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12/15/2010

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Mela

Hi Dr. Meyer;

are you going to keep writing here! Because it was very helpful for me. hope all is ok.

mela

Maggie, I would like to have your email address but I am not sure how can we do it in a way you can keep your identity yourself.

Maggie

... i make a mistake at the end of my previous post, after (...) email adress (...) I wrote a wrong "not". Apologies for that.

Maggie

Dear Dr. Meyer
You have done an excellent analysis and given me much material to work in order to feel better.
Had not responded before, because I've been going through a major change, which may be the ultimate solution to what I was feeling.
My husband and I made the decision to migrate, once again, this time to a place closer, physically and culturally to our culture.
A month ago, we came to Florida with the intention of establishing the right one.
At this point, I can not know how my life will be in the immediate future, because we are still taking steps to start working and organize our lives here.
I can feel that they have gone the anguish and loneliness felt, even though I can not identify whether this is due to the joy of a goal achieved, or if I'm still under the influence of first impressions and changes.
I feel happy because most of the people around me come also from my hometown, and because I have met with my brothers after long time apart. My husband has also been reunited with his father. It is comforting to feel the love of family, and in addition, to round up my child from this.
I feel safe and loved, and I feel no need to make any effort to integrate the life here.
Now I have to face new challenges, because this city has a different structure, and the pace of life is different, but I am willing to learn and move on.
I feel fortunate to have entered on his blog, his advice has been really helpful not only for my particular situation, but for life in general.
I want to thank you for joining me at such a difficult, for helping me see clearly, for giving me the tools to cope.
I do not know if my problems are completely overcome but at least we have taken concrete actions to resolve the situation.
I would like to contact Mela, if possible can provide my email address.
Not
Once again thank you Dr. Meyer, I follow his blog and always have my admiration and affection.

Dr. Meyer

Hi Mela -

I was certainly struck by the similarities between the two of you, and the formidable challenges you both face. I am glad you checked back in. I haven't heard back from Maggie so I don't know how she felt about my reply. There might already be a website for educated, immigrant women with children -- you might poke around.

Mela

Dr. Meyer;

I just read your response to Maggie and I felt like you were talking to me. And what a brilliant idea to start a website for the people like Maggie and I!

Emotional Detective

Dear Maggie –


You are an adventurer who has left her native home behind. While this can be enriching, it can also be lonely and difficult. Now you are trying to create a new home in a foreign land, longing for a home that includes elements of safety, comfort and belonging. Thus far, you seem disappointed in your efforts. This weekend I thought a lot about your dilemmas as I attended a lecture called At Home in the World, given by a Jungian analyst named John Hill (he has written a beautiful book by the same title that might interest you - it is available through Amazon).

These are my thoughts:

Although you feel lost in a foreign land, you still have many important things in your life: your talent, creativity and work, your husband and child, and memories of the landscape, people, and customs of your original home. However, you seem to be derailed in how to use all you have.

Currently, it seems to me that you have several difficulties that are interfering with your happiness: 1) too much internal pressure in your life (especially about time), 2) too little support from close relationships, 3) limited outlets for self-expression and pleasure, 4) indifference to caring properly for your own body. (I base this summary on your answers to my questions, see below)

• Housework: - try to do shopping, and all things that are derived caring for a family when child is at daycare

• Work: I also feel pressure when I'm working on it (your book)

• Exercise: I always find an excuse, I'm tired, or hurts the neck, etc.

• Reading: no easy access to books at this time

• New friends: I feel something is holding me, or I'm doing resistance to these interactions, but I can not define it.

• Self-expression: I've never kept a diary. I tried but it did not happen on the first page, I feel a little ridiculous and I don´t know why.

• Past relationships: I have very little contact with my parents, because they don’t have access to Internet and phone calls are very expensive for me, so I can only call two times in a month. I'm always connected to chat with my sister who lives in EU, although we do not talk the whole time I know she are there, and we support each other.
In the same way I communicate with my friends, sometimes I feel I am too outstanding of those relationships that are only virtual, but i need it.

I suggest that you work to diminish these internal pressures, nurture your mind and body, find means of self-expression, and try to find ways to reconnect to the landscape, people, and traditions that remind you of your original home. Lastly, I encourage you to think how to build bridges from your past to your future. I have some ideas of how you might do this, but of course you will need to find your own way.

