Thank you to everyone who answered the survey – the thoughts and advice are tremendous.
I’m splitting the answers into three parts to prevent an ridiculous long post. See part one here and look for part three tomorrow.
How would you approach treatment differently? If you wouldn’t, how did you start treatment?
- Initially I needed a hit of drugs to get me back to a place where I could apply more non-chemical means of coping. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has always seemed sort of a joke to me. It’s never helped. I guess, if I could afford it, I would go to regular, old fashioned talk therapy. I’m on a lot of medication as well. I think it helps a little and I know being off of it is worse, but I do wish there was another way. I hate how it makes me feel.
- I would approach treatment differently by not having my guard up all the time. This doesn’t mean I would go in head first but I would not be so restricted in what I talked about and what I felt. I would allow myself to be more vulnerable.
- I was dizzy all the time, and my chest felt… weird. So they did a lot of heart tests, which all came back normal. We tried anxiety medication and it made it a lot better. I don’t even know if I have a diagnosis, just something that works.
- I’ve been through a variety of methods to try to treat this. I’ve been on meds for 8 years, I was off prior to that for about 8 years and I’ve been off them again for a few years now. Being off meds is slightly more difficult but I think it’s worth it for me personally.
- I would have gotten treatment earlier.
- I would have been more open to treatment options other than medication when I started out, such as therapy and hospitalization since that is how they figured out what was wrong and how treatment has progressed the most. Not sure I would have had so many ECT treatments.
What personal coping strategies do you find most helpful (e.g. exercise, talking, etc.)?
- When I am having high anxiety, I prefer to have a blanket on and to be alone. When it’s not as bad, I prefer to have someone to tell me I’m okay.
- Blogging, journaling, reading, singing, Zen music, talking with friends, advocacy work, throwing a sock at the wall, self help books, loom knitting, deep breathing.
- Listening to music, loudly. Especially helpful for voices and thoughts that won’t stop. Distraction. Read. Art/scrapbook/creative stuff. Blogging/journaling/writing and art- self expression. When nothing else PRN meds to sleep or NyQuil/ZzQuil
- Exercising (Kayaking and running). Time alone, particularly in nature away from the world. Sketching. Routine.
- Finding someone who has been there and talking to them. Even joking with them, making light of the situation, calling ourselves crazy. Just having someone who has been where you have been so you feel less along. I’ve heard exercise helps, but I’m usually too tired from the medication to attempt this with any real results.
- I think the best things for me are exercise (for mood and it releases all those bad tense feelings) and I eat a banana a day religiously which does seem to work even though it sounds strange. There are also lots of good calming techniques. And I guess I’m guilty of one of the worst methods, which is avoidance. But I haven’t been able to stop that one yet.