|Picture from scienceblogs|
In my 7+ year journey to become a therapist (yes, it takes forever. 4 years of undergrad followed by 3 years of full-time grad school + a state board exam + 3000 post-graduate hours + my additional play therapy certification process. What was I thinking!?), I've had lots of time for self-analysis. Plenty of "self-reflection" papers, examination of transference and counter-transference (defined by one teacher as "when you mix up a client's 'stuff' with you own 'stuff'"), and deep thinking ;) I should have it all figured out, right?
Anyone who's ever taken a psych class (or even better, a psychopathology class) has probably walked away thinking they have every mental illness in the DSM. From personality disorders, to adult ADHD, to hypochondriasis, there's something for everyone.
You start asking yourself things like: Who AM I anyways? Why am I the way that I am? Is it my parents' fault? My weird overly-religious upbringing? Does everyone feel this way? Am I a freak? etc.
Those of you who know me well know that I have done some pretty crappy things in my life--times when I've blown off friends, talked crap, cheated, lied, flashed a car (j/k). Hopefully, you also think I'm an alright gal who's just trying to do the best I can.What I have definitely learned in all my soul-searching is that I have some problems and I want to be better.
A few years ago (while in grad school), I had a bit of a breakdown. I became seriously depressed for the first time in my life. Everything was going well for me--I had a good job at a great financial company, I was attending grad school to work towards my dream job, I was living with my fiance (now husband). But I lost it. It started with anxiety. About everything. I felt anxious in school about saying the wrong thing, saying too much, not saying enough. I worried about my homework and my papers, what my teachers thought of me, if I was slacking at work, what Scott must think of me, what my friends and family were thinking. Every day was like that. I started nervously picking at the skin around my fingernails until they bled. I wasn't sleeping at night. I started gaining weight at a rapid pace (up until this time I had always been a healthy weight for my height). I cried every morning on my drive to work. I started thinking, even fantasizing about cutting myself. Things were not okay. I put off getting some much needed help for months, because I thought I could fix it on my own. I was wrong. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and major depression, single episode. I was placed on medication that made me black out and vomit. I called in to work a bunch.
I needed time to heal. I went to therapy, got on a much lower dose of meds, and started taking more time for myself. Eventually, under the doctor's care, I weaned myself off my medication (thank GOODNESS), and was feeling awesome. I got preganant with Ev shortly thereafter. Pregnancy was probably my happiest time. My hormones were finally right or something. I was happy. Like, right down to the core of my being in a way I had never felt before. Following Ev's birth, I was delighted to find that in the midst of her colic and difficulties and no sleep, I still felt great. Elated even. No post-partum here.
Then just within the past couple of months, I feel like it's been creeping back on. Somewhere between the lack of sleep and the zero alone time and the stress of work and full time mommyhood and the isolation of being a new mom, I started feeling that same dark anxiety. So, we meet again. Only this time, I'm better equiped to handle it and although I'd really prefer to stay med-free, I plan to explore some natural healing methods like herbs, meditation, and yoga. Same problem, different answer.
Have any of you ever been depressed? Super anxious? Anybody have good natural solutions that help them?