Depression Doesn’t Rock- Part Two of Three

A change of scenery or a nice hot bubble bath has done nothing to pull you out of your blue mood. While listening to your favorite love songs you actually felt worse, not better. I hope that by now you’ve gone to see your primary doc and are set to see a mental health practitioner. What should you expect? First off, someone who gives you eye contact, so you should do the same. Meet them at eye level, it works. You two should be partners in getting you better and back to being yourself!

 Be on the same page-

First off, the practitioner will ask you why you’re there. Different people go for different reasons. The evaluating person needs to know what’s bothering you. We all have different priorities and limits. I’ve sometimes thought a person should be on medication and they’ve been appalled by the idea. The symptoms of depression may be quite intense but you would have to agree. Don’t you think? Sometimes people are radically against medication but don’t tell me that until way late during the session. You may choose to bring it up early. I’m conservative. So while medication most frequently helps a person to climb out of depression it’s not the only strategy. Sometimes, I’ve been the one who’s appalled. There is help on the horizon and if somehow you’ve managed to make it to a prescribing clinician, there’s something important about that. Get the information you need. You can always rethink your decision after you’ve sifted through it. Or not.

Answer what’s asked-

Sounds simple but sometimes it’s not. A person can feel vulnerable answering personal questions about themselves. Sometimes it’s not in one’s culture or tradition to tell what’s really going on. You won’t get a bad grade, if you’re honest, honest. No one is going to contact your job or husband if you spill the beans on what’s really going on in your head. Sometimes people are afraid that it’s going to be on “a record.” Practitioners do keep documents but these are private. There has to be one-otherwise how can they possibly remember all the details that make you who you are? You want them to remember that you began sleepwalking with a particular pill you took that was supposed to help you get a good night. You wouldn’t want them to prescribe it again if they could help it.

Expect confidentiality-

Your mental health practitioner is not going to tell anyone anything. Unless, of course, you’re hell bent on hurting yourself or someone else. Your practitioner wants you safe and protected. You may not be able to do that if you are very depressed. That’s what we’re here for, remember? That’s why you came for help. If your mental health doctor thinks someone else should know, they will talk that out with you. Yes, it may lead to the hospital but that’s only if you really need it. Really.

Try not to laugh-

Some people think it’s funny when the practitioner asks whether a person hears voices or sees things they don’t believe others are sharing. It’s what we ask. Guess what? A percentage of people who are depressed actually do experience auditory and visual hallucinations. This type of depression is called Major Depression with Psychotic Features. Yes, you can get better-even if you are a little paranoid. There is medication that will help you and you can get back to enjoying the good things in life. Yippee!

Don’t be shocked-

You will probably be asked how much wine you drink or marijuana you smoke to help you sleep or relax. These are known to be depressants. The practitioner might ask you if you are sexually active or having trouble with intimacy. Sometimes a person’s libido goes south of the border when they’re depressed.

Expect questions about your medical health-

The practitioner will ask about your physical condition, may send you for blood work and may ask for permission to chat with your primary care physician. Sometimes our physical and medical selves get cross-fused. We might think it’s one thing but it’s another. A test or a conversation can help clarify for a safer treatment plan for you.

Bring a list of questions-

I’m not talking about testing your clinician on his or her knowledge of the brain and nervous system, unless for some reason you really need to know. They have licenses and board certification attesting to that knowledge and time is short. Ask about your diagnosis, possible treatments, medications if needed and potential side effects. Ask about how long you may need to be on medication before it’s discontinued. Question whether the medication that’s prescribed can be taken if you are planning on attending an extravagant wine testing from Thursday to Sunday. You get my drift. Ask what pertains to you.

Next week I plan to talk about different strategies available for mood disorders.

Are there any other questions you’ve asked or would like addressed? Let me know. Just hit the comment section.

Remember you are never alone!

