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Ask A Therapist: I’m Not Happy. I Want To Be Rich And Famous!

Q: I just cant seem to be happy. Im married and have a baby. I work, have a house, car, family and friends. but nothing pleases me. I want to be famous/rich/popular. When I was younger I wanted to be a actress/singer/writer/director but nothing became of it. I just seem can’t to please myself. I know I sound spoiled and selfish because I have been gifted and beautiful life, but nothing seems to make me happy. Please Help.

A: Please get a screening for depression from a mental health professional. Sometimes even mild depression can make a full life feel unfulfilling and empty. The good news is that depression is very treatable through psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two.

You may also want to consider pursuing additional creative outlets. Your dreams of expressing yourself through acting, producing, etc. may be a signal that you have some gifts in this area that deserve attention.  While becoming rich and famous is a rare occurrence, pursuing creative outlets can provide an emotional richness and joy to life that may be missing in your current life.  Look for opportunities in your community to do what you love in the creative arts and see if that boosts your enjoyment of your life.

I can relate from personal experience to the need to express and create. As a performing songwriter, when I feel an emptiness in my own life, I usually sit down at the piano, or pick up a guitar to discover more joy and meaning again. Please write back and let me know how your mental health screening goes, and share what opportunities you can find to express yourself creatively.

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Utah Social Worker Julie Hanks Nominated For National Media Award

One of my passions is using the Internet share helpful information on mental health and family relationship topics. I love writing and sharing and I feel best about myself when I am making a difference for good in the world.

So, it’s was “icing on the cake” when I found out that this website JulieHanks.com has been nominated for a National Association of Social Work 2012 media award! What an honor to be recognized nationally for my efforts to use the media for the inspire and help others.

So, here’s where I need your help! Now that I’ve been nominated, the final awards will be determined by # of votes online. If you’ve benefited from this website I’d really appreciate your vote.

Click here to vote online

(You’re required to offer your email address for verification, you have to vote in every category, & I’m the first one listed in the website category “JulieHanks.com”

Oh, there is also an option to leave a comment. If you do that too, I owe you a big hug and double “thank you”!

March is National Social Work Month and I am proud to be among the 640,000 social workers in the US.

 

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Ask A Therapist: How Do I Know If I Still Need Therapy?

Q: I am a married woman of 24 years with 3 grown children.  I have had a pretty rough past and struggled with mental illness most of my life.  I grew up in a very dysfunctional violent family with an alcoholic parent.  I was abused and neglected.  I attempted suicide at the age of 17.  Through the years I buried my past and attempted to live a normal life.  I did not have an identity, I did what everyone wanted of me, and even believed the beliefs of the people around me. I was an empty shell being filled up by other people.  I had another breakdown in 1999 and attempted suicide again.  That is when I began therapy.  It took me a realy long time to open up to my therapist.  It seemed I got much worse before I got better.  I began cutting and binge eating became  a huge problem.  I had always coped with food but now it brought my weight up to 322lbs.

As the years went by, and with medication I began to slowly deal with issues and start to rise out of my depression.  I trusted my therapist and told her things I would never tell another soul.  I was getting better and I decided to improve my life. I had gastric bypass to lose weight and in the past year I have lost over 120lbs.  I was using good coping skills and having more rational thoughts.   Unfortunately my bones suffered from the weight and degenerative bone desease.  This past October I had a total hip replacement and this past February I had a total knee replacement. It has not been 2 months yet and it has been a slow painful recovery.

My therapist retired this past December.  I do not have a regular one yet, although I did meet with one just one time to feel it out.  I am unsure if I need to stay in therapy.  I have been in it for a very long time and although I am better than ever before, I still have depression and dysfunctional thoughts.  I am still on medication, Wellbutrin, Lexapro and Neurontin for mood disorder.  I have been labeled as PTSD and BPD. I am starting to binge eat again and I am afraid the gastric bypass will be worthless to me someday.  I do not want to gain all that weight back as I could hardly move then.  I feel very sad that my therapist retired and I feel pretty lost right now. Is it normal to be in a therapy program for as long as I have been? Do some people stay in therapy all of their life?  I feel that I will never get out of this dysfunctional rut. Is there hope for me? I am very tired and very afraid to live this way.  I just want relief and to feel a bit of satisfaction in how I live.  I appreciated any input.
Thank you 🙂

A: What a brave women you are to have faced your past trauma and to have actively sought treatment to move toward a healthier and happier life. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to have your therapist retire after working so hard to develop enough trust to open up and share things you’ve never shared with anyone else. It is very normal to feel lost, sad, and to grieve the loss of this therapeutic relationship, just as you would if you said goodbye to a close friend or family member. I imagine that finding a new therapist and developing that trust again is a scary thing to consider, but a necessary one.

Some health problems, like diabetes, are chronic and require lifelong attention, management, and treatment, while others are acute, like strep throat, and generally require one course of antibiotics. Mental illness can be conceptualized in a similar way. Your mental health history, your history of abuse and neglect, and your psychological symptoms seem to fall in the chronic category. It is common for individuals with severe childhood abuse and neglect to be in treatment on and off throughout life to help manage the emotional and psychological consequences of the early experiences.

Your continued struggles with dysfunctional thoughts, depressive symptoms, and binge eating suggest that you need to get back into therapy to maintain the progress you’ve made and to continue to develop coping skills and insight. You may in be in treatment throughout the rest of your life. If that’s what you need to continue to move forward, to manage your symptoms, and continue to create the life you want, then that is nothing to be ashamed of.  You deserve to have nurturing and support.

Take good care of yourself!