Internal Pressures: Perhaps you could reduce the pressures you place on yourself by changing your expectations. For instance, maybe your home doesn’t need to be quite as clean as you imagine? In my opinion, many people exceed basic standards of cleanliness in an attempt to get order or control in their lives. Time spent cleaning can often be better spent nourishing oneself in other ways: reading, exercising, being in nature, spending time with others, or creative endeavors like writing, painting, singing, etc. Another expectation I wondered about is whether you really need to take care of everything in your home while your child is in daycare. As a mother myself, I understand the wish to spend quality time with your child. However, sometimes it is valuable to be together with your son doing useful tasks like cooking, errands, or even cleaning. This introduces your child to the value of work and working together. Even for a young child this can be vey meaningful as long as you keep your emotional focus on your son’s experience of the task. By this I mean that you acknowledge that these tasks will take longer and go less smoothly than they would if you are by yourself, and that that is okay. Almost any task can be a small adventure for a young child, if you take the time to let him or her explore and react to whatever it is that you are doing. In terms of your work, perhaps it would be useful to share your work with others to get some feedback? This might help you organize your ideas differently based on new input. Could you let yourself work on your book at your own pace? Or assign yourself a set amount of time to work on the book each day, and let that be enough even if you don’t make any “real progress.” I think that your goal should be to try to find a way to reduce your internal pressure, to make this project become fun again, to nurture your creativity without imposing unrealistic expectations on yourself.

Nurture your Mind and Body: You mention that you love to read, but don’t have access to books. Do you have a library anywhere nearby, or money to buy a Kindle or used books on Amazon (where old titles are often very inexpensive)? You used to like tai chi, is that something you could do with your son? If there are no classes nearby, maybe there is a video tape you could watch together and learn from. Are there other forms of exercise you could do with your son and/or husband? Dancing, hiking, running, playing in the park, gardening, etc. can all be fun to do with a small child and are all forms of exercise. Or perhaps you need to find an exercise class so that you could have some structure and be with other adults while you exercise?

Self-expression: If you don’t like to write, how about expressing yourself artistically? As a graphic designer, I wonder if you like to draw or paint? This might be a way to nurture and express yourself, if you have the inclination. Try drawing your dreams, painting images from your childhood, or expressing yourself abstractly. Sharing your artistic endeavors with your son might be lovely for both of you.

Reconnecting to the landscape, people, and traditions of your original home: It is important for you to maintain connection with your original home. You mentioned that it is expensive to call your parents because they don’t have internet. With Skype you can call most anywhere in the world, and the person you call doesn’t need to have internet – they only need a phone. Have you included elements from your native culture into your new home? Does your new home include art, photos, music, or objects imbued with personal meaning from your childhood? Do you ever get to speak your native language, other than with your sister? Have you taught your son your native language? Do you perform rituals from your childhood with your son (playing games, religious practices, cooking favorite foods, singing songs, etc)? These are all ways to try to reconnect to a sense of home.

Building Bridges: Your challenge is to create a new home in a foreign land, a place that makes you feel safe and connected to the landscape, culture, and others. This is usually very difficult for people who have emigrated from their homeland – research suggests it usually takes 3 generations to feel established in a new culture. The lecturer whom I heard speak this weekend, John Hill, suggests that you try to create a sense of home in your new location. This takes time, but also involves active attempts to reconnect to sensory experiences from your original home that inspire an inner sense of belonging and safety. You mentioned that you feel resistant to forming new relationships with other mothers who have tried to befriend you. I encourage you to look inside and work hard to understand your resistance. I wonder if you feel an urge to fit in with these new potential friends, do you think you must be like them to make a connection? Perhaps it would feel more satisfying to share yourself with them - differences and all - to let them know about what your life has been like, even if it has been very different from theirs? Perhaps they would be interested in learning about you and your native country if you risked talking about yourself. I wonder if you put pressure on yourself to be a certain way with new people. Connections often feel best when similarities and differences are shared. Or perhaps, it is easier for you to bond over the present – being the mother of a small child and a struggling professional-- but this will also likely involve revealing that you approach and experience mothering and working in ways that are both similar and different from the women in your new culture.

