Type to search

Ask the LifeQuake Doctor – Apr 2017

Ask the LifeQuake Doctor – Apr 2017

Dear Dr. Toni,


I am the executive director of a treatment facility where I am the only woman in a leadership position. The clinical director, the new director of admissions, and the CEO are all men. Recently, I have learned that the CEO hired the director of admissions at a salary that is 20 percent higher than my own in spite of the fact that the director of admissions reports to me and the previous director of admissions (who is a woman) was paid $30,000 less in annual salary, a mere few months ago.


I am also experiencing some of the same sexism in my relationship with my boyfriend. He puts me down, is critical, and is distant sporadically. I have been in recovery from alcoholism for ten years. I am forty years old and would like to feel more powerful in my dealings with men. Do you have any suggestions as to how to get more respect in my job and my relationship?


– Jane D.


Dear Jane,


I know this sounds so Freudian, but what was your relationship like with your father? We all have a personal myth and a story we have about our lives that we keep repeating over and over again. The difference between engaging with one’s personal myth and living out over and over again one’s story is that in myth we get to be the hero or heroine, not the victim. If you did not feel supported by your father or he wasn’t around at all, or he favored your brother for example, you may attract men whom you feel do not see you or respect you. 


The following was in a New York Times article back in the late 1980s:


“Every myth has a creative side and a dark side,” said Philip Zabriskie, chairman of the Jung Institute of New York. “If you can find the core myth that illuminates a person’s life, you have a powerful tool for psychotherapy.”

Dr. Zabriskie’s wife, Beverly, who is also a Jungian analyst, uses the example of Isis, the Egyptian goddess, to show how the transformation of a character in a myth can be used therapeutically. In the course of the myth, Isis changes from the helper of a powerful male to an authority in her own right. Dr. Beverly Zabriskie finds that many women who identify with this myth can be helped to become less dependent on the men in their lives (Goleman, 1988).


I would like to suggest that you read either the Greek or Roman myths and find a god or goddess or heroine that you resonate with who has power for you. As that character, how would you go about showing up in your job and your relationship? When you engage this myth actively in your life, your story will change, I promise you!


Dear Dr. Toni,


Do you know of any supplements that can replace taking antidepressants? When I first began my recovery, I needed to be on Zoloft, but now I feel like I want something that is not pharmaceutical to balance my brain. Any suggestions?


– Peter


Dear Peter,


If you are being medically managed, I would not suggest going off your medications cold turkey. Find a naturopath or functional medicine doctor who can help you slowly titrate off them. There are natural therapies that can help to balance your neurotransmitters using herbs and amino acids. For example, tryptophan and 5HTP are calming, and tyrosine, L-theanine, and rhodiola boost dopamine if depression is the predominant symptom.


Once again, you need to be managed by a health professional who has experience in dealing with antidepressants and knows how to gradually supplement the drugs you are taking and slowly help you withdraw from the Zoloft. Just so you know, if you find that natural supplements do not provide the support to your brain chemistry that you need, it will not hurt you or your recovery to stay on an SSRI (antidepressant) that is working for you.




Goleman, D. (1988). Personal myths bring cohesion to the chaos of each life. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/1988/05/24/science/personal-myths-bring-cohesion-to-the-chaos-of-each-life.html?pagewanted=all