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Dealing with Depression/Depression about career, other things...


Dear Dr. Schafer,

I am a 40 y/o husband & father of a 4 year old boy.  I have a college degree from a top university.  Since graduating from university (16 years ago) I have struggled to find my "place" in the job sector, if not the world.  I have never really been a 9-5, office type person.  I like being challenged, mentally, and/or in charge of things.  My original plan, as a child, was to become a commercial pilot.  However, college sports derailed that plan.  I could go back & fly now, but it's not practical at my age, and given my family situation--pilots get very low pay in the USA for a while, not to mention the high costs of training.  Anyway all this has caused recent depression.  I am already prone to depression, as I am a deep thinking person.  I get depressed when the summer, and all the fun activities associated it with end.  I get depressed realizing my boy won't be a precious toddler for much longer.  And I really get depressed because I feel lonely when my weekend friends abandon us to go to their weekday jobs.  I know they have to, but I feel so empty when they leave.  I was raised in a very big Armenian family, in which people were around all the time, laughing, joking, hugging, etc.  I find I am most happy in these situations.  I almost wish I lived in the tribal days, when communes of people were around each other day & night.  These are my current psych struggles.  

Do you have any advice on how to cope with these things?

And can I find peace/happiness in a "mundane" desk job?  I just feel like I want so much more out of my life.

I REALLY appreciate your taking the time to read this and help me.  :))

Very sincerely,

Hi James,
I am sorry to hear how you are feeling and that you have a job that is not challenging enough for you.

Since you have a job, your health coverage may include counseling.  Also, if you work for a company that has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) you can get free counseling and not pay a
copay. You would need to ask HR if they have an EAP program.

I suggest you see a clinical counselor of counseling psychologist that  
can help you with your depression.  Talk therapy is good and ask if the therapist does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).   That type of therapy can help alleviate your feelings of depression.
I feel this may be good for you since you are a deep thinking person. Look it up on the internet to understand it a little bit more.

It is difficult to live with less people around when you have been used to large communities and people always being around. It is hard feeling alone and missing people. For now, until you get to see a counselor, focus more on your 4 year old boy.  He can "entertain" you.  Ask him deep questions such as: Well son, what do you think about the world we are living in.  You will be surprised at his "thinking" and responses.  or "Do you think you want to be president when you grow up?  What do you think about elephants - can they sleep on their bellies? If you built a house, what would it look like, how many rooms would it have, where would you put the bathroom - inside or outside?" It is fun watching and listening to how a 4-year old thinks. Go to the library and get a book on activities to do with kids.

As for your mundane job, I suggest getting a "head hunter" to look for various jobs for you. That is, go to an employment agency, and let them look for you.  I don't know if you are in a city where jobs are hard to find; but, you have nothing to lose by getting a head hunter.

I do not think you need medications because you find yourself happy in other situations.
But, when you go to counseling, ask for a depression assessment.  Sometimes the winter months people get depressed because it is darker and gloomy.  IF you want to read up on depression and do an on-line self-inventory, check out "Depression Central" in your browser.  It by a Dr. Ivan Goldberg, a New York Psychiatrist.  His site "Depression central" has a lot of information.

I hope my suggestions help you.

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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