Ask The LifeQuake Doctor
Dear Dr. Toni:
I am a very healthy fifty four year – old businessman. I exercise, eat a healthy diet, am not over weight, etc. I am financially successful and from the outside everything looks “right”. I went through a divorce a year ago and I spend a lot of mental time in the past and thinking how it used to be. From the outside, I am envied by many people and I do a lot to project and protect my “image”. I am currently taking Paxil, trying homeopathy, doing energy psychology and seeing an herbal MD who is giving me teas to take. I am still suffering and nothing seems to help. Do you have any other ideas or am I destined to this “life” forever? Any insight at all would be much appreciated.
Desperate in San Diego
I can appreciate how difficult and frustrated you must be given that you are doing “all the right things”. I am not sure what “energy psychology” involves but there are two things you mention that bear addressing: “I spend a lot of time in the past and I do a lot to project and protect my image.”
How comfortable are you with vulnerability? SSRI’s like Paxil for depression do take you out of the depths of despair but actually sitting with your feelings right here and now, not the past can allow you to be more authentic and less prone to protecting your image. Do you let people get close? Part of intimacy is rooted in showing your humanity, warts and all.
If you are looking back a lot, perhaps you are filled with regret about your choices while you were married. I would encourage you to find a good psychotherapist to work with and do an evaluation with an orthomolecular psychiatrist – a physician who is trained in treating mood disorders with amino acid therapy, essential fatty acids and certain herbal remedies for brain balance. In Los Angeles, Hyla Cass, M.D. is the “go to doc” in this area and David Gersten, M.D. is located in Encinitas.
Hello Dr Toni :
I just read your column in VISION MAGAZINE. You are quite skilled and exceptionally compassionate. I seem to have the opposite dis-ease — I move and change CONSTANTLY. It is probably the same issue, just opposite side of the coin? i don’t have family, have WONDERFUL friends, not sure where I’m to be, how to ground and connect to the earth. I forever say — it will take a man to settle me down. Yet, I’m SUPER READY to ground. A friend thinks it’s a feeling of being trapped. help!!!!!!!
Thanks, Dr Toni –
If it is in your nature to constantly change, in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. Most people have the opposite problem – fear of change. For them, change translates as loss. It sounds like from your description that staying rooted feels like you will lose something, such as freedom. Your possible solution of getting into a relationship as a way of grounding you is superficial at best and ineffective, if not downright, destructive at worst. Anytime we use something external to ground us, especially a person, we are at risk of then becoming ungrounded again if they leave. More importantly, relationships take a lot of work and commitment. You don’t always get the freedom you have as a single person so you really have to be ready to compromise some of your impulses for the sake of loving another, being in service to another human being as well as serving the relationship. It is definitely in and of itself a life path and for some, a spiritual path not to be taken cavalierly.
I would recommend getting into some counseling to examine what your fears are of staying in one place and not moving on so quickly. There are also certain physical practices such as Qi Gong that can help with grounding your body to the earth’s energy once you have emotionally decided you really want this. Try this: Imagine you are a tree. What tree would you be? A willow that bends with the winds of change but still has deep roots in the earth or an oak that provides shade for both the planet and humans who want to sit under it and be protected from the sun. Think about all the trees you’ve enjoyed. Which one attracts you most? There is a Qi Gong exercise called standing tree that can help with staying grounded through the day. Google it for instructions.
Well, the summer is almost over and the season of change is about to begin – Autumn. I love this time of year. Like the leaves that turn color as they begin to die, letting go of old defunct habits and/or life circumstances can have the same effect. Recognizing that a cycle is ending can bring color back to your life where it might have grown stale.
Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist, career coach, and author of The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to Thrive (not just survive) in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval. Her website address is www. LifeQuake.net. For personal consultation , please call 310-712-2600.