Tag Archives: therapy

9 Ways to Place Yourself in Mental Health “Intensive Care”

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

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A time of reprieve and emotional healing follows difficult struggles with depression.  It is as if God is saying, “Come now child. I know you were just beat up. Let’s sit awhile, I will bandage you, and we can talk. Only rest and know you are safe.”

Ah, the tender heart of the Almighty.

I have learned that when I feel most like giving up – whether it be hopelessness, money concerns, schooling, or  burn out in some other area, the answer comes right after a sense of defeat. 

Repeated experience has taught me to respond differently. When my mind screams. “I can’t,” now I add,”You (God) can.”  When life is too much to bear, I recall that I have survived the worst.  When emotions are too much to handle, relief and healing begin in the embrace of the Heavenly Father.

You have probably heard that it is okay to not be okay. That is true! At difficult times, we may need to put ourselves into mental or emotional health intensive care.

For me, this means stopping everything and focusing on repairing my thought processes.  From simply praying in my home, to therapy and even psychiatric hospitalization, taking care of myself is the primary means of restoration. 

9 ways to practice intensive care

  1. Take a break for awhile. If you feel as if everything is closing in around you, step back and rest.
  2. Call on God for wisdom.
  3. Seek professional diagnosis if these struggles interfere with daily functioning, especially if it has been going on for a few weeks.
  4. Struggles that seem insurmountable can ease up by reaching out for support and hearing a new perspective.
  5. Eat right
  6. Sleep right
  7. Breathe.
  8. Putting yourself in mental or emotional intensive care is more than taking a mental health day. You may need several.
  9. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, for safety and health go to the actual Emergency Room. 

Trust that sometimes hope hides behind pain. It does not disappear. To find it again, consider paying vital attention to your well-being. Place yourself in mental health intensive care.

Today’s Helpful Word

Zephaniah 3:17 

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

 

3 Reasons Why Medications Do Not Always Help

CompassionateLove Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness    (c)2017  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

Doubts about medications may come from watching a person try them and remain in an emotional or mental struggle. Before denying yourself or anyone else this type of treatment, here are three reasons why meds do not always help. 

(1) The patient is non-compliant due to their illness.

A study on patient compliance to medical treatment statesdpressed-2798, “…depression continues to play a central role in nonadherence.”¹ Think about it. Depression challenges our ability to think beyond the negative and hopeless. Depression saps our energy and motivation. There is often a giant I don’t care shadowing our days.

Depression can tell us we are not worthy of treatment, and who cares if we live or die. There may be trust issues. 

Adherence, or compliance, means taking medication as prescribed. Timing and dosage are important.  Whether taken with food, water, or on an empty stomach affects how medication works.  

Other mental illnesses create struggle with compliance as well. A manic state leads one to believe he is well and no longer in need of treatment. Anxiety may cause one to cancel appointments or leave prescriptions unfilled.  Temporary disconnection to reality disrupts the best of intentions. It is difficult to maintain any schedule when your mental health is struggling.  

Any of these reasons can interfere with a patient’s communication with doctors. Without full disclosure,  a psychiatrist will not have access to the knowledge she needs to make the best recommendations. 

(2) The medication needs adjusting. 

pills-rgbPsychotropic medications, similar to other types of medicine, require specific dosages for different people. Finding the balance that works best may take some time. Meanwhile, functioning can remain challenging. 

Not all medications work well for everyone either. It’s a complex system matching the right med to the client who will respond best to it.  Some medicines even have a dual purpose. For example, in a higher dose one drug relieves anxiety, and in a lower dose the same drug helps with depression.

Unfortunately, for some people a search for effective treatment may take longer than for most. This does not mean there is no hope!   

(3) The patient refuses co-treatments. 

Psychotropic medications are not “happy pills.” If our expectations are for them to fix a negative personality or relationship problems, we will be disappointed.

One’s usual thinking state may be unhealthy. Experiences have influenced how we think.  Medication cannot make us reasonable.  We choose how to be.

Psychiatrists are medical specialists and generally do not offer psychotherapy. Seeing a licensed therapist is important. Yet even that is not enough without our full participation. 

Co-occurring disorders such as addiction add another layer to treatment needs. If there is unwillingness to make all-around changes, medicine will not help much.

