*Please email me with any personal problems you would like addressed in this column. All entries will remain anonymous.

Life is confusing. I love it, but I also feel like I can't win. What pharma do you advise to cure all that?

Dear Kind Soul-

To begin with, yes, life certainly is confusing.

I'm not a psychiatrist, so unfortunately I cannot recommend any pharma for you. Here's the good thing though: your question is actually more appropriate for therapy than for meds. You're question is a big one, so I can't answer it all in the space here, but I guess I would start by asking you why you feel like you can't win. What does that mean to you, exactly? The word "win." I'm pretty sure that my definition of "win" would be different to your definition of "win." 

Once you figure out what "winning" means to you, I would look at each component and see how you could improve or make progress in that area. For example, if you feel like you can't win in the relationship world, I would question why you think that is? If you feel that you don't know how to start a conversation with a person, ask a few of your outgoing buddies for some suggestions. If you feel that you never know a cool place to take a date, just look at coolcleveland.com. If you feel that you never know what to wear, just go to your favorite clothing store and ask a female employee for some suggestions. The take-away from this is to look at the various components and to break them down into bite-sized bits. 

Aside from the behavioral solution to your question, I would also look at your statement cognitively. Stating, "I also feel like I can't win" is a very black-and-white thought. In the land of therapy we call that a cognitive distortion; more specifically "All-or-nothing" thinking. I would suggest trying to reframe that statement with a more realistic, positive statement. Something like: "Okay, so the date didn't work out with Susie, but not all dates are going to go well. I've had plenty of dates and relationships that have worked out." Can you tell the difference between the two statements? One is a heck-of-a-lot nicer to your Self than the other. 

I'm glad that you say that you love life, though. Life is meant to be loved. If this short CBT answer doesn't work for you, there's always "42" (credit to Deep Thought in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy). 

Breathe and relax, 

Ty