Journey to Healing

It’s been a while, again. I’m completely guilty of getting caught up in life and neglecting my blog. There’s days I will look at my stats and see visitors, and i’m reminded I need to write some more. Then the thought fades.

A lot has happened in the last year, but I want to focus mostly on my mental health here.

In October of last year, I decided to give medication one more shot. I’m known for having terrible reactions to any type of medication, whether it be SSRI’s, SNRI’s, mood stabilizers or any of it. I’ve been taking a combination of Lamictal (mood stabilizer), Zoloft (anti-depressant), and Xanax to help manage my mental health. I meet with my psychiatrist on a monthly basis to review my medication, often with changes in dosages.

In February, right before Valentine’s Day, life got to be a little much and I was admitted to a behavioral health facility for a 24hr stay. More on that in another post.

Shortly following that episode, I was under pressure from a family member to change to a Christian counselor, and leave my former counselor. I was afraid, as most of us would be, about the change, and about having to share my past and life with someone who I didn’t know.

I eventually decided to do the switch (had to be stubborn about it first, obviously), being upfront that if I wasn’t a fan, I wouldn’t be going back.

Here I am about 2 months later and still seeing this new counselor.

I am seeing her on a weekly basis, and I don’t think there has been but maybe one session that I haven’t cried at. I forgot that with a real counselor, it was going to be painful and tough.

However, I had been fighting for almost 13 years for a real diagnosis. I received a general diagnosis back in 2007 when I was hospitalized for my mental health issues. They told me generalized anxiety disorder and chronic depression. As time had gone on, I knew there had to be more to it than that. My counselor and I sat down a few weeks back and worked through the DSM-V to find some answers.

After our hour session was done, I finally felt some peace and hope for the first time in a long time. The diagnosis was: Bipolar I, Borderline Personality Disorder, and PTSD.

As we sat there and talked about how these illnesses may present themselves, I had so many “ah-ha!” moments. Everything seemed to be so clear all of the sudden. Finally, these little monsters had a name!

She was able to present me with a treatment plan at the same time, Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT). It’s something completely new to me, but is geared mostly towards changing negative thinking patterns and aiming to create positive behaviors. We haven’t delved deep in to it quite yet, as we are still sorting through current/past issues and exposing those. I look forward to sharing my experience with it once we get completely underway.

First step has been mood tracking. I have known over the years that there is a “pattern” to my experiences, and I have theories. The big thing is we’re tracking now to see if my theories are true, and discover other patterns I haven’t noticed yet.

June was my first month tracking, and these are the things we noticed and will be something we watch for in the coming months.

  • Occasional Mixed Episodes (mania/depression in a short timeframe, or at the same time)
  • Depression coincides with anxiety
  • Elevated mood coincides with irritability
  • Trouble sleeping before a depressive episode

That’s about it for right now, more posts coming in the future as this new journey continues!

A couple questions I am leaving today.

  • Do you have any experiences with DBT? What was or has it been like?
  • Have you or a family member been diagnosed with BPD, Bipolar I/II or PTSD? What have the experiences been like? What were the feelings at diagnosis?

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