By Fe, from Southern California
Where my story begins
I’m an immigrant here in the US and I’ve always struggled with depression and anxiety to some extent. I remember when I first applied for college I had one of my first big episodes of anxiety. For years, though, I was able to handle everything just fine with some help. When I started doing Crossfit in 2011, for example, I felt very supported by the community there.
However, in 2019, some people who I had considered friends said some borderline racist and xenophobic things to me, which took a big toll on my mental health. Of course, things only got worse when the pandemic hit in 2020. When that happened, the few activities that helped me feel like I had a grip on things like hanging out with friends and going to the gym were no longer possible.
Being stuck at home all the time made me feel worse and worse, and I eventually hit rock bottom. At that point, I thought “I can’t take this anymore. I can’t wait. I need to do something.” So, I started researching online for help, knowing that I wanted to try medication again.
Staring with Prairie
As I searched, I discovered a lot of different options at different prices, but I eventually settled on Prairie. What drew me to Prairie was the genetic test; mental healthcare from Prairie wouldn’t just involve meeting with someone and talking. I could actually get medication, and it might actually work for me. As someone with a lot of allergies to various products, chemicals and medications, I know that my body doesn’t work the way that others do. I needed treatment that was specific to me.
My membership with Prairie started in an interesting way. There were some issues with my first genetic test that delayed my report, which meant that my psychiatrist with Prairie didn’t actually have my genetic test results when he was prescribing me treatment. Unfortunately, the result was that this first medication was completely wrong for me. I found myself unexpectedly gaining weight as a side effect, which made me feel even worse about myself.
However, when the genetic test results did come in, things turned around in a big way. Dr. Ravi switched me to a new medication that works for me, I lost some of the weight I’ve gained, and I’m now so much happier. I felt like I got to see firsthand how my genetics could be used to find a better medication for me, because of that experience with the initial medication we tried.
My improvement has also been encouraged by Megan, my Prairie Care Coordinator. Megan regularly sends me tools and exercises to help me out. Having that in combination with the right meds works so much better than I could have imagined.
Before Prairie, I was struggling a lot. I was having frequent anxiety episodes and I wanted to cry every day. But now, I can’t remember the last time that was the case. Even despite the initial issue, I’m surprised at just how fast Prairie helped me turn things around. I thought the process would take so much longer until I’d start feeling the way I do now.
For me, I want to shift off my medication eventually. And when I do, it’s so comforting to know that a service like Prairie is out there if I go through a difficult period in the future, I can have that support. It gives me confidence that I’ll be okay. And that it’s okay to sometimes need that support.
Why I’m sharing my story
I’m sharing my story because I know that there are people out there who have gone through similar problems, and the only way we can make life easier is if we face them and talk about them. We need to stop the stigma. It’s okay to need help. It’s okay to ask for help. We shouldn’t be embarrassed by talking about this. I hope that by talking about myself, I can inspire a few more people to seek the help they need.
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