I am depressed, lonely (seem to have nothing in common with those my age), sad and frankly a little desperate to be writing to an online forum. However, the cognitive therapy I have tried recently (four separate times) did not help at all – did not get the root of the problem. I have a terrible dread of my mom’s death. She is in her eighties and I feel I can’t go on without her. I have guilt about not moving to where she lives, to spend precious time with her, but I am law school here (went to law school because I thought it would cure depression) and have a good job also. In many ways, although my childhood was scary and violent, I wish I could be twelve again – maybe that way I wouldn’t have to face reality of aging and death. I had psychotherapy in my late 20s, early 30’s and was relatively okay til I got to mid 50s. I should also mention I take care of my younger sister who has fibromyalgia and who lives with me. Because of the pain she’s in, she can’t shop, cook, clean etc. so I do it all. I love her a lot, but this is draining and makes me angry at times. Not sure what to do. But, as Kilgore Trout once called out, “Make me young, make me young, make me young!” sums it up.Depressed, Sad, Lonely & Scared
Depressed, Sad, Lonely & Scared
Not all therapists are equal. Are all surgeons equal? Are all dentists equal? Are all attorneys equal? I hope that you will find the obvious answer to be, no, absolutely not. Sadness and depression, in abundance, is not normal. Death is normal. All living things will die just as all living things have died since the beginning of our time. Death is normal but abundant depression and sadness is not.
No therapist can change the nature of reality. No therapist can make your mother or yourself younger or prevent your death or their own death. A good therapist can bring your perceived reality into alignment with actual reality. Of course you know that all living things die and no therapist needs to teach you this, but there is much more that surrounds and underlies the difficulties in life that a good therapist can help you to better understand.
You have seen a number of therapists and as you point out, though they may have been helpful in some ways, they never really got to the heart of the issue.
You don’t have to help your sister. There is no law that compels you to do so and many, many people would live their own lives and do nothing of significance to help a brother or sister. You freely made the choice to sacrifice a part of your life to improve the quality of your sister’s life. You didn’t ask me for my advice. You made your own choice. And I commend you for that. Tens of thousands of people, who will read this, will likewise instantly and without reservation commend you. The good people, of this world, will recognize you as one of them.
God gave you a life to live. You cannot waste that gift. You must live your life while helping those around you live theirs. It is a balancing act. A good therapist can help you achieve the right balance. Perhaps, you need a little help. Perhaps you are giving too much to your sister. I am not suggesting that she needs less help. I am suggesting that perhaps some of the help that she needs can come from someone other than you. Getting help with your sister may be an important first step and just a little help might make a tremendous difference.
Find a good therapist. It is worth the time and the money. Perhaps the people that you have seen were good but just not good enough. It should not be anathema to suggest that all therapists are not equal and some are better than others. Would you let just any surgeon at all operate on your heart? I would hope not.
Americans, especially politicians, are anxious to thank veterans for their service. Many veterans doubt their sincerity. I thank you for your service to your sister and you would be very wrong to doubt my sincerity. Good luck.
Dr. Kristina Randle