“I got low self-esteem.”

It is a surprisingly common initial complaint for new patients, especially younger ones.

If they make it to my office, folks often think a medication is going to fix this.  What the folks who complain about this are more likely to get, from me at least, is a response more like “Sorry, honey, if I had a pill for low self-esteem, I would have sold it out years ago.”

We explore possible causes. Sometimes abuse.  Sometimes depression, sometimes a variant of the above, or other entities.

Some people get referred straight to the best hypnotist I know.  Although it may be tough sometimes to get results from a hypnotist with something like “depression,” (which seems to them to be vague, although it seems like a bunch of easy-to-rattle off diagnostic criteria to me).  It is to their conception a well-circumscribed complaint.

Of course, some of these same patients get medications, too.

I try to give everyone what they need according to who they are.

I do ask direct questions like  “what on earth makes you think that you aren’t worth much?

The toughest thing most of us have to do in our lives is to make the transition from child to adult.  We don’t have to agree with negative input from parents although we all get our share.

My father of blessed memory thought the best doctors only went to Harvard.

My mother of blessed memory thought the best women had a couple of kids whose achievements she could be more proud of than her own.

For them, this overeducated childless-by-choice professional woman was not what they had in mind — although I have long since forgiven them and deep-down believe I am fairly hot stuff.

Outside of parental influences, we are all cast adrift in a society that has some clear agendas about knocking individuals down.  From people who want you to spend your money on what they sell to get your allegiance to their political causes–and perhaps even your votes.

The crux of a fair amount of religious thoughts is “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”  I have never quite understood why people just seem to ignore the loving thyself part.

Other people, even when they are genuinely trying to do the right thing, are generally going to end up saying whatever they need to say.

It is rare and precious when they say what you need to hear.

Psychologists often mention the concept of “self-talk.”  This is a little easier place to control what you “hear” in your brain’s ear.  You can learn to filter out some “bad” talk that makes you feel good and knock out the stuff that makes you feel bad.

This complaint of “low self-esteem” may be the tip of a major mental health iceberg.  Or it may be something you can try to attack on the self-help level.  Here is at least one site with some ideas.

Filed under depression, medicine, News by on #

Leave a Comment

Fields marked by an asterisk (*) are required.