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Competing With Younger Colleagues

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Thursday, 20 Oct 2016 04:32 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Anyone who’s attended a school reunion decades after graduation knows how shocking it can be to see long-lost friends who seem to have become gray, bald, and wrinkled overnight.

While some people actually relish the signs of aging, and consider them indications of accomplishments and experience, others wish to hang on to their physical youth.

Still others have always been dissatisfied with their appearance, and seek to alter their looks.

Several years ago, a psychiatrist I know told me about his patient, Tim, a 64-year-old real estate broker who had been in weekly psychotherapy because he felt dissatisfied with his work and personal life.

He had grown to resent the younger brokers in his company who seemed to be getting all of the high-end property listings.

Tim could tell he was being discriminated against because of his age.

Tim had started dying his hair 15 years earlier to hide the gray. And thanks to Rogaine, Propecia, and a special multivitamin, he still had a thick head of hair.

But lately, he had become obsessed with the bags under his eyes. He was sure that if he could just get his eyes done, he’d be able to compete with the young upstarts invading his agency.

His therapist, my colleague, knew that Tim was suffering from chronic depression as well as other personality issues that were likely holding him back at work.

But Tim refused to take an antidepressant medication because of the side effects.

He was especially worried about losing his libido, which was important for his marriage and self-esteem. He was sure he would feel better after getting eye surgery.

Tim consulted two plastic surgeons about the procedure. They explained the potential benefits and side effects, as well as the price, which was steep but definitely worth it from Tim’s point of view.

However, both surgeons were reluctant to perform the procedure unless Tim first underwent a psychological evaluation.

For some time after that, Tim blamed those “damn surgeons” for his poor performance at work.

But after several more psychotherapy sessions, he began to consider that maybe his mood and way of dealing with people were holding him back just as much as the bags forming under his eyes.

He finally consented to take an antidepressant, and responded well with few side effects.

Tim’s mood improved almost immediately with the medication, and because he was getting along better with his wife, his sex life even improved.

Within six weeks, business picked up at the real estate office and he realized that it was his own attitude with clients and colleagues that had been holding him back, not his appearance.
 

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While some people actually relish the signs of aging, and consider them indications of accomplishments and experience, others wish to hang on to their physical youth.
plastic surgery, aging, mental health
439
2016-32-20
Thursday, 20 Oct 2016 04:32 PM
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