Part of the problem is that she may be suffering from mixed anxiety and depression - depression is causing her to feel bad, and the other part is that her negative thinking about her life situation is just adding to that.
Both these things can be dealt with by a combination of proper medication and a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It is a form of therapy that addresses problems in a direct and targeted way and is brief compared with most other therapies.
The first thing she needs to do is to see her Doctor – he will give her a full diagnosis and if appropriate, start her on a suitable anti-depressant medication. He will also want to rule out any physical cause of what she is experiencing.
Depression is seen as a chemical imbalance in the brain, just as diabetes is a chemical imbalance in the body. Diabetics take medication to stay well, why shouldn’t she?
She should not be afraid of taking medication – it could really help turn her whole life around
Two important issues about this - when she is on medication, she must take it at the correct dose and as prescribed. It is no use missing doses or messing around with the dose.
Secondly, she should know that anti-depressants can take up to 8 weeks from the start of therapy before they begin to show beneficial effects, so it's no use quitting after two weeks.
I mentioned 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:
If she cannot afford to see a therapist, there are good free CBT based self-help resources here:
Make the first step NOW – get her to make an appointment with her Doc, and she can start to get better.
You’ll also find some very good help here: