Be Willing to Stick Your Toe In The Water of Self-Care – Just Start.

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Self-Care Tip #204 – Be willing to stick your toe in the water of self-care – just start.

I’m not interested in medications.

I used to really wonder why anyone would come to me and say this.  Sometimes we would both realized that they didn’t know what a psychiatrist was.  My degrees seemed transparent as they hung so quietly on the wall.

My girlfriend, who’s an Ophthalmologist, loves it when her patients homogenize her work with what optometrists do.   And it wasn’t until I read Madeleine L’Engle did I understand more of the differences between astrology and astronomy by understanding their similarities first.

For the magi, astronomy and astrology were one science, and it is probably a very sad thing that they ever became separated. That is yet another schism which looks for healing…

Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas.

In those cases when my patients don’t know who they came to see, I have tried to bridge the awkwardness with something to put them at ease.

Don’t run for the door.  There’s no cage.  See, the doors unlocked.  There’s no implication that you have to take medication just because you came to see a psychiatrist instead of a psychologist.

But I’m not interested in medication.

Then there are those who know who they came to see.  But they may not know the connection between behaviors, emotions and their brain health.  (Of course there are other reasons to see an MD I’m not covering here.)

I’m not interested in medication.

Who wouldn’t wonder?  Now I realize an MD is good for more than just prescribing, if she wants to be.  I know.  Wild and outrageous idea, right?  So before I educate anyone on my enormous fund of knowledge or my stealth abilities to diagnose and treat, I think about what it is that this someone thought they might get from coming to see me.

(Enters Fatima:)  Fatima came in this way.

I’m not interested in medication.

Fatima wasn’t feeling good.  Her emotions were corrupting her behaviors and quality of life and she was trying to help herself, stretching her toe into the pool of science, slowly.  She had never been a person to jump in and splash.

After speaking with Fatima for some time, we were able to come up with what she felt she needed help with, what she thought might be medical, what she might be willing to try – for now that meant engaging in psychotherapy, starting omega 3’s and vit D, working on her sleep hygiene, trying to get more aerobic exercise in (like a pill) and doing a mood chart.  We decided together that she would see how this goes for her over the next two to four months.  After that, if she wasn’t doing better or better enough, we’d consider a medical intervention.  We’ll see if she’s interested in medication.  Maybe not.  She can choose when she believes she’s making the right choice.

Questions:   What helped you take the plunge into medication therapy?  What held you back?  Or in someone you know?  Please tell me your story.

16 thoughts on “Be Willing to Stick Your Toe In The Water of Self-Care – Just Start.

  1. Interesting dissonance going on in Fatima’s mind… Sounds like she believes in the beauty of science, yet perhaps has fear/phobia toward medications. Maybe her coming to see you is a way to test herself, or it is the half of her that knows what she needs.

    • My thoughts are, like Sana’s and other’s, with the people in Japan, but I had to somehow respond to this blog entry and your response, Sarah. I’ve been there; done that. I was over my head in medications for years and then took myself off of them, with the help of my physician. I NEVER wanted to be on anything again, but I decided to see what a psychiatrist would say, since I’m still not completely okay, and I have to admit I am exactly (and frightenlngly) where Fatima is. I believe in the science; I am terrified of more medications. Half of me tested myself by seeing a psychiatrist and I’m doing the same things Fatima is doing. Tthe other half of me still isn’t over the terror or lack of trust or whatever people think Fatima is thinking. What I do know is that I feel for her. Taking the first, or, for me, the forty-first, step into the water is huge – and very different for everyone, I would think. I hope things work out – for both of us.

  2. What helped me decide about taking medication was, in first place, the way I felt, pretty bad, had depression, anxiety, no interest in doing things or seing people, afraid of my own thoughts and actions, angry all the time. I was reluctant to start medication. In the past I tried some antidepressants and they just made me feel worst, until I visited my present psychiatrist, she is the second reason I started with medication. She made me feel comfortable, I felt that I was not alone, that I could call her anytime, that I could count on her. I visited her pretty often the first weeks, I even had a panic attack in her office, waiting to see her, but I didn’t stop, she pushed me to continue with my medication even though I was afraid to continue, I believed in her, I believed what she said, that things would get better and they did. I can say now that taking medication was definitely what I needed, it changed my life. Today I feel happy, my anxiety is very much controlled, my obscure thoughts are things of the past. I am in a good place, thank you Dr. Sana, your are the best.

