TraumaFilter: what worked for you in overcoming PTSD, anxiety, depression?
I've recently been diagnosed with PTSD, GAD, and depression (not my first depression diagnosis), and am seeing a therapist for CBT, EMDR, and hypnosis. Due to time and financial constraints, I can only see her for these every other week, because my two children (teens) and the three of us as a family are also having sessions (2 sessions a week is the limit my budget can handle).
I am not taking any prescription medication on a regular basis because my therapist doesn't approve, on the basis that they can be habit-forming and wants me to try homeopathic alternatives instead, which I don't trust. She's the 6th therapist/counselor I've seen in my life, the first I've been able to open up to, and I'm not optimistic about finding a better one, particularly in my area and on my insurance. I approached my GP over 3 years ago about my anxiety and she dismissed my concerns, insisting, "It's perfectly normal; everyone feels that way sometimes," and prescribed me first Pamelor for the depression (which did nothing) and then generic Wellbutrin (which raised my anxiety sky-high and didn't level out after months of taking it).
Because some of my trauma is medical, it is very difficult for me to go to a doctor, much less raise such concerns, and especially to assert myself in the face of disagreement. I do smoke pot sometimes to help with the anxiety, but only a little, as I do not like to feel out of control and don't want to be truly "stoned." I rarely drink alcohol. I have a friend who gave me a few of her Xanax and I have taken 1.5 of them, half at a time, over the last few months, when I was otherwise going to have to leave work because I was absolutely incapable of coping, but they are my absolute last resort because who knows when/if I could get more.
I'm having a really hard time making it through each day, doing my job, taking care of my kids as a single parent, trying to manage household stuff. I've had a series of triggering events over the last few years, each one leaving me in worse shape than the last. It's been several months since I went through an entire day without flashbacks. I frequently cry, seldom over current events, and it's become tremendously difficult to get out and socialize even with people I've known for a long time and feel safe with. I have diffuculty focusing well enough to watch a movie or read a book, much less meditate. I enjoy nothing. I am exhausted, physically and emotionally. The constant influx of adrenaline leaves me drained. I have no one to take over any of my tasks for me, to provide relief at work or home. The kids do help out with chores, some, with lots of management by me.
Background, if it matters: 37 year old female in the U.S., particular traumas in my case involve child abuse, alcoholic parents, rapes and forced sodomy (multiple perpetrators and incidents over a period of years -- none under the category of "child molestation" or "incest": I was at least 15 and unrelated to all perps), domestic abuse (physical, psychological, and sexual by one partner, psychological only by another), medical traumas, and physical assault. I've never been protected by anyone, from anything.
So, with all this in mind, what do I do? What worked for you in overcoming anxiety, depression, and/or PTSD? What can I do with the other 335 hours between therapy appointments that can make my days more bearable? How do I reduce or eliminate the flashbacks and crying jags? How do I rebuild my concentration? How do I overcome the panic and flight instinct that keeps me from socializing? How do I make life worth living (no, I'm not suicidal)?
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