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 2

Activity

Dr GaryCA answered littleguscookie's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi litleguscookie,

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

I am really sorry to hear about what you're dealing with. It's hard when your parents' marriage ends, it kind of leaves you feeling in the middle. And change is always hard.

Of course, I have to ask you if you are getting any kind of counseling. Are you getting some help from a mental health professional? It could help a lot to have someone objective, and trained, to talk with about what's going on, to get some new perspective, and some help in coping. It sounds like your mom is concerned about you, so maybe she would support you in getting counseling.

I couldn't tell from your question if you are still in school, but I am assuming you are. If so, you might want to talk to your school counselor or social worker, and ask for support. If you are college, you could check in at the college counseling center. Your health insurance will also cover counseling, so that is another idea.

I can't diagnose you, but the changes in appetite and not communicating can potentially be symptoms of depression. Only a mental health professional can make that determination after evaluating you in person. What you are experiencing is treatable.

I hope you will advocate for yourself. Talk to your mom about what's going on and ask for her support in getting some help, or reach out on your own to a mental health professional. Don't go through this alone.

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

Take good care of yourself.

Gary

April 8 at 5:55 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Islandgirl7's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi islandgirl,

It is good to meet you. I am glad you checked in.

I am sorry to hear your husband is not supportive. It's hard to live with depression. We all need to have people in our lives who listen to us, who acknowledge what's on our minds, who can listen without judgment. Especially our partners. I am sorry your husband doesn't seem to be willing or able to do that.

Here is an article I wrote on this issue awhile back:

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

If you haven't already, it might be helpful to have a conversation with him about how much you need him to be more supportive, let him know how much it hurts you when you express yourself and he brushes you off. Give him some examples and tell him how you felt. Ask him if he needs more support from you and what you can do, as well. Just an idea.

I am wondering if he would be willing to accompany you to a doctor or therapist appointment. It could help a lot for your husband to get some education. Something to consider.

If your husband would be open to getting some couples counseling, this could also help.

I also encourage you to get support from friends and other family members, people in your life who can listen without judging you. It's really important to have a strong support network. Sitting down with a relative or a good friend and talking things out can help give you some perspective, and help you feel more cared for. Don't go through this alone.

I hope you will stay in touch with us. Everybody here gets what you are going through because they are traveling the same road.

Stay in touch!

Gary

March 25 at 10:06 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered SleeplessInSC's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Sleepless,

I am so sorry to hear what you have been going through, I really am. It is always sad to hear about the toll that alcoholism can take on individuals and their families.

What I would encourage you to do, if you have not already done so, is to try to get connected with additional public assistance, including Medicaid. You can learn more about these programs by Googling them for your state. That might be a starting point.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, physically or emotionally, you can also go to an emergency room and be treated. You can also call 911 if you are overwhelmed and be transported to an emergency room.

Again, I encourage you to see what public assistance programs might be available in your area. That is the best way to get connected with health care.

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

Gary

March 20 at 10:58 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Cocoa49's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Cocoa,

Glad you checked in. Nice to meet you. And this is a good question.

I have talked to many people about herbal supplements like St. John's Wort and Valerian Root. I have heard a range of opinions. I have hear some positive reports and I have heard some negative ones. Some people I have talked with have found supplements to be somewhat helpful, others did not gain any benefit, or even had a negative experience. There supplements are not miracle cures, that's for sure.

What I have both heard and read is that supplements are not necessarily so innocent. For example, if you are taking medications for conditions like depression and anxiety, the supplements can interact with these medications in a negative way.

So I would encourage you to be very careful about using any kind of supplement. If you are on medications of any kind, including medications for mental illness, I definitely recommend you talk with your doctor before taking any kind of a supplement. Make sure there aren't any potential interactions. If you are not on medication, I would still recommend talking to your doctor before using a supplement. It's always a good idea to stay on the safe side.

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

Gary

March 20 at 10:51 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered sidez27's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi sidz,

I am glad you checked in.

It is not my intention to sound like I am scolding you, believe me. But it is really a bad idea, and even dangerous, to stop your medication on your own. Especially to stop suddenly. You can find yourself in kind of a boomerang situation, with your symptoms coming back at you full force. I am wondering if this might be what you are experiencing now.

What I encourage you to do is what it sounds like you are already intending. It would be a great idea to get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible — like now — and let him/her know what's going on. Don't want to make an appointment. Give your doctor's office a call and talk right away.

