Sunday, November 3, 2019

How much does my personal mental health experience matter?

When I was talking to a friend the other day, I came to the realization that there are 2 things where I have ~10 years of experience:

1) Genomics research (and programming in R/Perl/Python)
2) My personal path in treating and managing my mental health problems

As you can see from the "Change Log," I shortened this post to avoid getting off topic about thinking about various options but leaning towards not emphasizing the mental health part (from a professional standpoint).

However, what may still be of interest (or at least represents something that I haven't written in a previous blog post) is that I thought the combination of working with social workers (LCSW, MSW, etc.) and psychiatrists (with MDs) is what was most effective for helping me with my problems.  In fact, the Ann Arbor Consultation Services that treated me when I was at the University of Michigan had a philosophy that treatment should start with medication, but then shift to more cogitative therapy with social workers.  At least for me, understanding if I am putting myself in a situation where I am likely to have mental health problems (so, increasing understanding for prevention) and being mindful of unnecessary or harmful behaviors (which I believe is important in affecting the amount of medication that you need to take and/or maximizing the benefit from a given dose of medication) are very important.  So, I think there was something important about this, and I was very disappointed to see the place that helped me is permanently closed.  Nevertheless, I want to thank all of the mental health care professionals that have helped me, who have made a huge difference in my quality of life.

I briefly share some of the specifics for my medications in this post on PatientsLikeMe.  I also found the Headspace app to be helpful, even though there are still times where I also need medication.

Finally, I guess this doesn't leave a specific question where I would appreciate feedback.  However, if you think any of this resonates with you (or if you think it may be helpful), please feel free to comment with your own experiences and/or thoughts.

Change Log:

11/3/2019 - public post
11/4/2019 - add note about project management; additional changes
11/5/2019 - better reflect the likelihood of working with new patient data in long-term (that isn't my own)
11/6/2019 - minor/moderate changes in organization of content
11/7/2019 - minor change + shorten and re-organize post (removing portion where I mention that I think a Licensed Clinical Social Worker can have an MA degree, but I don't think that is actually best fit for me, namely for reasons of communication and remembering details about people+removing 2 paragraphs to possibly have in another post as well as a 3rd paragraph that made less sense with the other stuff removed)

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