Mental Health: Experience, Strength, and Hope

Mental Health: Experience, Strength, and Hope

Mental health is one of the subjects that everybody likes to talk about, and that’s just about where it stops: talk. Mental health is a big issue, and when someone in your family is facing a bout with mental illness it is very scary. I’m not going to tell you how to cure any illness, as I don’t possess those powers, nor am I going to tell you what is the correct decision for your family—that’s your decision to make. I’m writing this article to present to you various options available to you in the Fredericksburg area, and I will also include my personal experience.

I have fought with mental illness since the age of three years young, and without a doubt in my mind, the most important reason I am winning the fight today is the undying support I receive from my friends and family. Knowing that I am loved and supported in the choices that I make and all I do, and that I also have to face the consequences of my actions (both good and bad) when the time arises, are very important to the success I have with fighting my illness. I was the worst child you could never want until about the end of middle school. We (my parents and I) finally found the “cocktail” of medicine that works with me, and, with a little adjustment on my part in my attitude, BOOM I am a person you would never suspect has Bipolar disorder and PTSD. I see a therapist regularly, and I see a doctor occasionally to maintain my medicine levels.

As I said from my own personal experience, the keys to my success are faithful love and support, finding the medicine that worked for me, and keeping up with my doctors. Other options in the Fredericksburg area for supporting someone with mental health include:

  • Mental Health America of Fredericksburg (540-371-2704)
    They provide a lot of FREE outreach services (finding providers, support groups, etc.)
  • Virginia 211 (211 or 800-230-6977)
    Dial from any phone in the Fredericksburg area to be connected with a service that can provide you referrals to doctors and therapists in your area.
  • Rappahannock Area Community Services Board (540-373-6876)
    The Fredericksburg branch of the RACSB (and others) has Crisis Management therapists available 24 hours a day, as well as psychiatrists and therapists. The RACSB also sponsors the Sunshine Lady House, which is a crisis stabilization center.
  • Employee Assistance Program:  your employer might offer an EAP, which is a temporary, confidential, and free option available if you need assistance now. Check with your HR department to see if your employer offers this type of program.

It is also important to do the following:

  • Physical Exertion
    While not a medical course of treatment, exercise releases endorphins, which make one a little happier temporarily. Plus, exercise wears you out and lets you sleep easier that night.
  • Sleep
    Again, not medical course of treatment (sort of...). I find that when I have a full night’s sleep (8-9 hours) that I wake up feeling more in control of my body, whereas when I get 5-7 hours of sleep, I wake up groggy and usually more irritable.