So, I admit I haven't been to this site for a while since school started. My twin brother and I have been going to a therapist once a week since late August. I'd have to say it has gone well. He is a Christian therapist who has really opened my eyes as to this disorder, as well as other things. He started out by asking us about the history of our disorder, and I had fun revealing that I also have obsessive compulsive disorder as well (since he would tell us funny stories about numbers and such that I could relate to). Then, he had us read a book called "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life" by Daniel Amen. It really showed me the aspect that the brain can have differences compared to others'. Also, he had us read "The Mind and the Brain" which showed me how the mind is the seat of being, and the brain is a tool that we should be able to use for our own benefit.
Our therapist–Charles May is his name–reminded us that only God defines us, and not to let any body else do so. He also reminds us that people are all fallible, and that we should not judge others or get revenge (for instance, my brother was harassed verbally by some kids at school, but our therapist said that by letting their words get to him and lead him to counterract with more insults, my brother would be giving in to them, which would ultimately make HIM the loser).
Dr. May also said that with my anxious/OCD brain, I could be forgetting that God is here with me to help me as well. I admit, I have forgotten about God being there sometimes. He gave my brother and I a metaphor about a peanut and a balloon. He said that people may think of God as a little peanut while they put all of their anxious thoughts into a balloon that gets larger and larger. He said that we could instead put our Godly thoughts/praises, etc. into the balloon instead (in effect, get OCD about God) and thus the anxious thoughts would be the peanut.
Dr. May also related to my brother and I his own experiences with his own anxiety. He said he was, at his worst, afraid he was the anti-Christ, and he would have to walk around the block for hours at a time dealing with all of his crazy thoughts. Then he said that he had to make realizations that would counterract the negative thoughts (this is probably CBT but he did it on his own for a while). For him, he said that he had to use medication for a couple of years. He said that that he only used them as "training wheels" and that, eventually, he "took off the training wheels" after "muscling up" his brain to handle his anxiety (he had GAD and OCD).
Dr. May also told us that he does diaphragmatic breathing (details about that kind of breathing are in "Change Your Brain…"). And he says that he would put each of his negative thoughts on an index card, and then write the logical, truthful, positive thought on the other side. So, if he would have a bad thought, he could find the card and turn it around to reveal the truth. He said that it takes a while to find the right thought to counterract the negative part of the brain. So, I've started to do the diaphragmatic breathing and I also do the notecard thing. It's helped.
So, on the topic of medication, Dr. May said that I definitely should try them, and he had to convince this to my parents. The reason is because my twin brother, thought genetically identical to me, does not have OCD or get panic attacks, while I do. So, I went to the psychiatrist last Thursday (Dr. Nathan Fairman in Sacramento at the UC Davis Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic). It was fun and eye opening to talk about my disorders to Dr. Fairman (for instance, I mad realizations about how much these disorders have really affected me). And I had knowledge about the drugs that are used to treat SAD and OCD and brought up Nardil early on (but Fairman contended that none of his patients use MAOIs since the new-age antidepressants are so much better…) My parents weren't in the office while I related my thoughts about the disorder to Dr. Fairman, but they were allowed in afterwards.
Dr. Fairman told them about what I personally wanted to get from him, and said that he would discuss my case with Dr. Robinder Banghoo (Fairman is a PGY-3 so he has a "teacher" while there). We were called back into the office. He asked me which drug I thought he was going to prescribe. I listed "Paxil, Celexa, Zoloft, Luvox, …" but he said "no, getting warmer" and then when he said "It's the one that has the most research and the one that is used the most with adolescents" I said "Prozac".
So, he said I'd be getting Prozac, and I'd be taking it in table form, 10mg tablets. He said I'd cut them in half and take 5mg a morning for 7 days, then for the rest of the time take 10mg a day until we see next (that would be January). Now, I thought that it would take alot more of the drug to be effective for anxiety and OCD, but I weigh 120lbs and am only 5'2", so maybe I need less? Right now, I am on day 3 of Prozac (I actually filled the prescription at Rite Aid, where they give me Teva's "fluoxetine HCl"). So, I get a little nauseous, but so far that's it, no other side effects "yet". On day one, I was able to read without counting the words in each sentence, but that could have been the placebo effect (or maybe instead of getting "activated" by taking the drug for the first time, I got the ability to concentrate instead). So, I hope that this drug helps me to be able to expose myself to more situations and learn from them, and that I can then get off of them. Wish me luck! (I've actually done PLENTY of exposure. For instance, for five weeks I've been helping out at a day care at my church, and since two years I've been trying those "social experiments". So, I just hope that the drug can help my brain to change and learn stuff while I do the exposure).