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I Have Everything I Ever Wanted. Why Am I So Miserable?

Question:

Hi Dr.Schwartz,

I am in a common law relationship of many years, 2 great kids, career, a roof over my head, lots of family and friends who care about me, etc. But lately I am just so unhappy. Food tastes bland, no interest in doing anything. Even laughing seems like work. My spouse and I are profoundly different personalities. She is a worrier and a talker. I am an easy going fixer. So she talks and I fix. Needless to say my work is never done  at the expense of my own personal life goals. I have worked so hard to reach this point in my life I don’t want to throw it away over my inability to assert myself. But I cant go on in this way.

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Answer:

Many people experience the kind of crisis that you are going through. Sometimes it’s characterized as the mid life crisis and sometimes it’s referred to as depression and often it’s a combination of both. In other words, even when people feel that they have all they want, they start questioning their lives. Another way of putting it is that it’s common for people, at some point, to think about their lives, decisions as well as consider what they want to do in the future. It does not have to be a bad thing, although it can feel upsetting.

Of course, the first thing you need to consider is your physical health. We know there is a direct connection between our physical health and mental life. You need to rule out anything medical that might be going on. The human body is complex and anything can go wrong. I urge you, if you have not already done so, to get a full medical exam. After all, you report that things do not taste the same. That can be depression or something else.

If it turns out that you are in excellent health, and let’s hope that is true, then you need to explore the issue of depression. For example, starting a regimen of exercise will ge good for you, given the OK from your doctor. In addition to exercise, learning and doing meditation is excellent for relieving the symptoms of stress and depression. Take a look at our self help section to learn more about these. Also, consider your diet and nutrition. The foods you eat can have an impact on mood.

If none of this helps then I recommend professional help. A good psychotherapist, clinical psychologist or clinical social worker, can be of enormous help. I especially recomment cognitive behavore therapy as an excellent type of therapy for depression. However, a good therapist who you feel comfortable with talking to and who is experienced really helps.

In the end, a combination of all of these things, exercise, meditation, nutrition and psychotherapy, go a long way to help people get through the kind of difficult times you are writing about.

Best of Luck

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