One last thought: another one of my readers, Mela, finds herself in a situation similar to yours. Although you feel alone, you are not alone. No doubt many women find themselves strangers in a new land -- perhaps there is an online community that might help you feel more connected, even if it is a virtual community. Perhaps, if there is not such a website, you and Mela could start one.

Although I know these ideas won’t solve all your problems, I hope they provide some food for thought.

Emotional Detective

Consider talking to your cousin about your dilemma and see how she feels about your speaking to other family members. What would be okay or not okay to say? Try not to approach this as either you tell everything, or nothing. For instance, if she says she doesn't want you to tell your brother what she has told you, you might ask if it is okay with her to tell your brother you don't like or trust your aunt and cousin, or that you think they are deeply disturbed. If there other indications that you have noticed that would lead you to conclude that your aunt and cousin are bad people, perhaps you can point those out to your brother. Of course, once you talk to you cousin it will erase ambiguity. Assuming she asks you to say nothing to anyone, you will then have a clear cut decision to make about whether to honor your cousin's wishes, whether you feel you must nonetheless warn your brother and/or express your feelings about your aunt and cousin to him. Here are some other questions to consider before making a decision: Is your brother in any danger of being abused by your aunt and cousin. Are you afraid they will damage him in some other way? Would he want to know about what his cousin says about her mom and brother? Do you think your brother will believe your cousin's accusations? How do you imagine he will interpret your intentions? Do you have a history of "raining" on your brother's parade?

John Doe

Dear Dr. Meyer:

Thank you so much for the response.

You wrote back to ask whether my cousin had sworn me to secrecy about the childhood rape and sexual abuse she experienced.

She has not. However, on the other hand, to date she has still not told anyone in the family about the situation of her childhood and the continued trivialization of these atrocities by her mother and brother in the present.

So -- by example --- I feel it is not my place to trumpet what occurred.

I love my brother and wish nothing more than to be close with him. But his new idealization with this part of our family and what it represents seems very important to him. While misguided and based ignorance of the reality of what really happened in this family, it gives him happiness and a sense of connectedness.

I don't want to rain on my brother's parade but I don't want to pretend I like these people any longer. I want to support my cousin and I've lost respect for the rest of her family.

What can I do?

John Doe

Maggie

Doctor Meyer:
First receive a greeting. I apologize because I started my previous post without this. Thank you very much for your response.

Answering your questions:

Why do you feel pressed for time?
I feel I must do it all between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, take care of the house, it takes time, do my work: this is creative and requires concentration and good cheer, shopping, and all things that are derived caring for a family. I try to have everything in order and ended when I bring my child from daycare because I also want to be with him, play and spend the remaining time of the day together. Sometimes I do not accomplish everything, especially when I have to do something out, here the distances are too long and too time-consuming travel.


What kind of personal projects you have undertaken?
I'm graphic designer and illustrator. Long time ago I want to do children's books on my own, and now I finished the script for one of them, also I have some of the sketches, but I can´t finish it, I have trouble organizing ideas, and reach the final artwork. It's something I really like, and could be very good for our economy, however, at some point I also feel pressure when I'm working on it.

What kinds of exercise have you done before?
Many years ago a little practice tai chi, and then went to a gym regularly. For years I intend to do back exercises, for my health and because I think my body needs it. However, I always find an excuse, I'm tired, or hurts the neck, etc..

Do you like to read?
I really enjoy reading, and when I find a interesting book I read pretty fast, but I have no easy access to books at this time. I tried to read on the computer but it makes me much eyestrain.

Have you tried finding activities for your child as a way to meet other mothers?
I recently met two neighbors, mothers with young children, they have offered me their friendship, we went together to the park with the kids, but for some reason I can not feel comfortable and relaxed, and do not lead these activities. I feel something is holding me, or I'm doing resistance to these interactions, but I can not define it.

Have you ever kept a journal?
I've never kept a diary. I tried but it did not happen on the first page, I feel a little ridiculous and I don´t know why.

Are you in much contact with your family or friends from home?
I have very little contact with my parents, because they dont have access to Internet and phone calls are very expensive for me, so I can only call two times in a month.
I'm always connected to chat with my sister who lives in EU, although we do not talk the whole time I know she are there, and we support each other.
In the same way I communicate with my friends, sometimes I feel I am too outstanding of those relationships that are only virtual, but i need it.

