Free Advice

Do you have a question about bipolar disorder, physical or mental health? We offer free help to answer any questions you have. Your question will be answered by a physician assistant for medical questions, and a psychotherapist for mental health issues. On this page we will list your question (keeping your name confidential) and the answer from a leading therapist. If you prefer not to have your question listed on the site we will gladly answer your question privately. Please email your question to bipolarlosangeles@gmail.com

We look forward to helping you.

Depressed Single Mom


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I am a 36 year old single mother of a 12 year old. I just broke up with my boyfriend of 10 years. I don’t have a social life at all. I think I am probably severely depressed. I can’t concentrate, am fidgety at work, the worst of all is my mind. When I try and speak it’s like the words don’t come out, I forget the words, my memory is gone! I can’t remember details of my daughter when she was a baby, or other significant things in my life. I do have family around which is nice. I know my depression is affecting my daughter, she has friends at school but nothing outside of school.

I think I should go to therapy but don’t know where to begin to find a good one. I do have medical insurance. I’m not crazy about medication but am willing to take it if it helps and is not addicting.

Help,

Monica

Answer:

Thank you for writing. I am sure the ending of your relationship has been very stressful for you. In addition, your depression is hurting other aspects of your life including your job and mind. You are correct that now is the time to get therapy and work on the break up, the stress you face as a single mother, problems at work, and the memory loss. I feel many of your symptoms are related to the stress and depression. When you seek help and your depression subsides likely these memory problems will go away. It is probably a good idea to visit your primary doctor for a check up to rule out other possibilities. You owe it to your daughter and yourself to face these issues in a healthy way. I would be happy to offer you counseling if you are in New York or telephone counseling if you are elsewhere. The good news is I have had clients who were severely depressed and felt like life was unmanageable. Once they broke through their depression, they began to enjoy life again and say the emotional pain and suffering are completely gone. You will likely stop being depressed if you seek help. I’d like to help you so that you can continue to be a good mom and enjoy your life. You are not alone as many people suffer from depression. You have already shown the courage to admit something is not right, which is the first step. Now you can make the next positive step and obtain the help you need. You can begin to improve both your mental and physical health. Please email me and we can discuss further ways to help you.

Sincerely,

Blake LeVine, LMSW

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Facing An Eating Disorder

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Question:
Hi,
My name is Tammy, I’m 41. I’m feeling really hopeless and depressed. I’m diagnosed with major depression, bi-polar without psychosis, eating disorder nos, ptsd. Therapy is hard to afford. I’m medicare/medicaid live in a nursing home facility. I struggle with self-harm urges and suicidal thoughts but no plans or actions ever. I’m a sexual abuse survivor. I have memories every night, panic attacks as well, the eating disorder is out of control. binging/purging but mainly binging. I hate my body and want to hurt it. I have no support from family as they are dysfunctional. I feel really alone and lonely…can you help me? I’m desperate and crying alot

Tammy

Answer:

Dear Tammy,
I appreciate your email. You touched on several problems that you are facing. The good news is that each of them can be worked on. They are serious and you need to find professional help with a therapist and a medical doctor. Even with medicare and medicaid there are many doctors and therapists who will accept this and not cost you anything out of pocket. There are also clinics that would offer free help in your area. You mention that you live in a nursing home facility. Do they offer any type of help for these issues? I am sure the burden you are carrying is difficult but you could begin to feel better if you work on these issues with a good therapist and make sure your health is okay. Please let me know if I can help you find someone in your area for you to work with. It is important to get help right away to avoid your situation getting worse. There are many people who face issues like yourself and please know you are not alone. I respect your courage to share your story. If there is anyway I can help please email me.

Thank you,

Blake LeVine, LMSW

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Frustrated Home Owner

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Question:

Hi Blake.

I saw your email while browsing for jobs. I have two jobs, but I’m not getting nearly enough hours or money. I found out today that unless I raise some serious cash fast, I will lose my house. This really worries me since as an artist and writer, I can’t really see how I’ll make enough to have any retirement savings. My house is a rental property, and I’m counting on it for my old age. (I’m 27.) I’ve cut back all my unnecessary expenses, travel by bike, and am selling my stuff on eBay…and I’m not even scraping by.

