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Question
Posted by: Julia | 2012-07-28

stuck

I am a pensioner, widow, well off. I had serious emotional weakness all my life, exacerbated by my marriage, which I only dealt with, with a long course of psychotherapy, after my husband''s death. I then left that area and have lived in a new location for several years. I am a different person, a better person, stronger etc, but I have stopped going forward. I have come so far but I have been stuck for 6 months. All of the things I have been doing to better the quality of my life both emotionally and physically and to live meaningfully have started to feel like such hard work. The weight I lost I have regained. The fitness I achieved I have lost. I have lost my passion for the charitable work I do. In my new location I consulted a new psychologist and told him everything, had a couple of appointments and basically he told me that I know how to cope and I must just get on with it. Well, if I could, I wouldn''t have gone to see him.! Please help me to understand what is going on with me.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Like Maria, I seriously doubt whether you had or have an "emotional weakenss", though maybe you felt you had some sort of emotional vulnerability. This may well have reached a more severe level after your husband's death when you may have felt more alone and perhaps even inadequate. Psychotherapy can indeed help, though it usually, if modern methods are used, usually needs less than ayear to prove helpful.
But clearly something eventually went right, and its great that you report feeling better and stronger.
I would hope that the psychologist made a proper professional assessment according to modern methods, and would have given you a proper diagnosis. If, for instance, it was depression, you may possibly be getting depressed again ( it can recur ).
I'm not sure, from your message, whether you have lost any of the excellent progress you made then, or whether your current concern is more that you have stopped striding forward and making still more progress. For all of us there may be some limits as to how much we may achieve, and realistic goals are valuable.
But from your description it sounds as though there may indeed have been some slippage, such as the weight gain, and the sense that techniques that presumably were once enjoyable and got you ahead, now seem effortful and maybe tedious.
Depression may show itself, not necessarily with an obvious sense of emotional sadness, but in what's called Anhedonia, a loss of the sense of passion and pleasure for whatever used to bring one satisfaction.
Your new psychologist sounds inattentive and maybe even slipshod, anyhow not someone who can match your needs. It sounds as though it was he who was inadequate, not you. Don't give up. See someone else, maybe even a psychiatrist ( as perhaps some medication could help ) and who, if personally not using a modern method of copunselling like CBT, could refer you to someone good who does do so, as well.

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2012-07-29

Julia, you sound like a strong, capable woman. What do you mean by " emotional weakness" ? Do you have friends that you can just spend time with and relax? Are there things that you do just because you enjoy it, like gardening, knitting or reading? If you were previously diagnosed with depression then I think you may be experiencing another episode. That psychologist sounds extremely unhelpful. Would you see someone else, perhaps a psychiatrist, for an evaluation? A full medical examination might also be helpful to rule out purely physical reasons (e.g. thyroid problems or diabetes) for the problems you are experiencing. Take care.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012-07-29

Like Maria, I seriously doubt whether you had or have an "emotional weakenss", though maybe you felt you had some sort of emotional vulnerability. This may well have reached a more severe level after your husband's death when you may have felt more alone and perhaps even inadequate. Psychotherapy can indeed help, though it usually, if modern methods are used, usually needs less than ayear to prove helpful.
But clearly something eventually went right, and its great that you report feeling better and stronger.
I would hope that the psychologist made a proper professional assessment according to modern methods, and would have given you a proper diagnosis. If, for instance, it was depression, you may possibly be getting depressed again ( it can recur ).
I'm not sure, from your message, whether you have lost any of the excellent progress you made then, or whether your current concern is more that you have stopped striding forward and making still more progress. For all of us there may be some limits as to how much we may achieve, and realistic goals are valuable.
But from your description it sounds as though there may indeed have been some slippage, such as the weight gain, and the sense that techniques that presumably were once enjoyable and got you ahead, now seem effortful and maybe tedious.
Depression may show itself, not necessarily with an obvious sense of emotional sadness, but in what's called Anhedonia, a loss of the sense of passion and pleasure for whatever used to bring one satisfaction.
Your new psychologist sounds inattentive and maybe even slipshod, anyhow not someone who can match your needs. It sounds as though it was he who was inadequate, not you. Don't give up. See someone else, maybe even a psychiatrist ( as perhaps some medication could help ) and who, if personally not using a modern method of copunselling like CBT, could refer you to someone good who does do so, as well.

Reply to cybershrink

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