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DrJackiePhD
DrJackiePhD, Doctor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 192
Experience:  I have been doing research in relational/interpersonal communication since 1998. My Ph.D. is in interpersonal communication.
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My mental illness has changed all my relationships and friendships

Resolved Question:

My mental illness has changed all my relationships and friendships and I don't want to backtrack with my progress
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.

DrJackiePhD :

Hi, I'm Dr. Jackie. I don't see any other responses here; so if no one else is helping you currently, I'd like to offer to try to help. I can be available online or via email (Q&A) in the next 12 hours or so. Please let me know if I can help. I'm also going to copy and paste this to the Q&A format as well.

Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information.

What happens now?

If you haven’t already done so, please rate your answer above. Or, you can reply to me using the box below.
Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.
Hi, I'm Dr. Jackie. I don't see any other responses here; so if no one else is helping you currently, I'd like to offer to try to help. I can be available online or via email (Q&A) in the next 12 hours or so. Please let me know if I can help. I'm also going to copy and paste this to the Q&A format as well.

Please let me know when you are available, and I can listen and try to help.

Best,

Dr. Jackie
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I am available anytime from now.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Relist: Other.
I didn't get an answer.
Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.
I am available now. I'm sorry I'm not in front of the computer all the time, but I am available now either to chat or to do the Q&A, especially if you could fill me in a little more on how I can best help you. You mentioned your mental illness has changed your relationships. Perhaps you could share a bit more--how do you believe they have changed? All your relationships? Family? Friends? Co-workers? You said you don't "want to back-track," and I don't want that for you either.

How best can I respond to you? Any more details you can share would give me a broader picture to consider and help.

Best,
--Dr. Jackie
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I am available for chat now

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I am available for chat now-
well I get to the point in life where things are going ok, I can get into school programs I want to, be friends with fun people, even have great dating prospects, but then before I would take care of my illness fully, I would lose everything for years -

Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

First, thank you for sharing some more details. This helps provide more background.

Second, it sounds like you are OK then not OK, OK again, and then not OK. Since you put a short time lock on this, I can't provide a full answer but will in the next half an hour or so if you can give me more time...

Third, if you are being treated by a health professional and are taking medicines, you probably have already thought about this, but perhaps they are not working. Maybe they worked before but are not now? Often times the chemistry in everyone's brains changes so much that drugs for pain or mental illness or bladder control--almost any type of illness-- are no longer effective and need to be re-evaluated.

Please give me more time so that I can better answer...

--Dr. Jackie
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Take your time.

Right now things are good and I think they will continue to be good. I no longer abuse alcohol or marijuana, or even have late nights with friends doing those things...

I finished an Mba course online recently, and am enrolled in a Spanish class now...I keep busy, and feel good. Waiting to be hired after a lengthy and in depth job hunt.

I understand that everytime I break social networks it's harder to rebound and I must start over. I still think about the past relationships and miss them. I am trying not to Google stalk anyone and I don't, but it's hard not to be curious

I understand these people view me differently and that I need to move past them, but still, I want to know about her life, and I still think about reconnecting

Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.
Hi there,

Thank you for your patience and for writing back.

First, I am very glad to hear that things are good. And I'm super glad that you have disclosed you seem to have overcome some strong addictions. That is cause for celebration, because so many people just can't seem to break the hold. It sounds like you have found a way to deal with those things--that is awesome. And finishing an MBA course is more than awesome. It sounds like you are doing quite well!

Second, I want to help but am unclear exactly what you are seeking or to what you need answers. If you are talking about romantic relationships that you miss, then I can see how that can be frustrating wanting to follow-up or find out what happened. You could always try to send one email/chat/text or whatever form of communication you used before. But romantic relationships are difficult often to turn from romantic to friendship, especially after things end if there is a gap in time. Sometimes even best intentions of friendship can drudge up painful feelings, but I'm sure you already know that.

Third, I have read your comments and see you have tried Buddhist meditation. While I am formally trained in "research" and that kind of schooling, I am finding increasing stress and pressure relief personally and in more and more people in my circles through such outlets as meditation. I have only heard positive things regarding that, so that might be something to continue if you have stopped.

Fourth, have you talked to someone face-to-face--an addiction counselor? Even though you seem to have conquered such things as substance addictions, perhaps to replace them relationships have taken over? What I mean is that even though I'm not a trained addictions counselor, I have colleagues who are. And I know that they purport that once someone gives up addictions, the struggles are still always there; and sometimes relationships can be "addictive" to try to replace them.

I really do want to help but am unsure how best to help. Please do not pay me, at least not yet, because I know that I have not helped you. But if you can give me more direct questions, I can try. Or I an opt out and let someone on here with real addictions counseling experience help you.

Please advise,

Best,
--Dr. Jackie
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I do have a therapist I work with regularly. She has helped me with most things. I know the process seems slow but I have made major necessary life steps.

At this current juncture I am conflicted because I know that my illness destroys social networks and romantic relationships are the first to go. I sent disturbing sexual facebook messages to female friends, when I was manic, whom did not know I had bipolar disorder...

The person I miss the most is actually married. Her marriage was a bit rocky and she made a move, but then I went manic and I have never spoken to her again. I wrote an apology letter to her husband.

Even though I have attracted women that I am attracted to many times, now that I am recovering and I have no prospects I feel very unattractive and not sure how much if it is the illness recovery verses me specifically. I feel my insecurities piling up, like too short, minority, mentally ill etc..

