So, I’ve been living on my own for a couple weeks now. Hard to imagine, but here I am, sitting in my living room writing this blog, so it’s really real.I haven’t been in groups for a while now, and without the groups, I’ve been thinking about my blog and where to go with it. I don’t spend as much time on heavy psychological issues these days, without the things that groups bring up on a daily basis. Since the blog was supposed to chronicle my experiences in treatment, and I’m not really in treatment any longer, it leaves me wondering what to do.
I’m not cured, certainly; I’ve written enough about that to hopefully have people understand that barring some sort of magic solution, that won’t ever happen. The best I can do is try to manage my depression and keep it under a reasonable degree of control. But I think I’m doing pretty well; I guess the time in treatment, and the skills and tools I acquired there, combined with my current degree of medication, my excellent (y’all know who you are) support network, and my current therapy schedule are keeping me on a pretty even keel.
I don’t know why this is happening to me instead of any of the other people I know. I guess some people get lucky in treatment, and it’s been a long road for me – 13 years – so maybe I’m due for a little luck. I just wonder why I seem to have gotten lucky here. I wish I was able to share whatever I have now with my friends. I know that everything psychological and psychiatrical works differently for everyone – I went through over a dozen antidepressants before finding one that worked, and it took until this year before I even tried any kind of group therapy.
I guess the question is, then, is there something I can do with this space that can be both helpful for me and possibly useful for others? I’m not really sure; there’s only so much you can express via the blog medium, and while I found something that works for me, I can’t say if there is anyone else, anywhere, that will have the same combination of medication, therapy, and support give the same results. But, like I’ve been doing with friends, maybe just knowing that other people – like me – have gone through this kind of experience and come out the other side can give other readers some hope. And maybe I have some information, large or small, that could lead to someone else with similar troubles getting the help they need.
So, as a start, I’ll put some links to some helpful groups and places here.
The Menninger Clinic – Where I went to start my treatment; it probably helped more in 8 weeks than in 13 years of other treatment attempts.
DBSA – Depression Bipolar Support Alliance, where I have started to go to as a support group since leaving the step-down, and a few weeks before. It’s a good group of people I’ve met, and while each group will be different, it’s helped me.
NAMI – National Alliance on Mental Illness; I have a friend who works for them, and I hope to be able to do some work helping others with their Peer-to-Peer Mentoring program.
Clayton Behavioral – A group of mental health professionals in St. Louis, where my psychiatrist and therapist from there both work. I got some good help there, and they have a good newsletter.
Genecept Assay – a test they ran on me at Menninger, which looks at your DNA and can help to point out which medications might be helpful, and what things you might be more prone to. It told me that I’m resistant to SSRIs, antidepressant-wise, which was a big help.
That’s just what I have for now, but I hope to find more. And while I have depression, I have friends who have a variety of other disorders, so I am open to anything that would help with basically anything, from bipolar to borderline, depression to schizophrenia, and all across the spectrum. Let me know if there’s something you want to know about treatment, or if you have useful information to share, and I’ll see what I can do.
Until then, I hope that everyone who has mental problems can be as lucky as I have been, and soon.