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Posted by: Danielle | 04/01/2019

Q
Complex symptoms over many years

Long story short: I’ve struggled with anxiety/depression/agoraphobia/severe progressive hearing loss/Hashimotos/recovering alcoholic of seven years/arthritis and now difficulty walking. Career newspaper reporter until I couldn’t hear well enough, then 20-year career as magazine editor. Just diagnosed with collagenous colitis. Many years in therapy trying to figure it all out…sexual abuse was a theory. Then gave up and just lived day to day (single now, no close family)… but energy started giving out this year, becoming agoraphobic again, isolated, always tired, even my work that has sustained me emotionally is tiresome. Just started seeing a new psychologist but can’t hear well enough for it to be effective. I’ve never understood the why of everything, maybe that is immaterial, but I long to make sense of my life before it ends. The one thing that kept me going over the years were my German shepherd hearing assistance dogs. My last one died a year ago, new one in training, but fear I don't have the energy to bond/care for it. Thank you for listening…

EXPERT’S REPLY

Posted 07/01/2019

A
Hello Danielle,
I'm a bit worried about the reference to "Many years in therapy trying to figure it all out", as effective therapy doesn't usually take many years.  Sadly, some therapists still offer unscientific psychoanalytical style "therapy" that can take many years without achieving the needed results,  rather than modern methods supported by good research which are much more useful and efficient. Similarly, far too many "therapists" assume that sexual abuse is the culprit, and may even persuade you, though you may have no recollection of such abuse, that it must have happened, until you come to believe what are actually their unsupported theories. I hope your new psychologist uses a very different approach.
I understand what you describe, as I experience it myself, the annoying way that, as one grows older, one tend to accumulate a bundle of complaint and disorders,  like guano forming on a rock ! 
As you, like many sensible people, like to make sense of things, the modern method that would probably help you most, would be CBT, Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy, which at its core helps you learn how to assess your habits of thinking and responding to life, test them and revise them appropriately.  It is adaptable, and can be used in a wide range of the problems you experience, and teaches you techniques you can use on your own in fresh situations,  rather than making you dependent on a therapist to dispense weekly wisdom.
I don't know enough about your precise variety of hearing loss, or its extent, but surely some variety of hearing aid could help you deal better with therapy and other life tasks and reduce isolation.



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