It is always recommended that the decision to stop taking a medication should be a mutual decision between you and your doctor. And if the two of you think it is time to end the medication, then this is a process that should be undertaken under the direction of your physician. Generally, it involved gradually reducing the dosage over time, so that your body has adequate time to adjust.

Again, I am not scolding you. I am really glad you checked in. I hope you will get in touch with your doctor ASAP.

Please keep us posted on how you're doing. Take good care of yourself, my friend.

Gary

March 9 at 8:04 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered genevanelson@hotmail.com's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Geneva,

I am glad you asked this question. It sounds like your son is dealing with a lot.

I am assuming he is over 18. If so, then you cannot make him do something he does not want to do. But from what you describe here, I think it is really important that he see a mental health professional as soon as possible. You can give him some encouragement, let him know you love him and that are concerned about him. Offer to help him to find help. This is a message you may need to say repeatedly. You can offer to go with him to see a professional.

You might suggest that he talk with his physician about what's going on. His physician could at least evaluate him and recommend a next step. Or ask your doctor or his doctor, on your own, to recommend a mental health professional.

A mental health professional could evaluate your son and work with him on the road ahead. What he is experiencing is treatable.

Again, if he is over 18, you cannot force him to get help. But encouraging him to take a step in this direction may help.

Now, if you feel he may be in danger of harming himself, or that he is unable to care for himself, then you can also call 911 or take him to an emergency room. He would be evaluated by a mental health professional in the ER.

I would also encourage you to get some help for yourself. Talk with your doctor, or get connected with a counselor. You could also benefit greatly from support and some advice. A professional could give you some ideas for how to cope with the situation with your son, and even some ideas on how to help him get help.

Your son is fortunate to have a mom who watches over him and is concerned about him. I hope you take good care of yourself and get some support. And continue to do what you can to encourage your son to get help. Again, if you feel he is a danger to himself in any way, you can call 911.

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

Gary

March 9 at 7:58 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered CarolinaJones's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hey CarolinaJones,

Nice to see you. That is a good question. I get this question a lot.

Feeling better is a process that you go through one step at a time. It helps a lot of you work closely with your doctor and/or therapist. That means letting them know how you are doing, working together on what's best for you, and then being compliant with your treatment.

I know you want a more specific answer. And I am sorry I can't be more specific.

It has been my experience that each person is on their own path, they get better in their own time.

But doing everything you need to do helps the process along.

I am glad you are here with us. I hope you will stay in touch and keep us posted on how you're doing. You are not alone.

And take really good care of yourself.

Gary

March 7 at 9:44 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered infinicca's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi infinnica,

Nice to meet you. That's a great question. It's one that I hear pretty often. So let me start by reassuring you that you are definitely not alone.

Fatigue can be a symptom of depression. And as you pointed out in your question, fatigue can lead to sleeping a lot, followed by more fatigue, due in part to lack of exercise, but also feeling too tired out to get moving. A cycle, with fatigue leading to more fatigue.

And the double whammy of depression is that it tells you how bad you feel, and it also tells you that there is nothing you can do. But that's not true.

What I always recommend to my clients is setting small goals. Choose one or two things that you enjoy doing, or that will benefit you. This might mean getting up and taking a walk. Or putting on some music and dancing. Anything that gets you moving. You might want to choose something that involves another person, and then commit to doing it with them. Like taking a walk with a friend. The accountability of having someone expecting you might be an additional incentive.

The same thing with getting daily tasks done. Pick one or two, and commit to doing them. A little cleaning around the house, for example.

Here's what I tell my clients: Don't wait to feel like doing something you know you need to do. If you wait until you are feeling like it, you might be waiting for a long time. Instead, make a rational decision that something is important to and then put it on your schedule. When it's time, give yourself a push. Take the action and let the feelings catch up later.

This is where smaller tasks, or activities can be best. Don't overwhelm yourself. And don't criticize yourself if you don't get everything done that you intended to. Small goals, one day at a time, no criticism. Again, having someone else involved can give you some additional incentive.

Physical activity can help in more ways than one. When you get moving, it gives you a sense of being in control. And movement helps generate feel-good hormones that help motivate you to keep moving. Getting yourself moving can create a momentum, and help you to keep moving.

