Thursday, May 31, 2012

from vitamins to medication

Deciding to not take medication for the intrusive thoughts, anxiety & panic attacks I was experiencing was an easy decision at the time. I didn’t want anything to do with meds. I convinced myself that I could recover from this on my own. I convinced myself that there was some way to do this without medication & I was determined to find that way.

Finding a more natural way out of this wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. I ran around in circles trying everything I could find from acupuncture, reiki, hypnosis & appointments with numerous holistic doctors to vitamins & gluten free & vegetarian diets.

Every time I walked out of a hypnosis or acupuncture session, I cried.

Every time I tried a new diet & it didn’t get rid of the scary thoughts or anxiety the way I planned, I cried.

I didn’t feel any different.

 I was still constantly tormented by the intrusive thoughts.

I still thought I was going crazy.

I was disappointed. Nothing was working the way I had hoped.

When I came across a book written by a doctor who specializes in alternative medicine, I was hooked. I thoroughly read every page & took notes. This doctor would easily figure out what is wrong with his patients & they felt better in no time. Whether it was depression, weight issues or schizophrenia, he could help change lives.

 I took it as a sign when I found out he has a Wellness Center a few hours from where I live & I booked my appointment right away.

Considering all the money we were paying for this appointment, I had high extremely high hopes & believed this was my answer. And like the patients I read about, I hoped that I would feel better too. I thought this would be the appointment where I would leave all the anxiety & scary thoughts behind in that office & come home my “old self” again.

Unfortunately, things didn’t happen that way. I was just as disappointed as I was after all the other appointments I had been to.

At this appointment, I was tested negative for Celiac Disease but was told I have a Gluten Intolerance. They gave me a list of about 15 different vitamins that they recommended I purchase from them & told me to cut out all gluten from my diet.

I popped those expensive vitamins faithfully every day for months. And the gluten free diet was a nightmare but I tried my best at it.

At the time, the only grocery store that offered a selection of gluten free foods was an hour away. I packed my baby up, drove an hour there, spent over an hour in the store trying to find what I needed, then drove an hour home.

Every. Single. Week.

I was becoming exhausted.

I didn’t want to waste any more money on the next thing I could find that I thought would cure me just to be disappointed.

I was tired of spending all my time driving hours away to doctors & grocery stores.

I was losing hope that these thoughts would ever disappear & began to feel as if there was no way out.

After almost 3 years of this, I gave up on my search for the “perfect natural cure” & decided to give the medication that I was so against using in the beginning a try.

Although I do believe incorporating healthy choices in my life helped a little & I definitely learned a lot about healthy eating & living, it never cured me the way I thought it was going to.

Maybe I tried too many things at once.

Maybe I never gave anything a fair chance to “work”.

Maybe I could have tried harder at the gluten free diet.

Maybe I gave up too soon.

I am not sure if there really was anything else I could do or try. At times, I do still wonder if mental illness can be overcome using alternative treatments.

I would love to hear if you have had any positive or negative experiences with alternative medicine. Please share!  


Kimberly said...

For me, I was too far gone to rely on vitamins. My paranoia was out of control and I was in a very medically serious situation.
I do believe that vitamins and such do compliment medications though (but you should ask your doctor before trying anything since some can interact with your medications)
I think that taking medications is perfectly normal as someone taking pills or injections for diabeties. Don't ever feel like you made the wrong decision.

Janet (ocdtalk) said...

I'm wondering.....did the meds end up helping you?
In my experience, alternative medicine is helpful as part of an integrative approach along with traditional medicine. There is rarely a "miracle cure" for anything, but living a healthy lifestyle is important, even if you don't currently have health issues.
For my son, whose OCD was so severe he couldn't eat, Exposure Response Prevention Therapy is what saved his life. It was a torturous process, but he was committed to it, and his OCD has been classified as "mild" for a few years now.