Hi, Dr. Robert,
I really hope you will be able to reply. I am desperate and I have no one to turn to.
I am a 50 year old divorced woman (and just for background I am considered to be beautiful and because of being a mix of black and white I have good genetics and I appear to be in my late 30's.) I live in Spain and I am very lonely and depressed and most of the time I think about suicide. I got a dog so that I would feel like I had a reason to live. Despite my looks, friendliness and intelligence I am always single and have trouble finding a suitable male mate or any real female friendships. Now I have turned to alcohol to dull the lonely hours and days.
Men follow me down the street, off the bus and I am constantly bombarded with attention from men of all types, sizes and ages but I feel as if most of them are not genuine, only interested for sex (because somehow the topic comes up quite quickly or if I do meet them for coffee they can´t keep their hands off me). The men that pursue me do not interest me as the men that approach me on the street are not suitable (meaning they are, without sounding snobby or arrogant, not educated, in their 20´s, usually a little rough and uncultured..as in can´t keep their hands and lips to themselves initially). The kind of man I would like to meet just never approach me (men that are intelligent, single, confident and in the right age group and won´t be mr octopus after 5 minutes). I am so fed up with being alone. I have no family here in Spain and no-one to confide in. I spend hours alone except for the few a hours a day teaching.
I do go out and find things to do like ride my bike, walk the dog, go for drives, I have tried social groups but the outcome is always the same at these groups. I am so depressed at still going to pubs, usually alone, just for some companionship, someone to talk to. At 50 years old I have no interest in bars and pubs but I go just to get out of the flat and socialize. I have tried to reach out to women here to be friends and they don´t respond. If I meet someone and give them my number they never call, or if I call them they are too busy or don´t respond. I extend invitations to females to get together and they rarely want to so now I will give this prospect up. I am positive and lots of fun when I do get together with people so this is not the reason they don´t bother with me. They have family and friends and a life and no time for me. Once in awhile they will say ¨let´s get together or we can do this or that¨but they never follow through and if I call to take them up on it they are busy or never reply. I keep my feelings and issues to myself and never burden people with my problems because I know that until you know someone very well and can trust them, people are generally not receptive or interested.
Yesterday I was driving on a country road and only had thoughts about going over a cliff and being done with it. I cry and cry every weekend because I spend saturdays and sundays alone. I just don´t know what to do anymore. I am fighting every day to find a reason to continue but I just keep thinking death will be the best way out. Therapy and drugs don´t work. I was diagnosed years ago with clinical depression triggered by life events. I have tried everything to help myself. Believe me, everything. Now I guess I don´t care that much anymore.
Life is painful and not a lot of fun. Loneliness sucks.
You say that therapy does not work. Please write again and tell me your experiences with therapy which have led you to that conclusion.
Hi, Dr Robert,
Well thank you so much for replying so quickly.
In a nutshell, I am not sure what can come of going and talking my head off to another shrink, counsellor or what have you as I am still in the same boat after 14 years. I tried some medications (Prozac, Imipramine and a couple of others I cannot remember) but they never worked and in some cases made me worse. It didn't do much for my self esteem to be told I was delusional and borderline by one psychiatrist.
Here is a little history of my therapy/drug trials. I was living in Canada before I moved to Spain, and I was assessed at the psychiatric ambulatory clinic at UBC in Vancouver as having clinical depression. I went to group therapy there when my marriage broke up, I went to a psychiatrist back in 2000 to 2002 who basically let me talk and talk and nodded his head but never actually offered any positive feedback, just listened, I went to a private counselor who unlocked a few doors but I could not afford to keep going at 100$ per hour, I went to some counseling with psychology students because it was low cost and I believe it was a form of practicum but the students would change over and so no consistency but it did help me to get motivated and realize that time it was time to make a change so I went back to school and got a teaching certificate, worked for awhile and then headed for europe. I went to another psychiatrist many years ago, an old Indian man who determined I was delusional and had a borderline personality disorder (at one time I was very interested in acting and did some t.v. and theatre so he thought this was all a delusion..I was 38 at the time and his report stated that I was an attractive 38 year old with delusions of grandeur and that at 38 I had no hopes of ever being an actress as I was too old) but the second psychiatrist said this was ridiculous. Of course it has never left me that I was deemed to have a delusional and borderline personality disorder. I am actually a strong person, with good family values with kind, loving, educated parents who were together over 50 years. I am the only one in the family with depression and my parents never understood or supported it.
