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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I am a woman in a relationship with woman, past 6 years, but

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I am a woman in a relationship with woman, past 6 years, but have recently decided to split. The relationship was never what either one of us wanted from the very beginning but I think we saved each other during previous heartbreaks. we still want to live together as she is gone 50% of the time for work. i want to date but don't want to hurt her even though she says it wouldn't bother her. I can't really afford to move on my own and she can't afford it either. I find myself at home at times while waves of depression, sadness and anxiety wash over me. I don't know if this is because of the situation or just normal ocassional stress symptoms. Your thoughts?

Dr. Z :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that you have been experiencing these symptoms of depression and anxiety, I can imagine how distressing this must be for you

Dr. Z :

You asked the question if these symptoms are caused by normal occasional stress or your situation, well may I ask did you have these symptoms before this situation with your ex-girlfriend and the break-up?

Customer:

Yes, but not to the extent I'm experiencing now. We have experienced alot of stress during last two years with a major flood which caused alot of financial stress and the rebuilding of the home we share now has been a long arduous process. We took out a 50K loand to re-build house, which is another reason I feel I shoud stay.

Dr. Z :

I am very sorry to hear about this financial situation and about the flood that effected your home. Well that stress in itself can cause symptoms of anxiety and depression, but then the break-up with your girlfriend most likely just added to that. In addition, it seems like you also feel "stuck" in your present situation where you want to go out and date, but you feel you cannot fully do that because it might hurt your ex-girlfriend and this can add to depressive feelings

Dr. Z :

So I would say that there is definitely a compounding assortment of issues beyond normal occasional stress that are causing your symptoms, which are understandable given what you have been going through too.

Dr. Z :

It appears that you want to branch off on your own again, but feel like you cannot given your financial situation

Customer:

Added to this is the fact that I stopped drinking almost a year ago, which I'm happy about, but feel almost ready to fall off the wagon. I guess over time i need to make a decision based on what is best for me, but you're absolutely right I fell very STUCK. Every day I wake up hoping something will appear or happen to make the change in my life that I need,

Dr. Z :

Well the alcohol would actually makes things worse because alcohol is a depressant and your momentary elevation in mood while drinking can be beneficial, it will be temporary and your depressive/anxiety symptoms will be worse in the long-term, so I would advise to continue to stay on the wagon. I know that you feel like you have no control to help yourself right now, but you can help yourself. I would like to the recommend a particular type of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that you can do on your own or with a therapist if you like. 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 :

While you cannot change your situation necessarily, I can recommend some techniques, books, and even a website that can help you with your symptoms.

Customer:

yes I know, about the alcohol, it's my addict brain talking. I dont want to make things worse, I spent too many years doing that. I do allow my mind to play scenes for the worst case scenarios far too often, but it seems almost automatic. thank you for any recommendation you may have.

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, these two worksheets are very good at helping lessen anxiety and depressive symptoms. It can help you focus on the big picture and the objective/positive thoughts and outcomes.

Dr. Z :

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

Dr. Z :

These books can be helpful too

Dr. Z :

And also this website has many self-help CBT techniques that you can use as well

Dr. Z :

Also for natural supplements to help you...St.Johns Wort, Omega-3 (Fish Oil), and Glutamate can all be used together to help you lessen your symptoms as well.

Dr. Z :

For medication though, the use of an SSRI antidepressant, I would recommend Lexapro at 10-20mg or Zoloft at 150-200mg are effective in lessening depressive/anxiety symptoms

Customer:

I will try these. Thank you for you help :-)

Dr. Z :

Anytime, Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

Customer:

Do you know of any women only alcohol recovery groups? I live in the Chicago area

Dr. Z :

Let me take a look for you, give me a couple minutes to look through my resources.

Customer:

ok

Dr. Z :

So far I have found this Woman's Group, but it is not specific to Alcohol Recovery, but I am still looking, I just wanted to give you an update.

Dr. Z :

So there do not appear to be any Women only Alcohol Recovery Groups that are led by a qualified Psychotherapist that I can find, but I did find two qualified addiction recovery groups that will most likely have a mix of males and females.

Dr. Z :

Actually wait, I just found a Woman only Recovery Group for you

Dr. Z :

It is not just alcohol, but deals with multiple addictions, self-harm, and eating disorders as well

Customer:

This looks like a good fit for me. think I will look into this.

Dr. Z :

Is there anything else I can assist you with?

Customer:

I think you've given me somewhere to start instead of stagnating, thank you, XXXXX XXXXX nice day!

Dr. Z :

I am always happy to help and give guidance. I hope that your symptoms resolve soon and that you feel better. 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.

Dr. Z and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you