“Today you are YOU…”
Things may be going well, you’re feeling good about yourself then all of a sudden there is this wave of emotions crashing down and taking you along, a tornado of thoughts that spiral down to that place where things not only look bleak but you feel disconnected from the world itself. If you find yourself there my friend, let me tell you, you’re not alone.
We have all at one point of our lives experienced that sensation in the pit of our stomach, the feelings of nervousness, and muscle tension. For some, these sensations may be short-lived and the result of daily life stressors. However, for others these physical sensations are so intense that they create an unshakeable sense of danger that when coupled with thoughts that take them to the worst possible outcome or tell them the most critical things about themselves, not only make them feel both helpless and hopeless but also bring up many emotions that leave them overwhelmed.
According to research, mental health disorders affect approximately 1 in 6 people in the world. Anxiety is considered to be the most common of mental health disorders affecting 3.8% of people in the world followed by depression with 3.4% (https://ourworldindata.org/mental-health). Although treatments are available not many people seek professional help. As reported by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are highly treatable, however, only one-third of those suffering from anxiety receive treatment. Furthermore, because anxiety and depression are known to co-occur, about 50% of those diagnosed with anxiety were also diagnosed with depression, it is important to find the appropriate treatment in order to facilitate recovery (https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics).
When it comes to seeking treatment, there are several factors involved in why people don’t seek help, with stigma being at the top of the list. Even though in recent years there has been an increase in the awareness of the mental illness and the need for treatment, there are still many people that don’t seek help. There may be other barriers as well including accessibility and affordability that when coupled with the severity of the illness, make it more difficult for an individual to find the appropriate treatment.
However, I believe that in the process of making the decision of seeking help, what makes the decision more daunting is coming face to face with our own preconceptions about weakness and strength, the effectiveness of treatment, and ultimately the person listening to our story, the therapist themselves. It’s the fear of the unknown, “what’s the treatment going to be like?”, “is it going to work?’, “is it worth it?”, “will the therapist really understand me, my struggle, my pain”, and so on that can further impede people from taking the next step.
I want to remind you that seeking help starts the day you decide to challenge your misconceptions and rather than giving in to the fear of the “unknown”, you decide to give voice to that inner self that keeps on fighting. That Self that keeps on getting back up despite the tsunami of emotions and the tornado of self-deprecating thoughts. That Self that knows what it’s like to be afraid but still decides to face another day. I want to tell you today that that Self deserves a chance at recovery, a chance to learn that there is more to the journey than the battle you are facing, there is more to life that “bleak place”.
If you find yourself thinking about seeking help, there is a Mental Health Professional who is not only ready to help you but who is willing to meet you at your most vulnerable point to listen, encourage and empower you to press on. Someone who will journey with you in the process of being your true self because at the end of the day being your true self is the best thing you can do.
“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is YOUR than YOU” Dr. Seuss.