Advice column by Tim White, PhD, LPC, NCC.
Tim White, PhD, LPC, NCC offers advice on family planning and parenting, LGBT issues, disability issues, education and work issues, relationships, ethics and "unusual" social issues. Send questions to Tim for future columns through his website.
I am in my fifties and have been out of the workforce for the past seven years. I spent some of that time caring for my disabled child and parents with medical problems. I also had been struggling with an undiagnosed thyroid disease called Hashimoto's Disease, which my doctors and I mistook for bipolar disorder. After a correct diagnosis and months of adjusting thyroid medications, I feel better than I have in years!
I am ready to go back to work and concerned about how I should address the above on my resume and in interviews, without going into the painful details. Thanks! — Me Again
Hi Me Again,
Thank you for bringing up the link between thyroid and mental health conditions. This article from the Wall Street Journal addresses medical conditions that mimic mental illness and references a helpful book. In some cases, these illnesses are quite treatable with minimal medication. Thyroid is a usual suspect but certainly not alone. Misdiagnoses like yours can have devastating and lasting negative effects on patients' lives. Thankfully, now you are newly and correctly diagnosed with a new bill of health and a new career ahead. I recommend making a new start altogether.
You owe no explanation to your prospective employers about your misdiagnosed mental health, unless there are serious details you have not shared such as significant disruption of work in the past, or some sort of legal trouble, like previous incarceration or probation. Hypothyroidism is quite unlikely to be excluded for most health insurance. My sincere congratulations to you on overcoming this adversity. There is no need to sound an alarm. Instead, use every inch of space on that resume and every minute of that interview to toot your horn!
Hiding on the Fence
I'm 18 and, for better or worse, a product of my very opinionated parents. I love them both. Unfortunately, their opinions are mostly on the opposite sides of one another. One's Democrat and the other Republican, and they usually go at it at the dinner table. They're civil, but passionate about their chosen party and full of lectures about why it's the superior one. I have mastered tuning them out years ago, but now that I have the right to vote I am being dragged into their debates to have my vote fought over by two crazy people, both of whom clearly want to win me over and I do not want to let one down. I am having trouble making decisions about voting because of their interference. I want to stay out of it, so please tell me how! — Hiding on the Fence
You do not need to hide at all. You are an adult, and you may skip off to the voting booth without having to discuss your vote at all with any other adults; that includes your parents. There is a reason that religion and politics are banned from family dinner tables around the globe. You can put your own newly acquired adult card into play the next time you all assemble and announce your wish for all talk of politics to henceforth cease and desist.
With regard to your vote, you do not have to align with any particular party. You also do not have to waste your attention on smear ads and campaign television spots. Look up voting records for legislators; their actions speak volumes. Vote for what you support, not what you are against! Learn the issues and even when you make up your mind do not shut out the opposition altogether; you can still learn from their arguments. Avoid the hype and party people and vote with that newly informed mind of yours. Voting is personal, that is why we have the little curtains on the booths for privacy. No one needs access to what goes on behind your curtain unless you choose to talk about it.
I am a 33 year old guy married to a woman, 29 who used to be romantically adventurous, but after having twins that are now 4 years old, has become almost completely disinterested in sex. We've talked about this problem without any kind of resolution and we're approaching the 3 year mark without any type of sex at all. She was willing to consider some experimentation and I found a social group that meets regularly for open sexual contact, switching partners and multiple partner sexual experiences. These are very friendly, safe people, and some have been in the same boat and used these experiences to reconnect with their spouses. I think it would be therapeutic, but she heard the idea and immediately shut down, won't even try it and now the discussion is off-limits for who knows how long. How can I save my marriage to the woman I still love madly? — Solitary Mate
Hi Solitary Mate,
The proposal you made to your wife would be like telling a person with depression to go to a theme park! I sincerely hope there were a few milder suggestions before you sprang the current potential fix on your beloved. That group arrangement for carnal bliss you so eloquently unpacked with near acrobatic verbosity is commonly referred to as an orgy. They are a good fit for some folks, but I am certain that one of the major guidelines is that one should be enjoying oneself, as a consenting participant. A spouse under duress issuing eye rolls and heavy sighs while being pawed by strangers is not going to earn either of you any future invitations to one of these "group experiences."
However, three years without connubial comfort is a concern, at least for you. You did not mention depression, post-partum or otherwise, or sexual pain for your wife. But ruling this out is worth a trip to her doctor. If the reason is not medical, then the best remedy for ailing sexual partnerships is talking to each other about your preferences, fantasies and apprehensions. Shutting down and orgy offers are hinting to me that you both may not be able to connect on your own; if this is the case, marriage counseling should be your next step.
Editor’s Note: The opinions offered in this blog are the author's alone. Tim White, and any experts he may consult and/or quote in responses to letters, will never provide medical or psychological advice, diagnoses, treatment, or counseling of any kind. General advice, opinions, and suggestions may be offered with no obligation on the part of readers to accept or act upon the content published within this column. Anyone in immediate crisis and/or mental/physical distress should call 911 or related resources of assistance.
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