  3. Sana; will you share this on your comment page for others requarding the tsunami hitting the Japanese people. Thank You.
    In the heartbroken cries echoing throughout the vastness of death & destruction… All are victims; all are touched. The tsunami’s devastation is beyond comprehention. Wrestling all measurements within the essence of life…Our Purpose; our reason, our existence; our plan is given; as we are moments interwoven in time…Please keep these beautifully gentle people in prayer. Prayer is one of the most efficient weapons against diversity!! A Loving Heart Is The Tool In Hand; to Rebuild & Heal The Multitudes!!! Pray & Help In This— Where You Can…Thank You!!!

  4. What held me back was the false belief that I should work harder on my spiritual life instead of medicating. what held me back after that was fear of what medication might do to worsen or affect me adversely later.

    What made me take the plunge was not being able to get to counseling, medication was less expensive than counseling. And my experience was good, up until a second medication was added that caused some serious apathy. I have been working more on finding what self care works for me, and talking to counselors, but realize that medication may be in my future again soon. It is a journey with ups and downs.

    • well said frelle! it is a journey for many of us that is up and down. unfortunately, we can’t b as objectively about what will help in each person as we would like. we have studies to support our efforts but no studies that measure the efficacy in any one person, no measurements to say, “this is for u”. i believe that some day we will – possible the next couple decades even. wow. keep on frelle. u r worth it.

  5. For many, many years I thought I could control my depression and anxiety. Up until November of last year, I hadn’t taken any meds for more than a week. I started having physical symptoms caused by the depression; constant headaches, dizziness, extreme fatigue, elevated blood pressure, etc. I was having panic attacks daily with no triggers, and I had uncontrolable shaking. These, and many other things led me to believe that I was terribly ill with some sort of disease or condition that was wrong with me neurologically. I went to ER’s, and saw the doctor because I constantly had this feeling like I was dying; an overwhelming feeling that consumed my mind every second of the day. I was scared to go to sleep and when I did, I would wake up feeling so scared like something really bad was going to happen to me. These feelings lasted about two months. After doctors ran blood tests and I had an MRI and everything turned out normal, my doctor said that all of this may be caused by depression and severe anxiety. I knew I had a long history of depression, but I did not want to believe that depression was the cause for all of my sypmtoms. I have been on meds since December and all of my symptoms have stopped. I am so glad I finally decided to give antidepressants a try. I feel so much better and I am able to go on with my life now without that overwhelming feeling of impending doom. I do not regret my decision to start on meds and only wish I would have started treatment years ago. I wasted years believing I could fix something that was bigger than me. It is now clear to me that I should have never been ashamed to reach out and seek help for something that I wasn’t able to handle on my own.

    • what a story jjen. u r fresh into these successes in your life and it is “WOW” for us that somehow we intersected w u and joined your journey at this place in time. your voice is powerful. many need this. keep on.

  6. Omega #’s and Vit. D !!! I am delighted that part of your treatment protocol avails itself of the orthomolecular psychiatry findings of Osmond and Hoffer. Linus Pauling’s theories re mega vitamins for physiological health and expanded by the aforementioned to include mental health seem to have measurable positive results although their theories have been employed by fewer and fewer providers in the field as other alternative therapies emerge. The application of orthomolecular medicine still seems very promising in my opinion for addiction treatment for physical reconstitution and detoxing applications of vitamin therapy. If calcium promotes bone health it is very logical to conclude that particular nutrients promote brain health in both tissue maintenance and chemical and electrical thought processes.

      • Did the work for MA Degree(CHAP) Certified Holistic Addiction Professional and wrote rough draft curriculum and student protocol and study guide. . Now just need to get institute to do paperwork for degree. I would not seek licenture as I am on social security disability and cannot enter practice. Will always remain an area of high interest for me.

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