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Alicia_MSW
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 587
Experience:  Specializing in mental health counseling
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I am not living my life. I am just existing, doing the things

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I am not living my life. I am just existing, doing the things I need to do, and avoiding the things I don't have to do. Life has always been hectic, as a kid & an adult. I am an ACOA, survivor of rape, two divorces, 4 kids grown & out. I think I was a "reactor" and a "planner" . I still work full time, live alone 2 dogs, bad health, prednisone tummy, diabetes, arthritis, fat, no desire for anything.Feel a void which I try to fill w food & mindless endless tv, My mother died this last yr, my uncle too. one daughter who has had problems tried to kill herself recently. I have two brothers who have disowned me because I sided with her as the boys were trying to take her $ away from her(she had milllions), she died fighting them for her own money. One brother is a lawyer and so the other sided with him& they have decided I am no longer their sister. I declined to go to moms memorial, one of the bros is alcoholic who goes after my jugular, and had done the same when I was at Mom's houseafter her passing. Liquor would be at the memorial and I knew what would happen so I bowed out. I don't drink, or use drugs. When I was pretty, I did sleep around too much, daddy issues I believe, contracted herpes and so now no close relationship.Just recently found my birth father's family and visit them in 2 weeks, but feel like a loser and why would they even want to see me...I'm fat, old, short, sick and pitiful. Any suggestions? Thanks!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 2 years ago.
Hi there,

I'm Alicia. Thanks for your question, I'm happy to help you today.

You present here with a number of issues that seem to stem from the painful, traumatic childhood (and some adult) experiences you've dealt with on your own. And to be honest, there's much too much going on here for you to handle on your own, with the combination of health and emotional problems you're describing here. It sounds to me like you also do not have much social support, if any. And you sound very defeatist (in terms of meeting your birth father's family especially, when you say you feel like a loser, why would they want to see you, etc.) - even though you feel this way, it is probably not an accurate reflection of reality. Even though it sounds like you've had more than your fair share of problems, everyone is a combination of positive and negative traits, and it sounds like you need some help identifying and learning to focus on your positive qualities and strengths.

You say you've tried counseling a long time ago, and you've been on antidepressants for 26 years. This is a very, very long time to be feeling the way you've been feeling. My suggestion would be to consult a therapist who specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Even though a lot of the problems that have happened to you were out of your control, you can learn to take charge of your thought patterns and make some positive changes in your life - but it's pretty hard to do this on your own. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a specific form of treatment that targets your underlying, dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs and works to change your thoughts and behaviors and help you develop a new, positive, more realistic self-image. It is also (generally) a short-term form of treatment that can produce results in a relatively quick time frame, so it's not like you'll be in therapy for years and years.

You can read more about cognitive-behavioral therapy here:
http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=About_Treatments_and_Supports&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=7952

If you are interested, you can find a cognitive-behavioral therapist in your area on this website:
http://www.nacbt.org/searchfortherapists.asp

While you can't change the past, you can take charge of your future. You don't have to live a life where you feel so bad all the time. You deserve a chance at happiness, especially in light of all the trauma you've undergone. I hope you can find help, and I wish you luck.

Please let me know if you need additional assistance.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your response. I probably won't seek counseling because I don't have much faith in todays health system. I think it is primarily set up to continue to treat patient symptoms rather than solve health problems. HMO's, wonderful system....not. I do believe cognitive behavioral therapy might help and I plan to look into this, I remember some information from college, so I guess I will see what I can do for myself. I have a friend that goes to ALANON, and he says it has helped him with some issues and I should go at least once, which I am considering. I do have good support through my children, and my co-workers are wonderful support . I would descible myself as a self sufficient woman, a do it yourself-er, meat and potatoes gal who is always waiting for the other shoe to drop. If you gave me a "Dave's Top Ten List" of things to do for myself, I would defintely try to do them while searching for help within cognitive behavioral therapy information. Thank you for your help and have a wonderful day. Rhondak
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 2 years ago.
Hi Rhonda!

I can respect your feelings about the health system, and normally I would actually agree with you that the system is set up to treat the symptoms and not the underlying problems. It's unfortunate, but true - most of the time. The beauty of cognitive-behavioral therapy is that it's not necessarily just symptom-focused - it works on the underlying problem. So, just for example, with depression - people feel sad, low self-esteem, etc. This manifests as wanting to stay in bed, avoid social contact, etc.. But CBT looks at the underlying reasons WHY the person feels this way and works to change them (rather than mask them, say, with medication or just using positive affirmations) - so you learn to make fundamental changes in your thoughts, which control your behaviors. What thoughts do you have that contribute to your feeling low or like a loser - and how can you change those feelings and thoughts and translate them over to positive behavioral changes.

As far as ALANON, I think that's a great idea. After I sent my initial message to you, I had the thought that a support group of some sort would also be a good place to start (either in addition to therapy or instead of - although a combination of both is ideal). One other thing I'd like to point out - you say you're always waiting to the other shoe to drop - and it makes absolute sense in light of everything you've said - but this is something cognitive-behavioral therapy can also help you with.

I can't provide you with a top ten list (though I do appreciate your sense of humor and I think we could already add that to a list of your positive qualities), but I would say that a support group and CBT should be your top two on the list. Third, I would recommend that you read "Change your Thoughts, Change your Life" by Wayne Dyer. It's a fabulous book based on the Tao Te Ching - so it's based in spirituality (not religion) that can help give you a fresh perspective and help you take control of your life just by seeing things in a different light.(see here:
http://www.amazon.com/Change-Your-Thoughts-Living-Wisdom/dp/1401911846)

I would also suggest that you think about becoming involved in some sort of exercise or stress management program. Meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, aerobic exercise - these can all help you feel better on the inside and outside. Aerobic exercise helps by promoting the production of endorphins (your body's natural pain killing and stress relieving chemicals) - and can help alleviate depression and anxiety, too. You might want to read this information from the Mayo Clinic on the benefits of exercise, especially if you are a "self sufficient" woman who wants to try to work things out on her own, then it might be one of the simplest things you can do to help yourself.
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise-and-stress/SR00036

I hope that helps, but as before, if you have any more questions, please let me know. Have a great day!
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 587
Experience: Specializing in mental health counseling
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