Is It Time To Start Therapy & Meds Again? Or Should I Try More Lifestyle Changes?

group therapy session
It’s hard to make yourself bare your flaws to others. Even when you know it’s the best way to heal.

Technically, I haven’t tried medication yet, and it’s been a couple of years since I last did therapy. Even then, it wasn’t actually for the depression, so I guess this would be my first time for both.

Back then, the anxiety was a more immediate problem to getting my life back. And when I finally stopped therapy it was because there didn’t seem much point to continue working with a therapist on the anxiety. I could do the exercises and stuff we worked on at home on my own. That was true then. Not anymore.

Now, it feels like I’ve hit a plateau with the depression. I think it’s because for the longest time, my way of dealing was to look at now. I focused on now and taking one step at a time and moving forward. And that gave me a chance to heal and get a little stronger. Now, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m steady enough that I need to look at the future, and I have no idea how to do that without being overwhelmed or breaking down. Something needs to change. I need to change.

I’ve already made some lifestyle changes, enough to cope. I know there are more I could do. That I should do.

  • Eating better can help. Avoiding all the foods that the depression makes me want. That my own self-loathing makes it hard to avoid.
  • Exercise can help. Doing all the stuff that the depression tells me is pointless. As the depression would say, “Even if you got skinny, no one would love you, so why bother?”
  • Being social can help. Something that both the depression and the social anxiety make me want to run away from. Go do something that terrifies you. It’ll make you feel better. Right.
  • Keeping your house clean can help. I know that. I’ve talked about it before. I haven’t gotten any better about doing it.
  • Getting a healthy amount of sleep can help. Says the sleep-deprived person. I’m totally failing at this one. And my run-forward strategy for coping isn’t helping me improve it either.
  • Taking time to relax can help. Did you hear that, Anxiety? I need to relax.
  • Getting sunlight can help. I guess I could work outside. But I’m so used to being inside now that I can barely see to walk to my car. I’m like a vampire who wears pastels. And doesn’t sparkle.

I’m sure there are even more than that. And I’m sure that a lot of the time with the therapist will be spent picking some of these to try and reporting on my progress. But that’s kind of the point of a therapist. It’s about having a fairly objective person to talk to who is supportive but holds you accountable for the effort you put in. And has credentials and training that give what they say more power.

As far as meds go, they’re like floodgates. The goal is to help keep the waters back until the inside’s ready to deal with it. More ready, anyway. I’m a little conflicted about taking them – not because I have anything against taking depression meds. As far as I’m concerned, it’s like treating any other illness. You take the meds that treat the illness.

The reason I’m being wishy-washy about them is that one of the reasons I’m tempted to go on a specific anti-depressant is that several people I know lost weight when on it. Ok, it helped their depression, too, but there’s part of me that thinks using it for depression is an excuse to use it to lose weight. Which isn’t healthy. And it’s pretty sneaky of my subconscious.

I also worry because a lot of anti-depressants can cause anxiety or make anxiety worse. Hello, bad idea. Especially since anxiety makes my depression worse. Get skinny and lose your mind! What a plan.

I guess I could let a therapist decide whether the meds are a good idea/necessary and which one would help without making the anxiety worse. You know, like a logical person. But that would mean that I have to find a therapist. And pay for a therapist. Which could be covered by my insurance. Or it could increase my bills, making my anxiety worse.

So, either I can put the time and energy into finding a therapist and a way to pay for one, or I can put the same time and energy into trying to change my everyday lifestyle.

What would you choose?

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