From Iceland — Ask Paola Sála

Ask Paola Sála

Published July 19, 2010

Ask Paola Sála

“We are all experts in our lives.”
These are some very wise words I once heard. They changed me as a
person, and as a therapist. We are all individuals made up of different
experiences, and only we can truly know and understand who we are and
where we come from. We are the best judges of our lives and ought to be
the primary decision makers. Nevertheless, there are situations that
leave us feeling trapped, with no escape. In these circumstances, some
guidance or therapy might be useful in helping us see things from a
different perspective.
The Hollywood stereotype of ‘the psychologist’ is typically a male
therapist in his 40s sitting on a chair fast asleep while his client
lies on a couch, pouring his heart out. Another stereotype is that of
the therapist who seems to be crazier than her clients. I just want to
clarify that I am not you stereotypical Hollywood therapist.  First of
all, I am a woman in my 30s; second of all, I don’t have a couch in my
office; and third of all, I believe I am not crazy… but who’s normal
To prove my sanity, I went around and invited people to ask me a
question about a pressing matter in their lives. During this social
experiment, I was asked some familiar and very important questions—apart
from, “are you crazy?” Read on for some dilemmas, my answers to them. 
I have been travelling for a while now and my parents are worried about
me. They say I should come home and go back to school. I am at a point
in my life where I don’t know what I want. So, what should I do?

To your parents, you are still the little boy that they saw off on his
first day of school. For them, seeing their son move out is a big step
in their lives, as well as yours. Their worries are completely normal,
and reflect how much they care about you.
It can be helpful to take some time off to figure out what you want to
do with your life, as long as you feel good about your decision.
Travelling can be a good way to take a break from normalcy and engage in
something that’s constructive and fun at the same time. But are you
using travelling as an excuse not to settle down? Are you running away
from something or someone? These are important questions you need to ask
yourself in order to explore the underlying reasons behind your
decision of staying away from home. If this is not the case, have a
great trip and don’t forget to write your parents. 
I recently lost my job and even though I have more time on my hands I
don’t have the energy to do anything. Apart from this, I worry a lot and
I have difficulty sleeping. Is there something wrong with me?

Research has shown that losing a job can be as hard on people as losing a
loved one so you might be mourning your loss. For most adults, work is a
big part of their lives. It gives us a reason to wake up in the
morning, to meet people, it helps us create and maintain a routine and
it increases our self-worth and self-esteem. Being unemployed is not a
walk in the park, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You
are going through a very difficult and stressful time, and it is normal
to feel exhausted and concerned.
Take care of yourself by creating a routine and taking up a hobby. Going
to bed and waking up at the same time every day can improve your sleep,
and doing something you like can give you some purpose in life and the
opportunity to meet new people while doing something fun. May I suggest
some volunteer work? There are different organizations where you can
give some of your free time to do something rewarding and in return feel
good about yourself. In addition to this, it is never too late to learn
My boyfriend does not seem to get turned on by me anymore. No matter how
much I try, he seems disinterested in me. I don’t know what to do, I
love him but I am still young and I don’t think I am ready to wait for
him. What should I do?

Have you told your boyfriend how you feel? Communication is very
important in every relationship and “sex talk” is no exception. Couples
who talk openly about what they like and dislike in bed have healthier
and more satisfying sex lives than those who do not.
Most importantly: do not take this personally. Stress, depression,
worry, anxiety and substance abuse, for instance, can cause a decrease
in sexual drive. Your boyfriend could be going through a difficult
period in his life and might just need your support to get his libido
back on track. Talk to him and find out how he feels—with your help, the
two of you might be able to survive this dry spell and at the same time
strengthen your relationship. Who knows, this could end up being a
rewarding experience for the two of you in the long run. 
Need some help solving your dilemmas? Ask Paola by sending your
questions to:

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