Hey, everyone. In this article, I’m going to be sharing my mom’s story of mental health recovery. My mother battled extremely debilitating depression, anxiety, and panic attacks in my early childhood. She is an amazing and incredibly strong woman. She wasn’t always as strong as she is currently, but the things that she has had to endure in life would have either broken her or made her stronger and I’m so grateful and proud to report that the result has been the latter. Her faith has really held her through some dark times. She’s such a great example and an inspiration!
Here’s my mom’s anxiety-, depression-, and panic attack-recovery story:
A few years into my mom’s marriage, things got really stressful. Without going into all of the details, I’ll just say she was dealing with a lot. She was probably about 26 when the stress began and these stressful circumstances continued until she divorced my father around age 34. My brother was born when things were still fine with her marriage, but both me and my sister were born when things were pretty tumultuous.
As a result of the stress she was facing, my mom battled pretty severe anxiety and depression. She later started to have panic attacks as well. I remember my mom being so debilitated by depression that she couldn’t do much for herself. I vividly remember my grandma coming over, sponge-bathing my mom, and washing her hair because she just couldn’t do those things herself. For a while there, it was rough, guys.
BUT… there’s light at the end of the tunnel. After many years of going through this, my mom took her health into her own hands. She was able to recover from her depression and control her anxiety using holistic therapies. She was able to get her life back and I’m so happy for and proud of her!
Here’s what my mom did:
Numbers 1 & 2: The very first things that my mom did when she made the decision to relentlessly pursue wellness and mental health recovery were determine what was causing her stress and leave the unhealthy situation.
The first step is crucial for anyone in a similar situation because oftentimes in toxic friendships or relationships of any kind, there are people involved who may try to confuse your understanding of the true cause of your mental health concern. You know, people who try to manipulate you or convince you that things aren’t as bad as they seem, or that you are making a bigger deal out of a situation than you need to, or, even worse, that you’re imagining the entire situation and you’re really the true cause. Because this is a pretty common occurrence, it’s very important for you to take time apart from everything else and consider the entire situation from a logical and level-headed perspective.
When my mom did this and was able to isolate the true cause, she made the decision to leave the unhealthy situation. My family and I are from the Caribbean, but we had family in the States at the time, so my mom got her visa, booked a ticket, and came to visit her sisters in the US. My grandma (my favorite person to have ever lived) watched over my siblings and me while my mom was on vacation, clearing her head, and doing what was truly best for us in the long run. My mom ended up staying in the US for a year on a visitor’s visa and then a student visa and, at the end of that year, my grandma brought my siblings and me up to be with her. We’ve lived here ever since.
Number 3: The next thing my mom did was seek help.
While my mom was in the States, her depression resolved for the most part, but she still struggled with anxiety and panic attacks. She saw a primary care physician and a specialist and ended up taking prescription medication. If my mom had the opportunity to do it all over again, I’m certain that she would have started seeking to address her concerns using integrative and holistic therapies first, however, that isn’t how it ended up happening for her.
The bottom line is that if you find that you are having difficulty managing your mental health concern(s), you should seek the type of help that you believe would be best for you. This could be mentioning your concern to your primary care physician and moving forward from there, seeking counseling, seeing a licensed naturopathic doctor, joining a support group, or seeking some other form of legitimate help. At the end of the day, I don’t want you to feel like you are alone in your struggle and I want to make sure that you are able to find the help you need and deserve.
Number 4: The next thing my mom did was seek a different form of help when things weren’t going well with the method she had previously chosen.
My mom ended up, at the end of it all, being put on three medications: a serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), a benzodiazepine, and an aminoketone. Unfortunately, however, she found that she was experiencing more anxiety and panic attacks on the medication than she was experiencing before she started taking the meds. Because of this, she decided to tell her specialist that she did not believe the medication was helping and she wanted to discontinue. I actually attended this visit with her. After an extended period of trying to convince him to help her discontinue the medication, he told her the weaning protocol.
Feeling accomplished, we returned home and my mom started weaning according to his directions. My mom was able to wean off of her SSRI and the benzodiazepine successfully. She was one step closer to her goal of mental health recovery! Unfortunately, however, the weaning protocol she was given wasn’t appropriate for the aminoketone and she ended up in the ER with severe withdrawal symptoms. This was a scary time for all of us and really a defining moment in my life as it led me to reconsider my career path. My mom eventually was able to recover. She found the appropriate weaning protocol after much research, and she was finally able to safely discontinue her last medication.
Number 5: The next thing my mom did was that when she discontinued one of her methods of managing her mental health concern(s), she replaced it with another method and made sure she had qualified professionals on her team and was otherwise supported.
Once my mom got off of her medication, she started taking adaptogenic herbs to help modulate her stress response and decrease her anxiety. She also started taking nutraceuticals like inositol to help reduce her anxiety and panic attacks. [[I’ve included a few of my favorite products below this paragraph. Clicking the picture cards will take you to my online dispensary where you can read more about these products and purchase them.]] My mom also purchased testimonial and self-help books delineating other people’s mental health recovery stories in order to help her along her journey and she started counseling in order to help her better process the stressful situations she experienced in the past and was experiencing in the then present. Today, for the most part, my mom only uses supplements from time to time. She no longer sees her counselor, although she would if she felt she needed to, and her anxiety and panic attacks are well-controlled without the use of pharmaceutical medication. My mom remarried. She is truly happily married and, especially considering where she was in her late 20s, I’m happy to report that she has truly gotten her life back!
Do you have a similar mental health recovery story? Let me know in the comments!