Do you know someone who takes medication and is not improving? Find out if any of the above are interfering. If that person is you, it is imperative to keep trying. Asking for support, and communicating honestly with your professional mental healthcare team, is an important first step. 

Today’s Helpful Word

Nahum 1:7 NIV
The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him…

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COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

 *pictures from rgbstock.com

¹Martin L, Williams S, Haskard K, DiMatteo MR.  The Challenge of Patient Adherence. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2005 Sep; 1(3): 189–199. Published online 2005 Sep. Retrieved on January 8, 2017 from  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1661624/

²Mental Health Treatment. Mental Health America. Retrieved on January 21, 2017 from http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/types-mental-health-treatments

Full Circle: A Week of Miracles Part One

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

photo-25488583Plans were not unfolding as I had figured them, and the weather was adding complications. My friend Danita and I traveled to Philadelphia last Tuesday so I could attend a final hearing in divorce court on Thursday. My emotions were a bit high-strung because I was returning to old memories and goodbyes.  

I knew, as did Danita, that my need to control the weather and other incidentals was actually fear about dealing with the past, and facing the ghosts that dwell there.

My years in Pennsylvania included suicidal despair, the end of my marriage, and a change of worldview. Going back was nerve-racking except for two planned highlights: visiting Lynne Cannenta,* my individual therapist whose reassurance had pulled me off the ceiling many times; and possibly speaking with a group of people experiencing depression and other emotional distress.

Following a special and happy visit with Lynne, I drove past the building where some of my most overpowering emotions and transformational moments had taken place while attending an IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program). It is a building where memories move me, and deciding to go in,  I was met by a sense of profound wonder.

Several years ago, I had tried to walk down the stairs and froze, paralyzed by dread. This time, only a little hesitation slowed my entrance into the place once awash with anguish to the point of death.

I do not know what I expected to see last Wednesday, but it was a surprise. Gone is the cabinetry, artwork, and big chalkboard. There are no signs with the Twelve Steps and crisis line phone numbers. In their place is a big hole in the wall, an entrance to a new hallway of offices.

Taking in the changes, my eyes landed where chairs used to be.  I looked for places I used to sit, where other hurting souls also bore their heartache and desperation. This is where we were given air just as our emotional lungs were collapsing.  This is where my life took an unimaginable turn.

So where was the remembered pain? I searched for the shadowy memories of hell and expected to feel sorrow. It was gone, along with the room. I celebrated that I too am not the same. Returning to my car, I joyfully and gratefully sang a little off-the-cuff ditty. “The ghosts are gone, the past is over, all that is left is hope. Looking forward, being me, the ghosts are gone and I am free.”

Three days later,  the invitation to speak with the group had come, and I was eager to meet them. Irony did not escape me. You see, I was heading out to the same IOP that I attended twice in 2011. In a new location, there was no connection to the building. However, it is the same psychologist running this program, who for years had worked to convince me of my worth.  Friday, I felt I was coming full circle.

Heads nodded as listeners were reminded they are not alone with their scary, confusing thoughts and overwhelming feelings. I shared strategies that work for me to overcome a sense of worthlessness, powerlessness, and hopelessness. They responded openly. I felt the connection to these, my kind of people, as I am certain they did.  

Eventually, Dr. Jay* turned to thank me for coming. Something had attracted my attention the whole hour, and I said,  “Before I go, I have a question for Dee.*”

“Sure,” he said.

Facing one of the women in the group, I asked, “Dee, do we know each other?”

She nodded.

“Were we in IOP together long time ago?”

The rest of the group reacted in surprise. Dr. Jay said, “Oh! I wondered about that!”  Dee nodded.

Tears choked my voice. “You said something to me back then that altered my life. I asked how it could be okay for me to spend so much time, effort, and money on myself when I should be busy serving other people. Do you remember?”

She nodded again with a faint smile.

“You told me it would be hard to be there for other people when my own needs are not met.  You said that by taking the time to gain understanding, I would one day be able to say to someone else who feels hopeless,  ‘You can get to the other side.’  Do you remember?”

She nodded.

“Dee, thank you.”

No circle is complete unless it ends where it started. Because of her I saw the value in allowing my mental health to be priority.  Offering hope is now what I do as a business, a ministry, and lifestyle.  What grander privilege could there be than to remind her,  “You too will make it to the other side”?

The ghosts are gone. All that is left is hope.

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COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

– picture from Kozzi.com

*not their real names