctor or therapist as you move forward with your plan. Take really good care of yourself.

Again, nice to see you. I hope you will stay in touch with your friends at Depression Connect. Let us know how you are doing.

Gary

Watch your self-talk, give yourself some encouragement

July 27 at 10:07 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered lexiesmiff's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi lexiesmiff,

Nice to see you.

This is an interesting question, which I will answer from a couple of different directions.

Depression can leave you feeling disconnected from the world, isolated, alone, numb. So if you are experiencing depression and have any of these symptoms, than that may be the cause of feeling separated from reality. I emphasize the word "may."

Feeling separated from reality can be a symptom of other forms of mental illness in addition to depression. So please keep that in mind.

The best way to know if you are depressed is to have a conversation with a mental health professional who will evaluate you for mental illness and, if indicated, will render a diagnosis and work with you on a treatment plan for the way forward. Only a qualified mental health professional can diagnose mental illness.

My friend, if you are at all concerned that you may be experiencing depression, then I really encourage you to reach out to a mental health professional. If you aren't sure where to begin, then have a talk with your doctor. Sure, an accurate diagnosis is important. But so is talking to someone who can go through the treatment options with you and suggest next steps. Mental illness is treatable.

Really glad you checked in. I hope you will take good care of yourself. And I hope you will keep in touch with us and let us know how you're doing. Don't go through this alone!

Gary

July 27 at 9:52 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Dedpoet's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Dedpoet,

I am sorry to hear you are going through such a rough time. I haven't read your response to the post you mentioned, but I will seek it out and include a reply.

You said you were doing a lot of self-therapy. I think there is a lot of value in doing the work to understand yourself. If you are reading self-help or other books, doing journaling, making positive lifestyle changes… as part of your self-therapy, this can have a lot of value.

I am probably biased since I am a therapist myself, but I think there is a lot of value in working with a mental health professional. Especially if you have hit a wall. A mental health professional could give you an outside perspective on what's going on in your life, and work with you on a strategy for the way forward.

I really want to encourage you to get connected with a mental health professional. And to investigate community resources to get you the help you need.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by what's going on, you can also report to a hospital emergency room and ask for help.

I hope you will take good care of yourself and reach out for help. And I hope you will keep us posted on how you're doing. You are not alone.

Gary

June 26, 2017 at 10:49 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Lisanana's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI Lisanana,

It is nice to meet you. I am really glad you reached out. From what you described here, I know it wasn't easy.

Really sorry to hear how you are feeling. Depression tells you how badly you feel. And it also tells you there is nothing you can do about it. But that's not truth at all. What you are experiencing is treatable. And it sounds like you are ready to take the next step.

Here are a couple of ideas:

I always recommend to my clients that they try to stay active in their lives. This means not isolating. Getting out in the fresh air. Maybe taking a walk or getting some kind of exercise. Make sure they are eating healthy, and on a regular basis. Doing things they enjoy. And getting in touch with people who can spend some time with them, listen without passing judgment or telling them what to do. Are there any friends or family members you could spend some time with?

You might also check out support groups on nami.org, the website of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

I also strongly encourage you to reach out to a mental health professional. What you are experiencing is treatable. A mental health professional could help you sort out what's going on in your life, help you to get a new perspective and some new coping skills. A mental health professional could diagnose you and work with you to create a treatment plan for the road ahead. If you aren't sure how to get connect with a mental health professional, here is a link to an article I wrote awhile back:

http://www.depressionconnect.com/discussions/...

Again, I am so glad you reached out. It sounds like you are ready to get help. Set small, doable goals to stay involved in your daily live. Don't isolate yourself. Get connected with a mental health professional. And if you are ever feeling overwhelmed and need help right away, you can also call 911 or report to your local emergency room.

Take good care of yourself, my friend. And stay in touch with us. You are not alone!

Gary

June 11, 2017 at 1:53 pm · Comment · Like
Show older activity
Hide the Social Toolbar Show the Social Toolbar