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Is this as good as it gets?


Perhaps you have major depression or bipolar depression and are struggling to find the best treatment that works for you to relieve your symptoms.  We already know that this can be a long process.  Maybe you have tried several medications or types of therapy so far and have not yet found the one that is best suited to you, so you are still having symptoms.   Maybe you have had some success with one medication or treatment, but then your symptoms later returned.  Perhaps you are a friend, parent, or family member of this person and are painfully living through the struggle with him/her.  If this has been going on for a seemingly long time, you might begin to wonder if things are ever going to get any better, if the way things are now are as good as it is going to get.  STOP RIGHT THERE!

It is impossible to predict what course this illness will take in any one person.  One thing we do know is that it will have ups and downs and not be a straight line recovery, but that it will eventually change.  You cannot know what is around the corner, or predict what the future will actually be.  So do not give up on yourself or your loved one.  Do not accept that “this” mood state is as good as it gets.  While you may not be able to do everything you would like to do right now, do not set low standards for what you (or your loved one) may be able to do in the future.  Persistence and perseverance are key to improvement, but are difficult to maintain if you do not feel as though you are making any progress.  That is why it is important to track your progress with a Mood Chart and stay in touch with your providers who can offer you a perspective and hope that you may not have right now.

It is important to remember that new treatments and approaches to the illness are always being developed.  You may not know what may be available or helpful to you in three or six months’ time.  That seems like an awfully long time away when you are in the midst of an episode and need help right now, but there is some inkling of hope to it.  Stay open to the possibility that new approaches come along for you to try, and that the field of psychiatry is constantly working on new treatments that may be of benefit to you.

Also remember that everybody responds to medications and therapy differently, so it requires time and patience to find the best treatment for any one person.  Sometimes it is a trial and error process. Sometimes it is a matter of finding the best combination of medications and therapy for you.  Try one thing – wait and observe your response to it.  Modify it, observe, change the dose.  Observe.  Try another thing.  All of this takes time – weeks, months, sometimes years.  Keep at it and eventually you will find a treatment plan that works to relieve your symptoms and restore your level of functioning.

Stay well!

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