Taking Care of Yourself is The Best Part of Your Treatment Cocktail.

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Image by schmeezla via Flickr

Self-Care Tip #163 – Taking care of yourself is the best part of your treatment cocktail.

We often talk about partial or failed treatment in medicine, in each other, in relationships.  But those are only about 40-60% of the time.  There are many people who get full treatment response to medication and self-care.  Mindy is one of them.

Mindy has seen me for about four years in clinic for her depression.  She’s never been very anxious, which is less usual as anxiety and depression tag-team so often.  Mindy’s depression had lurked in her, stepping out in the light and slipping into the shadows, for years even before she started working with me.  We seemed to hit by chance or skill the right medication cocktail that had evaded her, and she was not depressed anymore.  However, she never told me she was great.  She was “pretty good.”  She was, “doing alright.”  She was, “you know, good.”  Mindy wasn’t great.  She was good.  We spent three and a half years like that.

Then about six months ago, Mindy came in looking hot!  (I can say that because I’m a girl.)  She had lost the mom bumps around the midline, dropped padding in the hips, her hair wore a fresh coat of glossy brown, and I could tell her outfit hadn’t been worn more than twice.  Mindy was smiling and sincere when she said,

I’ve never felt better!  I had no idea what taking care of myself would do for me!

Her eyes were telling me their own conversation.  They were so expressive saying,

I can’t believe this is me!

Mindy told me in testimonial fashion, about the strangers who now noticed her.  Being noticed was an elixir and she was drinking it as often as it was served, but not in an arrogant way.  Mindy was still very human.  She wasn’t manic or grandiose.  She was doing what Gary Vaynerchuk describes in his book, Crush It!

“Do what makes you happy.  Keep it simple.  Do the research.  Work hard.  Look ahead” (p 12).

Mindy said,

I used to think that what I got from life was good enough; from my husband and from the people out there.  I didn’t know I could get this by just doing what I wanted to do for myself all along.

Mindy was still taking her medication cocktail and had no plans of tapering any of them.  She thought the combination of these medications that took her out of depression, along with exercise and other self-care measures were just right.  Mindy had not forgotten her years of melancholy and sadness even though it was now four years since.

Questions:  1) What is your reaction to Mindy and the 40-60% of people who get full treatment response?  2) Do you have any questions you wish you could ask the “Mindy’s” out there?  3) Or something to say for the other 40-60% of people who don’t get full treatment response?  Please tell me your story.

11 thoughts on “Taking Care of Yourself is The Best Part of Your Treatment Cocktail.

  1. I would like to thank everyone that wrote expressing their support during my recent protest. If you didn’t, that’s OK too. I would like to thank DQ for explaining why Bridget was not right for me and offering to give me half of all her blog profits. I have decided not to accept my portion of the blog profits for two reason 1) I really don’t want to leave this blog and go bother other doctors, and 2) surprisingly, there are no monetary blog profits… it’s just something she does to “Be a Friend to Herself” and us.

    I also think that Mindy is “Hot”, (if a real doctor says it… it becomes a medical term). I can’t wait to meet her. Interestingly, we will have a lot to talk about. I also consider myself to be “fully treated” at this time. I’m glad that I did not give up too soon because it took me several years to get the right combination. Like my new friend Mindy, I have also experienced depression without anxiety. Not sure why… it’s just the way I am. Along with depression, ADHD has also been a relevant issue. Lucky for me, it wasn’t too hard to find medication that addressed both of these issues. The problem was…. almost everything I took caused me either to break out in a rash, sweat profusely, or both. As with many people, finding the right combination (cocktail) was a fairly long process of trial and error. (I’m quite sure that there is a medical term for that or perhaps they just say it in Latin). Through that process, I feel that I am able to function and be productive consistently.

    I do have a few questions for Mindy… do you like Sushi? What kind of music are you into? What is your opinion on cigars?

  2. Many I know can’t just do what they want to do. Chained. Chained by drudgery of work(you do not quit at the iron mill to become a poet, not in this economy), responsibility as family supporter, limited time and finances . Limitations of age or illness. The best these people can do is try to find some brief periods of quality hobby or playtime. Some have the tenacity to survive in spite of, as I did, but facing the realities profoundly inhibited wellness and depression deepened and immobilized on the worst days.

  3. Over the years, I have been on so many kinds of “cocktails” that the doctors have finally given up. Interestingly enough, when they gave up – and told me that my only hope was electroshock therapy – which absolutely terrified me – I actually became stronger and more confident. (Maybe because, for the first time in forever, I was actually fully conscious!) I still get depressed from time to time but I know how to push through it and, so far, I’m okay. My major problem is anxiety and I handle that with Klonopin (which also helps with muscle spasms that go with fibromyalgia – which flares when I’m anxious, of course). I’m not to where “Mindy” is and, at my age, maybe never will be. (I’ve given up on thin and beautiful and am going with cuddly, for my granddaughter. 🙂 )

    All that being said, it’s still frustrating to realize how little control we often have over our bodies and our minds. I know, Sana, that you are all for medication when necessary, and I know that, for me, it was desperately necessary for a long, long time. However, now that I’m pretty much un-medicated, I’m finding talking, daily, with an incredible 86 year old friend, who frequently reminds me that “everyone has problems”, and sharing on this blog is the best cocktail I’ve found for my mind and my body…so far…and I couldn’t be more grateful.

    • ah. nancy. I am honored to be a part of your journey and the fellows reading and commenting. u r not alone in your strategy to emotional health and many out there chorus w your story. no one approach can ever be “all that,” and yes, including medications :). keep on.

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