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I have been feeling deeply depressed for years and suicidal

for the last 18 months...
I have been feeling deeply depressed for years and suicidal for the last 18 months, particularly now and am afraid that I will go through with it. I am very successful, make more money than anyone I know, educated to the PhD level and have a family of 2 kids. People with my success should not be this depressed.
I have seen a Psychologist and found it to be a waste of time-what can I do????
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Answered in 10 minutes by:
3/25/2011
David Akiva
David Akiva, BA, MA,
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 167
Experience: Counselor; Behavioral Consultant
Verified
Therapist :

Hi thanks for bringing your question to JA.com. I'm very sorry to hear that you are suffering right now. Do you mind if I ask a few clarifying questions to better provide you with a strong practical answer?

Customer:

Sure, why not

Therapist :

Thanks

Customer:

are you there?

Therapist :

What kind of work did you do with a psychologist?

Customer:

1 hour meetings where I talked and he listened-beyond that nothing

Therapist :

Have you talked to your family Dr. in the last 18 months about your condition, to rule out potentially medical contributing factors and explore formal diagnosis?

Customer:

No, a MD is not qualified as a PhD, MA, PSYD

Customer:

Family Doc. do not know enough to propoerly diagnoise mental health

Therapist :

Most MDs have basic screening training and can also test for common medical conditions that may contribute to your mood. Formal diagnosis would be secondary, you're right, on a referral basis.

Therapist :

What are you feeling depressed about?

Customer:

It has been so long that I do not even know any more however, I'm tired of life, people, feeling taken advantage of by my family, friends and everyone around me.

Therapist :

I'm sorry to hear that you're feeling so down. It must be very difficult

Customer:

to many reasponsibilities to everyone and thing but myself

Therapist :

So your psychologist sessions were just you talking and them listening?

Therapist :

No treatment model or systematic evidence-based approach?

Customer:

yes, for about 4 months, I thought he was going to asked me to start chanting and singing as he was that type of Psyc

Customer:

no

Therapist :

May I ask what your academic background is so I have a better sense of whom I speaking with?

Therapist :

sorry I'm...

Customer:

I have PhDs in Geoscience and Env Science

Customer:

environmental

Customer:

I have been acalled an over achiever

Therapist :

Ok.

Therapist :

Thank you

Therapist :

Do you have problems right now with motivation with work and family, - doing things and getting things done or is your achievement level still high right now despite your feelings?

Customer:

I have major motivational issue but know it must get done as I have commitments and do not want to let anyone down. That is one of the issues, I have never given myself time to be me, always commitments to everyone else. That is a major problem and I am tired of always being responsible to everyone else.

Therapist :

I hear that part about needing time for yourself very clearly. What does time for yourself best look like or mean to you? How would you do self-time best?

Customer:

when working I can turn it down for 12/13 hours a day but they are always in the background and when I get home or free time in the office I get overwhelmed with depression and the knowledge that I can not have a few minutes to me. When I was 15 my brother was killed and

Customer:

I was on my own emotionally and when to the univeristy where I was in survival mode all the way through graduate school; I had to work fulltime to afford to go,..

Customer:

after college I opened my firm and hagain have been working 80+ hours a week building and never having time for me. Started a family and once that starts all your free time goes to the kids, not you

Therapist :

Wow, I have brothers that I love. So I can't imagine what losing one would be like.....

Therapist :

It sound's to me like cognitive behavioral therapy would very helpful to you. Something evidence-based with a strong "activation" component towards self-care, relaxation and boundary setting. Real actionable life improving goals not chanting or just talk-therapy/

Therapist :

Sound's like relaxation-response training might be very helpful as well...

Therapist :

Maybe the psychologist you saw wasn't a practical fit with your current counseling/therapy needs, what do you think?

Customer:

??

Therapist :

Would you like me to look for some resources for you to explain the science base approaches I'm describing that may really help with your mood through targeted life/behavior changes?

Customer:

??

Therapist :

I'm not sure what the question marks mean..please clarify

Customer:

sure

Therapist :

Would you like me to see if I can located some related therapists i.e. CBT and behaviorally trained in your area? If so do you mind sharing your city and state?

Customer:

Cedar park, TX-Not in Cedar PAr please

Customer:

park

Therapist :

I have no affiliations I'm just going to find you you strong evidence-based information and treatment resources...

Therapist :

Thanks for the location info.

Therapist :

Is there anything you'd like to add before I go and do some research toward posting my "answer" to your question?

