Mindful Matters: EPI and Your Mental Health

Hide Video Transcript

Video Transcript

Even asking the question "How can I address my mental health?" is an important step for people, and so the way I often have people start is monitoring the way that you respond to your symptoms, if we're going to talk about this just in the symptom category first. Where does my brain go once those symptoms start or in anticipation of symptoms?

Do I feel afraid? Do I feel sad? Am I finding myself withdrawn? Those are important things to just begin to talk about.

And people with EPI often find it helpful to talk with other people who have experienced similar symptoms. And so even asking your doctor, "Are there other patients who have gone through this that might be willing for me to talk with them?" You could also talk with your social community, and this is probably an important step for you down the road of letting them know what you're going through.

So much of our human experience is around avoiding discomfort or avoiding things that might feel negative to us. And sometimes with patients, we think about, here, "What would be the worst that would happen, and can I cope with that if that were to be the case?" And so we start to have people actually practice incremental steps toward that worst outcome.

This might mean practicing asking to use the bathroom at a public location, even when you don't need to go, so that in the event that you did need to go when you were out, you feel comfortable. You've done that a lot of times before. So we start to incrementally build. How do I cope with these symptoms that are not something that I can easily make go away?

Any time we're doing any type of cognitive or physical change, we're engaging in some type of new behavior or new thought pattern. This is likely going to be hard work before it gets easier. And I may need the help of a psychologist. I may need the help of my medical provider. I may need the help of my social community, but I probably can't do this alone.

I'm going to need help in some way, and that's OK. It's important to get help.