Sandra was a 34-year-old physician with depression and anxiety stemming from multiple stressors and losses. As with so many of us, her story of loss and depression begins in childhood. Sandra was a happy kid and an extremely good student with a great deal of ambition. But her life changed when, at age 15, her mother became ill with a fatal neurodegenerative disease. The disease progressed at an excruciatingly slow rate, leaving Sandra feeling completely helpless. It would be over ten years later before the disease finally claimed her. Sandra’s mother passed away the same year Sandra graduated with honors from a prestigious medical school.
During her mother’s illness, Sandra never found a way to cope with her substantial grief and trauma. Instead, she pushed her feelings down by throwing herself into her schoolwork. She also distracted herself from her overwhelming feelings by imagining herself in an ideal life—wealthy, powerful, and filled with the love of a man. When her mother finally passed away, Sandra kept her feelings to herself, focusing instead on her relationship with her boyfriend Sam, and on finding a job. Hired by a university hospital medical center in downtown Washington, DC, she immediately threw herself into her research,
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