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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10566
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Hello--I have something that bothers me from time to time quite

This answer was rated:

Hello--I have something that bothers me from time to time quite often.

In short, I had very little self-esteem, confidence ( especially when it applied to anything dealing with the opposite sex ) starting when I was a teenager, and now that I'm older--I'll be 43 yrs old shortly, it seems these feelings have intensified; like I am unable to feel love for anyone anymore. I live in the Portland, OR area and wouldn't know who to seek to talk to about some of this because I am unsure what it could even be? Any help is appreciated. Thank you.

Dr. Z :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that you are feeling this way, I can imagine how this distresses you

Dr. Z :

It sounds like you may have been going through a mild-moderate depression that causes you low self-confidence and over time this increased to a point where you now have a symptom called emotional numbing

Dr. Z :

Emotional numbing is where you are unable to feel or express all or certain emotions and this is usually related to depression, especially chronic depression like you described.

Dr. Z :

I can recommend some good self-therapy books, therapists in your area, and also some natural supplements that can be more effective than the niacin

Customer:

Is emotional numbing a common or more rare thing, and do you think this would definitely be related to depression?

Dr. Z :

Emotional numbing is very common with depressive symptoms that have lasted for a significant portion of time like you described. And at your age, depression seems like the most likely cause of this.

Dr. Z :

Emotional numbing can also be related to psychotic disorders, but because you do not present with any psychotic symptoms (e.g. hallucinations or delusion) depression seems like the more likely diagnosis right now.

Customer:

Oh ok, I guess I sometimes suspected depression, even a long time ago when many of these started, but would have been more unsure and more skeptical of something like that myself.

Customer:

Awhile ago I seen a video or link about dysthymia and wondered if what I could have maybe be something like that because I have had it for so long and like the emotional numbing you mention, like I couldn't be able to find or keep love in my life just because of a lack of emotions.

Dr. Z :

I was actually thinking dysthymia (now called Persistent Depressive Disorder) because of the length of time you had these symptoms. May I ask did anything happen to you to precipitate the low self-confidence?

Dr. Z :

I also got the impression that the emotional numbing or emotional coldness has been a recent symptom or has it been more long lasting for you?

Customer:

Yes, when I was younger, I was picked on a lot ( when I was in school. ) I never did really fit in, didn't have any friends at all, and when there was a girl I had a crush on ( actually from about 8th grade towards senior year ) I finally confessed to her how I felt about her, she told me she was seeing someone else, but I later learned through my younger brother who had a classmate who happened to be at her house the day I confessed how I felt about her ( I had written her a letter and left my phone number at which time she called me back ) that he was there and told him that she just told me that as a way to back out of it. My brother didn't know about the situation with the letter and so forth, so he couldn't have made this up himself, and this classmate of his described exactly everything she had told me on the phone.

Customer:

Well the emotional numbing seems to slowly have taken foot awhile ago. I had a LDR with a woman, who eventually came to visit me just last fall, and everything was well, until the last few days of her trip here, it is like I suddenly began to just lose interest. Now, our relationship ( if that is what it could be described ) is more on stand-by because she thinks it worth saving, but I just don't have feeling about it anymore; even though I can tell she really cares for me.

Dr. Z :

Okay then I definitely think the Persistent Depressive Disorder is the correct diagnosis based on what you have told me. I agree that your low self-confidence most likely started from a young age because you were picked on a lot in school and this hurt your self-confidence so much that you never had a chance to recover and form a stronger sense of self. The best type of therapy to treat this is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT has a premise that your symptoms are caused by negative thoughts, so if we change your thought process to be more positive and objective as well, then your symptoms will lessen.

Dr. Z :

I can show you some techniques and books that will help you and recommend some good therapists in your area

Customer:

That would be appreciated. Yes, the techniques, books, the natural supplements you mentioned before, and therapists you could recommend would be ideal. If a therapist is open on the weekend, that would be even better, as I have a pretty long work day Mon-Fri each week.

Dr. Z :

Also here is a good link describing dysthymia (Persistent Depressive Disorder) in more detail for you

Customer:

Thank you for the link--I have copied and pasted it on Microsoft Word so I can view it in entirety after our chat session.

Dr. Z :

No worries, would you like me to show you some good CBT techniques and recommend some therapists in your area too?

Customer:

Yes, that would be helpful.

Dr. Z :

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.

Dr. Z :

In addition this worksheet will help build your self-esteem by replacing your self-critical thoughts with more positive self-beliefs

Dr. Z :

Also individuals with depression have a poor coping mechanism, so this worksheet will help you develop a better coping strategy to manage your depression better.

Dr. Z :

Here are also two good books that may be helpful for you

Dr. Z :

And also St. Johns Wort an Omega-3 are two of the best natural supplements to help improve depression if you want to try that

Dr. Z :

Now give me a few minutes to compile a list of capable therapists in your area

Customer:

Yes, those I hope should be most helpful, I am glad you sent them to me here.

Dr. Z :

Here are a few good therapists in your area that provide CBT therapy and specialize in depressive disorders.

Dr. Z :

Anytime, I hope that the techniques, books, and supplements help you greatly

Customer:

Thank you very much for your help. Hopefully, I got these links copied and pasted okay so I don't lose them, do you know how long the chat session will stay open for me just in case the links I copied and pasted didn't paste correctly in my Word document for future viewing?

Dr. Z :

Well this chat will always be saved for you, so it will not go away ever. An email with a link to this chat should be sent to you as well and it will be saved on your Just Answer account.

Customer:

Oh ok, great. Yes, if it can be emailed to me the entire chat, that would be extremely helpful. Thank you once again for the links and helpful tips you have provided to me, and I will begin to call these therapists tomorrow ( Monday ) to see how soon I can elaborate on much more going on in my life. You have provided me with a great deal of information and I am thankful for that.

Dr. Z :

Well a link of the chat should be sent to your email already or will be sent to you after you rate me, so all you have to do is click on the link and it will come straight to this chat. Or you can bookmark using this link.

Dr. Z :

Anytime, I am always happy to help. Is there anything else I can do to assist you tonight?

Customer:

Oh, one last question. So in the future, if I have questions for you, am I able to log in here to speak to you directly, or would it be a random online therapist, so I wouldn't have to repeat a lot of the information again?

Dr. Z :

You can ask me future questions by putting "For DoctorZ only" before you write your question or you can ask the question straight from my homepage.

Customer:

Oh ok, great. Thank you. Yes, if these work in even the slightest way, I would likely seek your professional opinion in the future if possible. Ok, thank you once again and I will rate your answers as excellent crediting you with the fee for the night.

Dr. Z :

Thank you very much and I hope these techniques and natural supplements work well for you. 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.

Customer:

Ok, thank you. I will do that. Ok, have a goodnight and thank you once again.

Dr. Z :

You have a good night as well and you are most welcome :)

Customer:

Ok, thank you. Good bye.

Dr. Z :

Good night and best of luck to you with everything

Customer:

Thank you :-)

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