So I encourage you to give yourself some gentle pushes and just try to do a couple of things. Maybe in a few days, you will add to your daily list. Keep it reasonable and realistic. One day at a time. Talk back to depression. Let the feelings catch up later.

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

And take good care of yourself!

Gary

March 4 at 10:35 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Jenn E's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi Jenn,

I am glad you checked in. And I am glad I am answering your question today!

I really, really encourage clients to talk to their physician if they want to discontinue a medication. Their doctors can advice them on what it might mean for then to stop taking a medication — how they might feel, any dangers, and how stopping one medication will affect other medications that they are taking. This is important! And yes, doctors usually recommend tapering off a medication slowly.

So I recommend that you get in touch with your doctor immediately. Let him/her know that you want to stop taking Abilify. Or at this point that you have already stopped. Your doctor needs to know that, too. Get some advice on next steps.

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

Gary

February 22 at 6:30 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered cmsigman@hotmail.com's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi cmsigman,

I am so sorry to hear this happened to you. You are not alone. There are many troubled people in the world, some of them survive by taking advantage of others. A therapist friend of mine was recently misused by someone running a scam. Unfortunately, there seems to be no end of potential scams.

I hope you are not criticizing yourself over this. You trusted someone who, I suspect, gave you all the signs that he was a trustworthy person. You had no idea he wasn't. And someone who is doing this on a regular basis is an expert in passing as honest. Again, you are not alone. Sure, you have a right to be angry at him. But don't be angry at yourself. You didn't know. If you had known, you wouldn't have walked into this. And you are certainly not a failure in any way.

Be kind to yourself.

You might want to check into the Credit Counseling Bureau in your area to see if you can get some advice on how to manage your finances, especially if you have credit card or other debt. Or you might check into local social services to see what kind of assistance and/or financial counseling might be available. You never know.

I am sorry you don't have family or friends who can assist you financiall. Do you have people in your life who, while they can't offer you financial support, can offer you emotional support? This would be a time to reach out to people who can listen and show you some concern. You might also check on the website, www.nami.org, the website of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The site includes a list of local support groups all over the country.

Again, be a friend to yourself, show yourself some compassion. Don't turn the anger against yourself. Take good care of yourself. Keep us posted on how you're doing.

Gary

February 22 at 6:24 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Nani2015's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hey Nani,

It's great to meet you. I am glad you checked in. You are not alone in feeling this way, I talk with discouraged clients probably about every day.

Life can be challenging, that's for sure. Things can pile up to the point where, as you said so well, it feels like you can't catch a break. It can feel like the deck is stacked against you. Not having adequate health insurance is another added pressure, I am sure. It's a shame when people who need decent insurance to have at least basic healthcare, including mental health coverage, don't have it. I'm really sorry to hear you are in this situation.

So I want to give you some encouragement. You are young, you have much of your life ahead of you. I hope you will keep giving yourself gentle pushes — and encouragement — to take the best care of yourself. Set small goals, give yourself credit for doing the best you can. I suspect you aren't in an ideal job situation, that if you are working, you are not working for an organization that offers insurance. I hope you will look at options, including what you might be able to do to get into a work situation with health care.

And of course, I hope you are getting support from family members and good friends. Just having someone to talk to can help a lot.

You might also look into the support groups that are listed on www.nami.org, the website of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. You might also check into community mental health resources where you life. Some communities have more resources than others, but it is worth checking out. If you have a university near you, you might be able to find low cost counseling for community members as well.

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

Gary

February 22 at 6:11 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Sue Ozzy's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hello Sue Ozzy,

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

I am sorry you are dealing with so much. It's good to know that you have supportive family and friends who check in on you and give you help. It sounds like you have a lot of people who care about you, and that's really important.

It is difficult to find a therapist who will visit you in your home. Most likely, you will need to obtain this service, if it is available, through a community mental health program. You might check out the mental health resources in your community. You can Google the name of your community and "mental health services" or "homebound mental health counseling" and see what comes up. You never know. You might also ask your family and friends if they will help you to see if this might be available.

If you are afraid to leave your house, I am also wondering if a family member or friend might be willing to come over and pick you up and go with you to see a therapist. They could sit in the waiting room while you talk to the therapist and then accompany you home. I am wondering if this might be a solution, visit the therapist but also have support from someone you trust.

This might be something to think about and talk about with your family members and friends and see what they think, and who might be able to accompany you if you are willing.

I think therapy is a really great idea and I hope you will keep thinking about it and find a way to make it happen.

