So the last four years I've known my university has free counseling services, but really didn't think about it until I had a panic attack last night trying to sleep and decided I was fed up with not being able to function these last few months.
Filled out some paperwork and then took their little online questionnaire thing, answered lots of questions, waited. Eventually sat down with a really nice woman I'll just call Doc, and we went over my questions.
The questionnaire screens for a lot of the "typical" health problems - GAD, depression, eating disorders, social anxiety, substance abuse, and a couple others I can't remember. Anything under 50% was white and meant no or very little concern, 50-75% was yellow, things that she wanted to discuss but weren't a big problem unless I thought it was, and anything > 75% red and was obviously something we needed to talk about.
I scored a 94% for GAD...wasn't too surprised. I also scored a 66% for substance abuse (alcohol) but I also feel like the questions were a bit misleading so I'm not sure how real that is, I honestly don't think it's an issue for me. I also scored somewhere around 60% for social anxiety, which doesn't surprise me - I don't think I have horrible social anxiety, but I also don't like being in crowds.
The rest of the session was just her asking general background questions about me, my daily life, family, relationships, habits, etc. Then she gave me some mindfullness/relaxation exercises for me to do 15 minutes a day regardless of how anxious I'm feeling, and we're scheduled for another visit next Wednesday.
So I looked over the websites she gave me and I'm not sure how I feel about them. I mean they don't seem bad necessarily but it's a lot of "mindful compassion" stuff, which I don't know is all that helpful to me? I was hoping when she said relaxation exercises she meant ways for me to calm myself down if I feel a panic attack coming on. I know this is the GAD forum, not panic disorders, but I guess I do have a bit of both - GAD all the time but once in a while it will escalate to me having a full blown panic attack that I can't control, such as last night.
These are the websites she sent me: http://www.mindfulselfcompassion.org/
Anyone have experience with these or at least the exercises they have listed? Just wondering if they were helpful for you guys.
I'm hoping seeing this woman for a while will help me at least a little...I felt pretty awkward at first going in, silly even, because of course at the time I had my appointment I actually felt okay. But she was very nice. She asked if I was interested in counseling, medication, or both, and I told her that for now I do not want to try medication - if after we've exhausted other options and I seem to be getting worse or not improving then I'll consider it, but for now, I'm just a little scared of drugs. She said she was fine with that idea.
So yeah...fun day. Also yay free counseling services at university. Unfortunately when I graduate in 3 months the free sessions go away...