When Mental Health Recovery Feels Like Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

By Lindsay Ensor: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Editor’s Note

Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.
If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.
If you struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the following post could be potentially triggering. To find help, visit the International OCD Foundation’s website.

It is well-known by now to those around me that I live with mental illness. I spend my days off writing for mental health organizations, coaching others through online forums and advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves. I have a huge ache in my heart to help those who cannot help themselves due to the blinders of mental illness. I fight for them because I’ve been there. I’ve been a keynote speaker for many events and I’ve planned walks and fundraisers in the name of spreading the word on mental illness. All the while, I struggle deep down with my own.

My official diagnoses are bipolar 2generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), chronic passive suicidal ideation and I am working to stay in remission from a 20-year battle with bulimia nervosa. These terrible illnesses have led to a complicated adult life filled with psychiatric care and hospitalizations, and things like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and more.

So, why the title?

This battle is a journey for sure. For over nine years, my psychiatrist went through every medication he could think of (and he’s the CEO of the Lindner Center of HOPE in Ohio, studied at Harvard and has been part of over 300 publications — he’s no slouch when it comes to this stuff) and I still wasn’t stable. I had four suicide attempts, 100 days in the psych ward, 30 days in residential treatment and I still wasn’t functioning on my own. Then he pulled out a medication from the 80s that I have to special order from across the country because there are few manufactures of it anymore, with all these “newer and better” meds. This oldie but goodie started to kick in for my depression. Then we added a mood stabilizer. Then the anxiety meds. Then the OCD meds. Then came more and more days of therapy just to keep me a functioning human being. But it all started to work on my illness. I was up and out of bed more often than not. I wasn’t dissociating from reality and my mind was a little calmer and not obsessing over germs and catastrophizing every life scenario. I started leaving my house occasionally on my own and I could do it! It was working!

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