Over on instagram, I asked y’all to send me questions you have regarding mental health topics in honor of Mental Health Month! You can also use the contact form here to send me your burning questions to be answered in a future Q&A! Onto the Answers...
Q1: The Depression is Hereditary?
I’ve read you can have a higher chance of having it if a parent/sibling does but it’s not hereditary as you could also easily have relatives with it but never experience it firsthand. Depression can also be symptom of something else like for me with PTSD, hopefully doing healing work on my PTSD, I can also heal my depression along with it. Untreated trauma brings along a lot of issues, which can develop into any number of bodily ailments as well as other mental health issues like anxiety and depression. I have a lot of unhealed trauma from childhood and family, I had lied to myself for a really long time that I powered thru, toughed it out, but that’s not how it works. It began to basically haunt me in the form of PTSD & Clinical Depression.
Q2: I’ve never used a psychiatrist, just GP for meds; what’s the experience like?
I can only tell you my experience with my psychiatrist but I’d say she’s a mix between a therapist and a GP. Much more similar to a medical doctor than a therapist tho, not as sterile and no stirrups in sight. She isn’t super invested in my trauma but she’s able to control my meds in a way that a GP doesn’t utilizing more information than a GP would but again, a lot less than a Therapist would. I hope that makes sense. She wants to know about diet and how I’m feeling physically to decide on medication doses. I don’t see her as often as my therapist as she just checks on progress to maintain a healthier state of mind.
She had me take tests that tally up points and if you have a certain amount of points that decide if you’re clinically depressed or have PTSD. From there, you discuss your situation and she will diagnose you. I think it’s a good idea if you need help with medications but don’t expect to go work things out like you would with a therapist. I only visit with my psychiatrist every few months and at this point I’m ready to see her even less since my meds seem to be working!
Q3: Curious how/if you think weed effects/doesn’t effect your meds?
I started using medicinal marijuana before I started anti-depressants and have used it throughout the entire process, from my first anti-depressant (lexapro) to today, on my second anti-depressant (Zoloft). I don’t think weed reacts much to my meds, alcohol definitely did which is why I had to stop drinking all together. When I would drink on them I would just get tired and feel sick so it wasn’t worth it anymore. I’m not a great drinker anyway, being raised by alcoholics, I mean weed has never made me cry on the bathroom floor for hours in my underwear about how I have no friends... Booze sucks lol.
I wasn’t able to get away with only using Cannabis for my PTSD/Anxiety/Depression, but I do think it works really well with my medication - the Zoloft helps keep me more consistently level, while the Cannabis helps with a more instant, direct relief for moments when I need calmness, or when I’m triggered or can’t get out of a bad mental space.
Q4/5/6: How do you find a good fitting therapist that works for you? / How long did it take you to find a great therapist you vibe with? / How do you feel about finding a new therapist vs keeping your old one?
Oof ok, so I hear horror stories about shitty therapists A LOT so yes they exist and if you manage to sit in front of one, and instead of being supportive and helpful, they are shaming and judgmental - leave and never look back. You deserve a therapist that will listen, not interrupt, and provide you with the tools to manage the things that are impacting you negatively. They should be a source of support and acceptance, anything less you have every right to move on until you’re satisfied with the care you are paying for.
Personally the day I finally decided I needed to see someone, I went straight to yelp. Reviews are amazing because I saw so many people saying their lives were changed by this person, I believed them and wanted that for myself. I’m very lucky that my first try at finding a therapist was so smooth and that I probably won’t need another one. There are so many different outlets of therapy. I really felt I needed in-person because at the time my anxiety was so bad I had trouble leaving the house, it was a necessity for me to get out for my therapy, especially since I work from home.
Q7 What do you do to relax when you’re feeling anxious?
Vape Cannabis, listen to my favorite songs really loud usually with head-phones on to shut everything else out and I sing along. I Also like to sit in the sun, watch some wholesome Netflix (queer eye on repeat) draw on my iPad, play/cuddle with Haze’s extreme softness.
Q8: Have you ever talked to a psychiatrist thru an online service? Thinking about it. / Thoughts on Online Therapy?
I have not personally used an online service for therapy, but I’m so glad they are an available option for people! I’d say go for it! I needed the face to face for reasons I’ve mentioned but I did consider it before finding my Therapist.
When I moved from LA to Denver, I tried to keep up with him using Skype but it wasn’t as helpful for me since I had already gotten so used to being in a healing environment with specific treatments. I’m really glad to be back in LA seeing my therapist in person.
Q9: How do you feel about Ketamine for Mental Health issues? Would you try?
I probably would try it. I’m glad that my (second) anti-depressant seems to be doing an alright job but I’ve been really curious about DMT/ayahuasca since learning of it, for my ptsd/childhood trauma, having fuzzy memories and a lot of missing pieces.
Q10: Did you ever struggle with taking medicine at first or did you ever feel the stigma?
There was a hesitation, a fear, but It’s one of the best decisions I ever made. Your mind can be a really scary place, getting help to balance things out is nothing to be ashamed of. Was I raised to think this way? No. Therapy helped break down those BS thoughts and shame. It takes a while to realize that getting help is brave, that being vulnerable and living in your truth is real strength.
Q10: I love your mentality, your pics and you
Thank you! I’m a work in progress and a lot of my strength & mentality has blossomed out of being in therapy. I gotta say, your support has also been a HUGE part of my healing process, Some of y’all have been here for me more than most and I want to repay that. Hopefully, by sharing myself, my experience, my journey will allow others feel more open to follow in my footsteps, to be as willing to work on and love themselves too.
Q11/12: Advice for bipolar teens? / My Husband is Manic Bipolar, is it an illness? Or sick? Or can that be insulting?
Bipolar is a Mental Disorder, it is Illness, which is not an insult. Getting into therapy is going to be extremely helpful, especially someone specializing in manic/bipolar. My best friend since the 6th grade has experience dealing with being bipolar, discovered it early on and has been trying to manage it ever since, utilizing medication as well as therapy and support groups. It has not been an easy road, but she is doing the work. She has been there for me throughout everything, from laughing at our traumas as teenagers to telling each other to go to therapy when we need to. She’s one of the few people in my life that sees me fully, understands me and my mental health issues and helps me survive and navigate it. I hope I do for her as much as she has done for me. It’s a process, there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs, life as we know it can be put on the back burner because what is going on in our heads make living normally almost impossible in that moment. Almost, but not quite. I originally asked my bff to answer these questions but we’ve both had a rough month. Maybe in the future I can share her thoughts with you when she’s ready and able, I believe it would be beneficial for her and those who read it.