Once again thank you doctor, receives a hug.
Maggie

Emotional Detective

Hi John Doe -

I have a few questions for you before I can comment on your situation.

Have you been sworn to secrecy by your cousin? Is it possible to present your dilemma to your cousin and ask him or her what, if anything, you may say to your brother. Are you worried about these perpetrators harming anyone in the future? Most specifically, do you have any concerns that your brother may fall victim to abuse at the hands of your aunt and cousin? On a different note, do you have any doubts about what your cousin has told you? How old are the individuals involved in this wretched scenario? How do you think your parents would respond if they heard of your cousin's allegations?

Please give me some more information and I'll offer some thoughts

Best wishes,

Dr. Meyer

Emotional Detective

Hi Maggie –

You write that:

After 5 years you are not been integrated into life here
Your child is your greatest source of joy
You spend too much time alone and don't talk to anyone all day
You begin some personal projects but can´t finish them
You are anxious and pressured by time
You need to have everything in order to feel calmed
You spend too much time on housework
You do not feel motivated to exercise
Sometimes you feel drowned by your concerns and feelings
In your free time, you always end up watching TV shows or movies


Some questions come to mind:

Why you are so pressured for time?
What kinds of personal projects have you tried?
What kinds of exercise have you done before?
Do you like to read?
Have you tried finding activities for your child as a way to meet other mothers?
Have you ever kept a journal?
Are you in much contact with your family or friends from home?

Please give me some more information and I'll share my thoughts with you.

mela

Dr. Meyer;

I very much appreciate for your answer. Since I started to communicate with you my emotinal health improved excessively!I am working on your suggestions (long visit with my family, connecting with other people coming from the same culture, and reading books in my language etc). I also started teaching at a community college part-time this semester and that improve my mood in a positive way as well. Thank you again for your time. I feel extremely lucky. You are very kind to share your knowledge and expertisee with us.
have a nice one.

John Doe

Worshipping False Gods

Dr. Meyer:

I need some advice.

Recently I have become aware of very disturbing events that took place in the home of my mother's sister. The information was revealed to me by cousin - abuse, incest and emotional cruelty.

I will spare you the details, but suffice it to say what I have learned completely changes my thinking about both my aunt and her son who played roles in this disgusting family dysfunction.

Meanwhile I have another family member who I love who has become extremely close to the perpetrator of these abuses and attacks. This sibling nearly worships his cousin and aunt.

This is an awful situation. It has become difficult to navigate with my family as this knowledge that only I am privy too is so repulsive it has made it impossible to pretend I have anything but disgust for these family members.

How do I deal with this? Should I tell my sibling about these secrets that were shared with me in confidence? Or should I leave the details of the abuse vague / non-specific and just say "there were abuses"?

I cannot stomach hearing this sibling's growing enthusiasm for these relatives knowing what I know.

Yet I know that it may not be appropriate for me to explain?? Personally I no longer with to associate with these family members.

Any advice would be appreciated

Maggie

Some time ago I emigrated from my country with my husband. At first, everything seemed new and interesting, after 5 years I have not been integrated into life here. Three years ago our child was born, he is my greatest source of joy.We are trying to migrate again to another place where we both have family, because we feel alone and isolated, but that process has proved long and generates a large stress that affects many areas of everyday life.
I'm a professional, I have 40 years and after having my son had been difficult to insert in the working world again. Now I work part time from home, but I am not satisfied with that.
I have only a few friends here, and everyone is too busy with their lives. So I spend time alone and not talk to anyone in all day.
Some times i fell so anguish. I have periods to optimism, but then, I feel sad again, discouraged, worried and tired physically and emotionally.
I begin some personal projects but I can´t finish it, because I feel anxious and pressured by time. Always in a hurry, I often do several chores at one time.
I feel that I never finish the housework, but also need to have everything in order to feel calmed, sometimes when I go out I have a great desire to return.
I can´t discuss about that with my husband because he handles stress in different way, he prefer not to express their feelings, and when I expressed my concerns, we always ended up discussing, then, I feel guilty and hurt self-esteem.
I try to think positive thoughts but not always possible because life is also difficult situations. Sometimes I feel drowned by the concerns and feelings.
At this point I do not feel motivated to exercise, because I'm always tired. It is difficult to find something to distract me,
In a free time, I always end up watching TV shows or movies, and I feel like I'm alienating.
I fear that this becomes a health problem.
Sorry, my english is not good enough.
Best regards