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The Beginners Tips to Blogging Written by a Beginner Blogger

Although I’m fairly new as a blogger I almost feel like an expert. I attribute this state of mind to the multiple blogging sites on how to blog that run across my blogging streams. So I decided to pick out the tips I’ve read and reread several times and share them with you, just one more time. This is in case you might have missed the most important ones.

Blogroll please!

Be Consistent: It doesn’t matter if it’s every Wednesday, Thursday or heaven forbid, Sunday, but it must be there when you say it will. Patterns are important because your multiple readers will wonder what the heck happened to you if you didn’t post your entry. I’m only fairly new to blogging in terms of keeping consistent entries posted on my site.  This has probably shown that I am inconsistent and even worse! Unprofessional! So being consistent is probably the first thing I’ve learned as I’ve read the tips.

Name your blog with your real name: Use your real name unless you want to remain anonymous. I really don’t know how many of us writers want to be that. That’s not our point at all. We do everything else to see our names in print- so it’s okay. It’s not really to feed our egos; it’s all about easy recognition. When I was picking out the title for my first blog I had not yet achieved the level of self- esteem I have developed over the last couple of months of blog surfing. I named my first blog with a catchy phrase. If you happened to be a close friend of mine, you’d understand why I picked out such a cute name. Otherwise, you would have no idea. Unless you noted the picture I attached to it- the one where you couldn’t see my face. That led me to the profound discovery of naming my blog with my name. It’s okay. No one will think you are grandiose. It helps anyone who would like to read what you’ve written. Isn’t it much simpler to tell a friend that they can just look up your name rather than a charming expression they’ll forget before logging in to their laptop?

Find your focus: Maybe I should rename that to “find your foci.” There aren’t many of us that are about only one thing. I have many interests but I find it easier to know what I generally want to write about and let it move in a natural direction from there. I say this only after reading my early blog entries and seeing there was absolutely no focus at all. In the early stages of blogging I would write a blog on a whim, on a thought or on an inspiration. There is really nothing wrong with that- my muse would like me to share with you. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m no Julie and Julia. But there has to be some sort of focus. If there is no focus, why would your readers turn their television volume down just to log onto your site?

Be concise: Your readers are writers. They probably want to spend more time writing especially if they are working other jobs to pay the bills, like me. I get sort of glassy eyed if a blog entry is too long. I want to read a few blogs but I also want to make dinner, take the dogs out for a walk (they especially like that too) and play a game of X-treme Fetch (phrased coined by Ginger and Chutney but it sounds more like woof-woof when they say it). Be concise. I think this concept partners with being courteous to readers and can lead to more installments of a topic you’ve chosen to blog. The previous tip on finding your focus led me to realizing that I had to be concise. I’m getting better at it. Note the underlined tips in this blog entry. Most of my entries are told as short storylines. That’s okay because that’s how I happen to think and write but brevity is something that keeps me coming back to a particular blog.

Be Flexible: As a writer you are a creative being. No need to get stuck doing something one way and keeping it that way if you don’t like it. One of the most gratifying things I find about writing is my ability to be dynamic and fun. Change often takes not only my reader, but me, by surprise. No need to be stodgy when it comes to writing. As a writer of prose on my best days, I am sometimes struck with words that come together and what some, okay, basically me, would call poetry. Is there a place for poetry entries on my blog? Of course, it’s my blog. I have a separate blog site for my poetry. I’m thinking about entering my poetry pieces onto my main blog site. As you can see I’m not sure what I want to do. So be flexible, especially if you don’t know exactly which direction you’d like to take. I know that once it’s written and in cyberspace, it’s there, forever, for all eternity but energy changes and so do we as humans, I mean, writers. It’s okay to lighten up.

Blogging can be a scary experience for the novice. I know- I’m one of them. The multiple blog sites that offer help and clarify major points to blogging are welcomed by me. My greater task is to identify what I want to say and how I want to say it. Should my theme be whimsical, nautical or earthy? Only I can decide that but receiving practical knowledge from experts leaves me more time to consider a pink or blue background. Choices, choices…

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