I have had MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) and GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) since I was a teen. During the last few years I was on and off medication, meditation, journaling, self-help books, therapy, etc. You name something to help with mental illness; I’ve tried it…excluding electroshock therapy.
Last year was full of panic attacks and suicidal ideation. Needless to say, something had to change. January 1st of this year, I started tackling debt that James and I accrued – We used Dave Ramsey’s plan of starting with the lowest debt first and working our way up. Pretty soon, we saw rapid success and I had an epiphany – if this is working so well with my finances, why can’t it work with my mental health?
I started with something simple – my medication. I spoke with my doctor and we tried Paxil. This not only alleviated my MDD, but it cured my anxiety overnight.
Next was food. I am addicted to sugar and caffeine. I grew up in a southern household, which meant fried everything with a side of grease and sugar. I told my husband that I wanted to change and we went to Trader Joes and the local produce stand immediately. I don’t snack as much, I drink TONS of water, and I actively eat fruits and veggies. This makes a world of difference in my moods.
The biggest, and most difficult step, was getting to the gym. I read this article from the Washington Post and it finally pushed me to give working out a try. With the help of my amazing frugal fox gym buddy, I started going regularly. I had no idea what I was doing (and still mostly don’t), but I decided to go for it anyway. It helps my confidence and my body appreciates the extra self-care.
When you see things like the picture below – don’t believe it. If you can find peace with just doing one thing, without medication, then I am really happy for you. There are 14.8 MILLION Americans with MDD and 6.8 MILLION Americans with GAD — There are endless ways to live with it and It took me changing my ENTIRE lifestyle to finally find a rhythm that worked. My advice? Don’t feel ashamed that you have MDD or GAD, Definitely don’t be embarrassed by taking medication for it, and find a way to live with it that fits your needs.
If you ever feel like you need to talk about your mental illness, do not hesitate to contact me, or reach out to any of these organizations.