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Heidi LPC
Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 239
Experience:  Licensed Professional Counselor
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At age 63 I can not cope with everyday life. Some slight thing

Customer Question

At age 63 I can not cope with everyday life. Some slight thing goes wrong with our retirement home remodelling, I cry, get light-headed and have to lie down. Only drug I take is ativan.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

Thank you for using JustAnswer Health,

I am sorry that the last experience with your psychiatrist was not helpful. I always encourage people to 'shop' for a health care provider, especially a psychiatrist and psychotherapist or counselors, because this is an area where you need to 'click' and have at least some sort of similar value system or comfort level. Also, it is important to be aware that most psychiatrist today prescribe medication as their main intervention. A good psychiatrist, if not doing therapy themselves (which most do not today, as insurance reimburses them for medication management only and expects therapy to be done by Master's and PhD clinicians) should refer you to a therapist, although they will often be work side by side with them in the same office. Medication alone is just a bandaid and can help in certain ways, but alone is typically not enough.

The symptoms you describe sound like a low stress tolerance and anxiety, which typically leads or occurs along with depression, but if you have not seen your regular physician in some time, it is important that you be evaluated for medical causes of your symptoms such as hypothyroidism, as it can cause similar symptoms. The light-headedness could be due to blood pressure elevation, or other physical problems.

As we age certain hormones and neurotransmitters may decrease in our bodies and brain. We all know that estrogen and testosterone decrease in production as we age. Well, recent studies have also shown that in many people certain neurotransmitters like serotonin (the mood elevating neurotransmitter) also often decrease in the brains of people as they age. In these individuals long term antidepressant medication is required.

If all medical causes are ruled out, then the best treatment for depression (as shown by research) is a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and medication. Medication alone is rarely completely successful.

Of course there are many other factors to look at - are you getting enough sleep; do you have activities in your life that are meaningful for you; are you getting adequate exercise (regular physical exercise not only decreases the stress hormones than can create anxiety and depression over time, but also creates endorphens (our body's natural pain killer and 'feel good' neurotransmitter). These and many other factors influence are mood and ability to handle stress.

A very good reference to learn more about how to cope with aging and emotional health is this not for profit website: http://helpguide.org/ I encourage you to take advantage of it's resources which are completely free.

I hope this information is helpful, but feel free to reply to this post so that I can continue to assist you if you have further questions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Very generic info. I have no health insurance so can't "shop around". Serotonin not prob; dr did get proscribe a drug for that that did nothing.

Have really tried most of what you said; am well read but what seems to help others isn't doing me any good. I don't think I can make it through any long term try; feel like I am degrading daily. I was desparate; looking for some new insight.

Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 2 years ago.
I'm sorry that you did not find this information helpful.

I answered your question when no one else had, likely the other experts did not answer you do to the low fee offered as well as to not risk getting negative feedback from a person that seems to think that if one person couldn't help, then no one can.

But, I wanted to help you. I have been in that negative place before, and have seen many people there that are able to get out of it so I know it is possible.

Yet, I am surprised that you would rate me negatively -- a person trying to help you.... This type of action itself makes people turn away from you and not want to help you.

One does not have to have money to find a therapist. You can call them to and talk to them before setting up an appointment.

There are many different medications for depression, 5 different classes.

One must suspend the negative thoughts that nothing will work, and the belief that 'I've heard it all before and there is nothing that I do not know, to allow help to come to you.

If you are sure that nothing well help you, and are unable to take suggestions, then you are closing yourself off, and even if the best new successful treatment in the world is presented to you, you won't be able to see it or take advantage of it . If your thoughts are open to change and you face new suggestions with an open mind, then help is likely to find you. What we believe becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

Are there people worse off than you at the retirement center? Make it a goal of yours to deliver their mail, or if physical exertion is not safe for you, make a goal to say something helpful or do something helpful to everyone you meet this week. Your life will become useful at least, and you will not just be 'taking up space".

I encourage you to read the information on the website I gave you. If you want to try something new then read the sections under health and nutrition rather than just the sections on overcoming depression and anxiety. There is much on this site that is new and helpful.





Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Too generic. And I disagree that I can interview psychiatrists on the phone for free. Around me a requid consultaation costs $200 and up. Also, I don't live in a nursing home; did she read my info?
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 2 years ago.
Maam, I did not say psychiatrist, I said therapist. Psychiatrist don't do therapy, and besides you said you had already tried medication and you said that did not work for you. Also, I didn't say anything about a nursing home? I said a retirement center, which is were you said you lived. Did you really read my answer? How else can we help you? Please specify, and then that will allow someone else to help you. I will opt out, since you have made it clear that you do not appreciate my information, although I doubt that you have read it completely or gone to the website: I have been in this field over 30 years and the above answer is not generic, it is quite tailored to you, and the more information you provide us, the more it can be tailored to you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Want a psychologist"s opinion. I do not live in a retirement home; I have my own house in an over55, active adult development.
Expert:  Heidi LPC replied 2 years ago.

