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For so many of us, we struggle with mental health issues and just have no idea what we should do to move forward in a healthier way. There are some great natural tools out there to help with mood disorders - meditation, yoga, exercise, healthy eating, essential oils, magnesium, and CBD are all tools I've used with success. Still, sometimes natural methods are not quite enough and you need to connect with a doctor, get some consistent talk therapy into your schedule, and possible get some anti-anxiety medicine, OCD medication, support for depression, etc.
One of the biggest reasons I knew I needed to make a change in 2020 is because I've already learned to listen and trust myself a bit more than I did ten years ago. When I was in college and began experiencing anxiety and depression, I took a huge hit and didn't even really know what was hitting me. Though I had a supportive family and friends, it felt like I was all by myself figuring everything out when I went to college. And I made mistakes (as one often does in college).
Recently, I've been able to listen to myself better and I knew what was going on. When I started thinking more negatively, the small things got difficult, and video calls made me anxious, I knew what I was feeling and that I needed to put an immediate halt to it. I knew I needed to talk to someone. In fact, for years, I'd been saying, "I know I have anxiety and depressive tendencies, and I need to talk to someone and get help or medicine or something. I just know it would make a huge impact."
I hate going to the doctor. It's not even really being at the doctor so much as figuring it all out - what does my insurance cover, where am I allowed to go, how many times am I going to have to go there, and how am I possibly going to fit it into my schedule? And, of course, on top of it all, how am I going to pay for it? Still, I know that getting help for mental health has so many incredible benefits.
Benefits of Getting Mental Health Support
Improved quality of life. By getting support for depression, anxiety, and/or stress, you have a MUCH better chance of being happier, pursuing your passions, living more freely, and reaching the superhero potential you deserve.
Improved relationships. Treatment will help you develop and maintain healthier relationships and you'll be free to devote more time to those you care about.
Reduced chance of addiction. Many people with mental illness try to self-medicate by using drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, these don't work and can make things even worse. Treatment can help you take huge strides to reduce this chance, and can help you develop a healthier relationship with drinking overall.
Better performance. Stress and anxiety can lead to decreased concentration and memory, irritability, and fear. Getting help can improve all of these components and help you be more productive and efficient at work or school.
Stronger self-esteem and confidence. Therapy enables you to better understand yourself and your personal goals, and can provide a fresh perspective on your life. You'll learn to get out of your head and your negative thoughts, and you'll begin to look at the world and yourself in a more positive light.
Better sleep, mental clarity, increased energy, stronger resilience, and so much more!
What Can you Do?
Luckily, I discovered there are some options out there that are not quite so difficult and less crazy expensive. I was able to connect with a doctor, and she diagnosed me with anxiety, depression, and OCD. I had never felt so validated. It was a huge sigh of relief. And with the diagnosis came help. She sent a over helpful tips, I was prescribed an SSRI, and I began talk therapy with a cool and easy-to-use app.
It was so easy, it was so cheap, and it was HUGE for me. Of all the things I did and changed this year, this is one I'm exceptionally proud of. I learned all about telehealth and the easiest way to get connected to a doc, get some anti-anxiety medicine and some talk therapy, and get a diagnosis so I knew what I was dealing with. It has made my life SO much better; I can actually focus and prioritize my passions without getting so caught up my my own head and anxious spiraling.
I did a bunch of research, so I wanted to share what I learned. If you think there’s a chance you have undiagnosed mild or moderate anxiety or depression and could use some help, I highly recommend finding a doctor and making sure you have the right tools in place to be your most super you.
Free Online Anxiety Test & Depression Tests
If you think there's a chance you've got something going on, but you're not sure if you could use help, try taking a mental health assessment. Here are a couple of free assessments to help give you an idea - Hello Alpha Depression Assessment & Anxiety Assessment, KHealth Free Assessment.
Once you have an idea of what you might need help with, you'll have to consider what you most need to gain from online mental health support.
Physical and mental health support
All-inclusive program with activities, therapy, yoga, meditation, etc.
Unfortunately, this is not something I can answer for you, but whichever option you sign up for should be able to provide a treatment plan to let you know what they think will help the most. You might consider spending some time alone to think about your needs and meditate on what will work best for you before continuing.
*By the way, most of these tele-doctors do not prescribe MAO inhibitors or benzodiazepines (like Xanax or Klonopin). They can, however, prescribe SSRIs and SNRIs that come with fewer side effects and can do wonders for mild to moderate anxiety and depression. Learn more about antidepressants on WebMD, make sure you’re talking to a board certified doctor, and please remember that I am not a doctor. I am speaking from personal experience and can only share my stories, not diagnose you. If you need to, though, finding a good doctor rocks.*
Best Online Options
After thorough research, my favorite options were:
Hello Alpha Mental Health (for a consultation, treatment plan, and medicine)
BetterHelp (for talk therapy)
Online-Therapy (for a larger variety of mental health support methods)
I settled on Hello Alpha Mental Health - for only $10/month, I was able to connect with a doctor, get a diagnosis, get prescribed an SSRI, and I even got a free month of BetterHelp - which is amazing for talk therapy if you can afford it. The prescription isn’t included in the price, and the Hello Alpha website says meds are $20-30, but I pay less than $10 a month at my local pharmacy.
A big decision-maker for me was price. I would love to have talk therapy every week, but I’m just not prepared to pay for it. For some, it’s imperative. For me, getting on an antidepressant, having unlimited doctor’s visits, and having a free month of talk therapy (worth $160-280) all for $120 was a great deal, and it has made a world of difference. Also, Hello Alpha provides a personalized treatment plan, so you have a doctor’s recommendation to let you know if they think you could use talk therapy or different medication doses at different stages of progress.
Review your options and make the decision that works best for you and your needs right now. For some of you, you may need talk therapy more than anything else, some people may need medicine, and some people may need help for both medical and mental health concerns. Do your research, figure out what works best for you, and use the information above as a guide!
P.S. The last option on this list, Online-Therapy, has a ton of useful tools (therapists, worksheets, meditations, yoga, live chat, etc.) and they are currently offering FREE support due to the coronavirus pandemic. Definitely something worth checking out!
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You are so wonderful and good and kind - you deserve to feel incredible and have a strong, empowered mind! Whatever help you need, remember that you deserve it and you are a super rockstar. Taking care of your mind and yourself allows you to be great and help make the world a better place. You've got this.