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Headache, tiredness and worries

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

i’m a fresh graduate, 25 and male, looking for a job in Hong Cong. I have been suffering from depression and anxiety. i took medicine, sertraline because my student counselor asked me to see the doctor in May. After a few days, i had a mild headache. Then after 2 months, i saw the doctor again to tell him the problems of headache. He thought i had no need to take the medicine and should focus on seeking a job. Then, after half a month, i still had a bad headache so i saw him the third time and i took the medicine again. Now, my headache happens every day, but it’s very terrible in some period of time.

Besides, i have felt extremely exhausted like i have done a ton of things or jobs in a day. i feel extremely extremely tired and didn’t want to do anything. in fact, it’s okay to do something like watching tvs or listening to music. in particular, i feel completely tired when waking up in the morning. it’s too hard for me to be like a normal person who feels good and can do cleaning at least once every day. I usually need to sit down and thought what’s wrong with me and how i can overcome this, but this makes me upset and sad.

by the way, i think at this moment i can’t do a job although i can find a job. it’s because of the tiredness. in addition, i have stomach problems and some illnesses too.

Thus, I am worrying too much that i quite often check my body or go to see a doctor. That wastes time and money. i think i feel sick, but it almost had no problems and i am just fine. in fact, i know this problem but i should make sure that’s ok when i feel just a little bit uncomfortable or sick.

in addition to health problems, i am quite anxious of my daily life, even trivial things, like what i need to do next hour or something. i always want to finish my jobs quickly and perfectly, so that i am not worried. However, this doesn’t work and even makes me worst. Actually, i feel a bit tired of this pattern of thinking because it makes me anxious and gives me some pressure. And i can tell you that it’s not normal.
thank you so much.

You’re right. It’s not normal for a young person to have so much anxiety and depression that he is unable to function. That doesn’t mean that it is that unusual. Many recent graduates have a difficult time for a while. They have been in the rhythm of school and focused on getting their degree for years. Once they get it, they aren’t quite sure how to move to the next stage of life. Some, like you, develop symptoms.

I”m very glad you’re under a doctor’s care. It is always important to make sure that your symptoms aren’t caused by a medical condition. You and your doctor seem to have ruled that out. That being the case, your symptoms do seem to suggest anxiety and depression.

Studies show that anxiety is underdiagnosed in Asians. It may be that your treaters underestimate how serious the problem has become. If you feel this is the case, it may be important for you to emphasize how much you are suffering.

Medication alone isn’t working for you so it might be helpful to add other elements to your treatment. In the States, I would suggest you seek out a cognitive behavioral therapist. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be one of the most effective for dealing with anxiety and depression. If you would like to learn more about it, go to this link.

In addition, it’s particularly important that you pay attention to your physical health. That means eating right and getting some exercise every day – even if you don’t particularly feel like it. Some mindfulness strategies like meditation or self-hypnosis or yoga often help to lower the intensity of anxiety. Finally, you might find it helpful to join one of our online support groups. Members of the community can offer both emotional support and practical help.

I strongly suggest you find a mental health professional to help you develop a comprehensive treatment plan and to provide you with support. If you could pull yourself out of this on your own, you would have done so already. With a more intensive treatment strategy, I have every reason to believe that you will get through this.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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