Series: Asking for help – Part 4: Alternative therapy & medicine

This is part four of a four part series, on helping yourself (or someone you know) with a mental crisis. If you haven’t read my first post, you can catch up here.

I was not an alternative medicine believer. To be quite honest, I scoffed at the thought of using anything besides Western medicine. I believed it was all fake. The only reason I began to look outside of my comfort zone of medicinal beliefs is that I grew tired of taking daily medications and wanted to see what else was out there. While I am still on antidepressants – because I have found that is the best tool for me at this time – I have added alternative therapy and medicine to my self care routine. These are some of the alternatives I have learned about and definitely not the only alternatives ways to manage your mental health.

Eastern Medicine

Medicinal marijuana

Other therapies

I’m sure you are wondering why I only provided links to each therapy. I am no expert, so I did not want to give the wrong information or impression. There is so much I am still learning about and I do not want to sway you in any direction. It is important to get information out to those who need it and that is what I am here for. Alternative medicines have opened my mind to trying new things because I never wanted to try something new.

My current regimen of therapies

Cannabidiol oil and medicinal marijuana

I have not always been a fan of cannabis. It has always been associated with drug addiction in my family. Without getting into too many details, it nearly broke my family apart. While I can say that I am a recovering codependent and I know how to vocalize my boundaries, I do still have a stigmatized view on cannabis.

The symptoms I am still struggling with on a daily basis are anxiety attacks and insomnia. My anxiety attacks present themselves as pain in my jaw. When my anxiety is really high, I have ringing in my ears, my palms are sweaty, and my heart feels like its going to burst out of my chest. I initially went to my doctor for help and he gave me an anti anxiety medication. He told me to only take it at bedtime, it was addictive and he would only write me one prescription. From that moment, I knew I needed to be open to something else.

After reading articles on CBD oil, I decided to try it. I went to a local dispensary and talked to one of the bud-tenders (yup that’s what they are called). Guys, if you have never gone to a dispensary, GO. They are nice, patient, and informative. I left the dispensary with a full spectrum CBD oil tincture and a vape pen. After months of experimenting with dosages, I think I’ve found the right combination for me. Arizona has not legalized medicinal marijuana, so I am only able to purchase CBD oil. I’m still up in the air about applying for my medical marijuana card (MMC) but I know that if I do have MMC, I’ll have the ability to try more medicines. Only time will tell and I’m pretty happy with my current CBD regimen.

Eastern Medicine

Oh Lord help me, this was the hardest for me to try. Acupuncture, reiki, and Chinese herbals are probably the farther out of my comfort zone. The only reason why I tried it was because it was a free service at a mom’s event. I talked to the acupuncturist, told her about my depression, anxiety, and insomnia. She placed the needles and then I felt like my mind expanded. That is the only way I can explain the feeling I experienced. From that moment on, I was hooked! I went every two weeks for a few months straight and then eventually moved on to once a month.

The acupuncturist also preforms reiki during my session and places ear seeds. Reiki is a crazy experience. There were moments during the sessions where I could feel a warm energy surging through my body, feeling outside of my body, and see colors surrounding my body. Yes it sounds unreal but it is always an amazing experience. I always leave her office relaxed, rejuvenated, and the feelings usually stay with me for about a week or so. She has even helped me with my menstrual cramps and back pain.

My acupuncturist also recommended I take Chinese herbal pills and begin gut therapy. There so much on gut therapy that I really feel that it needs to be explained by someone who is more knowledgeable than me. She recommended I take a Chinese herbal pill (don’t ask me the name, I have no idea what its called), microlingual B complex pill, a refrigerated probiotic (like next to the yogurt – Good Belly is a tasty brand), ingest fermented foods (kombucha, pickle juice, etc) at least once a day. After finishing the herbal pills, I really didn’t feel any different. I still continue the B complex and probiotic. These two medicines seem to have helped my energy levels and bloating. I have yet to incorporate the fermented foods consistently.

Keep moving forward

Through a lot of trial and error, I have learned that some therapies work for me and some do not. I’ve always wanted to play it safe and do what was the most comfortable and convenient to me. I now try “all the things” — within reason — to become the best version of me. The biggest take away from exploring other forms of therapy and medical practices are to not be discouraged if something doesn’t work. Everyone is different and while the road to healing is never smooth, know that all the work you put in is worth it. You are worth all the effort. You deserve to feel good about yourself.

I hope this series has given you a small amount of knowledge of how to go about finding the right treatment plan for you. Be courageous and try new things. I’m sure you will be surprised, just like I was, about what helps you.

Have you tried any of these alternative therapies? Do you have a favorite? Share your story below!

Join me next week as I share my husband’s reaction to my mental illness discovery and diagnoses. See you next week.

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