Going to see a psychiatrist was one of the best choices I have made.
I finally decided to seek mental health help after I had a strange episode where I literally collapsed on the floor. What happened to me can only be described as a combination of a seizure and muscle spasms that contracted my arms and legs to the point where I involuntarily curled up into a ball for about 10 minutes, all while hyper-ventilating and coming close to passing out. This happened in the presence of my parents, and I’m surprised my mom didn’t call an ambulance.
The past couple of months prior to this episode happening, I had been under a ton of stress stemming from personal and external circumstances. I remember sitting at my kitchen table feeling a little out of breath. I called for my dad and told him I was not feeling good. I had an ominous feeling like something bad was about to happen. Moments later my heart rate shot up and I began to hyper-ventilate, and I ended up on the floor. I remember trying to open my fingers but they had just curled up into a fist, same with my arms and legs. My dad was with me the entire time and he recognized it as some sort of panic attack, and helped me come back out of it. I was conscious the whole time and kept repeating “I’m okay, i’m okay”. I don’t know why I kept saying that because clearly I was not.
Long story short, this thing that happened to me finally pushed me to seek expert help on how to handle stress, fear, anxiety, and the bad habits that have led me to a life where I was not content. This was the best decision that I have ever made.
Dr. B runs a clinic for young adults and adults alike. His focus is on life improvement though psychotherapy/coaching and medication. After many sessions of testing my mental health and cognitive tests, we were able to get a full picture of my mind through test scores and data, which allowed Dr. B to set up a plan of attack.
I literally laughed when he pulled out the plan of how I was to start. The first order of business:
Get 8 hours of sleep every night (same time each night)
5 days/week of at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense cardiovascular activity.
Eat whole foods, mostly vegetables.
Become deeply aware of Natural Laws, Read: “The 10 Natural Laws”, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, and “The Four Agreements”.
Then we talk medication.
The whole point of these mandates are to show me, that as a perfectly healthy person, there are certain lifestyle choices that I make that set me up for failure. Also, these set up a plan of attack for myself and let show me detailed steps to take in order to try and better myself. whereas before I was just kind of lost on how to get better, I now have a plan.
I was honestly expecting a dose of Prozac or some other medication and calling it a day, but this guy goes and tells me to first get some sleep and exercise. Geez, that’s like the most simple things ever, but as we talked further I realized that I was averaging 5–6 hours a night and maybe two days of moderate exercise a week.
I’m a realist and I like when things are explained to me in an objective and clear way, which is why what he did next blew my mind. He pulled out a thick textbook and pointed at the effects of sleep on the brain structures that release important hormones.
I know that I should be sleeping and exercising more, but did I really know that not doing that was one of the direct causes to me feeling shitty and irritable all the time? Nope, and he showed me some pretty interesting research that showed the body’s response to lack of sleep.
Here’s what happens when you don’t sleep enough and are not consistent with your sleep/wake times:
Your hormones get all out of whack…. and that’s not good is it?
Chronic sleep loss can reduce the capacity of even young adults to perform basic metabolic functions, such as…www.uchospitals.edu
Its not, hormones help regulate your mood, metabolism, and a bunch of other systems that help keep you from falling apart. Not sleeping long enough and consistently is a direct cause to setting myself up for failure.
Also, the whole exercise thing has really proven to be true. I played soccer throughout high school and lifted weights during college, but like anyone else I had hit a patch of time where I was not exercising to a degree that would’ve made a difference. If I ran, it was sporadic and up to a moderate degree of difficulty. Coupled with my personal problems, this led to a feeling of increased anxiety and depression. Not good.
I’m not going to preach on how exercise and eating healthy is soooo good for you. Everyone knows that at this point, but I think I am a stage in life where I really see myself at a crossroad. Go on the next 20 years like I have been, or make a meaningful change to self-discipline and improvement. I choose the latter.
I am at the point of implementing the first 4 mandates. It is definitely a change of lifestyle that will take some getting used to, and although difficult, I am enjoying the process because I have begun to notice small changes in mood and energy. I’m not going to say right now that I am completely a changed person, but I can definitely begin to feel small sparks of change within me.
These sparks of change are what makes me so thankful to have met Dr. B. I’ve seen the motivational videos and read the articles, but that type of superficial motivation only lasts as long as the video itself. These new exercises and mandates have been pushing to discipline myself on getting better. It’s hard and weird at times, but I will be sticking to it.