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Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2568
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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Hey there, Im a 38yrs old male and feel that life has come

Customer Question

Hey there, I'm a 38yrs old male and feel that life has come to a screaching halt. I mean 18mths ago, I was traveling the world for work, getting invitations left right and centre but all the time secretly struggling. Finally down it all came - I lost the respect of my colleagues, realised that I didn't actually have any "friends" and now feel completely alone and isolated - professionally and personally. I'm married with a preschool aged child, but beyond my wife and daughter - life is just an empty shell. I'm ashamed to be seen in public (but don't know why?), never leave the house except for work, never answer my phone - I really cant be bothered holding a conversation; have put on 7kg in 3mths and just don't know how to climb out of this mess :)
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Norman M. replied 6 years ago.
Hello, and thanks for visiting JA.

To help me to help you better, can you please tell me:

1. What was your job?

2. Why did you leave?

3. Are you currently working?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hi, I'm still employed - consultant in critical care (Dr), I didn't leave - simply had a few "blow-up's" at colleagues eventually becoming professionally isolated. I am currently working - 12hr shifts. Lot's of time off - to stare at this computer
Expert:  Norman M. replied 6 years ago.

Thanks for getting back to me. A lot of what you say prompts me to suggest that you should consider that you might be suffering from depression.

There is evident social withdrawal, you report that nothing seems worthwhile, your weight is climbing, you 'can't be bothered'. Underlying all of this there has been some anger problem too - those blow ups, for example.

I suggest a couple of things:

Firstly, consult a colleague, and get this checked out. Don't rely on self diagnosis - as they say, a doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient.

Secondly, use some of that time off to exercise - get those natural endorphins working.

I’m going to suggest that you would benefit greatly from a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Just to refresh your memory on this, it is a form of therapy that addresses problems in a direct and targeted way and is brief compared with most other therapies.

CBT is based on the fact that what we think in any given situation generates beliefs about, and reactions to that situation, and also cause the behaviour and feelings which flow from those beliefs and reactions.

These ‘automatic thoughts’ are so fast that generally, we are unaware that we have even had them. We call them ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) for short.

If the pattern of thinking we use, or our beliefs about our situation are even slightly distorted,

the resulting emotions and actions that flow from them can be extremely negative and unhelpful. The object of CBT is to identify these ‘automatic thoughts’ then to re-adjust our thoughts and beliefs so that they are entirely realistic and correspond to the realities of our lives, and that therefore, the resulting emotions, feelings and actions we have will be more useful and helpful.

Cognitive therapists do not usually interpret or seek for unconscious motivations but bring cognitions and beliefs into the current focus of attention and through guided discovery encourage clients to gently re-evaluate their thinking.

Therapy is not seen as something “done to” the client. CBT is not about trying to prove a client wrong and the therapist right, or getting into unhelpful debates. Through collaboration, questioning and re-evaluating their views, clients come to see for themselves that there are alternatives and that they can change.

Clients try things out in between therapy sessions, putting what has been learned into practice, learning how therapy translates into real life improvement.

Please visit this website for much more detailed information on CBT:

Finally, start to do some forward planning around projects and fun things to do with the family. Get the family involved, write your plans down, diarise them and make sure you do them on the chosen day.

I’m sure that a combination of these approaches will help.

Edited by NormanM on 3/3/2010 at 7:56 AM EST

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