This post was inspired by and is for M.B.
Finding a treatment plan that works for you can be a long and arduous process. It takes time to work out the kinks and get back to feeling some kind of normal. When you hit those bumps in the road, don’t give up.
When I finished Life Skills (my group therapy class), I was supposed to feel better. I should have been looking forward to the new chapters ahead of me. I did learn a lot from the group: I looked at my past with a new lens, I got to understand my coping mechanisms, and I realized just how warped my view of myself was.
Despite these new discoveries, the sessions didn’t cover all my bases. Unbeknownst to them, I had Bipolar II. I didn’t even know I had it at the time. As a result, what they were providing me simply wasn’t enough. And it really had nothing to do with me or them. We were just working with something neither of us were aware of. I thought something was wrong with me, but there really wasn’t.
And the journey didn’t exactly get smoother on from there, but I can say that with a lot of stumbling through I finally go somewhere I needed to be.
Finding the right medication
When you get diagnosed with a mental condition, you’re going to get prescribed meds. It just comes with the treatment plan. Testing out which medications will work for you is the journey. It’s comprised of unusual side effects that go on for a while. They may not always work, and, depending on your situation, you may need to take more than one pill at a time.
During the first year alone, I felt like none of my medications did anything. I was still having panic attacks, sobbing, and everything else. Zoloft didn’t help for long; Remeron made me sleep for too long after a while; Atarax didn’t ease my anxiety. The whole ordeal is a huge trial and error. As terrible as it is, it’s worth it to consult with a professional.
One on one therapy sessions
Finding a therapist you connect with and trust can be difficult. I didn’t get a winner on my first try. She didn’t understand me and she said I “cried too much.” So if you’re considering one on one therapy, don’t settle if you can help it. If your therapist makes you feel dumb, unheard or insulted, find a new one. You’re going to trust this person with your secrets and innermost trauma. You gotta make sure they fit the bill.
When I first started therapy, I couldn’t stand being there. I found it kind of uncomfortable. Talking about me and my shitty life us not my favorite thing to do. But once I got over it the initial discomfort, I was able to open up. And I’m glad I did. I learned so much about myself and am better equipped to handle my ups and downs when they happen.
Self-care in all its forms
This part is the easiest yet potentially most challenging part of the process. Self-care means many things to different people. It could translate to taking a bubble bath or curling up with a good book. For others, it could mean working out or bike riding. It really doesn’t matter what you choose as long as it helps you cope, benefits you, and, preferably, challenges you in some way. This could manifest itself in a hobby or a new skill or anything else you want.
Whatever you choose doesn’t have to match up with anyone’s expectations. My form of self-care certainly doesn’t. What’s important is that it compliments the other facets of your treatment.
In the end, after all the consultation, you have to fight for you and find your sweet spot. It’ll take some time so don’t think it’s any reflection on you. So if your current plan hasn’t worked or your last five, don’t sweat it. Keep pushing until you get one that does.