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Ask a Therapist: Could Grandfather’s Death Cause Depression?

I saw my grandfather die when I was young and it was very painful because he was like a dad to me. And ever since my grandfather’s death I’ve been having troubles maintaining my relationship with others whether it’s friends or family members. I try to distant myself away from them in fear of getting hurt again. I have trouble letting people in my life and tend to disassociate myself from being involved in a romantic relationship with anyone. As a result, I can’t truly love or care for anyone. Although thinking about my grandfather made me very feel sad and depressed at first, now I’m not as sad as I used to be and I felt guilty for not being sad and I would force myself to think about his death over and over again and make myself feel bad and cry myself to sleep. I also feel pressured by my parents to do well in school and life and it’s almost as if I’m letting them down and becoming that worthless and useless person I was when I stood there and watched my grandfather died. And whenever I feel useless and think I’m such a failure or that I might not live up to other’s expectations, I want to die. I have suicidal thoughts almost everyday and wish I were dead but never actually thought of actually committing a suicide. I also feel irritated very often recently and just want to be left alone. I gave up or got bored of things I used to love doing. This is ruining my life and I think I seriously really need help.

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Ask A Therapist: Anger Management Issues?

Lately, I’ve been getting in trouble a lot at school and home. I think I have anger management. I always flip out at people, and I have a bad attitude. I get really stressed sometimes. I wonder if I have anxiety. I have a fear of being ignored or forgotten. Me and my mom get along for the most part, but when we fight, it’s bad. We say rude things to each other that I feel bad about after. I think definitely have an anger problem. I yell at everybody when they upset me. I have mood swings a lot. I have trouble falling asleep, and sometimes, I’m so tired but I still can’t sleep, or I’m hyper. I also have a self-esteem issue. Many people say my ” wild behavior” started when my dad passed away in November 2011. I’ve always had these problems, but I guess they came out more after he died. I have tons of friends, but I can’t talk to them about all these things. I can’t take compliments from anyone. I can be so happy at one moment, but then I constantly think of things until I can cry and cry and cry. I just want to know what’s wrong with me.

A: Having a parent pass away is an incredible loss and I’m not surprised that your behavior changed after your father’s passing. My guess is that you’re acting this way for good reason – you’re feeling a lot of emotions and you don’t have the tools yet to manage them. Please get some professional help. Watch the video below for my complete response.

Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Ask A Therapist: Low Self-Esteem, Technology Addict, and Fear of Relationships

Q: I feel like nothing I do matters and nobody really understands who I am. Every time I reach out to someone they let me down. I guess they just don’t care. The last few years I’ve taken to locking myself away in my bedroom to read or watch movies; it gives me more enjoyment than people do but I’m always feeling guilty about it too. I’m 19 years old and I’ve only kissed 4 guys ever, and never anything more. I’m afraid and self-conscious and I feel like I don’t get the opportunity to meet boys that other girls do. I know its my fault but its so hard to change, and I don’t know if I really want to be in a relationship anyway; I don’t think I’d be good at it at all. I’m always fighting with my parents, especially my dad; he yells at me a lot. I used to be so afraid of him when I was younger; he has quite the temper and is always criticizing me. My mother constantly nags me to go out more, to find a job, to stop watching so much TV, to eat better, to do more chores, to act older, the list goes on. I often get excited about little things and become quite childish and energetic, but the smallest thing can also send me into a spiral of sadness, anger or  frustration for the rest of the day. Both reactions seem to annoy my family. My few friends probably find it annoying too; if I could stand being thought ill of I’d probably ask  them. I always think if I were prettier or smarter or talented at anything, life would be better. I don’t want to be different or behind; I just wish things were easier. What should I do?

A: Thanks so much for writing in for help. The fact that you are reaching out for advice in this forum means you have some hope that things could be different for you, that you can feel differently about yourself and your life.

What you’re describing sounds like depression: social isolation, insecurities, withdrawing from activities, negative thoughts, hopelessness. First, I want you to go to your physician and have a physical to rule out any physical illness. While you’re there please talk to your doctor about your hopelessness, isolation and fears. See if medication is an option for you. Your tendency to turn toward technology may be a way to numb your emotional pain.

