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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4420
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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How do I learn how to deal with a breakup that happened

Resolved Question:

How do I learn how to deal with a lesbian breakup that happened over 15 months ago when I am no longer in love with her, but what she did was destroy my self esteem thereafter?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 10 months ago.

DoctorZ :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

DoctorZ :

I am so sorry to hear about how your ex-girlfriend destroyed your self-esteem afterwards, I can imagine how that must effect you.

DoctorZ :

May i ask you what happened at the end of your relationship?

Customer:

Well, she was an alcoholic. I told her early on in the relationship and I tried to help her. At times, she was very loving. And then one day, out of the blue, she ignored me at our local bar and then told me we had to stop communicating. She was my first relationship.

DoctorZ :

I am sorry to hear that happened to you, first relationships are the hardest to get over. So you mentioned trying counseling for 8 months, did it help at all?

DoctorZ :

Or did not have a very strong effect on you?

Customer:

I thought it did, but I don't think it did because I still feel very depressed and my self esteem is still very low. I even told the counselor his ideas were not working.

DoctorZ :

What kind of therapy was it exactly? Was it called CBT, DBT, etc...

Customer:

And I feel stupid for still even thinking about her, but I am trying to figure out where I went wrong and my friends are tired of me talking about it, which I don't blame them.

Customer:

Hm, I'm not sure. It was a school counselor and he had authority to prescribe medication. He mostly listened and encouraged. But it did not work in the long run it seems.

DoctorZ :

Okay so it seemed like basic talk therapy, did you use any medication at all to help you through this?

Customer:

no, I didn't.

DoctorZ :

Well sometimes the temporary use of a good anti-depressant can make therapy more effective for you and you will respond better therapy in helping you get over this breakup. While therapy is definitely the cure, sometimes the medication helps to lessen the symptoms to make therapy more effective for you

DoctorZ :

It could be something that you may want to try. Also I think a better type of therapy for you would be something called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as this therapy helps you focus on the present more and not so much on the past. This help an individual move on from this type of situation

DoctorZ :

I can show you some good CBT techniques if you wish

Customer:

Will it change the way I am thinking, because it seems like I am so negative nowadays and no matter what people say, I find that it sounds like they are saying I am not a good person and flawed and so my self esteem takes another dip.

Customer:

sure

DoctorZ :

Yes CBT is designed to change your negative thought process to be more positive and objective, as this will lessen your symptoms.

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 objective 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 :

In addition, this positive self belief record will force you to replace your negative self-critical beliefs with more positive self-beliefs

Customer:

What do I put in the "alternative thought" column? Something positive?

DoctorZ :

Exactly something positive, realistic, and objective

DoctorZ :

In addition, the self blaming that you do is a maladaptive coping mechanism, so this worksheet will help you change that to a more acceptable coping strategy

Customer:

What if I can't seem to think of anything positive? Do I ask a friend? Do I wait later on to fill that part out?

DoctorZ :

You can do this on your own time, and you want to keep doing it over and over again to ingrain it in your mind and it becomes habitual

DoctorZ :

You see when you are depressed, you only focused on the negative thoughts this will force you to focus on the positive. Here is a diagram illustrating what i mean

Customer:

should I carry these around? I feel like negative thoughts can come at any time and place.

Customer:

I see.

Customer:

How long should I expect to dwell on my negative aspects and remain in this "negative glasses" state? When is it excessive?

DoctorZ :

You can carry them around with you, that would increase their effectiveness

DoctorZ :

Well I can also recommend some self-help books too, but usually you should start to see benefits in 2 months and in 6-9 months the maximum benefits of this

Customer:

how will I know I am making improvements?

DoctorZ :

When you feel that the negative thoughts are not as controlling

DoctorZ :

You start to feel more confident about yourself as well

Customer:

I just hope this works because I have been trying to "solve" this for a year.

DoctorZ :

It should, the more you practice the more effective it will be. Also the use of an antidepressant can increase their effectiveness too.

DoctorZ :

Here are a couple good books too

Customer:

I will try your advice. But...I am not optimistic. But I guess I should at least try.

DoctorZ :

At least keep an open mind to it because if you feel that it can help, then it will have a more positive effect for you. If you feel pessimistic to begin with, then it wont be as effective for you. Remember the old adage "Do not judge a book by its cover"

Customer:

I will try. Thank you.

DoctorZ :

Anytime, is there anything else I can do for you tonight?

Customer:

lol. Get me a new perspective!

Customer:

and a time machine to make me undo that relationship

DoctorZ :

I wish I could do that, but first I would be selfish and use that time machine to figure out who really shot JFK and to also see the dinosaurs, but I swear you are next after those 2 things :) While we cannot change the past, we can learn from it, that is what I hope this does for you

Customer:

:) thanks for the laugh

Customer:

Sadly, what I "learn" is usually I failed in some way but I will try the worksheets and see if I can change my thinking.

DoctorZ :

Anytime, I am happy to help and make you laugh a little too

DoctorZ :

Well here is one alternative thought, maybe she failed and could not handle commitment and just pushed you away.

Customer:

That is true. I just wish I could believe it. I really do.

DoctorZ :

I know, hopefully these CBT techniques will start to work for you very fast, they are very effective for most people

Customer:

I just don't understand me lashing out to my friends about petty things. I guess it is part of the depression but dang, it is so petty what sets me off sometimes. But I feel like I cannot control my outbursts.

Customer:

But maybe I just need to trust the system, and try it.

DoctorZ :

Depression can cause irritability and these outbursts. Did your last therapist go over the symptoms of depression with you?

DoctorZ :

Lets put it this way, it will not harm you try the CBT

Customer:

yes he did. And I even told him I was depressed. I don't deny it but identifying the problem doesn't do much good for me.

DoctorZ :

I know, it is just that irritability and outbursts are common symptoms and I was not sure that you knew that

DoctorZ :

Try the CBT and it will help. Also an antidepressant will bring quicker relief to your symptoms too, usually 2-3 weeks you will start to notice benefits and at 6-8 weeks the full benefits of most antidepressants are achieved.

Customer:

Yeah, I just wish my friends were more understanding. Yes, my depression does not give me an excuse to treat people bad but gosh, if I tell my friends I am depressed, they should cut me some slack.

DoctorZ :

It is hard for them to understand because they are not going through this, so they do not have a frame of reference. It is hard to understand what you cannot see sometimes.

Customer:

thanks for your help. I'll try both the CBT and pills. Best wishes.

DoctorZ :

Anytime, I wish you the best. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.

DoctorZ :

Have a great rest of your weekend :)

Customer:

u too. thanks again.

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4420
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
Dr. Z and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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