Rogers Behavioral Health

How Rogers helped Cristina develop healthy habits to rise above her bipolar disorder

Posted on 06/07/22 09:57:am Cristina's bipolar disorder story

 

Share this article:

Cristina says she’s struggled with depression since she was a teenager. She was diagnosed in her 20s with persistent depressive disorder, also called dysthymia, and suffered panic attacks. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2007.

Many years later, after going through a divorce, dealing with difficulties at work, the strain of the pandemic, and decades of depression, Cristina says stress and anxiety were wearing her out.

“I was having a lot of interpersonal problems and felt like I couldn’t continue. I had obsessive, suicidal thoughts and felt like I was in a rut,” says Cristina. “I knew I had to do something, so I talked to my psychiatrist, and she referred me to Rogers’ clinic in Tampa.”

Cristina was in the Focus Depression Recovery partial hospitalization program for about 8 weeks.

“It was helpful to take the time off of work and focus on myself and give it the importance it needed to have,” she says. 

Although she knew she needed to get better, Cristina says she approached some aspects of treatment like group therapy, with hesitation.

“I thought it would be people sharing their stories and venting without any resolution,” says Cristina. “We shared something relevant in our lives, but we didn’t go into too much depth. We always had a learning component which I loved, and we had the opportunity to draw. We laughed quite a bit which was unexpected. They made it enjoyable.” 

Cristina credits her therapist with making her feel she could let her guard down.

“He was attentive and knowledgeable. He explained everything to me so I could understand,” Cristina says. “He helped me address things with respect, kindness, and humor. He pushed me when I needed to be pushed, but he also respected my boundaries if there was something I wasn’t ready to discuss.  I didn’t feel like a child. He treated me like an adult. He was amazing and he made a big difference in my life when I needed it most.”

Still using skills learned at Rogers

Cristina is still using the coping skills she learned through dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).

“They’re awesome and I share them with friends,” Cristina says. “One of the skills I continue to use is stopping rumination. That can be a slippery slope. I also do weekly behavioral activations and set goals for myself. Learning self-compassion was huge. It was hard because bipolar for me was a lot of irritability and anger. Constantly feeling upset about everything and everyone is gone.”

When she completed treatment at Rogers, Cristina says she didn’t feel like she was let loose to figure things out on her own. Instead, she felt like she had been given useful tools to help her cope with different challenges in her life and manage her depression.

“After years of bad habits and distorted thinking, I’m able to react differently with friends, family and at work,” Cristina says. “My reactions are still a work in progress, but they are so much better. I know what my triggers are. You can read about DBT and CBT, but therapy helps because you need someone guiding you, explaining things to you, and holding your hand through it.”

How Rogers can help

 

Rogers offers compassionate, specialized care for children, adolescents, and adults. For a free, confidential screening:

Call 800-767-4411 or go to rogersbh.org to request a free screening.