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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4757
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I have a motivational crisis because of my recent break-up.

Resolved Question:

I have a motivational crisis because of my recent break-up. I spent whole last week skipping job and listening to depressive music non-stop. How can I get rid of this depression?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

DoctorZ :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

DoctorZ :

I am sorry that you are feeling this lack of motivation due to your recent breakup. It sounds like you are going through a time of grief from the ending of the relationship

DoctorZ :

The good news is that usually this is temporary and will pass with time, but there are a few techniques that can help you if you like

DoctorZ :

Most feeling of grief and depression that you are describing are caused by negative thoughts you are having, so if you change the negative thought process to be more positive and plausible then you lessen the symptoms of this grief.

DoctorZ :

So this link may help you, it contains a technique I use with patients called a thought record. It will help you keep track of any negative thoughts you have. You put the negative thought on paper, the emotion accompanying, the evidence to support it, and the evidence against it. Then I want you to come up with an alternative thought for the situation (more positive and plausible). This will help you change your way of thinking to be able to think more positive and not automatically go to a negative type of thinking.

DoctorZ :

Now may I ask you are you having any negative self-critical thoughts about yourself as well?

Customer:

I don't think I have negative self-critical thoughts about myself...

Customer:

I just feel incredibly indifferent

Customer:

please excuse me, English is not my first language so I might not describe my emotions as well as a native English speaker would...

DoctorZ :

No worries I understand, you are doing well so far.

Customer:

well, actually, the only self-critical thoughts are in the line, "why aren't you doing what you are supposed to be doing, like going to work"

Customer:

but they seem too remote to make any actual effect...

DoctorZ :

Okay, so how long were you with your partner for? And why did you break up?

Customer:

thanks for the though record sheet... I will try it

Customer:

maybe I should clarify this a little bit

DoctorZ :

No problem you can clarify

Customer:

she is not really my partner... she is my cousin
and I have been having strong feelings for her since childhood

Customer:

we haven't talked for about 10 years, but then I recovered relations with her

Customer:

just normal friendly relations, nothing terribly personal really

Customer:

but I have recently realized that she doesn't really give a damn about what I feel

Customer:

this is what I call a "breakup"

Customer:

not exactly a breakup...

DoctorZ :

I understand, I am sorry that she does not really care about you the same way you do for her, I can see how that would be hurtful for you

Customer:

let me also clarify that I never had any kind of sexual relations with her

Customer:

long time ago, I had a deep personality crisis because of her

Customer:

somehow, I never found any other girls as lovable and fascinating as her

Customer:

I am just this crazy one-girl type of guy, and the girl happens to not give a damn, aside from being of close kin :)

Customer:

so... we went to Finland recently... me, herself and her daughter. And she just likes to be alone and avoids any long conversations with me and stuff

Customer:

it is incredibly hurtful, just like you said

Customer:

and now... I don't feel like doing anything, and this can end up pretty badly for my career
in fact, she advised me to consult a psychiatrist

Customer:

so I am doing it now

DoctorZ :

Well it sounds like you have had feelings for her for a long time, so that is what makes this feel worse and why you are having these feelings of depression.

Customer:

exactly

DoctorZ :

That is good that you are seeking mental health treatment that is a good first step

DoctorZ :

May I ask, have you ever told her your feelings for her?

Customer:

well, not everything

Customer:

just the tip of the iceberg

Customer:

I don't want to freak her out

Customer:

but I told her enough so that she advised me to consult psychiatrist

Customer:

and... the thing is this: I used her image as a motivation to do amazing things... but now as I realized how she doesn't care... my motivation is no more

DoctorZ :

When you say she doesnt care, do you mean she doesnt share your feelings of love or that she only likes you as a cousin, or that she wants nothing to do with you at all?

Customer:

she only *acknowledges* me as a cousin; I am not sure whether she likes me at all

Customer:

I think, she'd rather have nothing to do with me

Customer:

this is what it looks like...

Customer:

my mother told me this years ago, and I could never believe her...

Customer:

my mother is great in understanding what people are and what they want

Customer:

but I just couldn't belive her

Customer:

it is very difficult to accept that someone you experience such deep and transcendent feelings doesn't really give a rats ass about you...

DoctorZ :

It does happen, it is not fair, but it does happen where people do not share the same feelings for you as you do for them.

Customer:

I can see it now very clearly...

Customer:

so I announced myself, that this would be a silent 'breakup'

DoctorZ :

But now we have to focus on you and getting you back to a level of functioning where you can be successful

Customer:

yes...

DoctorZ :

The thought record will help you, but you have to be diligent with it

Customer:

okay... how do you work with it?

Customer:

I need to describe the place which reminds me of her?

Customer:

1. Where: this would be pretty much anywhere...

Customer:

I keep on thinking about her all the time...

Customer:

this is the worst part: I cannot concentrate andjust keep on whining forever...

Customer:

let me explain this a bit more...

