After attempting to go the traditional route by seeing a psychologist to treat my anxiety, I immediately started looking for alternatives after the traditional doctors brought up prescribing antidepressants after having just one short conversation with me.
It doesn't sit well with me for a psychologist to validate my anxiety by saying, "no wonder you have anxiety" and then recommend antidepressants in the same breath. Pills aren't a cure all. I don't have a chemical imbalance. I have things I need to deal with. I need support. I need to talk to someone. You are that someone and you're punting to the pharmaceutical companies after one visit?!
I had another medical doctor offer to write me prescription for antidepressants after our greeting:
How are you?
Well, I have anxiety about being here.
I could write you a prescription for antidepressants.
This is the system we have here in the U.S. one pill fits all. Healthcare is a business and not a service.
*Though South Korea has one of the least amount of antidepressant users, they have the highest suicide rate. Struggling with mental health is seen as a weakness so they are less likely to seek help.
**I'm not giving medical advice here. I'm just sharing my experience. Listen to your doctor. (And yourself).
Everyone is different. There are plenty of instances in which medication is the right thing to do and it makes sense. By all means take them. There's no shame in taking antidepressants.
I wanted more choice. I wanted someone to listen to me just a little bit longer. I knew I had things that I needed help dealing with that a pill was not going to solve. In my case, a pill would have only acted as a band-aid and not addressed the root of the issues. Not everyone has the time and resources to find alternative methods to treat anxiety. People with school, job, and family demands need to be able to function as soon as possible.
In my case, it didn't make sense to take chemical antidepressants for a number of reasons. I've been on a quest to try just about anything else. Turns out there are quite a few alternative methods to treat anxiety that can offer long lasting relief. This is a page I've continued to update over the course of many years as I discover new things.
***If I were to ever try talk therapy again, I now know to look for a transpersonal therapist. The old school ones are just not a good fit for me.
The day after I quit traditional therapy, I went to a Naturopath that was able to determine the emotional reasons that were causing my anxiety, and the resulting physiological symptoms from the anxiety, in less than five minutes!
Using the Neuro Emotional Technique (NET), he was able to pinpoint the exact month in which my latest bout with emotional distress began. Having that awareness, I immediately knew what events had occurred during that time period. I had no clue that it was these old things that were bothering me. It is so interesting to learn that I was still struggling with them at the subconscious level.
It turns out that you can't just sweep your problems under the rug and carry on. God, just think about how many of us do this! No wonder we are how we are as a society!!! Sick and miserable.
Trauma and negative emotions stay in your body causing all kinds of distress until you deal them. If you're having unexplainable physical pain or even disease, there is likely an emotional cause.
NET is a way to release those past emotions that you might not even remember that you have.
How to feel better fast.
My Naturopath was also able to determine that the emotional distress I was experiencing had caused my body's ability to deal with stress to deteriorate.
I don't remember all of the medical jargon about neurotransmitters, serotonin, and what-not, but basically my stress hormones were all depleted and my adrenals were working in extreme overdrive.
For example, on a scale of 1 to 100, 100 being the most optimum - my cortisol levels were functioning at a 4! Cortisol prevents the release of substances in the body that causes inflammation, which is why my skin was so inflamed!
He energetically cleared out the negative emotions that were causing me to suffer.
After further muscle testing, I was given a number of dietary herbal supplements to address my physiological symptoms and to get my body back in balance.
I could have gone to a psychologist for years and never gotten that much help! And, it was cheaper than a one hour session with my psychologist! She wanted me to come in 3 days a week and give me drugs!
Edit: It's now been several years since I wrote this article, and since then Grey's Anatomy has done an episode Head Over High Heels illustrating NET with Owen helping him with his PTSD. Wow! They've also done an episode Breathe Again using Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EDMR) with Jo.
This is great! More alternative methods for treating anxiety are making it into the mainstream. It's nice to have options.
Other alternative methods to checkout to release trapped emotions are the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) also known as Tapping. Another method is Tension & Trauma Release Exercises (TRE). These are both easy and something you can do yourself:
A few days after my visit with the naturopath, I stumbled across one of Teal Swan's online synchronization workshop videos. These are events where she facilitates emotional healing. (These videos used to be available to watch for free but now you must pay a small fee to access her whole library. It's worth it. The workshop I watched was from June, 2015.)
An audience member submitted a question asking about the reason for her hair loss. Teal said that the questioner as well as the whole audience's primary struggle or dominant vibration was "failure stress."
Fear of failure was causing dysfunction in the majority of the audience resulting in various physical symptoms.
Oh my god! That's me! I have been working on writing a book which I have made myself feel like my life depends on succeeding at.
Teal said that those of us suffering with failure stress leave very little room in our lives to make a mistake. We are very hard on ourselves and that hardness is depleting our hormone levels.
Oh my god! Yep!
The depleted hormones are a symptom of how hard you are on yourself.
Ugh! I'm a monster!
The reason for the failure stress and why we are so hard on ourselves is because we have "rejection trauma."
She said that rejection trauma, for most of us, is related to our mothers (but could be some other person). This trauma made us feel not particularly important to that person in our lives and this created a trend in our relationships.
If you look back through the totality of your relationships there is a trend of not feeling important to somebody. So it's like you're walking on eggshells trying to make sure you don't make a mistake, because you don't want to loose any more value. You don't want to be rejected any more than you already have been.
With this new found awareness, maybe I can stop myself from having another downward spiral into anxiety in the future - at least when it comes to working on this project.
It has been a little over a week now since visiting the naturopath and being more aware of the pressure I put on myself. I woke up this morning with a strange sensation...I actually feel good!
Two month update:
Just after my last update, I read the book, I Need Your Love, is That True? by Byron Katie and wow! It has helped me further to eliminate my anxiety by teaching me how to question my thoughts.
I have been aware of Byron Katie for a few years. I had seen a few of her videos on Youtube but this was her first book I've ever read. I've always felt resistance towards her teachings known as The Work up until now. I just wasn't ready. But now I can't recommend it enough!
Basically, when you believe your thoughts then you suffer. She teaches you 4 questions to ask yourself about stressful thoughts that cause you to suffer as they loop through your mind:
I ask myself that last question a lot and then poof bye-bye! No more stressful thought. No more stress.
I have now finished reading another one of her books, Who Would You Be Without Your Story? I'm keeping this one on my shelf. It's a great resource.
I'm still feeling pretty good. My skin is completely clear. I haven't had any meltdowns or panic attacks.
I'm learning to give myself the approval I've been striving to get from others. I don't feel the weight of the world on my shoulders right now nor do I sense a gun to my head threatening me to become "successful."
One Year Update: I fell off the wagon and struggled with anxiety pretty badly the entire month of July, I wrote about that here.
14 Month Update:
After struggling with a bout of depression, I found another alternative method for treating both anxiety and depression called Access Bars®
It's a simple process of lightly touching 32 points on the head. These points on the head form energy bars.
You can read about how I got involved with this here half way down the page.
Or watch here:
After being in such a deep funk, I was surprised and relieved by how quickly I started feeling like myself again after just one free mini introductory session.
Incredible! And, so easy! They say that when getting your bars run at worst you will feel like you just got a great massage and in the best case scenario - your whole life can change.
I now have my bars run as a regular course of maintenance to manage anxiety & depression. I can't explain how or why it works. I just know that it does.
As soon as I feel that black cloud rolling in I get my bars run. Instead of having that cloud live inside me for weeks at a time, I have it dissolved in minutes.
*** I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. ***