I thought it would be a nice change of pace to answer some frequently asked questions surrounding mental health issues. Consider yourself TAGGED if you want to participate! I love learning from other’s perspectives.
1. What is your Mental Health Issue?
My mental health issues are PTSD, panic disorder and anxiety. I would throw in depression for good measure (though I am not clinically diagnosed. I realized I was depressed after being on antidepressants and seeing my mood elevate).
2. Do you have medication and/or therapy?
Sure do. I take Pristiq, a daily antidepressant in the SNRI Family. I felt the impact of Pristiq in about two weeks and I have never felt better. My psych provider describes it as “quite activating” so I do feel a little bit of elevated mood, which is great for me. I also take Ativan when I feel like my panic or anxiety would be better managed if I could calm down just a bit. I do go to therapy. I love my therapist, she is absolutely fabulous. We do a mixed informal approach to therapy with some CBT.
3. What therapy/medication have you tried and has any worked for you?
I have tried a couple of things. Way back when, I had a Psychiatrist diagnose me with undetermined mood disorder (I was 16). She put me on Topamax. I hated it. At about 19, I went on Zoloft, also hated it. I felt like a Zombie. I was very skeptical to get on another daily medication but Pristiq and I…match made in beautiful medicine heaven. I have been to several therapists over the years but the one I have now is someone I have a true connection with and I have done the most work with. I would consider her a lifelong *friend* (as much as a therapist can be a friend), she has helped me to change my life and I feel like I owe her the most appreciation.
4. How long have you had problems for?
I have been experiencing mental health issues for as long as I can remember. I remember having a lot of anxiety around sleeping as a child. I would make pallets on my parents floor and sleep there almost every night. I also made myself do things that I didn’t want to do. Example: I would force myself to look back at the other car behind us or something “bad” would happen. I now know that is a symptom of OCD. I was doing that at about 6-10 years old. I do not have those behaviors now.
5. Does your family/friends know?
Yes. I am very open about sharing difficulties with friends and family. Some family members choose to not believe in the science behind mental health or the severity but I choose not to talk about it with them.
6. Does this effect your work and daily living?
Sometimes it can. I feel most of my anxiety and PTSD symptoms creep up when I have difficulties happening in my most close relationships. When those are going well, typically I am okay. When they are not going well, I feel out of control and panicky. I am working on preventative measures and in the moment steps to take for when I am experiencing difficulties. I am highly functional, but that comes with issues as well. Example: “You don’t seem anxious. You are faking it. You just want to leave work. You just want to avoid the topic. You are making this up. You seem so confident, why do you feel this way?”
7. What makes you feel calm?
Therapy. Talking with friends. Laughter, loads and loads of laughter. Hot tea. Chilly weather. Reading. Medication when needed. Spending time with my daughter. Baking. Cooking. Learning about something. Watching a murder mystery. Planning a trip. Making a to do list. Writing down goals.
8. What do you do in a crisis?
In a crisis I would typically call a friend, talk through the issue and take an Ativan. After that, I would text my therapist and ask for a session today or tomorrow. Usually getting a plan in place helps me to see through the crisis.
9. What advice would you give others who are suffering?
Well, first I would say it is a big step to admit and realize that you may have an issue. So many people wallow in shame and denial for so long before seeking professional help. Read below for my full blog post about what to do if you are silently suffering today.
10. What makes you smile?
So many things make me smile. Stand up comedy, my friends telling stories, my daughter finding something so innocent fun, my daughter growing up and understanding how the world works, reading a great book, watching an excellent TV show or movie. I find joy in simple things like a friend checking up on me or appreciating content on my blog or Instagram.
11. Describe your mental health issue in 5 words.
Intuitive. Impulsive. Emotional. Painful. Resilient