Friday, April 26, 2013

Back to therapy I go

My recent history with panic attacks has led me to believe that I'm doing something wrong in taking care of my mental and emotional health.  I've gotten on an anti-depressant and have a small supply of fast-acting anxiety medication on hand in case I need it.  But I know that's not enough.

My home teacher is a therapist. The night of my first panic attacks, he came over to help with a blessing and coach me on some techniques for avoiding panic.  One of the things he brought up was the use of medication. He likened it to getting a tooth filled; you could have a tooth filled without novocaine, but why would you? Likewise, you could just inject yourself with novocaine every hour and not have your tooth filled, but again, why would you?  His point was this: therapy is helpful, as is medication, and in some cases, both are required to achieve total health. In the tooth analogy, if you want to feel whole, you might need pain killers and restorative treatment.

In that wise, I'm beginning work with a therapist this week.  He has some experience with homosexuality and even though I'm attending BYU-Idaho, our sessions are confidential and free from the influence of the Honor Code office. I'm excited to begin my work with him and start building some trust in him.  The safe space will be a good place for me and even though I'll likely be swamped with other commitments as the semester wears on, I know that my own mental health needs to be a high priority, even if it means I'll have less spare time.

I've been meaning to write out a list of goals for this year. I'll get on that and submit them here for my own accountability and because I apparently like baring all of my private matters to the Internet.


  1. Hey GMP. If you don't mind, can I offer some advice? Hope so, 'cause i'm gunna tell you anyway :)
    1. Be careful with anti-depressants. Do some research about side affects of specific brands, especially the side affects that result when you lower your dose or get off them. It's usually not a fun experience.
    2. As for the anxiety meds, be careful with them too. They can be addictive and/or cause emotional dependency.

    Just my two cents as doctors rarely talk about all the side affects. I regret ever putting my unquestioning trust in my doctors.

    I realize too that meds are sometimes necessary, especially for certain individuals, but I highly recommend doing everything in your power to help yourself get better without depending on them.

  2. GMP - if you need anti-depressants, you take them. The same goes for Ativan or whatever other anti-anxiety you are on. Depression and anxiety are real and devastating conditions so don't feel embarrassed and I don't recommend searching on the Internet and reading about others' bad experiences. I think there are such forums for almost every drug out there.
    Yes, be careful and be informed but please don't let others opinions on the horrors of these meds scare you off them if you need them. yes, some anti-depressants are very hard to get off of (Effexor in particular) but if you titrate super slowly, it can be done. Newer anti-depressants are less difficult to titrate off of.
    As for Ativan, that drug is very addicting. That said, if you use it sporadically (as opposed to every day) when you feel a panic attack coming on or are having one, then you won't become addicted. Sometimes even just knowing you have the anti-anxiety meds as a backup can be enough to stop a panic attack.
    Everyone and their dog will have advice for you but you do what you and your doctor have decie. you seem like a smart fellow - go with your gut here.

  3. Glad you're getting therapy! I think that's such a positive thing and am glad when people who can and want to take advantage of it.

  4. Best possible last sentence. I'm obsessed with you, in the least creepy way you can interpret that.

  5. Therapy did amazing things for me. Pulled me out of a hole I was buried in for several years. I hope it will be a good experience for you. I've said this several times tonight, but I am praying for you.


Be nice, mmmmkay? I allow anonymous comments, but not anonymous (or even attributed) douchebaggery. The Gay Mormon Pioneer's tolerance for hate and venom are incredibly low, but his love of communication and debate are high, so have an opinion, but be kind and gentle when you share it.

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