Therapists & Pills vs. Mindset & Lifestyle.

My form of therapy before: Multiple therapists, random diagnoses, prescribed medications, trips to my primary physician to figure out what’s “wrong” with me.

I was absolutely miserable. Every professional kept telling me something was wrong with my brain chemistry, and I needed to take this pill or that pill to fix it. I did it all, and found no relief for my symptoms.

Then one day I said I’m done. I’m going to figure this out on my own, by taking full ownership of my life, and tackling the basics first. I told myself if this didn’t work, I would go back to a therapist and try medication again.

Guess what? It worked.

This is my form of therapy now: sunlight, nature, mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, and creating meaningful connections with other humans.

I almost laugh thinking about what my past therapists told me, because those symptoms (anxiety and depression) they said I needed to be on medication for have been put under control with the simplest measures.

This article isn’t necessarily “anti-therapist,” it’s instead anti-medication. There are good, genuine therapists out there who sincerely know their craft of helping an individual through various types of trauma. This, unfortunately, is not a majority. How we conduct therapy as a whole is immensely flawed, and the push of medication is sadly ever so prominent in our society.

A typical visit to the office: $250 for a 45-minute session to talk to someone who may or may not have your best interests in mind. Many will regurgitate some self help mantras you have access to online or through books. Then at the end they refer you to a psychiatrist who pushes pills that may or may not work. Regardless of your case, you get pills. If they work, now you have pills you need to take or learn how to ween off of. If they don’t work, you may have negative side effects like feeling suicidal. This is a bad deal.

If therapy was conducted differently, I wouldn’t be writing this post. But it’s not. The default answer for anxiety or depression has turned to medication instead of fixing the root: “what is your current lifestyle like?”

Why are you taking anti-depressants when you haven’t even taken a walk outside in years? Why are you popping SSRI’s when you haven’t addressed your poor diet that’s been affecting you for all of your life? Have you tried meditating and getting outside everyday instead of Xanax and Prozac? These are the places we need to start.

Eating the right foods instead of TV dinners every night will have a profound affect on your mind and body. Eating the foods with the proper macro and micro nutrients for your body. You will feel better, sleep better, and perform daily activities better. Every human also needs some form of exercise. If you’re staying indoors and sitting down for 99% of your life, it’s no wonder your depression symptoms haven’t gotten better. Talking to loved ones and making real connections with humans is something a paid visit to a therapist can’t replace. These are all just a small handful of activities a person can do to improve their symptoms tremendously.

Trust me, I understand that medication is enticing because of it’s ability to potentially alleviate and even eliminate your symptoms. But what happens when those pills are gone? As I mentioned in the first article I ever wrote, if society collapses and our cultural norms we have been accustomed to get thrown out the window – like prescription meds on a reoccurring basis – will you be able to handle a panic attack in your own? Even without society collapsing, you should learn and have the ability to handle your emotions without pills. This is what builds resilience. This is what builds YOU.

The other factor that entices people to pills: it’s a “quick” fix. I won’t sugar coat it, doing the work to create a healthy mind from trauma and mental hardship is a lot of work. It’s hard and grisly. You get face to face with yourself naked and it’s painful. You will feel like a failure at times. Perhaps even often. But the other side of that pain? Absolutely breathtaking. You learn so much about yourself, because you pushed to the other side by your own efforts. You figured out what it is you needed to get through your mental dilemmas and how to cope with anxiety and depression, and you did it without the crutch of pills. You proved to yourself you are powerful and that life can’t break you.

The basics need to be applied first before any talk of $250 visits and pills come into play. I guarantee you, that the vast majority of Americans would then find that they never needed those anti-depressants and anxiety pills in the first place. They just needed a push in the right direction, like myself. A push towards a healthy lifestyle and deep connection with yourself.

My hope of writing this is that someone, somewhere who used to be in my position will read this and decide that today is the day they take full control.

You can absolutely do it.

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