DoctorZ :

No, when you are feeling low/depressed I want you to write down the negative thought that made you feel low. It must not just be about her in general it has to be something specific about her. Then your write down the evidence to support this and the evidence against this thought. Then try to think of another alternative thoughts that is more plausible and positive

Customer:

Here is something totally crazy about her... when we were not talking, she made this picture and posted it on facebook...

Customer:

it's a picture of a snowy street car stop in Cologne, Germany

Customer:

its snowing very heavily and the street car stop has an electronic clock

Customer:

with red numbers on it...

Customer:

so! the clock shows the exact date and time when my daughter was born

Customer:

plus minus one hour

Customer:

this is an ironclad fact... it's a very rare coincidence you know, but it makes me feel uneasy about everything

DoctorZ :

I think you are using something called rationalization to make a coincidence feel like a sign that you and her are supposed to be together, but remember the birth of your daughter and this picture are completely independent of each other.

Customer:

I should not attempt to interpret this in any way, because any kind of rational explanation is completely pointless here

Customer:

yes

Customer:

true... you are right

DoctorZ :

Another good technique to help you get over this break up is to make a daily schedule for the week and for 30 minutes a day I want you to just think about her, and nothing else. But outside of that 30 minutes you cannot think about her. If you start to feel yourself thinking about her, remind yourself that you will save that memory for your allotted time you are allowed to think about her. And then lower this amount from 30 minutes to 25 minutes every week until there is no more thinking about her.

Customer:

but the chances! I calculated, what are the chances...

Customer:

interesting.

DoctorZ :

Just because something is coincidental does not mean it has a meaning

Customer:

okay, I will do that

DoctorZ :

If I had a dream about a plane crash, and the next day a plane crash happened does that mean I caused it or I predicted the plane crash? No it means it was a coincidence.

Customer:

I specifically looked at the pictures of my friends... I analyzed 10000 pictures to determine the probability that a picture has a clock on it

Customer:

the chances are ~0.2%

Customer:

now, multiply this with a specific day 1/365, year, 1/10 and time: 1/12 = 1 over 20 million!

DoctorZ :

That may be true, but you have to keep telling yourself that they are unrelated events. You want it to be true, so you are thinking that it is true.

Customer:

now add that it must be HER to take the picture, among all the people...

Customer:

if I limit myself to 1 out 100 friends chance, I get 1 out of 2 billion chance as a conservative estimate of the probability...

DoctorZ :

May I ask, do you think you considering these rationalizations help or hurt your progress in getting over this girl?

Customer:

I don't think they will help me getting over it

Customer:

but I cannot think of any other event in my life, which is equally less probable

Customer:

of course, rare events happen

Customer:

they don't necessarily mean something

DoctorZ :

So for the thought record, when you have these thoughts about the picture, an alternative more probably thought is that rare events happen and that these were two unrelated events.

Customer:

right

DoctorZ :

Those are the alternative thoughts that you must focus on

Customer:

I feel like I won a billion dollars and I just have to flush it down the drain...

Customer:

but yes, you are right

Customer:

I had dreams about her several times

DoctorZ :

I know, and this is going to be hard because you have had these strong thoughts and feelings for her for so long, they are like a habit now and you have to change that habit

DoctorZ :

You have to take it one step at a time, but so far you are taking the right steps.

DoctorZ :

This worksheet is an experiment worksheet that can help you challenger your beliefs and feelings about her and put thing into perspective for you to think more rationally about her

Customer:

OK thanks...

DoctorZ :

Is there anything else I can do to assist you today?

Customer:

I guess this would be it...

Customer:

so:

Customer:

1. CBT thought record;
2. Behavorial experiment;
3. think no more than 30 min per day...

Customer:

* I mean, "think about her not more than 30 min per day" lol

DoctorZ :

Those are techniques that will help you, but regular sessions with a psychologist or psychiatrist will be very beneficial for you too

Customer:

can I talk to you again in a week or something?

DoctorZ :

Yes you are welcome to contact me again in a week if you wish.

Customer:

okay, thank you... I think I am happy with your help

DoctorZ :

All you have to do is put "For DoctorZ" in the beginning of your question to make sure that you want to talk to me and I will respond promptly

Customer:

oh ok

DoctorZ :

This is the first steps in your treatment and will take some time for you to see the benefits, but it will happen. Therapy is very gradual, but effective

Customer:

Thank you doctor...

DoctorZ :

Anytime, I am always happy to help

DoctorZ :

I want to wish you the best of luck with everything

Customer:

You live in the US, right?

DoctorZ :

Yes I am living in the U.S.

Customer:

what are your online hours?

DoctorZ :

My online hours are usually 9:00 AM Pacific Standard Time to 1:00 AM Pacific Standard Time, so I am online a lot

Customer:

okay that's great

DoctorZ :

And that is 7 days a week as well

Customer:

well thanks and see you maybe in a week... have a great day

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4757
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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