Over the past 3-4 years I have used a variety of self help techniques and alternative therapies to treat the anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and mild depression I developed.
Whilst this itself is not a literature review, nor is it evidence of efficacy, I will outline the treatments and my experience of them:
The Work This is a self-help technique realised by Byron Katie. She believes that stress, depression etc and suffering are caused by one's thoughts being confused and out of reality. The Work involves 4 main questions testing the validity of the thought and removing the stress from this. While some believe this work to be "cult like", I think that it is a really useful method to increase my consciousness of thought. I have been doing The Work on and off for a couple of months, and when I'm disciplined, I do notice that my stress about a certain belief diminishes. As an example, I was getting very irritated by a family member snorting and found the noise unbearable, after working on it it didn't bother me so. I'm trying this for another 3 months. £5-10 for the book.
Vimala handwriting I'm just about to embark on this! Vimala believes that creative handwriting engages the higher thinking brain, as opposed to the primative brain, thereby encouraging your brain to engage in higher thought. I guess that art and other activities work in the same way. I'll try this for a while and report back... £0 if you download the alphabet from alphabeticalblessings.
Transactional analysis Very expensive therapy which is focused on a client-therapist relationship. I found the process very useful bit couldn't afford to finish. The therapy built on past counselling and is supported by books I've read or are reading - The Work, TA Today and Conversations with God. £50 a session.
CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) This counselling was one of the first I tried and made groundbreaking changes in my belief system. £0 on NHS.
Exercise I love anything when I get time for it, yoga running swimming walking weights Tracy Anderson technique.. give me 2 minutes a say and I'll stretch, squat and do sone abs. There is a plethora or evidence stating how much of a positive impact exercise has. While I wholeheartedly agree, for me it's short term so I have to work on the cause of mental ill health. £0 for at home, £2.60-6 for paid sessions.
Diet I found physically a great advantage to eating alkaline and high raw. I get very irritable after eating sugar, bread and other processed foods so I exclude from my diet. Eating clean is definitely revitalising. Cost £@&@ undefined as save money by buying lots of veg but buy more expensive supplements.
Faith I was raised a Catholic but had never read a bible at home and no-one ever talking of their faith or modelled a faith. It was only after meeting Christians whilst overseas that I saw how a true faith can change one's life. Cost £0!
Colonic Irrigation and Detoxing As a teenager I developed an eating disorder and binged on laxatives. Needless to say I have had a lot of digestive problems because laxatives really mess up your system. Colonic irrigation was something I wanted and needed to try for years but only recently tried. I'd say physically it was very beneficial. Before that I tried the lemon maple syrup detox because I heard it worked as well. I'd definitely disagree, I felt so rough and was an irritable mess. I would however recommend general detoxing of your life, especialy with children! Cost £25-75 a session.
Meditation Over the years I've tried lots of meditation techniques and it is beneficial but you have to be disciplined, and have time which I rarely have. I do try listen to an anger release or grounding meditation before I go to sleep. Cost £0 to £10 of you go to a class or even more for a masterclass.
TAT technique Tried once so far using a free podcast off iTunes. It did provide a release but not sure it really works long term, rather just as a relaxation. I'll try again - see if I prove myself wrong. Cost £0!
Acupuncture This has a profound effect on me. After every treatment my whole face puffed up! I'd love to have more sessions but again, it's not cheap. Cost £150 for 6 sessions.
Herbal medicine Have to say, not sure it had any effect but purely anecdotal. Cost £6 for medicine.
Homeopathy I cannot comment as I didn't finish the course. After 10 weeks I hadn't noticed a difference.
Bowen technique This was a very relaxing treatment but I couldn't justify the expense for the effect. Cost £25-35 a session.
Chiropractic adjustments The theory I believe is that being out of alignment can cause disturbance between neurones and make you less irritable. Whilst I needed this to alleviate back, neck, pelvis issues after pregnancy, I found no difference in mood! Cost £6-27 a session.
So which of these practices have healed me?
In an answer all of them in some way. I see them all as part of my journey. Many of them have helped in the short term, but then I've quickly reverted to feeling overwhelmed, negative and angry.
I think a lot of the counselling and self help techniques have similarities - Western and Eastern variations of the knowledge that if your thoughts and actions are negative you are negative. So to be healthy and happy, think love, act love and be love.
It's harder said than done, I am so aware of that, I have Miss Negative sitting on my shoulder whispering (shouting sometimes) in my ear.
It takes dedication and constant reminders to reach a level of consciousness where you can retrain your thoughts so you don't suffer.
While I realise I am the only person who can and does make me so miserable - it is still so easy to slip into old habits of blaming others and being hateful and angry.
I'm really trying to reach that level of consciousness so I can find my real, my authentic self.
I will be the loving person I was born to be - if I could just shake off all this baggage....
I'm working on it, I've left behind a good few cases - I hope there isn't too much left.