In the last 14 years I have been through a great deal. In 1987 I had a bad car accident that left me with 4 years of headaches and many years after suffering with back pain. I got separated after 11 years in 1996, my father died in 2003, I lost two of my pet dogs after 12 years each, the second one only 2 years ago, I have had 5 surgeries, it was discovered I have a form of hemophilia and spent two years in and out of hospitals and emergencies.
My options here in Mallorca, Spain are somewhat limited as many of the doctors have a very low level of english and private doctors that do speak english fluently charge 150€ per hour which I cannot afford at the moment but I no longer have any faith in going and sitting in front of someone and talking and talking and have them just nod their heads or tell me I am nuttier than a fruitcake. What I liked about your site was that no nonsense approach. That you actually gave advice. I read some of your replies and was impressed. The direct approach might be beneficial to me.
I do lack on a day to day basis any kind of positive reinforcement, support, encouragement, love, affection, bonding or friendship.
Thank you again for your reply. I really appreciated it.
Thank you for the additional information. It always pains me to hear that someone is contemplating suicide, but I do understand that life can seem too difficult to bear at times, and that loneliness is particularly difficult.
In my experience, the best approach to depression is depth psychotherapy combined, if necessary, with antidepressant medication. Often the medication is not necessary, but this depends somewhat on the skill of the therapist and also achieving a good match between patient and therapist.
Usually in a case like yours, I would suggest that you try to find a compassionate, skilled therapist who could help you to find ways of reaching out to others for the companionship you obviously lack and desire to have, but after hearing from you that your therapy options in Mallorca are limited, that seems to be a vain suggestion. Nevertheless, therapy is what you need—but it must be with a good person (certainly not an inexperienced student), someone who would not avoid giving advice, but would take the active, direct approach you have seen on my website, and who could properly encourage you to address the issues of sexual vulnerability which seem to be a rather central feature of your situation.
I wonder if, instead of suicide, you might consider leaving Mallorca and going somewhere else where you might be able to find the kind of therapy I believe you need and which I believe could help a lot.
Hi, Dr Robert,
Thank you so very much for replying to me and in such a speedy manner as I know you are overwhelmed with questions.
I shall take your suggestion to heart and I do believe you are right. A skilled compassionate therapist is what I need and while psychiatrists may be skilled (or not?) certainly the two I encountered weren't so compassionate. Finding english speaking psychotherapists (with a good command of the language) here in Mallorca might be difficult as just trying to find a doctor with a good command of the language (Spain has the lowest level of english in the EU) is hard enough but I shall make some inquiries.
I am considering leaving Mallorca in September and while moving will not eliminate the inner demons, perhaps a change will give me some renewed hope. Something to aim for and focus on. Mallorca has very limited options for a single woman like me. Some of it cultural some of it not.
Thanks again for taking the time to reach back to me. I will pursue your suggestion.
Hi again, Eleanor--
These days the psychiatrists usually specialize in medication and don’t do much psychotherapy. It is the psychologists for the most part who do therapy, so I suggest looking for a good psychologist. You should approach a first meeting as a kind of interview in which you—the consumer of this service—are evaluating the psychologist to see if he or she (I imagine a women would be best for you) gives you some confidence that you will be seen, heard, and understood. If you do not get that feeling in the first hour, just move on. Keep looking until you find the right one. They do exist.
You sound like a sensitive and intelligent person, and I wish you well. After you begin your new therapy, write again and let me know how it is going for you.