Dr. Meyer

Dear Mela -

Your analysis of your struggles seems quite clear and makes good sense to me. It sounds like you are homesick. It is very difficult to move from one culture to another. The more varied the two cultures, the more challenging it is likely to be. It sounds like it is getting harder, rather than easier, for you to live abroad. Having a baby when your family is so far away is probably especially difficult. Most people want to share the joys and hardships of parenting, and their children, with their family. Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution, but overall I would encourage you to try to expand your connections with other people and your native culture, both here and back home.

Although regular phone contact is good, there is nothing like spending time with people you love to help you feel close again. Is it possible to go home with your baby for an extended visit? Even if your husband can’t join you, spending time in your native home with your family might be very soothing for you. Could your family help you pay for a plane ticket home, or is there some other way to save up for a ticket? Perhaps you could try to plan a nice long visit since you are not working. Even if it can’t happen right away, it would give you something to look forward to.

I gather there are no people from your country who live near you. Is there an online community of people from your country who also live here in the U.S.? It might be useful to be in contact with other people struggling with the same issues.

Does your husband speak your language? Do you speak your language at home to your baby? Is there anyone to whom you could speak to in your native tongue? Do you keep a journal in your native language, or read books from authors from your country, or even books about moving to a new cultures? I find that when I do therapy with people who grew up speaking a language other than English it is hard for them to feel totally understood in their new language. Early memories and experiences that happened in one language and culture can be hard to share in a foreign language and culture. This may be a small part of what makes you feel lonely here in the US.

People often idealize marriage, not realizing how much compromise and sacrifice it requires. Marriage is almost always a lot of work, especially with small children. When spouses are from different backgrounds it can add to the richness of the union, but it can also add to the misunderstandings and difficulties. It is always tempting to imagine “the path not taken,” which in your case sounds like what is happening with your regrets about your ex-boyfriend.

I admire your struggle to understand yourself. I’ll write more if something else occurs to me.


Mela

Dr. Meyer;

You did help me earlier when I was severely struggling with my dilemmas and your web site made me more aware of myself and my emotional health. For me it is still an ongoing process and I need your insight again for different difficulties I am going trough in my life.

Here is the situation; I can explain only individually and connect everything together at the end.

As I mentioned before I did not grow up in the US. I came here for education reasons and met with my husband here got married and stayed in the US. It has almost been 12 years since I arrive to US. When I arrive here I had a boyfriend from my country who is now back to my country. We were still good friends after I got married to my husband. He returned back to my country and we still kept in touch until he got married. After he got married he stopped communicating with me. If I call him he would answer but he would never call me anymore.

I have a sister who I was very close to before I came to US. But now I feel like we are separated apart (especially recently) since I am never there for her and she is not here with me. We do call each other on skype but does not feel the same.

I have daughter started to talk and she is talking in English even though I try to teach her my language

I have friends here but I realize I feel alone and I missed the friendships in my country. Perhaps I am idealizing too much, not sure.

I have a caring husband but sometimes we argue too much about unimportant things that are mostly cultural differences.

Here is the connection I started to call my ex-boy friend just to talk and I started to feel like I regret that I did not get married to him which is weird because I love my husband but I started to feel like If I got married to my ex-boyfriend I would be living in my country and he would understand me more and we would not argue as much and since I would be living in my country I would be closer to my sisters and would not feel I am separating from her. I would be financially in a better situation than now, I would see my parents more often. My daughter would know my language and grow up same culture as I did. I think that is why I feel the urge to call him which I am thinking deep down he is the connection to my culture and he would understand me which always ends up with more disappointment. I think I feel like I am becoming a part of the different culture which I feel awkward with ( and terrified) and I feel awkward when I go back to my country , I am in between. I think I am scared that my daughter will not be connected to my culture as much as I want her to be. I did not feel like I was separating from my culture at all when I came to US. Perhaps I was too young, I was not involved in with a foreign man (my husband) I did not have kid and I did not care as much. I think that is why I called my ex-boy friend in a need for desperate connection and I always think about him. I am not sure but this is the solution I come up with. Is there anything I can do to improve? How can I feel like I am deeply connected with my sister as I did before? How can I ease myself to be part of the culture? I do not want anyone to misunderstand I am not against to become part of the American culture and language but I would like my language and my traditions to continue onto next generations. But according to my observation that does not happen (except Spanish-speaking cultures and asian cultures). And most importantly am I analyzing myself right? Is this the real reason? I am not sure.