Hi there! I am a licensed psychotherapist and thought that I would offer my suggestions; maybe it will help you and maybe not, but I'm here to try!

I am attaching a link to some information about how to improve one's ability to cope with setbacks and frustration: http://www.thechangeblog.com/coping-skills/

It is basically a question of something we call "self-talk"... the sometimes very quiet but powerful things that we say to ourselves all day long that affect our thoughts and eventually our feelings about certain situations. When feelings of frustration overwhelm you, it is a good bet that your self-talk at that moment is very pessimistic... such as "we can't get through this", "I won't make it", "there is no way to solve this", etc... Now, you aren't always conscious of this talk, so you aren't doing it on purpose. The trick is to become aware of what you are telling yourself, and then consciously argue the point with yourself! So, if your inner voice says, "this is a catastrophe", you will have to decide if it truly is, or if it is simply a setback, and that you are smart and strong and you can weather the storm. Telling yourself that you are capable and strong despite setbacks will help to strengthen your resiliency and ability to 'bounce back".

Life is a series of curve balls; taking care of yourself is an extremely important factor, such as good nutrition, exercise and sleep. As was mentioned prior, hormones can have a huge effect on mood, and keeping the body chemistry in balance through eating well, getting exercise (increases endorphins & serotonin naturally), and getting enough rest can only help with how you feel physically.

Let me know if you found this helpful at all; and if you want further information on increasing coping skills and resiliency, I would be happy to try to help! My best to you!

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

While I think your advice is good, I still feel I may be past the "just pull yourself up" stage. I have tried but the curve balls seem to be fast balls. My husband has announced he's gay and will only stick around if he can go off with his guy friends whenever. Several years ago my father choked my mother to death in front of me. And I have a diagnosed symdrome that when I get upset my already low blood pressure plummets and I pass out.

I have tried to cope with all this but I think the current rash of problems, bad luck has pushed me over my limit. Is the only answer to seek intense therapy in a different setting?

Though I am a retired electrical engineer I have no health insurance to pay for such and my husband has spent most of our savings on this house that is the cause? of my current melt-downs.

I am crying rightnow; not hormones, change of life was 10 years ago.

I really have tried what you and the prev. person suggested; that's why am so frustrated. I am an emotional wreak but am also extremely intelligent, still.

Expert:  Heidi LPC replied 2 years ago.

Wow... the information you just provided gives your initial question a whole new meaning. You are dealing with more than what you led on, which is why I think the initial advice was more tailored to the initial question. With the very severe trauma of your mother's death, there can be some serious post-traumatic stress disorder issues that are rearing their head, and with the marital bomb that was just dropped, you are dealing with stress levels that are off the charts. I am truly sorry for all of the despair you must be feeling and I do believe that in order to recover from these intense past scars, there may be a need to find a therapist who has experience in trauma-related therapy. As money is an issue, there are many online, free chat rooms for people struggling with depression. These groups can give you a place to tell your story and get support and advice, to hopefully work through all the complicated feelings that are probably arising inside of you everytime you experience anything even slightly traumatic now. However, this doesn't replace the help of a good therapist; there are agencies everywhere who do pro-bono work or provide financial assistance, and it never hurts to ask if there is any financial assistance available.

With the current situation of building a home and finding out your husband is gay, you will need time and support to manage through. As I know that money for therapy is an issue, I will say that reminding yourself that this situation is temporary and trying to distract yourself from the pain by staying in this moment, five minutes at a time, and not thinking too far ahead will help you to cope in the immediate time. Trying to focus on breathing slowly and deeply when you feel overwhelmed, and focusing on keeping your body calm can help. I am attaching a link to some progressive muscle relaxation which can help you to center yourself when you feel overwhelmed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dk2157JYfA&feature=related

I know it may sound trite, but getting control over your body and it's physical reactions can ease the emotional pain involved. And, making the decision of what to do regarding the future is not going to be easy, but quite possibly the answer will make itself apparent soon. Although I cannot solve this mess for you, I can help support you to develop the courage and strength to face it and survive it. And you are allowed some time right now for grief; you are facing a potential loss, and grief is a natural & expected reaction... one that is exhausting and will knock the wind right out of your sails. Allow yourself to hurt, and treat yourself with all the care and compassion that you can; do whatever you find to be nurturing and comforting for yourself, ie.. warm baths, soft clothing, etc... and take this one step at a time. People have survived unimaginable circumstances when they connect with their inner strength to do so; and you can, too!! I am here to support you as I am able; just let me know what else I can do!

Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 239
Experience: Licensed Professional Counselor
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