Treating My Trauma, Panic Attacks & Suicidal Thoughts at Bel Air Home
After countless trips to the best mental health treatment centers in Los Angeles, California for trauma & panic attacks, The Bel Air Home was my saving grace!
My name is Jill P., I’m 29 years old, married and have a 6-year old daughter. I was born and raised in West Los Angeles (Marina Del Rey, Venice, Santa Monica areas), and have been struggling with mental illness, in some form or another, since adolescence. Add to that a little eating disorder, which you’d be surprised how many teenage girls experience without anyone ever even knowing. Peer pressure was absolute hell for me!. I got straight A’s in high school, and yet absolutely despised every minute of it.
To date, I have been in residential mental health treatment 5 times for panic disorder, trauma issues, and suicidal ideations. And of course, all those things turn out to become a catalyst for depression. The crazy thing is, everyone else in my immediate and extended family is about as close to perfect as can be – no mental illness, no addiction issues, successful, etc.
By the age of 15 or 16, anxiety and panic attacks were already quite common for me. Things that were seemingly meaningless to others, at times almost seemed traumatic to me.
Back in my early teens I struggled with depression and bipolar disorder (later on came the trauma, panic attacks & suicidal ideations). At times all I could think about was suicide. It seemed like I was constantly seeing psychiatrists, this specialist, that specialist, taking this medication, taking that medication, and so on. There were bouts of nominal improvement, but nothing more.
Towards the end of my senior year, me and 4 friends planned a weekend camping trip. These were my 4 best, and pretty much only true friends. That Friday morning came around and just my luck, I woke up with a fever, chills, aches, the whole nine. I called up my besty and filled her in. I was super bummed, this camping trip was the first event in a long time that I was looking forward to. !
The next morning I woke up, sick as a dog, all of a sudden my mom asked me what roads did Lizzy and the gang take to get to the camp ground. There were only two possible routes, and the back way was twice as long. As I was telling her the roads they were likely on, and suddenly I started to get a real bad feeling. Moments later she had me at the computer reading an article about a car load of high school girls that was struck by a drunk driver and forced underneath a tractor trailer carrying a full load of fuel. There were no survivors. I just knew in my gut that it was them. Later that morning it was confirmed…
My life changed that day, and the anxiety and panic attacks took off on a whole new level. I was simply unable to fully wrap my arms around what had happened. It was more than I could possibly tolerate.
First, just the guilt from me still being alive. And the idea that I was just a sniffle and a soar throat away from being in that car right along with them.
Let’s just skip over the next couple of years and jump right into my first treatment center experience. I was admitted for generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder/panic attacks, and having suicidal thoughts.
The place was in West Los Angeles; the surroundings were very nice, comfortable, good food, queen beds, hot tub, etc. Most of the days were filled with group therapy, and some private therapy. From the very start they had me on several medications. It was pretty much the same thing each day, with a couple of outings, once to a movie and once for a hike and dinner out. I was there for just around 35 days, and when I left I was in a calm state simply from having been removed from society for the prior month, but otherwise I really didn’t feel any different. It’s possible that the medications were helping, but the results were nominal at best.
Within a short time I was basically right back to square one – anxiety attacks, panic attacks, which always brought me back to suicidal ideations. It was awful!
Over the next 2 years I found myself in 3 more residential mental health treatment centers throughout Southern California. Two were in Los Angeles and the third was in Malibu. They were all beautiful, lavish, private, “holistic” and so on, but the results from each experience were no different. And the crux of the programs were basically the same, therapy and medication, and a spattering of ancillary things like yoga, nutrition, meditation, etc.
Ultimately, my saving grace was The Bel Air Home. It is anything but your typical mental health rehab center. I mean, from an environmental and comfort perspective, it’s definitely an exclusive, amenity-rich environment, but you can easily tell that, unlike some of Southern California’s other prominent facilities, they prioritize efficacy and clinical services well above comforts & amenities.
First off, their patient-to-staff ratio is wonderful because their maximum patient count is only 6. They also strive to rely less on standard psych med approaches, which I love! Instead, as it was explained to me, they have a unique hybrid program that basically combines the latest advanced therapies like, TMS, ECT and Ketamine/Sprovato, with other time-tested therapies. Essentially, they take the latest (proven) advancements in technology & behavioral & cognitive science, and merge it with only the most effective elements within prior treatment approaches. And this applies to trauma/PTSD, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, just as it does for all the other mental illnesses they treat, like bipolar disorder, depression, OCD, delusional disorders, mood disorders, etc.
When I arrived at Bel Air Home, I noticed something else that I’d never heard of or seen before. They have this thing called “Age-Specific” treatment. Basically, there are 3 different treatment tracks that are each designed to target certain age groups, So a 60-year old with trauma and panic disorder receives a different treatment plan than that of a 25-year old with the same diagnosis
In total, I was at The Bel Air Home for 32 days, and in that time I was able to receive more than I ever imagined I would. The experience here, the clinicians, the array of therapies, the attention and customization each client receives, there just wasn’t any program out there quite like this; or if there is, they’re not marketing very well because we certainly couldn’t find them.
At one point I was on a regimen of three different medications, at relatively high dosages, two of which were being taken more than once per day. Since completing the Bel Air Home program, I am down to one medication. My life is stable, I am back to work, back to being a full-time mom, and wife, and daughter, and can honestly say that I am happy.
Regardless of whether written by a licensed medical professional or not, nothing in this blog should be taken as medical advice, an assessment, a diagnosis, or anything of the sort.
If there are any questions or comments relating to information on this page, or to find out more about The Bel Air Home’s mental health treatment services, please contact us 7 days a week at (888) 818-7762. More information is also available through our contact page.
True Healing from Mental Illness Begins Here and Now!
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