Dr Meyer

Dear Mela –

You suggest many ideas about your unhappiness. Here is a list of ideas you mentioned in your last note:

High expectations
Sometimes feel like not living at all
Is it jealousy
Fear that you are insatiable (always dissatisfied)
Cultural differences (I do not belong to here)
Is it because my parents always pushed me to do my best in an extreme level?
Is it because I possibly have a bipolar disorder in a mild case?
Is it because I thought by this age I would not worry about the money
I want to find a job and cannot find one ‐ ‐ at the same time I feel extremely bad to leave my baby behind
I am home mostly and cannot walk to many places and I do not have car?
I had an argument with my husband and fell apart
I fear people will start to disappear in my life sooner or later if this continue

Now I am going to reorganize this list:

History:
You grew up abroad with parents who pushed you hard to succeed.
You came to the U.S. to get a Ph.D. hoping this would bring status, money, freedom, and security.
You did not love your field of study or new country (a disappointment)
You have been unable to find work in your chosen field (a huge disappointment)
You are married with a baby

Current situation:
You are isolated with your baby
You don’t have transportation
You can’t find work
You don’t have much money
You fear that you may have bipolar illness or depression
You have little access or money for psychological treatment

Current feelings:
You are disappointed in life
You are disappointed in yourself.
You feel scared
You feel out of place everywhere
You feel conflict between wanting to work outside the home and being a mother
Sometimes you feel so bad you don’t want to go on living

I can begin to see a brief outline of your story. This is not enough to solve yoru dilemmas. You should get evaluated by a professional. I know that this will be difficult because you
have no insurance and little money, but it is important. Nonetheless, I think you need to get some help. At times you feel like not living; this could be dangerous.

I think it would be unwise to suggest anything else because I am not treating you Mela. There is so much I don't know. I hope you contact me and let me know where you live so that I can try to help you find some professional resources in your community.

Best regards,
Dr Meyer

Dr. Meyer

Dear Mela,

I really think we should to try to find you some professional help near you. If you don't want to announce where you live on my comments page, please feel free to send me a confidential email.

Dr. Meyer

Dear Mela,

I am so sorry that you are suffering so much. I am working on my reply to you, but it sounds like you need help from a professional in your community. I can't know for sure, but I think you should be evaluated for depression. Do you have a family doctor, or does your baby have a pediatrician? If so, they might be willing to evaluate you or tell you where to obtain low cost or free psychological care in your community. Here in Los Angeles I would know where to refer you, but I don’t know what state and county you are in. If you want me to try to find resources in your community, please let me know where you live.

Mela

Hi Dr. Meyer;

