Sunday, September 19, 2010

Have you gone Mental (XXI)

I said that mental health disorders expressed themselves and had their origin in a bio-psycho-social-spiritual framework. If one is to improve their functioning they need to address each aspect of this four-fold framework. Let me say I am not a psychologist (which you must have noticed by now). I am just a fellow travelor on this troubled path. What I write is based on my experience.

When I began thinking about the "psycho" aspect of my disease I must confess that I thought it was a fitting representation of what I was dealing with. I have at times referred to myself in this manner, which is not helpful by the way. When I think of working toward healing of depresson-anxiety, as a psychological entity I think of five behaviors I have introduced into my life that have helped me. These are Talk Therapy, Positive Self Talk, Reading, Medication and Routine. I will adress each briefly from my experience.

Talk Therapy means counseling. You will hear people refer to their talk therapist as a "therapist" or a "counselor" If we are to improve significantly, counseling will likely need to be part of that. Look for these letters behind the name of a therpist: PhD and PsyD. These are the degrees most psychologists earn in order to practice as a psychogist. You may also find other doctoral therapists, such as D.ED and D. Min. The next catagory of degrees are at the masters level. The letters you will primarily see behind these are: M.A. and M.Ed. One should look for someone who has either a Masters or a Doctoral level degree. Interview a prospective counselor and ask someone else (friend or medical doctor) for a referral and or their opinion of a particular therapist-counselor. There are a lot of quacks out who I wouldn't take my dog to for counseling.You need to be comfortable and "click" with your thereapist. Ask also about their certification(s).

Self Talk. Practice saying positive things to your self. For instane, "I'm am getting healthier" or somthing like "I am improving day by day". "This too shall pass." "Everything is going to be OK." You can see that these are affirmations
and in many cases statements of faith. It is important that you make up your own self talk "mantras" for your self and that they are positive.

Reading. There are many books on depression and anxiety. Go to a large book store and thumb through the books on these disorders in the Psychology section. You are looking for books that offer solutions to your particular disorder.

Medication. I guess I should have covered this in the "bio" section but it didn't occur to me at the time. Depression-Anxiety is affected by the functiton of our brain. You may get an evaluation from a Psychiatrist or a Psychiactric Nurse Practitioner who focuses on the psychology of the disorder.. They can then prescribe medication to help you. If you are resistant to taking medicaton please at least get an evaluation of your condition and what they may suggest. Many, if not most of these professionals are not good therapists in my experience.

Routine. Find a routine that works for you. Take your medication at roughly the same time(s) each day, set aside time for a private review of your affirmations each day at roughly the same time. If you like to write, set aside a journaling time each day or week. Try to set up your counseling appointments for the same time each week. You get the idea. This will help get you into healthy basic habits that will enhance your healing.

I hope this has been of help. I understand it is very basic but we need to start from the beginning in order to notice our progress in my opinion. These have served me well at diffrent times anbd I try to practice them consistently. They have provided some temporay provide relief for my mixed depression-anxiety. As with most things this is not a "magic" pill or miracle practice. Their effectiveness depends on your consistency, commitment an faith in these basic healing activities.

Hang in there. Do not give up. Work hard at these disciplines and/or others you have found helpful. You will learn many other techniques to add to your "bag of tricks" through the reading you may do.

With typos and all, God bless you and may you begin to see progress and healing in and through your practice and hard work.

To Our health!

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