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Are You Sabatoging Your Hubby’s Friendships?: Julie Hanks interview in WomansDay

I recently did a fun marriage interview with WomansDay.com on 10 things your husband’s friends may not be telling you.

“We think you’re judging us”

“Why do you dress like a 21 year old?”

“You call him too much”…

I comment on what might be behind these comments and how to talk to your hubby about his friend’s concerns:

READ 10 Things Your Hubby’s Friends Won’t Tell You

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What Your Mother In Law Is REALLY Trying To Tell You: Studio 5

Mothers in law and daughters in law don’t always speak the same language. But, there are ways to prevent miscommunication and avoid misunderstandings. Therapist, Julie Hanks, explains what those mixed messages really mean.

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Could You Benefit From A Marital Checkup?

A recent article associated with Good Morning America focused on the benefits of couples coming in for marital checkups.  Psychologist James Cordova, an associate professor of psychology at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts found that those couples who went through marital checkups had higher marital satisfaction than those who did not.  But the real question is who really needs a marital checkup?  Is there a list of qualifications or symptoms like those found on WebMD?

Stethoscope
Creative Commons License photo credit: tjmwatson

While some would like to say yes and give you a list of items like bad communication, sexual issues, disagreements with parenting, etc. (which are all good reasons to come in to therapy), the true indicator that you could benefit from a marital check up is yourself.  Yes, yourself.  How do you feel in and about the relationship and how do you feel about the direction your relationship is heading?  Marital checkups can enhance areas of the relationship that need to be improved.

I see a marital checkup similar to going to the dentist.  Anyone would go to the dentist if they were in pain, yet on the other hand, people also go to the dentist to have checkups. They do this so if there is a possible problem coming they can prevent it from occurring. This may take the form of better dental hygiene like learning to floss a little better, or brush in a different way.   This is analogous to marriage therapy.  Those who are in pain can find relief, but a marital checkup can also help guard against what could create pain in the future if not addressed now.

Sometimes in our own marriages it is easy to see where we can improve, but oftentimes it is difficult.  A marital checkup can provide further direction to improve areas of the relationship that could be struggling, and in turn make a huge difference in the relationship as a whole.

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Ask A Therapist: I Think My Girlfriend Is About To Break Up With Me

Q: I think my girlfriend is about to break up with me, because there were these girls she didn’t want me to hang out with but I did, because I was mad at her for cheating on me, which she told me about a long time ago and was open about, so I decided to have secrets of my own, which I know was a horrible idea. Well we had this big fight where she wanted me to tell her everything, and I did for the most part, leaving out one time where I had this party and invited this girl over to my house. She just found out yesterday and is really upset, and I don’t know what to do. For some reason, I’ve lied to her a lot, because I don’t want to get in trouble, and I know that if I’m honest she’ll accept it and everything will be okay, but for some reason I can’t get it through my thick skull. I keep messing up time after time. I don’t want to lose her because she understands me and is the best thing to happen to me. I don’t know what to do, I slept all day today just because I didn’t know what to do. I really don’t want to lose her and I feel so bad for making her feel horrible, and when we were talking and she was crying I really felt bad about it and hated seeing her cry but I still felt sort of detached for some reason. I don’t know why I feel detached sometimes but I would really like to not feel that way. For some reason I think subconsciously I like to feel miserable, because otherwise I don’t know why I do the things I do. Sometimes before I do or say anything I think to myself “this is not a good idea” but then I do it anyway.  I really don’t want to lose her, I’ve been through so much with her, more than anybody. shes my best friend and my confidant and shes always been there for her. I just want to be normal, and not lose the most important person in my life.

A: Thanks for writing in for help with your relationship. Whether or not she breaks up with you, it’s important for you to get to the bottom of you why you continue to do things, like lie and cheat, that you know aren’t a good idea. Frequently, relationship sabotage has roots in past hurts. Is there anything in your relationship or family history that might be emotionally driving your pattern of pushing your girlfriend away? Your emotional detachment to her sadness also suggests that there may be something that is unresolved for you in close relationships.  I suggest that you get a therapist and explore what’s driving this pattern so if your girlfriend stays with you, you can learn how to maintain closeness and if she breaks up with you, you can prevent this pattern in future relationships. Also, consider reading the book “Getting the Love You Want: A Guide For Couples” by Dr. Harville Hendrix to help you start understanding the deeper patterns that may be getting in the way of your love relationship.

Take good care of yourself and your relationships!

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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How To Handle Your Child’s First Crush: Studio 5

Adults may think crushes are silly, even superficial. But to a child, a first crush is a big deal. Therapist, Julie Hanks, LCSW has “do’s” and “don’ts” to help you handle your child’s first crush.

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Young Adult Group

Wasatch Family Therapy Young Adult Group

Led by Haylee Heyn, AMFT

Do you feel like you are constantly struggling with maintaining relationships and connecting with others? Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with life’s challenges?

In our young adult group for anxiety and depression we work on                             

  • Coping strategies in dealing with anxiety and depression
  • Interpersonal processing and relational skills
  • Building self-esteem
  • And navigating through life’s difficulties

The group setting is a great place to receive support and comfort from others who relate, as well as work on interpersonal and relational skills and coping strategies for life’s difficulties. The group members are open and friendly and we work to make it a comfortable environment for everyone.

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Valentine Gift Ideas For Your Spouse

I am often asked, as a specialized marriage/couple therapist, what would be a good “relationship enhancing gift” for a significant other on Valentine’s day.  My recommendations are not necessarily all tangible items, but gifts that can increase happiness and satisfaction within your relationship.  Here are a few ideas that keep giving throughout the year.

hearts and flowers
Creative Commons License photo credit: Muffet

 

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