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I'm a 58 year old physician who sustained a complete spinal…

I'm a 58 year old...
I'm a 58 year old physician who sustained a complete spinal injury during a routine surgery. I have been unable to work for almost two years. After 31 years of marriage my wife filed for divorce. My friends have seemingly disappeared. I have not had any issues with depression in my life. I do feel increasingly down and very isolated and lonely. I would be very interested in support groups. I live in a small city in Alabama and have been unable to find any. Will you please advise in this matter? Thank you so much for your help.
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I hope that I haven't been forgotten.
Answered in 21 hours by:
3/15/2018
TherapistMaryAnn
TherapistMaryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,963
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hello, I'd like to help you with your question. I'm sorry it has taken a while for a response. Time zones and other obligations sometimes interfere with availability of experts. Thank you for your patience.

You mention having to deal with divorce, a spinal injury and the loss of friends. It can be very difficult to cope when you go through so much. And it would be very natural to feel alone and to struggle with so many issues at one time.

You did not mention if you have tried therapy but it can help tremendously with support and learning how to cope. You can see a therapist simply to learn new ways to adjust and if you want, screening for depression and/or PTSD. Given that you have had to cope with intense stressors, being depressed, anxious or feeling traumatized would be a normal response. It helps to rule them out.

Support groups are also a great way to meet others in the same situation as you and to gain new friends and also to deal with loneliness. Here are some resources to help you:

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/find-support-groups

https://www.facebook.com/Loneliness-Support-Group-108541075937684/

https://www.caring.com/support-groups/combatting-lonliness-when-living-alone

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-deal-with-loneliness#mental-health

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/groups/alabama

https://www.divorcecare.org/countries/us/states/al/cities/birmingham

You may also want to try a church, if you are interested in faith based groups. Another option is to call your local community mental health center or local social services for resources specific to your town.

It is a very positive sign that you are reaching out to connect with others. That is often the first and most important step in overcoming difficulties.

I hope this helped you,
MaryAnn

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
MaryAnn,Thank you so much for your help. I have been a psychiatrist for 30 years. I apologize for my failing to mention to you that I have been in counseling. It's has been helpful. I can say with certainty that being paralyzed from the waist down from a surgical mishap, being unable to work, my wife filing for divorce after 31 years of marriage, being ostracized by my 3 son's, extensive family members and friends all within a 2 month period of time has been challenging. Additionally, for my wife has been diagnosed with Personality disorder NOS, with anti social and borderline personality disorder traits. I don't want to cast aspersions on her, but she's very Machiavellian. Sadly she actively engages in fabricated negative propaganda against me. She's highly intelligent. She is excellent at getting close to others but no one ever gets close to her. She has the personality to meet the needs of each and every individual. Not long ago prior to the filing of our divorce 2 men that she became involved with committed suicide. I believe it to be indignant to speak poorly of another especially a spouse. The rare occasions that I have interacted with my sons I make a point of speaking favorably of her. Unfortunately among other crimes, she has wiretapping charges against her. I don't know how to dispel the falsehoods that she has spread about to my family and others. I would greatly appreciate your help and suggestions.

You are very welcome! Yes, as a psychiatrist, you know all about counseling and how it can help. I'm glad you have had the chance to talk to a therapist. As professionals in the field, sometimes it is hard to recognize when we need to talk to someone! But it sounds like you have already addressed this professionally, so that is good.

I'm sorry to hear about your wife and the diagnosis she has been given. Any personality disorder, as you already know, is almost impossible to deal with in a relationship. And getting professional help or hoping for recovery for that person is equally as frustrating. That is why I often suggest focusing on yourself through education and support. While you already know all about personality disorders, there is always a difference when you are on the receiving end of someone who has one. It can cause more stress and possibly anxiety and even PTSD. If you have some trusted friends or family members, ask them to counter any rumors they hear about you. Try to have as little contact as possible. When your son's bring their mother up, nod and change the topic. Staying neutral, even if you have to deal with her through others, is the best way to keep your distance and to stop rumors. Unfortunately, some people will believe your ex wife. As you know, people with personality disorders are often very manipulative and convincing. There is not much you can do about what others choose to believe. But if your behavior is different than what she is claiming, some people may eventually see through her.

There are many ways to get support in dealing with someone with a personality disorder. Here are some sites to help:

http://www.nmha.org/go/information/get-info/personality-disorders

http://psychcentral.com/personality/

http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Inform_Yourself/About_Mental_Illness/By_Illness/Borderline_Personality_Disorder.htm

http://outofthefog.net/

Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder... by Paul Mason MS and Randi Kreger

Difficult Personalities: A Practical Guide to Managing the Hurtful Behavior of Others (and Maybe Your Own) by Hazel Edwards MEd and Helen McGrath PhD

I hope I addressed both of your questions to your satisfaction. Please let me know if you have any more questions related to your original post before you rate. Thank you.

MaryAnn

TherapistMaryAnn
TherapistMaryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,963
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Verified
TherapistMaryAnn and 87 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
MaryAnn,You have been indubitably stellar. Of the countless therapists that I've known throughout the years none have EVER displayed the level of skill and insight that you have. Thank you for helping restore my sense of hope. You're in a league above the experts. I am deeply appreciative of you and extremely grateful.

Thank you very much! I appreciate your kind words. I am glad I could help. My best to you!

Take care,

MaryAnn

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