Being human can be hard. We have these things called thoughts and emotions that have a grip on our wellbeing. If you’re like me, you have a past or current history of mental health issues. Those issues, or mental illnesses, often occur when those same thoughts and emotions are set off by internal or external triggers. The triggers can have a negative effect on your behavior as well as your mental and physical health.
It’s possible that you decided to click and read this article to find some type of insight. To come to an understanding of what is actually going on inside of your head. Or to discover that there are other people in the world like yourself. People who are facing the same issues. Going through the same highs and lows of mental illness, and combatting the same stigma.
I am one of those people. By sharing not only my past experience to recovery but also by giving tips on ways to seek help, I aim to help you with your recovery.
Battling The Stigma of Mental Health
Mental health struggles are never fought alone.
“I’m not crazy, or at least, I don’t think I am” is something I would say to myself while battling bouts of depression. At the time, I didn’t realize that I was internalizing the stigmas of mental illness. I defined myself and illness through the misconception of stigma. I had to realize that I wasn’t crazy, which was my first step to recovery.
Stigma is a huge barrier to why many people don’t seek help. We don’t want to be judged for seeking treatment. We don’t want to be defined as weak or incompetent--or even worse--seen as unable to take care of ourselves.
Internalizing these stigmas is the first step to feeling shame and embarrassment. Yet, it takes an entire community to battle the stigma of mental illness. Awareness starts with educating and informing yourself as well as educating your family, friends, school, and co-workers in order to spread awareness. Through encouraging ourselves and others who are suffering from mental illness to speak up, we can create a culture of recovery. Spreading awareness to disseminate false stereotypes to break down mental health stigma.
The Roller Coaster of Mental Illness
I’ve always liked to compare mental illness to a roller coaster. A continuous ride of twists and turns, ups and downs. The roller coaster makes getting to the point of recovery feel like an uphill battle.
The roller coaster of mental illness along with the many stigmas contributed to my fear and refusal to seek help. Instead, I choose to self-diagnose. I began binge drinking, building unhealthy habits, and ignoring my symptoms. Which lead me to a deep state of depression.
Seeking help for mental health can seem like a daunting task, especially when the roller coaster of mental illness has you trapped on the ride. There is no shame in seeking help.
You are not alone on your battle or roller coaster of mental illness. There are other people in the world going through the same thing. So that stigma of you being crazy or weak by seeking help? It’s all fake news.
You may not always understand what’s going on in your mind or with your emotions and thoughts. But by seeking help, it can help you understand why.
Making Mental Health a Priority
Seeking help starts with yourself. Self-help is vital to the journey to recovery. Self-help begins with self-awareness and self-discipline. Self-awareness helps identify certain triggers of your mental illness, while also being aware of what helps relieve them. These triggers can range from high levels of stress, family, friends, relationships or even world events.
Whereas, self-discipline is the cornerstone of recovery. Once you’ve identified your triggers, self-discipline improves your ability to manage them. The lack of self-awareness and self-discipline can lead you down a destructive path of self-medication. I’ve been down that path, it’s a lonely one.
Give yourself permission to seek help by taking care of yourself. Exercise more often and go on that walk after work. Start watching what you eat, get extra sleep, but most importantly find out what works best for you. The most important self-care tip of all is to value your time and energy. Start small, take your time, and be patient with yourself.
The Benefits of Therapy
Recovery goes beyond self-care. Therapy can help you identify the healthy habits needed for self-care.
If it wasn’t for a close friend of mine that encouraged the idea of therapy. I would have never developed the courage and self-awareness to enter therapy. Therapy gave me the tools and techniques to live a more confident and emotionally balanced life.
Finding the right therapist can be a challenge. It is important that you and your therapist have a genuine connection and build up trust. They are someone to talk to. It feels good to have someone to help investigate your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Therapy fosters help, empowerment, and motivation. For me, therapy helped improve my life, my relationships, and assisted with getting to the root of my problems.
Don’t Be Ashamed
Don’t be ashamed of seeking help on your road to recovery. As recovery is remembering who you are and using your strengths to become all that you were meant to be. By seeking help through self-care and therapy, you will begin to find yourself again. Mental health is as important as physical health and both your mind and body will thank you.