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Shy Dancer


I guess I am looking for advice as to whether or not I should seek further treatment and what kind of treatment. I feel like everything I am feeling is complicated and do not really know where to start. I am presently taking Wellbutrin SR 150 mg twice a day, prescribed by my family physician, and have been for about three and a half years. I am feeling extremely fatigued, sad, tearful, not worthy, feeling extremely bad or guilty about past decisions I have made or not made, even about things that happened about 20 years ago, and thinking about these things a lot, like I cannot get them out of my mind. I am reluctant to admit this, but I have thought about death. I have no intent, but have a plan of overdosing. At this point, I would not carry out this plan, because I would not want the burden of finding me upon my husband or son, or anyone I know. I have been trying to figure out why symptoms have seemed to increase over the past couple of months. I do not know. I do not like to talk about myself, my feelings, or these thoughts of past events. I never have. My husband is very supportive, always complementing me. I know he wants me to be a better communicator, but I just cannot do it, it is so hard to express myself. If I think I have to or have something that needs to be discussed, I get so nervous, shaky, I cannot hardly stand it. I know it is not my marriage that is the problem- that is probably the best part of my life right now.


p> About 20 years ago, just as I was entering high school, my mom and dad divorced. My mom had recently had a heart attack and bypass surgery. My dad decided to move to California and my mom decided we would move from where I had been raised in Nebraska to Washington to be closer to her family. That was very difficult for me to leave my best friend in school, my dance instructor to whom I was very close, and a boy friend and his family to whom I was very close. I was very shy and although I met new friends and started in another dance studio, it was never the same. One of the things I have been thinking a lot about lately is how I should have kept in better contact with the people I left in Nebraska, maybe even visited every summer, possibly moving back there after graduation to teach at the studio and keep up with the friendships and maybe a serious relationship by then with the boy. However, I will never know how that may have turned out because that is not what I did. At that time, I did not see any of those as options. I know I cannot change the past, but for some reason, right now I cannot stop thinking about this and about how there are so many things I should have said to these people I left behind and never did. I have not kept in contact with them. I became pregnant and got married at 19, and was divorced within a year of my son’s birth. It is obvious I could have made better decisions here, but again, I cannot stop feeling bad about these decisions. Plus I worry that I am not a good mother. I remarried a couple of years later to my husband, we have been married 11 years. I am happy in this relationship- he treats me good, very supportive and such as I mentioned. I would never want to do anything to hurt him. He had custody of his three kids when we married- basically good kids, no real difficulties there.


p> It is really hard for me to think back. First of all, I do not have a lot of specific memories of my childhood and that bothers me as to why. Also, I feel like I, in a way, failed because I did not continue my dance career like I would have liked. I went on to study science in college and then ended up with a family early. I feel like I have wasted that talent. My mom has been somewhat demanding on myself and my brother in some ways and it is difficult to handle that and stand up for ourselves, although to an extent I did do that recently.


p> I don’t know….. I am 33 years old and don’t think I should be feeling the way I do and don’t want to feel this way. I feel like when I mention the things above, I am trying to push the blame on someone or something else, like I am not taking responsibility for my actions and the consequences. But I am not trying to do that. I don’t want to be a burden on my husband. If my mom has some mental problems, I don’t want to end up that way with my son. But also, it is extremely difficult for me to express all these things. Probably the reason I am now is the extent to which I am feeling these things as well as I am not talking face to face. I just want to feel better……

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You are experiencing some mood disorder in the depressive spectrum which continues despite anti-depressant medication. This is disturbing because your ‘depression’ is severe enough that you are contemplating suicide and have a plan (but thank God – no intent). From my superficial vantage, you would appear to require more aggressive treatment for depression, at the very least a medication adjustment. Please suggest to your physician that your current medicines don’t seem to be doing their job well enough and ask him to either make an adjustment, or to refer to a specialist (psychiatrist) who will (hopefully) have more knowledge as to how best to proceed.


p> You describe a lifetime of shyness and difficulty forming new, robust relationships. You ‘don’t’ like to talk’ about things, and yet you obsess about them: how things might have been, and what decisions you might have made better if only you were a better person(?). You appear to locate the ‘beginning’ of the troubles you’ve had to your parent’s divorce, your mother’s demandingness, and your relocation away from the people and things you were attached to. Probably reasonable to think so, actually. I think you need to talk about this all. A therapist is in order, both because you need to talk about this stuff, and because a good therapist can also help you with your depression. I’m generally not one to recommend that people talk about the past – but when people are full of regrets over paths not taken, it can be helpful sometimes to go over it all with an objective person).


p> You talk about how you used to love to dance, and how that got ruined when you didn’t pursue it years ago. Why not start dancing again? Not necessarily with any goal of making it a career, but more for the simple pleasure of dancing. Physical movement (exercise, dance, walking, etc) is good for depression – it helps raise your mood. Also – the intense movements in dance or exercise can help take you out of your regret-filled head and into the present. Ten to one, it would help you feel better (if you stuck with it for a little while).


p> Good luck.

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