I think I started to feel lost during my Ph.D. Perhaps way before that and I did not realize it. I thought I know everything about my life and had high expectations, and during and after Ph.D. those expectations did not match the reality. I am dissatisfied with many things (I break up with long time boy friend during Ph.D.) and I always ask myself why am I dissatisfied? and sometimes feel like not living at all, and each time I am guessing a different things depending on my emotions. Is it because I left my country to do Ph.D. in the US and the people I finished the master degree back in my country are already assistant professors? (very shallow thought but what could it be behind this thought. is it jealousy)is it because I wanted to be an artist and my art teacher literally beg me to go to art school and I did not (because in my country I could not find a job as an artist, if I know that I will come to US, I would though). Is it because I wanted to go to medical school and I have never achieved this dream (I want to be a doctor to help people but when did I started to want to go to medical school is blurry: was it because of my parents? is it because I want to satisfy my primitive craving of money and respect), is it because I cannot control my primitive emotions and I want more and more. Is it because of the cultural differences (Which seems unrelated but I could be depressed because of: I do not belong to here but when I go back to my country I do not feel I do belong to there either). Is it because my parents always pushed me to do my best in an extreme level? Is it because I want to be noticed and be respected in a society and I feel I have never accomplish that ( is that a primitive emotion as well?). Is it because I possibly have a bipolar disorder in a mild case? Is it because I thought by this age I would not worry about the money (money meaning here is even cannot there are times cannot effort soemthing for $10 and I do not have a health insurance) but we are making day by day (even though I have a good education, which looks good on paper but I am not satisfied with it anyways). Is it because I want to find a job and I cannot and at the same time I feel extremely bad to leave my baby behind?I am not sure of anything. Is it because I am home mosstly and in the satate that I live cannot walk to many places and I do not have car? Is it....? is it...? very tiny microscopic details that I cannot seem to find an answer for why am I feeling this way. Am I missing the overall pciture by looking at the microscopic detail? I had a break down last saturday. I had an argument with my husband and I went into shower and started crying like a child. And My husband had to help me to get out of the shower. I want to be healthy mentally. I know that people will start to dissapear in my life sooner or later if this continue as it is and I do not want to be in that point. I want to help myself by searching inside me but seems like it is not that easy to be inside me as well. If there is a help somewhere I am willing to try but everything has price tag on it which I cannot effort at this moment in my life. I hope can lead me to find out what is going on.

Claudia Liliana/rasamalai

Thank you Dr. Meyer!
I will continue to study your reply more carefully and figure out a way to make a "plan-map"
In the meantime I will keep my eyes open for opportunities!
warm greetings from México :)

Dr. Meyer

Dear Claudia,

It sounds as though you have missed opportunities available to other people in your family. Perhaps you need to find a way to set some time aside to start planning for a future in which you get more of what is available to you. You don't want to miss more opportunities. You sound overwhelmed without much social support. These are problems that can make everything else worse. It helps to take a step back and think about "HOW TO MAKE THINGS BETTER?". Questions you might ask yourself: "How to have more contact with people?" Perhaps there is a way to meet people through your children, exchanging child care with the mother of other children in the neighborhood. Also think about "How to get knowledge or skills to improve life?" It is exhausting to work hard, but it helps if things are headed in the right direction - however slowly. Taking a little time for yourself to think about what changes you want to make, and how you can start making them, may be hard in the short run, but will pay dividends in the long run. I don't think it is selfish to pursue your best interests, I think it is wise. You must consider your self interest first of all, which will naturally include concern for your children. But you must come first. This doesn't mean that you do what feels good in the moment, but making plans to improve your life and sticking to them can really help. Think about your dreams, then think what seems somewhat realistic, and try to work toward your goals, slowly over time. Good Luck

Claudia Liliana/rasamalai

Hello Dr. Meyer!
I hope Mela comes back to check on this thread again.

Thank you so much for this post.

I come from a "well-off" dysfunctional and abusive family. I feel like I was not given the opportunities and "things" I deserved and needed while growing up, although I managed to get some of them for free from friends (like piano and guitar lessons, etc) although not as high quality as I wish they had been.
I'll be 40 years old this month but still feel like a child quite often.
I was told I had cancer about 4 years ago and realized I had lots of regrets so I decided to live by the things I value most, which is quite selfish, I believe.
I feel like I'm the "good guy" and that I've constantly been taken advantage of or have been left out so that others would financially benefit (like my sister talking my mom into leaving me out of her will or my father giving college education to his wives, but not even Sr. high-school to me, (in my country you have to pay for education, there's no student loans or meaningful public support to fall back on)

I'm a single mother and worry because I can't provide my children with what they need, we're currently very poor materially. I often feel overwhelmed because everything seems to be so important and need taking care of at once and I don't know where to start.

How can I act like a responsible mother while at the same time taking care of my needs?
We don't have a support network but we do count with a modest income from my oldest's dad and schooling for my youngest in exchange for work.

I feel discouraged and very tired.

Thank you again.

Dr. Meyer

Dear Mela,

I continue to think about your suffering. When did you start feeling so lost? What was going on at the time? What are your ideas about why you feel so dissatisfied?

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  • Dr. Meyer has worked in private practice in West Los Angeles for over 25 years, and is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology at UCLA. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UCLA and her B.A. from Oberlin College.


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