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Falling Apart

Question:

I am a 30 yr old female. I live at home with my parents.  I’ve always had some issues with depression and anxiety but have avoided anti-depressants, as I am very sensitive to such things and they tend to make me more anxious. My doctor prescribed Alprazolam last year at the lowest dose and I only take in times of extreme emotional agitation. It helped, but in the last few months things have gotten very bad and I have lost all sense that they can get better.

I’m trapped in a dead-end healthcare industry job that will be experiencing massive lay-offs. It is a very tense environment to work with this over us.  If I choose to stay I will be going from working days to late evening, graveyard shifts and a pay reduction of $200 dollars a month.

Home is not much better. My parents do not get along and I have been their marriage counselor and buffer since age 11.  There is a cultural and generational gap between us that makes communication with them difficult. When I was 15 I began cutting myself and have continued to do so.  My mother called it “a phase” and my father didn’t know until I was 29. He said it was all in my head.  

Last  week I found ants in my bedroom. I have extreme anxiety when it comes to ants and after much cleaning and spraying, am still seeing one or two a day. I am aware this is a stupid, a stupid issue to get worked up over, but I can’t seem to help it.

I have not slept in three nights from the anxiety. I am just broken. I haven’t been able to stop crying since yesterday and I keep thinking about the job, the ants, my parents and the fact that my life is actually pointless. I hate that I am this self-centered when there are others out there in far worse situations. I have no right. But I am in so much pain right now and I am tired of trying. I want so badly to fall asleep and hope I do not awake up again.

Please, please help.  

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Answer:

Two of the worst feelings in the world is helplessness and hopelessness. My guess is that you feel both. Therefore, taking action is one of the best things you can do. There are several areas of your life where action is necessary.

Convential wisdom is that it is easier to get a job when you have a job. You probably do not believe this does not apply to you because of the negative atmosphere you are working in. You need to break away from that “woe is me” way of thinking that permeates everone at yor work place. Start looking for new employment now. Look in your industry. Everyone needs healthcare and your particular company may be in trouble and not others. I am no expert and I may be wrong about this but I am not aware of healthcare facing massive layoffs. However, I may be wrong. Do some research and find out the truth. Also, explore other industries that can use your skills.

You report that your doctor prescribed an anti anxiety medication. I am guessing that he is a primary care doctor and not a psyciatrist. If I am correct then I urge you to see a psychiatrist and explore other medication options for someone who is medication sensitive.

However, there are other and better ways to treat anxiety and depression as well as self cutting. You need to see a psychotherapist who uses cognitive behavior therapy.

Moving from your parents house will be an important goal so you can escape the negative environments of work and home.

Best of luck

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