Also, ask your doctor for a referral to a psychotherapist in your area to work on ways to improve your mood, gain self-confidence, and gain relationship skills. You may also want to consider asking your parents to attend family therapy  to improve your family relationships.  Even though you’re 19, it sounds as if  you’re still stuck in experiencing the “childhood” disapproval of your father, and criticism of your mother, and letting those emotions dictate, on some level, how you feel about yourself. The good news is, you can feel differently.

Your family relationships greatly impact how you feel about other relationships.  If you think about your relationship with your dad as the “template” for male relationships, and you experienced him as scary and critical, then it makes sense that you would be hesitant to open up to other male relationships, like friendships and dating relationships.  It makes sense that you’d have only a few female friends, too, because you’ve experienced your mother as nagging and constantly correcting you. She is your model of how to relate to women so you likely may fear disapproval in your female friendships as well. Your therapist can help free you from these patterns so you can experience relationships with others differently, and not as extensions of your parental relationships.

In addition to meeting with your physician and therapist, I’d like to recommend a couple of books to you: “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy” by Dr. David Burns and “The Relationship Cure” by Dr. John Gottman. Both books will provide excellent tools and new perspectives on yourself and your relationships.

Thanks again for writing in. Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Ask A Therapist: Eating Disorder, Depression, Insomnia, & Cutting

Q: I have an eating disorder, depression, insomnia, and now I’ve started cutting. No one cares. My mom said things could be worse. My dad ignores it. My boyfriend says its in my mind and I can get over it on my own. I’ve started cutting and no one knows and it’s embarrassing. I need help. What should I do? (24 yr old female college student)

A: Click the arrow below to hear my response to your question…

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Click here to find a therapist in your area

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

Cialis vs Viagra it is old dispute between two similar medicines which stand by the way almost equally. but here not a task how to decide on a choice and to start using one of them. Viagra vs Cialis much kontsentrivany cialis which is on sale in the form of powder and we use it as required emergency. but nevertheless what harm they neninut especially if the birch costs.

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Ask A Therapist: My Best Friend Is Suicidal

Q: My best friend is suicidal and I want to know if there is anything I can do to help her. She has already told her parents but they really aren’t doing anything to stop her. I have told a teacher at our school and the counselor but all they do is recommend seeing a psychiatrist. I am really worried about her she almost always has cuts all over her body arms, legs, and stomach. Her mother has been in and out of prison even before she was born. Her mother is also in right now and has been since she was 7. In the past few years she has had a lot happen, she lost her grandmother on her dad’s side two days before Christmas in 2008. Right after that she moved from a big house to a small one and in the process lost connection with her former best friend. Many of her animals outside died and she sat with one of her cats and had to watch it die after it got attacked by a dog. This past year she had her aunt on her dad’s side die and lost a lot of her friends. She also found out that her mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder by four different psychiatrists and borderline personality disorder by one or two. We were in seventh grade this year and for most of the second semester she was labeled a whore because of how she dresses and who hangs out with. This past summer is also when the cutting started it started off pretty bad but not frequent. It then went to minor burns and small scratches and then blew up again to bad cuts and they were very frequent. At the current moment she only has scars but is thinking about cutting herself again. I would just like an idea of what I could say to her to get her not to cut anymore. Thank you for taking the time to read this (and respond if you do).

A: First of all, your friend is lucky to have such a mature and concerned friend like you. For 13 years old, you are wise to get some advice on how to handle this serious situation. You mentioned that your friend is suicidal. Has she told you that she has plans to end her life or are you suspecting that she is suicidal because of her cutting behavior? Often intentional self-harm, or parasuicidal behavior, is a cry for help without an intention to die. The two are related but don’t necessarily go together.

Does your friend acknowledge that she needs help to address her cutting? If so, she may want to ask her parents to take her to their family doctor. Sometimes parents are more willing to take their child to get “medical” help than “mental” help. Also, have you talked to your parents or guardian about this situation and asked for their help and advice? It may be a good idea to sit down with your friend and both sets of parents and express your love and concern and see how you and your parents can support your friend.  Another possible resource is Childhelp national hotline. You can tell them about your concerns with your friend and they will identify resources in your area.

If your friend’s parents are fully aware that their daughter is cutting and in need of psychological intervention and they refuse to get their daughter the treatment she needs, then this may be a case of medical neglect requiring or your parents to report the situation to child protective services. I hope it doesn’t come to that. Thank you again for writing in to Ask the Therapist.

Take good care of yourself.

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Ask A Therapist: Are Panic Attacks Part of Grieving?