Customer:

no-thanks

Therapist :

Alright. Thanks for your time so far. I'll go and prepare my answer, which I'll post back here with in the next couple of hours. You can then decide if you'd like to accept it or not. I'll honestly try my best to find information that I think will be helpful. I'll be back a bit later with my answer and you'll get an e-mail alert guiding you back to this screen to read it. Let me know If I've missed anything once you're looked it over. Back soon.....

Therapist :

Well I’d like to start my JA.com answer by thanking you for your patience and praising you for taking a step to start feeling better again. Like I mentioned in our brief chat, I think that an evidence-based treatment approach that really targets important life changes and new coping skills will be very helpful to you over a few months. I would suggest working with a licensed psychotherapist master’s or doctoral level, with advanced training in cognitive behavioral therapy. Talking therapy or chanting for that matter has little science behind it. Your academic background uniquely qualifies you to quickly learn and apply CBT and behavioral activation tools and strategies:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cognitive-behavioral-therapy/MY00194

I think boundary setting with others is going to be very important here, which will involve actively defining what those boundaries are, and where they need to be placed. People-pleasers often need to target change in their own established thinking and feeling patterns that currently interfere with boundary and limit setting.

http://www.christophermartell.com/ba.php

A very major study has been conducted recently and demonstrated empirically that the “behavioral activation” component in CBT is often the most helpful. Since you are a very active high achiever in contrast to many people feeling depressed who shut down, stay in bed and do very little. Activation or behavior analytic principals may be very helpful to you in doing less work, and focusing on taking care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself (down time for you, relaxation, hobbies etc) you can’t be as effective in your role as family member, work-mate or friend.

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_tips.htm

Now because this as simple answer service I don’t really get to know a person through a few minutes of chat. But with many of the high achieving clients I’ve worked with in my private practice, one of the most valuable clinical skills they can learn is the relaxation response. It’s like learning to drive a car, but with a month or so of daily practice you can learn to self-invoke the relaxation response. Being able to self-invoke relaxation may be helpful during those times of frustration when others are placing demands on you that exceed your boundaries. Relaxing helps you to more effectively communicate your limits to others and to problem solve, parent and partner more effectively under conditions of normal family stress. Stress reduction is also a key generalized treatment strategy for depression. The relaxation response is the opposite of the stress response. It can also help you to sleep more deeply, which is also a “protective factor” in depression treatment.

Here is one of the best relaxation training programs I’ve found online and its free, - great video and audio tools you can use to start learning:

http://vcc.asu.edu/relax/index.shtml

Finally, given the suicidal thoughts you mentioned. Make sure you have a safety plan. Call a friend or family member if you feel you’re really in danger. Call 911 if you find yourself planning and intending to act if you can’t get to a supportive family member or friend fast. It’s very important to get evidence-based psychotherapy so you can really start to change those underling thoughts, feelings and behaviors that currently maintain your negative mood. Here are some CBT therapists in your area. Chose a few and give them a call. If you don’t find a strong positive connection to your therapist ask for a referral or start to look for another one. Rapport is very important as is advanced clinical training in CBT and or Activation Therapy. Make sure that you’re actually actively doing both problem and emotion focused problem solving not just talking and listening. If you need support addressing feelings related to the loss of your brother please bring this up along with your need to target increased work life balance: Here are some interesting work life balance quotes I found:

2. Banish time-hogs. If something or someone is wasting your time, get rid of it. Stop attending unnecessary meetings, limit face-time with your demanding direct report, or stop visiting distracting websites.

3. Treat non-work time as sacred. Protect your time outside of work for your health and sanity. You will only feel refreshed if you truly disconnect and recharge:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work%E2%80%93life_balance

Finally, I hope I got the right Cedar Park here. If not you can adjust the search settings but make sure that you select “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” on the therapist orientation category to the right of the screen:

http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/prof_results.php?sid=1301082012.5132_3658&city=Cedar+Park&county=Williamson&state=Texas&s6=1

Well, I hope you sincerely ***** ***** answer helpful. I think you have a lot to offer this world and that there are proven therapeutic strategies you should work with to help remove the obstacles to having a healthier happier life. Finding a therapist who is also a truly good person but with the right evidence-based training, I think, will really help you here.

. Don’t forget to press the “Accept” button if my answer is to your liking. If it’s not, don’t and we can get you a second expert opinion to build on what we’ve come up with here together before you pay.

I wish you the very best in life!

David Akiva
David Akiva, BA, MA,
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 167
Experience: Counselor; Behavioral Consultant
Verified
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David Akiva
David Akiva
David Akiva, BA, MA,
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 167
167 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Counselor; Behavioral Consultant

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