So people have been seeing me paint lately, like not just 5 paintings but a bunch! That's just one of the reasons why I'm doing good with regards to mental health. And yes, I can confidently say that I'm a whole lot better now. :) Not that I'm completely cured (because that's impossible for our case), but I'm in a lot better place right now. No self harm, no suicidal thoughts, no more legs shaking, no more cry spells. Just me and a little bit of catastrophic thoughts. It wasn't an easy journey, heck I even got into a car accident (how about that), but that turns out to be a big test of my progress.
I'd like to share the things that helped me, and hopefully, you too. :)
Diagnosis & Medication
This journey towards improvement started with the right diagnosis that I actually have Bipolar Disorder instead of Anxiety and Depression. By prescribing the right medication and talk therapy, my doctor helped me to get better. It wasn't a straight path though. We had to undergo trial and error, finding the best suitable medication and dosage for me. Turns out the best for me is 2 tablets of 50mg Lamotrigine and 1/2 tablet of 5mg Aripriprazole (sorry for the math). I cannot emphasize more how important it is to religiously take the medication. Had I just skipped a day would have brought me back to zero.
So out of the blue, I decided to paint...well, not really. I just remembered that I gifted my boyfriend a set of oil painting materials and thought of going back to art again. I have always breathed art, but painting was a long lost love, so I rekindled it. I was surprised to see the output of my work considering it's been 12 years since I last painted. Painting turns out to be very relaxing. Whenever I'm stressed out, I just paint. It helps a lot! And it's actually better than being dependent on Anti-epileptic drugs like Rivotril. The more natural, the better. Anyway, my paintings are now displayed in different parts of the house, and the canvasses I use keep getting bigger! 😱
Thanks to a friend of mine who suggested to sign up for an Upwork account, I finally found the right job for me. I'm not going into detail for confidentiality, but all I can say is the set-up is very healthy for me. I'm also thankful that I have two very awesome managers. Moreso, I've finally felt fulfilled again. Gone are the days that I feel useless for being a dysfunctional person.
My family, ?friends? (kind of questionable 'cause I don't go out so much lately), and of course the love of my life. These people gave their best to help me and support me, and I couldn't be more thankful for them.
The Will to Heal
Although I have people beside me, it would be useless if I did not have the will to help myself. Part of my doctor's suggestion is Cognitive Rehearsal, which is :
" a therapeutic technique in which a client imagines those situations that tend to produce anxiety or self-defeating behavior and then repeats positive coping statements or mentally rehearses more appropriate behavior " (APA Dictionary of Psychology).
It was very hard for me, but no matter what it took me, I tried my best to counter my negative thoughts with those coping statements.
Probably the root of all these blessings: the Lord. Need not say more. :)
I'm in a much better place right now. I'm very thankful that I've already reached this point. This is unending journey though, but if it's a way for me to be a better person, then so be it. :) There is always hope.