Q: I recently lost my dad around Christmastime, so I know I am going through a grief process. One of the things that happened to me recently is when I heard of the Japan quake. Then looking at other news, it was about the supermoon. Then my mind was flooded with all these things in the world and I had a panic attack. I mean I was truly scared and normally I do not think of these things, it lasted maybe a day…all night and the next day . Is that from realizing my own mortality? In the death of my dad ? Or am I maybe just losing my mind … a little?

A: I am so sorry for your recent loss of your father. I don’t think you are losing your mind. The death of a parent is a huge life event and often brings a sense of your own mortality to the forefront and upsets your view of the world. It makes sense that after the loss of your father, the person who is often experienced as the “protector” in the family, you’d feel for a time that the world had become scarier and less safe.

Stressful situations, like the death of a parent, can sometimes precipitate anxiety. While panic attacks usually peak at about 10 minutes, it is possible to have clusters of them. Since you don’t mention specific symptoms I can’t be certain if it was a panic attack or another kind of anxiety disorder. I suggest that you seek out a mental health evaluation to determine whether or not you have developed an anxiety disorder and if so, to get treatment. Also, I highly suggest attending a grief support group. Hospitals,  hospices, and community clinics often host groups to help grieving family members find support by sharing their experiences with others who are going through similar losses.

Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks, LCSW

Cialis vs Viagra it is old dispute between two similar medicines which stand by the way almost equally. but here not a task how to decide on a choice and to start using one of them. Viagra vs Cialis much kontsentrivany cialis which is on sale in the form of powder and we use it as required emergency. but nevertheless what harm they neninut especially if the birch costs.

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Ask A Therapist: I’m Caring for Mentally Ill Adult Brother

Q: If something was to happen to me my brother would not be able to survive.  I need help. My mother adopted my brother at 13 whom is 21 now.  He had been foster care since he was 2 years old.  They labeled him as mentally ill.  We would hit is head on the wall, get upset and not talk for hours, and walk with his head shaking and hand dangling.  He was in LD classes in school and had visited 33 different schools in his lifetime.  Growing up he moved to main stream classes and currently he is in his 3rd year in college but just started taking regular classes.  My mother passed away in 2007 and it was left to my dad to raise him.  My dad tried to get him help and was told that he could take care of himself.  My dad could not handle it any longer so I took him in.  It took him 7 times to pass his test to get his license.  He does maintain a dish washing job.  The best I can discribe him is he can do things but needs to be reminded and has no sense of reasoning.  Only follows directions but will follow them exactly.  Just yesterday he didn’t understand that if he couldn’t make it to work that he had to let them know.  He thought he could just go in the next day and tell them.  I have remind him to clean his room, and he isn’t apart of the household.  He just stays in his room all the time.  I have realized he needs someone for a lifetime and I can’t provide it.  I am a single mother of three girls and need help.  He needs help with his finances.  I didn’t realize that til he was 500 dollars in the hole and wasn’t paying any bills.  I just don’t know where to start to get him the help that he needs.  Please help.

A: Thanks for writing in for help. I want to commend your for taking in your brother. That is very courageous. It sounds extremely difficult to see no end in sight, and to know how vulnerable he would be in the world without someone to guide and support him. I believe that there are two things that need to happen at this point: 1) access additional support for your brother and 2) find  help and relief for you so you don’t completely burn out.

Does your brother have an official diagnosis? If not, I recommend that you take your brother in for psychological testing and evaluation. Depending on his diagnosis, he may be eligible for additional resources and care through your state, and may qualify for disability benefits. Please consider contacting NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) in North Carolina and inquire about advocacy and support services in your area, and contact your community social services agency here. Your brother may be eligible for some type of supervised housing situation, occupational therapy for life management skills, and other services. Putting some long-term help in place for your brother will hopefully alleviate some of your current burden and decrease your concerns about him if something should happen to you.

In the short run let’s get you some additional help. Can your father take shifts caring for your brother to give you a break on a regular basis? Are there any adult day care services in your area where you could know he was safe? There are resources available. Please reach out for support for both of you.

Take good care of you and yours!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

Cialis vs Viagra it is old dispute between two similar medicines which stand by the way almost equally. but here not a task how to decide on a choice and to start using one of them. Viagra vs Cialis much kontsentrivany cialis which is on sale in the form of powder and we use it as required emergency. but nevertheless what harm they neninut especially if the birch costs.

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