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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Self destructive and stuck in a rut

    I'm not sure where to start or where to find help. I've always had a temper and been quite cold, I've been with my partner for 13 years and I've sabotaged our relationship, I cheat all the time. I've recently developed a relationship outside of my relationship and due to my insecurities and thoughts I have ruined that too. I am extremely moody, I'm forever down, I feel like everything is drowning me and I don't see an end to this. I had my daughter a few years ago and was diagnosed with PND, I was prescribed an antidepressant and I honestly don't remember if it helped or not, but I do remember I just stopped taking it. I'm at a stage in my life where I'm consumed by the thoughts in my head, my actions are killing the relationships around me and I feel like I'm on the outside looking in like I have no control. I now have a different GP, I don't even know how to bring this up to her? Are there any other ports of call?
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  • Bree Somer

    Social Worker

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    Hi - I’m Bree Somer. I'm a qualified, registered Social Worker with extensive experience and specialised training. I provide individual counselling or coaching sessions to ... View Profile

    First of all let me say well done on reaching out here as a step in the right direction. This is a great start towards finding yourself the help you need, and a great example of you taking control of your situation. 

    Your talk about feelings of anger ("temper"), fluctating and low mood ("extremely moody, down"), being overwhelmed ("drowning, consuimg thoughts") - these may be related to your previous diagnosis of PND.  If it has been a few years since you had any treatment for this diagnosis, it is absolutely worth mentioning to your new GP and discussing a review of your current situation.  I recommend making this your next step.

    To help you along with the "how to bring this up" I suggest a couple of possible approaches:

    1. request your past records to be shared with your new GP (this can be done by asking your previous or current GP, you will likely need to give signed permission)- this might help you to start the conversation as you can point out your previous treatments.
    2. you could mention your past medication to your new GP and use this as a lead in to discuss doing a review of your diagnosis and exploring the need for a new treatment plan and/or new prescription if medication is still required.

    With regards to your identified "quite cold, insecurities, sabotaging relationships", I imagine there could be other underlying reasons you have developed these behaviours. These sound like protective mechanisms you might be using to keep yourself at arms length from others in an effort to avoid being hurt, or because you may be experiencing low self-esteem --> you feel or believe yourself as 'unworthy'.  

    Unfortunately these behaviours sound to be having the opposite affect to protection and are instead causing you pain.  These might be 'maladaptive behaviours', or unhelpful behaviours, you developed following past traumas or negative experiences which are now hindering your well-being. This is something I would recommend you might also discuss with your GP if you feel able.  

    Alternatively, seeking out counselling / therapy to help you better understand what's happening here for you and how to modify these unhelpful patterns of behaviour.

    While you may not "see an end" at the present time, you are already taking the right steps - you have insight into your situation and you're already asking for help here.  You can take further control by:

    1. talking about this with your new GP,
    2. reviewing your diagnosis and medication,
    3. and seeking counselling or therapy.

    These things will help you to identify a forward plan and start to see hope again.

    Keep putting one foot in front of the other. You are heading in the right direction. Talk to your new GP.  Give them the opportunity to support you.

    I wish you well.

    *If you ever feel suicidal, please seek medical assistance immediately by calling 000 OR Lifeline on 131114.

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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

    It certainly sounds like you're an expert at beating yourself up! As Bree has said, perhaps you have developed this strategy as an attempt to control difficult situations that you have been in earlier in life, but now it is causing problems for you. Establishing and maintaining good relationships with others starts with developing a good relationship with all the different parts of ourself - not just the parts we like or approve of, but perhaps the more overwhelmed, messy parts, and also the parts we may have been taught to think of as unacceptable - parts that feel intense emotions such as anger or fear, for example. It is only when we view these strong emotions as helpful sources of information about what is going on that we can develop better ways to express and respond to them, as well as to understand and deal with what has caused us to feel that way (e.g. directly confronting an issue that may be causing difficulties with a partner, rather than avoiding it and seeking solace with someone else in order to cope, or exploding with anger when we are unable to ignore our feelings any longer).  Certainly it is a good idea to ensure the medical side of things is taken care of - again Bree has outlined this clearly and well for you. Additionally, it may be important to seek out counsellng with someone who can assist you to rework your relationship with yourself, in order to improve life now, but also to better equip you for close relationships in future. Best of luck moving forward.

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