How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Rafael M.T.Therapist Your Own Question

Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
65591635
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Rafael M.T.Therapist is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have been in a relationship with a very intelligent, kind

Resolved Question:

I have been in a relationship with a very intelligent, kind and sensitive man for three years. He suffers from low self esteem, chronic pain and severe depression. He mentioned he had a pain issue when we met– which he believes is due to a surgery years prior. While the surgery was successful, he opted for an invasive procedure, and is convinced this is the cause of the pain. He first saw a doctor who diagnosed him with a type of “mind-body syndrome”. As his symptoms worsened, I suggested that he see another physician. We met with numerous doctors at major hospitals. Test after test came back negative. Although one doctors indicated there was a slight chance of “over active” nerves causing pain, still nothing they can do. He sees a psychiatrist 2 x per week and is taking anti-depressants & pain meds; some control the pain for a short time, but his depression continues. Contributing to his depression are his family’s problems, which he is sucked into and while he admits this is a contributing factor, he says that even if that situation came to a conclusion, his other issues would not be resolved. He blames himself for choosing the invasive and cannot forgive himself. I know he is in physical pain, although I just don’t know if it is from the surgery, part of his severe depression (which he admits in had to some extent prior to the surgery) or a combination of both. He sent me an email which in part said - he feels he needs to be alone to deal with his issues. He feels guilty that in his mind he cannot contribute to our relationship, and the negative impact it has on me is unfair and his guilt is eating away at him. His friends are very accomplished, and while he has amassed financial wealth – he feels he never achieved Expert success as joining his family business was an easy way out. He had dinner with two old friends, which I thought would be good for him, yet he returned more depressed. Although not jealous, he feels they achieved success in their professions while he did not. He is retired, so no daily interaction with the outside excpet his psychiatrist and a few phone calls. He sees no one on a regular basis except me, and now wants to be alone. I want nothing more than for him to be healthy and happy, and to respect his desire to be alone. But I am saddened that he wants to push me away, and also scared that he will spend his time reading or watching TV all day, and just becoming more depressed, sinking further into a black hole.

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 1 year ago.
I am very sorry to know about this overwhelming reality your boyfriend has been facing for this long, and how it has deeply affected you and your relationship.
This situation is very frustrating, since as you said, no matter how many specialists you have consulted and have tested him not finding anything wrong at the physical level, he continues to experience this intense and chronic pain, which seems to deeply impact everything in his life, from mood to functioning and relationships. It also seems that he and the doctors have done everything possible to provide the best possible care for his physical-medical needs.
On the other hand, he has been suffering of depression from before this main pain problem, as well as of poor self-esteem. Your message seems to tell how most doctors have suggested how much of his physical pain could be of a psychogenic nature, which could make a lot of sense since in fact pain is a psychological experience, and we know how our mind could create or experience physical pain in so many different ways, depending on our mood, mental heal, level of functioning, personality and many other subjective factors.
You reported that he's been meeting his psychiatrist twice a week, been using psychiatric and pain drugs for a while but not showing any significant improvements around significantly and effectively reducing pain, depression nor self-esteem issues and poor functioning. I think these scenario is very common under such circumstances, once it seems he has mostly focused on using pain medication and psychiatric drugs but has not worked on the core personal - mental heal issues behind such symptoms, from depressive mood and everything that comes with it, to the poor sense of self-worthiness, poor coping skills and very limited functioning, all leading to deepen depression and any psychosomatic problem, as well as the experience of physical pain.
I think it is wonderful that he has finally decided to work on himself, but your words seem to point at your fears of him just using this decision to end the relationship or get away from you,a s an excuse to get even more isolated, so depressed and with a more limited life at multiple levels.
Only you know how painful and sad it could be to be in your shoes, and unhappily there is nothing anybody in your shoes could do to change his reality, since this is about a hard an doing term work that only he can do. What you can do is to become a supportive, healthy and wise presence in his life, making your best to promote his awareness of reality, and proactive action to look for and commit to his rehabilitation process. By this I mean working on himself and core issues with psychotherapeutic support, including individual and group psychotherapy, addressing his self-worth-esteem issues, improving of coping skills, pain management and rehabilitation from depression and any anxiety problem he may have.
It would be unrealistic to expect any significant improvement in his mood, experience of pain, socialization, functioning or at any other area, without him truly working on his rehabilitation from depression, anxiety and any other disorder undermining his life. Pain medication as well as most psychiatric medication are very addictive drugs, many times creating medical and mental disorders, problems and challenges, some times ever more serious than the original problems the client presented.
Once he starts working on his rehabilitation, then he would be able to take good care not only of himself, but also of his relationships, and that would give him a new chance to value what you developed together, and possibly to reconsider working on getting closer and continue sharing closer to each other. There is no way to know what would happen in the future, but this is what he you can do now to take good care of your present, and that would lead to the best results for tomorrow too.
I Strongly suggest you to consider individual counseling in case you find it very difficult for you to cope with this period, and all the challenges it may present. That way you would doing your best to take good care of yourself, and to offer the healthiest and most sound support to him. Obviously, it would depend on him, how much he allows you to continue playing a role in his life, and as frustrating as that may sound, there is not much anybody could do about that, but as you said, respect the boundaries and limits he set, trying to offer your best while hoping he could do choose and do his best in his own healing path.
Does it make sense?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes, it does. Thank you for your reply and insight. I know he loves me, and it breaks my heart that such a wonderful person is in pain, both physical and emotional.So just so I understand, you are basically saying that I need to let him know I love him and will be here for him, when and if he needs me, but also acknowledge and accept that this journey is one he needs to do on his own. It is very difficult to know that someone you love is in pain and not only can't I do anything to help, I may have to see the end of a three year relationship as well.He has not yet told me that he does not want to see me at all, or that he does not want any communication, but I see and feel him pulling back. Should I just follow his lead so to speak?
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 1 year ago.
Your understanding of my words is accurate. This is a tough situation for you, and yes, it is necessary to find out what he is expecting and willing to share with you, about his boundaries, since it'd be from there that you'd know how you could respect and support him and his choices during this new period.
People could make right and not that wise choices when setting boundaries and pushing away those around them, but even in those cases, we need not to approve but to accept and respect such boundaries, while showing in a clear way how much we care, what we feel and expect too.
Some people could feel able and willing to keep close and share this much with the other one, while other people would have a tough time coping with their own emotions and feelings, feeling unable to take good care of themselves while sharing in very limited ways with that special person who decided to start a new journey without their company. This is why you need to be fully honest and truthful with yourself, and towards him in order to do take good care of yourself, while also respecting his choices. If they happen to be compatible, good for you, but if not, you would do your best to take good care of yourself anyway, since that's your first right, need and responsibility in life.
Give him time to assess things, and if he delays this dialogue for too long, like for longer than a week to ten days, then you could take the initiative and ask him to meet if possible in order to clarify these concerns, and if he refuses to meet, at least to share through any adequate means his decisions about it, and you would do the same.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you again.
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 1 year ago.
You're very welcome. Thank you for your trust.
Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
Rafael M.T.Therapist and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education
 
 
 

Related Mental Health Questions

Chat Now With A Mental Health Professional
Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist
Mental Health Professional
3189 Satisfied Customers
MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach