Monday, February 16, 2009

Lessons Learned in Therapy

What have I learned in therapy? Here are some of the lessons I have learned, or am working on learning, in therapy. Some I have managed to learn by practising and failing, practicing and failing...over and over again, until suddenly the lesson becomes ingrained and followed. Some of them have taken medication to allow me to get to the place where I am able to abide by the lessons. I truly believe that medication has tipped the scales in my favour, but I also know that without therapy I would not have gained what I have gained over the past few years...
  1. There are people who are trustworthy.
  2. There are kind men.
  3. Doing things...activities that feed my love for living is integral for my feeling better.
  4. Guilt is a difficult feeling to dispense of. It is not helpful to me. In fact it harms me. (I am still struggling with this one.)
  5. Lessons learned in therapy must be practised, not just thought about.
  6. Hiding at home is not conducive to improved mental health. It takes the stimulation of others, the stimulation of challenges for me to slowly learn I am both a good and knowledgeable person.
  7. That while a medication may work for some people, it may even have been shown to work for many people, I am an individual and it may not work for me. I require a personalized medication plan. Medication probably requires small changes here and there depending on my cycles.
  8. That having a trustworthy, trusting, knowledgeable, and caring psychiatrist who never gives up on me makes all the difference in the world. I have learned I can lean on Dr. X and he will not give up on me. Knowing I have an advocate and a mentor has allowed me to keep trying and not give up.
  9. Even if it takes 7 years to find the right medication/s, it is possible to find a combo that works to quell my symptoms. Again it may require "tweeking" here and there if symptoms change or become worse. It is not simply a matter of finding the right medication. It is an ongoing challenge.
  10. The more I struggle against my depression and anxiety, the more depressed and anxious I become. This does not mean I need to give up. It means I have to accept my symptoms, yet continue to calmly try to find a way, or ways, to help myself.
  11. That teaching others in a similar situation as me has helped me understand and learn more about myself.
  12. That volunteering gives me a sense of purpose.
  13. That others might actually like me.
  14. That I am not a horrible person...I am an individual, with individual desires and needs. My needs and desires are not weird, they are part of a spectrum of human behaviour.
  15. Even if you think you like being alone, it is important to have friends.
  16. I have an artist inside me.
  17. I should always sing.
  18. Feeling guilty about not being able to work is not helpful, because working to get better, and all the energy that takes is working.
  19. My sexuality is a blessing.
  20. I am a passionate person when I feel better.
  21. "Better" is on a continuum...For me I may not always be on an upward trajectory towards well, but the more I keep working on this difficulty, the more I accept there will be setbacks, the more I recognize that setbacks are a normal state or part of increasing my resiliency, the more I am able to recognize the little steps, the big and small activities I need to do to get back on track if I slip up.
  22. I need to work towards a life I choose, not one that falls into my lap. It is difficult, but rewarding work.
  23. That creativity helps my soul heal, as does helping others.
  24. My blog is work. It is therapeutic for me, and perhaps to others. It has helped me to create and build a supportive community for myself.
  25. That treatment resistant depression is common. That does not mean the depression will never be treatable. It means it may take a lot of support and a longer period of time to find the treatment that works for the person with treatment resistant depression and/or anxiety.
  26. Despite being, knowing, believing I am being spied upon...Do things, Write in my blog. know I am being watched and do it anyways. It is hard to be so open if you think you are being watched, but it is important to know my gaining resiliency, my getting better requires I do all I need to get better, even if I feel afraid.


Bossy Boots said...

You really have learned a lot. It is a process we will not ever be "normal" but we can and will lead great lives, to our standards. You have to the tools, you just need to keep working it. The bad news this is life it is a struggle but we can not let that keep us from enjoying the true joys in life that we might miss out on huddled in the bed.
You are on the right path, we learn more everyday that helps us, Reading the lives of others makes me stronger and resolute in living couragously with a mental illness and no longer be ashamed of myself or my illness.

Bossy Boots

Harriet said...

I hope to learn a lot in therapy also, but right now all I'm learning is that it is making me feel worse. I'm sticking with it though. It's hard. I just want to be normal, but is there really such a thing?

Polar Bear said...

Wow, what an amazing list. There are certainly some very wise insights on that list.

I think I can use that list as a point of reflection on my own issues. Thanks for sharing.