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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is it possible to be clinically depressed and yet still feel enjoyment?

    I'm 67 and have no real reason to be depressed. I have a loving family and no real financial worries. I have friends and enjoy and my church. I recently had a knee replacement and love the freedom it gives me, especially playing with my grandchildren. I've had counselling over the years about my childhood and understand and have made peace with my mum and the circumstances which caused me pain. I trained and worked as a Lifeline telephone counsellor and had good feedback re my skill.

    I love having my family around me but feel useless and worthless by myself. I find it hard to get going and frequently overwhelmed. I have a cleaning lady and my husband helps and it doesn't worry him if the place is not tidy. I feel guilty all the time for feeling like this when I have no reason to. I lost most of my hearing suddenly a few years ago which can be isolating in company. I nursed my sister who died of cancer last year, but we became close as we had never been. these are normal life issues
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    I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    Although clinical depression may certainly be a possibility, it sounds more like you may be experiencing grief. Losing your hearing, and then losing your sister to cancer are two major events that would surely need to be mourned.

    Have you thought about using counselling again to work through and process the multiple losses you are grieving (for example - the loss of a close relationship, the loss of social connectedness due to difficulty hearing), their meaning for you, and how to move forward in the wake of these losses?

    These may be ‘normal life issues’, but don't underestimate their impact. Grief is not a medical condition, but often we can feel low for extended periods, and may need extra support to cope and make sense of it.

    Warm wishes, Vivienne Colegrove

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