MHFA recognises there are many different ways to improve our emotional wellbeing. Sometimes that might mean medication, sometimes talking therapies – but there are also a wide range of alternative therapies, and strategies for improving our coping skills which may be of use in our recovery journeys.
Some of them may have great bodies of evidence for or against their efficacy. There are huge debates around whether certain non- “conventional” medicines / therapies are any use, or whether it’s all just a placebo effect. Indeed there have been studies that say placebos can work even if we know they are placebos. The brain, as we know, is a funny, and powerful thing.
I’ve written something over on The Willow Twisted (where I put my personal witterings, poetry, etc.) about my own experiments with Binaural beats. The “scientific” explanation for why these are supposed to work is dismissed by many as rubbish. I don’t know enough about neurology to say either way. But so far, it’s having a great effect on me. Whether for the reasons suggested or not. So does it matter?
It’s important that we make informed choices, whether with conventional or alternative therapies. We need to know about possible side-effects, or drug interactions, and if possible long term outcomes and / or health effects – before we can say, ok. I’ll give it a go and I’m prepared to take any risk involved. We need to to be lied to, by snake oil salesmen or Big Pharma. We need to do our own research, or if we are unable, be able to trust our medical professionals to give us unbiased and accurate information.
I twitch a little when supposed miracle cures cost a fortune. If I hadn’t have been able to find free downloads – I might not have tried Binaural Beats. But that doesn’t mean to say that if it carries on working I might not be prepared to pay to explore what else it might help me with. I wouldn’t expect to go to a practitioner of some therapy for free- they’re giving me their time and need to make a living. But I would hope not to be ripped off. And the measure of that for me is whether it works. If it doesn’t work, I might give it a month, then pack it in as a bad job. If it does work – I have to decide whether the benefit to me is worth the ongoing cost. Just as with anything we pay for. I’ve been having my nails done for the past few months. Is having pretty nails, and the nice feeling I get from looking at them, and the hour or so of setting the world to rights when they are being done – worth what I pay? Are the “side effects” – being over cautious with them, not being able to do certain crafty, manual things with ease, not going with all my clothes 😉 – something I can handle? My credit cards – is the convenience and extra spending power worth the interest / debt?
I keep looking and reading into different therapies. There’s always a worry that there’s a health risk I don’t know about. But for now, I’m happy to take the risks I know about (and the uncertainty) – for the benefit I am receiving. Regardless of whether there’s a scientific reason why it should or shouldn’t work.
After all, Prozac / Fluoxitine has a big body of evidence saying why it should be effective, but for me it did nothing more than make me vomit and bruise easily. Venlafaxine worked but turned me into a zombie. A cost I eventually could not afford.
How about you? What techniques / therapies / supplements do you find improve your mental health / emotional wellbeing? I’d love to hear.