Linda, age 34: leaving depression & anxiety behind

From our first meeting, it was clear that Linda was used to being in control of her life, and she had high expectations for herself. Married to a successful attorney, she considered herself fortunate that she was financially very comfortable, and she was committed to giving her all to creating a home for her family and raising her kids.

Self-development was a constant with Linda; she was training for a marathon and was considering painting classes.

But in the face of it all, Linda felt empty and frequently quite depressed. To compound it, she felt guilty about this because she “had everything anyone could possibly want.” What Linda wished for felt out-of-reach. She craved that powerful sense of passion and purpose that other women seemed to have.

Linda and I met face-to-face where she could finally speak openly, without being judged, about how sad she was feeling. In fact, speaking her mind was the beginning of the turning point for Linda. She had felt so strongly obligated to act out happiness or whatever others seemed to want and expect from her that she had lost herself.

Once we had gotten that ball rolling, Linda made powerful use of her online journal. A writer at heart, she was able to examine her assumptions about what her husband and children expected of her and her fears of what might happen if she failed to deliver. Her journaling allowed me to provide input and exploratory questions, as well as specific tools, that constantly moved her to new insights. Linda is now at a much stronger place. She feels whole and entitled to her own thoughts and emotions. Her life is based on the plan she is creating for it rather than being based on her assumed expectations of everyone around her. Her plan includes being a present, vibrant mom and wife — but it also includes becoming an authentic voice within her circle of friends and, of course, taking a painting class.