Making a Comeback When It’s Been a Rotten Life

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Reader’s Question

I’m 54. I’ve had a pretty rotten life. I am depressed and am crying a lot. I’m also angry at everyone, including myself.

I used to be on Prozac and am wondering if I should go back on it or another anti-depressant. The Prozac seemed to just quit working. Doctors just don’t seem to get it, that I am depressed. They just figure — hey, I’m a woman, so I’m just being a baby.

Can you offer me any suggestions? I really need to get out of this. I hate my life, I hate me. I just want to feel okay about my life. I’m tired of everything.

Counseling — can I afford the gas to and from? No, but can I afford not to? I don’t know. Been there, done that, and here I am again, hurting, lonely, hating everything. I don’t know what to do. I can’t stand the anger and hurt inside.

Psychologist’s Reply

I’m so sorry that the first half of your life has been so awful. Please do not allow the second half to be as bad. I am a big believer in the transformative power of change. Thus, now is the time for you to make some adjustments so that your life will no longer be rotten and miserable.

You are correct that many physicians don’t take women’s complaints seriously. There is even research to support this tendency, and I believe that many medical schools are now training their students differently as a result. Hopefully you will find one who is respectful of you. But even if you don’t, you still should be an active participant in your own healthcare. If an antidepressant is not working for you, then talk over your options with your physician and figure out what is best for you. If the physician is not interested in your input, please find one who is.

You didn’t mention what exactly makes your life so terrible, so I cannot speak to that. However, a good counselor will be able to get the root of the problems and help you make changes so you can heal. I understand that gas is expensive and it may be difficult to reach a good counselor but, as you said, you really cannot afford not to. Look upon it as an investment in the new and wonderful life you will have.

In order to make sure that you get the maximum benefit from counseling, please do a little research ahead of time to ensure that you get the counselor who is right for you. Contact some counselors who work with the type of issues you’re dealing with and talk with them about their style of counseling, their experience, and how they work with patients. Listen to what they say but, most importantly, listen to how they say it. A good relationship with your counselor is essential and you must feel comfortable with her or him. Thus, although being comfortable is difficult to determine over the phone, as you talk with them, please try to imagine yourself working with this person and see if it feels right to you. If it does, schedule an appointment. If it doesn’t, continue your search.

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