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One Guy’s Guide to Managing Mental Health

I have Bi-Polar Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, ADHD (if that exists :-), gastritis, ulcers and IBS. Hmmm. I got relatively lucky with the Bi-Polar, in that I found a medication that works for me, and keeps most of the scary part at bay. The medication allows me to function without limitation for the most part. As for the rest… Not quite as easy.

Stomach issues are the hardest to deal with

Honestly, the stomach issues and anxiety are the hardest things for me to deal with. Then again, IBS has a tendency to exacerbate the depressive aspect of my nature…so, there’s that. Doesn’t sound very uplifting, huh? For over 25 years (probably more) I’ve been dealing with one sort of illness or the other. Peaks and valleys, like any journey, but I really did believe the IBS was going to break me at one point. I had gotten to a place mentally, where I was actually content and stable for the first time in my life and then I started with the IBS. IBS is an energy-sapping, demoralizing, difficult (sometimes impossible) to control illness. How do you deal with all of that? You prepare. Take a hard look at yourself and make a game plan. Be ready to be flexible and change that plan when necessary. Above all, see your doctors and educate yourself. You will find a way that will help. It may not CURE, but it will make life just that much more fulfilling. This is what has worked for me.

Coping with mental health

I avoided medication for my mental health issues until I was 38 years old (I’m 44 now). Why? Because it wasn’t ‘NATURAL’. I thought exercise (yoga), supplements, eating right and meditation would take care of it, if I was disciplined enough. Don’t get me wrong, I was MUCH better when I lived a healthy lifestyle, but I was kidding myself into believing that ‘much better’ was as good as I could be. What came next was medication. Medication for all of my ailments has been a very hard mountain to climb. Some people don’t require medication, but I do. And some of it makes me very sick, some make me crazy, some make my symptoms worse, some too expensive. Until you find that one thing that works. Then you are happy you made the journey. They call it medication management, but sometimes it feels like medication hell. It takes real dedication to your wellness to put yourself through the process of finding the ‘right’ thing.

Therapy is probably the most important factor in my relative success managing my mental health. We all want to be validated, understood, listened to and supported. I’ve found IBS and mental health are so very similar in this way. We need this type of support. There is so much shame, embarrassment, confusion, frustration and anger that goes along with all of it that having a good therapist to help you process all this crap can be a lifesaver.

Well-rounded approach

The last I’ll say for now is that for me, these things I do to manage my wellness need to happen together to really work and for me to stay on track. I can’t just meditate and eat well and skip the therapist. I can’t just see the therapist and take my meds. I need to exercise, eat well, meditate (take time for myself/self-care), take my medication AND see my therapist. It’s a lot of work sometimes, but I’m not really sure where I’d be without it. Just my two cents. Thanks for listening.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The IrritableBowelSyndrome.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • tmholland moderator author
    1 month ago

    Hi @aditya0811,

    Thank you for your comments. It sounds like you are doing everything you can for your wellness and that is absolutely fantastic. I wish you much success :-). I hope you are well today. -Todd, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team

  • ADITYA0811
    1 month ago

    I am 21 years old and I am suffering from Ibs -c (medication ,jogging are helping), anxiety (meditation is helping), fatigue (I take vitamins tablets).I don’t have that much issues as you mention but the thing you said about trial and error is perfect.Sometimes I feel good but then also visit doctor/ therapist in order to learn about my health and thus experience positiveness.

    I think you are doing great,yeah it takes years but eventually we find things we are comfortable with.
    Have a good day.

  • Brunhilda
    3 months ago

    Thank you for this article; i have all of the above and heart issues, so often docs will not prescribe what they would for someone else. Have not found my happy place with meds yet.

  • tmholland moderator author
    3 months ago

    You are very welcome @brunhilda :-). I know from working with physical issues (like heart problems) that finding the right medication or combinations make it that much more difficult. I believe you will find your happy place, but it may take a lot of trial and error. Took me 18 years to get to a place I was comfortable with. Thank you again and I hope you are well today. -Todd, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team

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