Again, it's great to see you. You are not alone here! So I hope you will stay in touch with us. Let us know how you're doing.

And take care of yourself, my friend.

Gary

February 9 at 10:40 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered hurtkitten83's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

Hi hurtkitten,

Nice to meet you. This is a good question.

I am often talking to my clients about treatments beyond antidepressants, including ECT and ketamine. To be honest, I don't know a lot about these treatments. Biofeedback hasn't come up in awhile, but I don't know much about that either.

I always encourage my clients to do some Googling on these treatments, and see what they come up with. I do the same. I also like health sites like the Mayo Clinic site, which I think has useful consumer information. I often talk with my clients about what we both read.

I did some Googling on biofeedback. There are some interesting articles, thought then tend to be more for professionals and less for patients. But you may want to check out what's available. Just be careful about the sources of the articles you read, some are more reliable than others.

What I would encourage you to do is what I also encourage my clients to do. Talk to mental health professionals who are using biofeedback with their patients. And see if you can talk to people who have had this treatment, maybe through discussion boards on the Internet. You might also post a discussion here on Depression Connect and see if anyone responds. Just do lots of your own research, so that you can gain a comfort level with the benefits of this treatment, and any downsides, and make an informed decision. If you have a mental health team that you are working with, talking with them would be the starting place.

It's good to be in touch with you. I hope you will let us know how you are doing and what you decide to do.

And take good care of yourself.

Gary

January 28 at 8:48 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered ssandie4u2's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI ssandie,

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

There are a few direction directions to consider in finding someone to help you with possible depression.

Qualified and licensed mental health professionals may be licensed at the doctoral degree level or the master's degree level.

A psychiatrist is a MD. A psychologist will have a PhD or a PsyD, or in some states may practice with a master's degree. Counselors have a master's degree, an MA or MS, and social workers have a MSW degree.

All of these mental health professionals are trained in treating depression.

Your PCP, or internist, may also be able to evaluate you for depression and make a treatment recommendation or a referral to a mental health professional.

What's import it to connect with someone that you feel comfortable with in terms of being able to talk with them and that you trust to help you. Your first session would be focused on the professional talking with you about what's going on and how you are feeling. This discussion would help the professional to diagnose you and, based on the diagnosis, recommend a treatment plan. You would agree on the plan together and then move forward.

You may want to meet with more than one mental health professional, and see who you feel most comfortable with. You can find a list on the website of whomever provides your health coverage.

If you are concerned that you may be depressed, I hope you will reach out for help. Don't go through this alone.

And let us know how you are doing, my friend.

Gary

January 26 at 3:28 pm · Comment · Like

Dr GaryCA answered Mrculater's question.

Dr GaryTherapist
A:

HI Mirculator,

It's nice to see you, my friend. I am sorry to hear you have so much going on. A divorce is a major loss, and when we experience a loss, we grieve. Sounds like you are grieving, and experiencing some depression symptoms. This is a normal reaction to a loss. And I suspect your health issues are also bringing up emotions consistent with experiencing a loss. A lot to deal with.

First, I just want to say that you sound like a wonderful, caring father. Your children are clearly concerned about you, and are watching over you. I also want to say that I am glad to hear you have connected with a mental health professional, and that you have reached out for help. That is a big first step.

I can tell you what I recommend to my clients who are just getting started with me and are experiencing depression. Here's what I tell my clients:

Go through the motions of your life, give yourself a push to get out of bed in the morning and get the day underway. Staying with your normal routine as much as possible can help you feel connected with your life

Make sure you are eating a healthy diet and getting rest

Spend time with your children, doing things you enjoy doing together. This will be a nice distraction for you and be reassuring for your children. Try to have some fun together, even if you aren't feeling it

Get support. Sit down with friends or family members and talk about what's going on with you. Let them know you just need listeners, and you don't expect them to have answers

Get some reasonable exercise, appropriate to your physical capabilities and your doctor's recommendations. Even a short walk in the sunlight can help to pick up your mood

If there are things you enjoy dong on your own, like a hobby, try to find some time for that, too

Take good care of yourself. Give yourself a push to stay active. Stay involved with your children. Get support. And stay in touch. Let me know how you are doing.

Gary

January 20 at 10:39 pm · Comment · Like

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 6 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.

    5 months 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!

    6 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.

    7 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 3 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.

    7 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
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