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Dealing with Depression/Depression/Social Anxiety?


Hi Patricia,

The reason I'm writing to you today to ask whether or not I should seek professional help for my current mental state.  Here are just some details to help you evaluate whether seeing a professional would be a good idea.

So I haven't been formally diagnosed with anything, but after participating in a shyness/social anxiety study a few months back, I learned that what I considered 'downer' periods in my life were actually major depressive episodes that lasted several months (my previous one was last year), and that I actually have a moderate case of social anxiety.  

For my apparent social anxiety, I had always just thought I was shy – there is a definite uncomfortableness/anxiety when speaking on the phone with people around me, public speaking, socializing and etc., but I can manage to do these things, it just requires a bit more mental effort although sometimes I do completely avoid situations because I worry about socializing with people.  I feel as though my anxiety has ramped up a little though, and it seems to be at its peak while I am getting ready for work/right before I sleep and am thinking about the next work day.  However while at work, even though I don't feel completely calm, II can still manage to get through the day.  

At the same time, work has been quite stressful this year (due to both my duties and being in a new work environment with new people... who being around makes me nervous as I worry about what they think of me, if they like/accept me, etc.), which I presume has some association with my moderate/severe acne breakout.  The latter has undoubtedly caused my self esteem to plummet, and I feel like it has exacerbated my tendency to avoid social situations, as I fear what people will think of my acne-ridden face.  

But besides feeling anxious, I have been feeling down in the dumps and it seems to linger throughout multiple days. I also seem to have lost motivation towards my work which I am normally quite passionate about, I've gained weight, I often get feelings of emptiness/hopelessness and I have also been crying a lot more and can't seem to control it even in public.  There is also this constant sense of impending doom, although I can't quite pinpoint why I feel this way or alleviate it no matter what I do.  While these are the things I feel most days, while I am at home spending time with my mother or doing something I enjoy, I can joke around easily and pushing away the things I thought during my day at work is quite easy.  Although the feelings can come back when I am home alone, it makes me question whether I am simply reacting towards not wanting to be at work or if it is something deeper.  I also have days where I feel ok, and others when I actually feel good for most of the day.  

So overall, I'm a bit confused as to whether my current state is worth seeing a professional about.  There's no doubt that I am unhappy and more anxious about things than usual and it does bother me, but I wonder if this will pass on its own, as my previous 'episodes' have done.  

Sorry for the lengthy question, but thank you so much for your help in advance!


Hi Jo,

After reading your letter and the good details you have given, I think it would be worth it to you to see a professional counselor.

It is common to have depression and anxiety together.  Feeling impending doom can be part of depression.  You do need to see a professional and get assessed for your depression and anxiety problems.  Talk therapy helps a lot as you notice when you are with your mom you can joke around and push the negative thoughts aside.  Feeling unhappy is a sign of depression also.

Talking with a professional will help to put things into perspective for you.  She/he may suggest some holistic health medications.  Or, you may need to see a doctor for possible prescription drugs.  A professional an help you with your negative thinking by using Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT) or possibly other techniques.

Hope my thoughts have helped youto decide to see a professional.

Take care,


Dealing with Depression

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Patricia A. Schafer, Ph.D.


I received my Ph.D. from Kent State,in Ohio in Counseling.I specialize in various forms of depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and forms of addictions such as substance abuse,eating disorders and gambling. My licenses are: Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor -Supervisor(LPCC-S) and Licensed Professional Chemical Dependency Counselor (LICDC) My experience includes counseling substance abusers, families of alcoholics/drug addictions, and codependency issues. I also specialize in social phobia; stress; anxieties; women`s issues; grief and adjustments to life changes. Some therapeutic techniques used are: CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), DBT (Dialectical Behaviorial Therapy)REBT (Rational Emotive), SFT (Solution Focused) and 12-Step, etc. If you live in the Cleveland area, you can contact me at my office for an appointment at: 440-349-4521. I accept insurance and EAP programs.


Twelve years experience as a professional clinical counselor; 30 years member of Al-Anon.


Experiences of prejudice among individuals in African American and Caucasian Interracial Marriages: A Q-methodological Study (Doctoral Dissertation - December 2008; Wilsnack and Beckman's book: Alcohol Problems in Women (1984). Alcohol use and marital violence: Female and Male Differences in reactions to alcohol(pages 260-279.

Ph.D. in Counseling - Kent State MS in Counseling - John Carroll University BS in Psychology - University of Pittsburgh

Awards and Honors
Previous president of NCOCA (North Central Ohio Counseling Association); previous president of Chi Sigma Iota. Two years VISTA volunteer on Navajo reservation in Inscription House and Shonto.

Past/Present Clients

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