Friday, September 30, 2011

Trying to Eliminate Anxiety & Stress Part II

Let me first start off by pointing out that the term, “eliminate” may be too much of an expectation. Better words to use are coping and managing. The other day while Madelene and I were home, we were watching The Wendy Williams Show, (yeah, how U doin’??) and she had Jennifer Grey as a guest. While roaming around the house, I heard Jennifer say something that stopped me right in my tracks. She was talking about all the surgeries she had and Wendy had asked her if she was still in pain. Jennifer replied, “I’m always in pain.” Wendy was about to console her, until Jennifer interrupted her and said, “We as humans are all in pain, it’s whether or not we learn how to manage it.” I then thought about my own situations, my anxiety, depression, all emotional burdens, etc., and it hit me: manage your pain before it manages you. (Pain can be replaced with anxiety in my case.) She is absolutely right and of course, easier said than done, but most importantly ----possible and very realistic. As I’m learning to reduce and manage my anxiety, I’m finding out more and more, that ‘for me’, it’s so important to listen to advice from those who are either still going through it, or have been through it and conquered their techniques in their coping skills.

It’s very frustrating when 90% of those around you (percentage may be higher for you) don’t understand what you’re going through. It’s that feeling of being alienated because no one understands how debilitating anxiety and depression can be. Yesterday, I finally found someone who works in the stress reduction center who finally understands me. She even remembered things that I forgot I told her over the phone. She was actually able to finish my sentences - not because she’s sick of her job - but she has a passion for helping others, and it’s evident. She asked me what I had been diagnosed with in the past. I told her, “As soon as I walk into any therapist’s office, they scan me, talk to me for a while and just check off the list as ‘generalized anxiety’.” Generalized anxiety is what every single human being on this planet has. We all have that ‘fight or flight’ response and sometimes, it’s a little more than others, but still, I have much more than just “generalized” - it’s come to the point where it’s keeping me from living a full life, due to fear, due to fatigue - it drains all the energy out of me where I cannot function. At times, I’m days without sleep which makes me absolutely useless. I’m just glad this new therapist dug deeper. She actually took the time to get to know me more than anyone else that I’ve seen. Do you know how many years it took me to find someone like her? Twenty-two years!

Now here’s the sad part about getting *good* help: most insurances do not cover licensed psychotherapy & stress reduction types of services. Although, it will cover these run of the mill clinics where you have to sit next to someone having a psychotic episode in the waiting room. They usually come from the mental hospital nearby. It’s not good to mix people with different issues, and I’m saying that in a very nice way. In fact, it’s downright dangerous. There are so many people walking around not getting the needed help due to the lack of insurance coverage. I don’t understand why you can go to a doctor, pay $5 or $10 dollars copay and yet for mental health, they feel that it should be out of pocket -as though someone was going to a health spa. “Well, that’s a luxury.” Bullshit. It’s a necessity to people’s well being just as having diabetes managed or physical therapy after a knee surgery. It’s also not fair to these specially trained psychologists who work so hard and yet don’t get recognized by insurance companies, which in the end result leads to more people having trouble managing their anxiety and depression, and worse off, suicidal thoughts or actions. Their response would be - “Well, if you’re having a mental health crisis, call the hotline or dial 911.” In doing so, you’ll be taken to the worst mental facility filled with people walking around like zombies in their pajamas rocking back and forth in a corner. ...Really? Can’t we do better than that? And most of the times, the people that are sent there come back out worse than they did when they arrived. I know, because a few people close in my life have gone that route and have come out much much worse off.

But I digress. It’s through my own frustrations and disappointments of how the health system works. With that being said, I’ve decided to share the coping techniques I learn with everyone else who reads this blog. I know there are tons of anxiety websites that are helpful, and some where they want you to purchase books and CDs for an outrageous amount of money. So, from time to time, you’ll see a post dedicated to anxiety and depression ---for free. Yes, that’s right! If you log onto my website from time to time, you’ll get FREE advice from yours truly. We’ll even throw in a free handbag as a gift with your subscription. OK, I’m starting to get a little nutty. Maybe I’ve already begun years ago. Always feel free to give your two cents. It’s always appreciated.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com