I've been dealing with this for (not kidding) decades. It feels like the kind of heart-wrenching grief from right after a breakup or when someone dies, but it never goes away or lessens even after all these years. I cannot change the external situation that is causing it (think grief/loss). I went to therapy when it first happened and have done therapy and done therapy and done therapy many, many times since then, and it's never helped, because (I think) it cannot change the external situation. I also went to a psychiatrist and tried various antidepressant medications (sometimes several at once) and all of them did nothing--it was like taking sugar.
I've never had any trouble functioning and I've never self-harmed or been suicidal. I hold down a fairly demanding full-time job and own a home. I function just fine, I just feel like shit while I'm doing it. I already eat a healthy diet and exercise and get enough sleep. I have never used recreational drugs and I don't drink or smoke. I am not looking for suggestions on how to function better; I want to feel emotionally better.
My self-esteem is fine. The worst experience I've ever had in therapy was CBT--my sadness isn't due to any sort of cognitive distortion or internal thing, it's due to a real external thing that is out of my control.
My last therapist was a grief specialist. I worked with her for about seven months (without getting better) and she told me she didn't feel like she could help me. I'm really interested in complicated grief
, and have even written Columbia about it (they're the main university doing research), but the treatment for it is really, really specific to bereavement (my loss is not a death), and when they wrote me back they didn't really have any suggestions other than "sorry, Targeted Grief Therapy really is only applicable to bereavement." I tried to enroll in a TMS study but I am too functional (and they really need people with organic depression).
I am currently in therapy (with a newer therapist than the last one). She really wants to help me but doesn't know what will work. I've always interviewed several therapists before working with one and had a good rapport with therapists I've chosen, so it's not an issue of "fit"--it just never helps. I feel like when I go to therapy I just cry for an hour--and I cry plenty when I'm at home. Getting empathy (from family, friends, or my therapist) also has not helped, neither has talking about it over and over. The passage of time is obviously not helping either.
Is there anything else I can try? I'm really looking for scientific answers or links to research, so if you say, for a totally fictitious example "gardening makes people feel better," then I would prefer a scientific explanation as to WHY (what neurotransmitter is involved, what is going on with the brain to make it so).
I am in the US and have so-so insurance.
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