Method to My Madness
I get a lot of questions about mental illnesses... treatments, management, triggers, etc. What I know is what I've learned from experience. I don't have a degree, I'm not a teacher, but what I can say with 100% certainty is that every person - and every illness - is different. With that being said, I would like to share with you some successes and failures from the last decade of my journey toward health and stability. Perhaps this blog post can help you, or at the very least, give you some hope.
I am not a huge fan of prescriptions for anxiety and depression. For some people they work marvelously. They are - literally - life saving. For me, I've not had much success with them. Most of my growth and wellness has come from "alternative methods". I've paid attention to, and altered, my diet. I am acutely aware of how much sleep I need. I've recognized that my struggle with depression is a lot worse in winter and spring than the rest of the year, so I amp up my lights and take vitamin D supplements during those seasons. I exercise regularly. I understand that I need a creative outlet (such as reading, writing, or painting) in order to feel centered. I recognize that I'm a workaholic; so I force myself into taking time off, because I know that - even though I don't feel like I need it - I do need time to rest and recuperate.
I've also explored a lot of therapies. Acupuncture. Massage therapy. Sound therapy. Aromatherapy. Herbal remedies. Meditation. Cupping. Yoga. And I'll be honest, some of it I absolutely do NOT like. Ha, no, really. For instance, I'm terrible at yoga (even though I'm a flexible person!). Classes aren't my thing, and trying to do yoga via a youtube tutorial just makes my anxiety tenfold what it was. I've had a small amount of success with meditation, but not enough for me to do it on a regular basis. Sound therapy is weird for me... I can't turn my brain off. So I just lay there feeling self conscious, anxious, and restless. I keep trying things though. And I think that's truly the key to getting better (and eventually, consistently feeling better). If something doesn't work- try something else. Don't just give up. Even if something doesn't work the first time, maybe give it another go later on. Every experience tells you about yourself. You learn about your brain, your preferences, your stresses, and your joys from every up swing and every down swing.
For me, there are a few methods that have massively helped me: acupuncture, massage, and diet awareness (including herbal and CBD supplements). Acupuncture particularly helps me with my depression. After a couple of months of regular treatments, I found that I was waking up (and getting up) far more easily. I also noticed that the dip in energy and temperament that I usually had in the early evening only hit every once in a while instead of every night. Massage helps me with general stress management. I tend to hold my body very tensely. I have both nerve and muscle pain and because of that (and causing it, both I suppose) I tend to hunch my shoulders and get headaches. Massage really helps release that tension and allow me to breathe, settle into my body, and kind of hit the reset button. As for diet, I've massively cut back on sweets and caffeine. I try to make sure I'm getting all the vitamins and minerals my body - and brain - needs to feel good and function correctly. I used CBD on days I'm really anxious, and I take an energy-increasing multivitamins on days I'm feeling low.
Everything is a balance. But, it's not a balance you find once and suddenly you're good-to-go for the rest of your life. It's a balance that you have to work at maintaining every single day. Some days that's an easy task and some days it's an impossible task. And that's ok.
As long as you keep trying and keep searching, you're going to keep growing. Healthy is possible.
It really is.
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