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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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I feel secluded, lonely, helpless, what is wrong with me?

Customer Question

i feel secluded, lonely, helpless, what is wrong with me?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 7 years ago.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

So that I can better answer your question, could you please tell me more about your circumstances and what is going on in your life that you think isolates you?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
hi dr. michael,
thank you for responding this late at night. i really need to get a few things off of my chest though. i graduated from msu in may 2010 with a gpa of 3.9, and moved to chicago immediately following graduation. i look so successful from the outside- my job is in apartment and condo leasing, and i've made almost 8,000 each month. the problem is that i work all of the time- it is stressful, unstable, and i have little support from my bosses. there are only 9 other agents in my company, and we rarely see each other. i have no friends here yet, and any time that i'm not driving to showings, i'm home alone. i used to have more friends. i used to socialize and laugh but now everything seems so miserable. i've tried for a couple months to make changes, but lack motivation anymore. i have gained weight and have horrible self image now. it's a bad cycle
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 7 years ago.
This is a pretty difficult conflict for you to reconcile. On the one hand, you have a very good paying job that you landed right out of college---this is both highly flattering and speaks to your value on the job market (and in a very difficult economy, no less).

On the other hand, while you have this great job, you are personally, miserable. I'd like you to consider the idea that these elements of the conflict are like a teeter-totter or a balance, with the job and salary and immediate career success on one side and the social isolation and loneliness on the other. The fact that you wrote to me this evening says that this teeter-totter is way out of balance right now and you are distressed and conflicted because of it.

I think you realize that sooner or later, your life situation must change. Given your past attempts to re balance the teeter-totter by perhaps trying to socialize a bit more, the sheer oppressive weight of your job has now made your social life nonexistent and you are probably clinically depressed. The visual image you can use to picture this is the teeter-totter stuck against the ground on one side (your job situation) and your happiness and social life is suspended far above the ground and it is just stick, suspended there.

Somethings that will possibly help you is to: 1) assess the likelihood of getting promoted out of this job into something that is less ambiguous, better-supported with a social network and more stable; 2) quietly polish your resume and begin looking for a different job---even if it pays somewhat less; if you left this job you could cite personal, family or health reasons, and still make sure management was very sorry to lose you, because you are not telling them you are quitting because you are so miserable. 3) take stock of your social life and how you might be able to revive it and thereby have a meaningful escape valve for stress through your social support network. I realize you feel depressed and have no energy or interest in doing this, but such an action, paradoxically, might help you feel more motivated and invigorated; 4) make an appointment with a physician to be evaluated for a trial of antidepressant medication; this could help take the edge off of your depression and help you work more effectively and feel less despondent. It will not cure your loneliness, your isolation and therefore, it is not a long-term solution by any means. It is a temporary support you will have in place until you can somehow remedy the situation you are in. If you can remedy your situation, your depression should go away and you could become your "old self" rather quickly; you would engage friends more readily, and you may feel suddenly motivated to exercise and lose weight, etc.

As I think about your situation and write to you, I think that the true, "bot***** *****ne" issue is the likely need for you to lay out a plan to change jobs on a time line you select---maybe a month or 2 months. If you had such a plan and time line in place, I suspect you might suddenly feel a great deal of relief---you could see a "light at the end of the tunnel" and feel some sense of hope.

I hope this answers your question. Please let me know if I have overlooked anything in providing this response. I realize I may have assumed too much in providing this response, so again, let me know

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
thank you so much...i just want to ask you a few other things:
i often times feel "crazy" for being so unhappy in this job (i'm making so much money, i essentially work from home, schedule flexibility)...and i wonder if there is really something else out there that would make me happier. but now i'm starting to think that no matter how much money i make, i really cannot function without a better professional network and social support. i used to think that i didn't want to work in the corporate environment- but i think at this point i'd take a drastic pay cut in order to have a definite schedule, set salary, and the ability to have a weekend off. i literally work every day of the week and am on call 24/7. tuesdays are my official day off, but they're spent following up with leads and making appointments for the next day. do you really think it's the job that's making me depressed, or is it because i'm in a new city alone? or am i just getting unmotivated in every area in my life and would be unhappy with anything and everything? in person, i appear to be happy, self assured..but every day hurts more and i don't know what to do. i feel like i've been saying the same things over and over, and my parents tell me to just make a change...but it's hard to do for me right now. i've been applying for new jobs and networking, but i'm not as excited and driven as i'd usually be. i am planning on making an appointment with a psychologist tomorrow- do you really think i'd benefit from medication?
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 7 years ago.
If you are not fundamentally happy doing your job, then the job is not a good fit for your needs or your personality---despite the fact that you have prestige, a great salary, etc. The very things you now raise in your last post are "spot on" topics to bring up with your psychologist in your initial appointment. There is likely a complex interaction of things that are causing you to be unhappy and possibly, depressed. It is going to take awhile for you to sort them out and you need a safe, nonjudgmental environment and an objective person to help you think aloud and begin to make better sense of everything.
The psychologist can more thoroughly assess whether you are depressed or not and could benefit from medication from your physician. Depression has a way of placing a pretty dark cloud over everything in one's life; we feel a lack of motivation to do much of anything when the depression becomes entrenched.

I do suspect that what you said in the early lines of your last post is probably the most valid, rational evaluation of what will fit your needs in a job/career i.e., you truly want and need a professional social support network---a team to work with. You likely will not be happy working day after day in isolation, as this begins to feel meaningless very quickly for you.

So in summary, the sorts of things you mention in your second post are extremely relevant to understanding and resolving your problems. You are capable of substantial personal insight and will be able to sort all of this out with the help of a good therapist.

I hope this answers your question. Please let me know if I have overlooked anything in providing this response.

"PLEASE....Show respect for your expert. If the information shared with you is helpful, confirm this by Accepting their answer and provide Feedback. Thank you!