Dear Stavroula

Ask Stavroula: My Daughter Feels Like She’s a Failure

Dear Stavroula,

My daughter is 33 years old and until recently had a very successful career. Unfortunately, she was suddenly faced with a mental health problem that literally tore her apart. She stopped being efficient at her job, lost her position, and all of this cost her dearly, plus the fact that her relationship broke up.

She feels that she has failed in her life on every level and she can’t handle it because in her life she tried really hard to succeed in doing this job that she did, and with great success. She is under the care of a psychiatrist, but I do not see her condition improving despite the fact that she is strictly following her treatment. She is locked inside the house and is uncomfortable every time I try to talk to her. I don’t know if there is any other way to help her, I feel hopeless, too.



Dear Konstantina,

Many young people in our time choose and follow a difficult and demanding path in their lives that they hope will lead to a successful career, a comfortable life, perhaps even social prominence, without even considering what the cost is of the lifestyle, or even if it really suits them.

So early on, they struggle to get into a good university, and later on to a good graduate school that will perhaps help them open the doors of a large company where as professionals they will now try to survive, develop, and excel.

But this path does not seem to suit everyone. For some, and they are many, there comes a point when they can’t go on. Depression, panic attacks, mental breakdown are knocking on the door of many young people today and forcing them to change their lifestyle.

However, many times such a difficult situation, however unpleasant it may be, can be the starting point for a more aware and happier life. It is a sign that something is not right, a reaction of the body to the intense pressure or oppression it may receive from a lifestyle that is killing it. It can develop into a life lesson that leads to a better understanding of oneself and one’s needs, and to self-improvement.

Something like this may have happened to your daughter. The positive is that she has acknowledged the problem and tried to get help. This is the first and most important step that unfortunately not all people who face a similar situation do. Now it takes patience and persistence – both from her side but also from you, the people in her immediate environment.

What you can do to help her is to support her with love and understanding. You will probably help her more if you stop constantly asking her how she feels and how she is, and if you show her with your attitude that you love her, that you accept her as she is, and that you trust her.

If her treatment does not include psychotherapy but only medication, discuss with her doctor whether it would help her and at what stage of her treatment would it be a good time to start it. With psychotherapy, she might be able to understand the cause of this whole situation and manage it better.

Maybe it would help for you to talk to a professional, too, and ask them for help on how to handle the situation better. In these cases, most people do not know how to behave, when they see their own loved one closing himself off, suffering, drowning in sadness, and they need help to endure this difficult phase themselves. It is very important not to treat illnesses of the psyche differently than others. Talking about them and treating them as illnesses rather than as taboos is an important step in treating them effectively.


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