Update from Amanda

Just want to drop in and update you all. 

I have been in therapy for three weeks. I am doing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which deals with thought patterns; breaking unhealthy ones and relearning healthy ones. 

I am also starting medication in conjunction with therapy. 

To be honest I was hesitant to start medication. I’m not ashamed to be medicated, and fully support people who choose to use medicine to stay healthy. But, part of my anxiety is a very intense thought pattern that tends to lean towards worst case scenario. 

 It’s a strange dichotomy because I am at heart a very optimistic person and tend to believe that things will always work out for good. BUT, my anxious brain says that the absolute worst thing may happen, even if it is happening on the way to the good that I am anticipating. For instance, I thought that if I took a drug, I would certainly be hospitalized or possibly die from a rare reaction. 

You can see why I have been exhausted by this particular pattern of thinking for the past several years. 

I should have started therapy much sooner. (I used an app about a year ago, I’ll add more about that later.) 

But, along with my optimism (and sometime existential dread, let's be honest), I am one who does not want to cause trouble or be an inconvenience to anyone. I also struggle with feelings of very low self-worth, so understanding that I needed help and that I actually deserve to get healthy and feel better is a big breakthrough for me. 

Steven has been my biggest supporter and encourager in all of this, and is constantly reminding me how much I matter and how much I am worth. He is my backbone when I can’t find my own. 

So, back to medication... I am not going to tell you exactly what I am taking, because everyone is different and different things work better for different people. But I will say that my therapist and my nurse practitioner (she handles the medication management at my therapy practice), have both listened to me and my fears and have been willing to let me try the lowest dose you can try, and are willing to help me stop the medication at any point if I decide I don’t want to be on it anymore. 

I don’t know if I will need it for years or months. I just know that right now, therapy is helping, but I am also sorting through a few different traumatic events that have occurred over the last ten years or so, and it isn’t easy. And until I can learn and relearn the coping strategies I need to keep my emotions from overtaking me, and my anxious mind from literally exhausting me, I am willing to take my medication to help my mind see things as they are, instead of seeing things in the absolute worst light like I have been for the past several months. 

The fog of my depression is beginning to lift. My anxiety is already starting to level off a bit. The side effects have been pretty rough, but they are tapering off as well. 

I just wanted to let you all know that this is really hard, but it is worth the effort to get well. 

If you are thinking of therapy and/or medication as a solution, I would encourage you to try it. Your physician can talk to you about what medicines may work for you. But listen to yourself as well, and ask all the questions you need to before you commit to any treatment or medicine. It is your body and your mind so you have the final say. 

If you are worried about the cost, there are lots of options if traditional therapy isn’t available right now. Before we had this current insurance, I used an app called BetterHelp and worked with an excellent counselor who helped me get through a very dark time. It was help when I needed it, and I highly recommend it, or an app like it, if you are in need of someone to talk to. 

I will keep updating as my therapy goes along. 

Thanks for reading, and please, take care of yourself. You deserve to feel better. -Amanda

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