I’m scared that this might be the thing that pushes me back over the edge. Last year I spent spring break in the psych ward, but before I was there was much scarier. I have struggled with depression since remembrance, but I was seriously suicidal. I quit doing a lot of things that helped get me that way: drugs, smoking, my stressful teaching job, and was on medication for a few months until my insurance ran out. I really have been doing better: eating a balanced vegetarian diet and exercising nearly daily. But in the last few months, even before my serious recent financial crisis, I started feeling really negatively about the world. I’ve always been a misanthrope, but I am now thoroughly and truly ashamed to be human: all the war, health care crises, corruption, wrecking of the planet and complete disregard for other species gets to be too much. There’s good in the world and I see it, but I more often see it being destroyed at an alarming rate.

I’m going to be getting back on medication soon since one of my jobs offers limited insurance, but I’m not sure how much it will help. It won’t change my finances (except to take a bit), and it certainly won’t help all the crap that’s going on in the world. I volunteer at a high school, but I’m not sure I’d be a positive force for the students right now. I’m having a hard time seeing the point of anything, and wish I could exchange the gift of life like a bad sweater. I’m not going to hurt myself because it’s not the right move right now, but I’m having a hard time keeping up my reserves of strength. I’m also angry: I have an Ivy League degree, and I honestly thought it would pay off but I’m finding it pretty damn useless. The only skill I have is teaching, and although it can be rewarding, the stress combined with the low pay is more than what I can take.

Any advice you have would be much appreciated. Your responses to the other writers were really good…even if you can’t reply, what you are doing is so helpful for others to see, and gave me something to relate to as well. If you use this, please don’t use my name. :-)

Cheers,

Frustrated Home Owner

Answer:

Dear Home Owner,
Thank you for your email. I am sorry to hear about your troubles. The fear of losing a house is a major one. With the economy, thousands of people are at risk of foreclosure. What concerns me more than your house, is your mental health. You write that you are worried about going over the edge. I think you need to get mental health help right away. I would suggest going to a free clinic that will help you for free. If your health isn’t right, it is impossible to work well, be happy, and enjoy life. You sound like a dynamic person. You’ve went to an Ivy League school, are an artist, teacher, and writer. Do not forget all that you have accomplished. As for the financial part, you need to find something you could enjoy that would pay you enough to live. For example, where I live teachers can make over $150,000 per year. They earn $75,000 from the school and tutor after school for $75-150 per hour. Would tutoring be an option for you? My friend is a songwriter but also has a teaching degree. He tutors for an agency and makes $50-$75 per hour. This gives him a nice amount of money and the freedom to pursue his music career. You also mention your negativity towards the world. This is based on you being depressed and your view on the world. In any situation, we must try to find the positive. There are many crappy things about the world, but you can try on focus on the good. For example, friends who care about you, people who spend their time helping others, the love that so many people share, and whatever you like most about life. This world might never be perfect, but it is up to you to find the parts of life that make you the happiest. I know once you are out of your depression you will begin to once again see the good that is in our world. You should also look into programs the government has set up to help people facing foreclosure. I would be happy to try and find you information. Thank you for your email and I know so many are facing depression and the fear of losing their homes. You WILL get through and I know you have something you are meant to contribute to our world.

Sincerely,

Blake LeVine, LMSW

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Ask A PA And Psychotherapist Launches


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Hi, my name is Jennifer LeVine and I am a registered Physician Assistant in the state of New York and have been for the past five years.  My husband is a psychotherapist and he loves computers.  He started giving advice to others on his blog regarding mental health issues and he seemed to get a great response.  He asked me to participate since a lot of these mental health issues involve medical issues and a lot of drugs used to treat these problems have physical side effects as well.   We are  dynamic duo both in raising our daughter Tyler and in our respective fields.   We would love to be the one you ask for all your inquiring questions and concerns.  Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

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