Essentially I am caught between moving forward and missing the past that didn't happen. I want to let go, but it is a challenge. I love this girl but can't contact her and I think her entire family things I am a major threat. So I am trying my best not to look her up on the Internet and haven't done so for 9 months. I know if I do it will just grow thoughts I don't want or need.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I do not need to speak with an addiction specialist my concern is working on relationships

Expert:  DrJackiePhD replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

I can definitely help with relationships--at least, that is my area. So thank you for clarifying that for me.

I am so glad to hear you have a therapist that you have indicated has helped you. That is wonderful!

Regarding relationships--I had wondered if perhaps you had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I know that that can be so difficult because you feel on top of things for a short while and then you are at the bottom for awhile--back and forth and back and forth.

I cannot tell from what you have written if you are blaming yourself for the "destruction of social networks and romantic relationships." But this illness is just as real as any cancer, heart disease, or any other physical ailment. If the relationship persons did not know you had/have the illness, then they probably have no understanding at all. And that is your call if you want to try to get back into touch and explain what you have been going through. But if they never hear it from you, they will never even begin to understand because they just don't know.

You mentioned writing an apology to the one woman's husband but not to her. Do you think that would be helpful if you wrote a short but to the point apology to that woman? Even if she never replies, perhaps that might bring you some peace to know that you explained your behaviors and you will have no regrets down the road that you did not do this.

Permission to "forgive oneself" is one of the hardest actions. I am unsure if you even blame yourself; but if you do, then self-forgiveness, especially since you have reasons behind your former behaviors, is an important step in moving forward. It is hard to have healthy relationships with others, romantic or friendships, if you do not have a good sense of self-concept and self-esteem, if that makes sense.

Third, I love how you are able to be so descriptive about things. Your wrote, "Essentially I am caught between moving forward and missing the past that didn't happen." Wow is that powerful! It's hard to move forward if you have a lurking past you have not settled. I think that is again what I was getting at in the past few paragraphs when I mentioned self-forgiveness. It sounds like a few (or a lot) of things happened beyond your control. You have to give yourself permission to be OK with that, grieve if you need to (that is healthy), and be OK with who you are now. Who you are now is who that matters. If every single person in this world believed that they were bound by things they did in the past, we would not have the literature, the art, and scientific discoveries, etc. that we do have. Permission to forgive yourself, cry, understand why you were a different person before, and pride yourself in your newer and better self may take time but will help you get back your self-esteem and self-concept.

What can you do to feel even better about yourself? If finances are not a problem, take online or even local college or other classes. Enrich your knowledge. Many vocational schools and high schools offer all kinds of classes from sewing to cooking to various exercises, computer skills, etc. for a modest few. If you really want to date but feel self-conscious about it or as you indicate, have "insecurities," perhaps internet dating is a possibility? I'm not for or against internet dating; it's just a suggestion. I do know that I have heard quite a few people say they met "the right person" on Match and other dating websites. What is great about "dating" online is that you can go at your own pace more easily in that you don't have to meet someone you are attracted to on line until you definitely feel comfortable in doing so.


I just re-read your last note and saw that I missed the point about not being able to contact this girl. I am so sorry about that. I definitely don't want you to do something that is going to wreak havoc on a family. I had suggested contacting her before to apologize to give you peace; but this may not be an option. However, again, if you have forgiven yourself, the best present you can give to yourself is to tell yourself you have learned a lot and you are not going to repeat any of the mistakes again.

I am trying my best to respond to each concern/point you have made. Please let me know if I can help you more/further and/or if I should continue to delve a bit deeper into relationship communication and satisfaction, etc.

Best,

--Dr. Jackie

DrJackiePhD, Doctor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 192
Experience: I have been doing research in relational/interpersonal communication since 1998. My Ph.D. is in interpersonal communication.
DrJackiePhD and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hello Dr. Jackie

I like your advice, I want to tell you what is going on with me. Last year at this time I couldn't go in public comfortably because I was thinking if I see the woman or her sister I will be frozen- or any of the others. I went form being a nice person and we had an "A team" and we trained together. I was a bit confused because the sister whom was single also always smiled at me and they are both quite quite pretty. I was leaving for an over seas contract but I asked her out but she wasn't interested and she gave me her number but reluctantly.

Then the married made a non-verbal sexual pass while showing me a martial arts move.

I guess it is a conflicted situation, did the sister like me and have reasons not to go not with me prior to my leaving. On the other hand she is an ideal woman and maybe an inch to tall for me or too pretty for me- but why smile all the time at me. I have dated before it was a major sign but again she is so pretty and a bit taller than me so I thought I will go for it. Next thing, all thee crazy sexual messages- and now I cringe to think I wrote about such intimate details of sex with someone that may or may not even like me.

I do stay busy I have a Spanish class, and am working on my MBA and vigorously learning the guitar at the moment.

Lately a few attractive girls have been smiling at me and we get into nice little conversations, but I feel that advancing will lead to rejection. I am caught and I know I am the best I have ever been because I don't indulge in drugs or alcohol and I am just driven to my career success. My mood is very calm and I know I would be a great boyfriend.

As far as online dating I have thought about pay site but I don't want to date someone with intentions of a serious commitment, I am not ready for that at all. I just want to go for ice cream and chat and make out. Like I use to be able to do.



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