Asking for help isn’t fun; it’s terrifying.
Why is asking for help terrifying? Because of the way stigma conditions us to think about other people’s reactions to mental illness.
Not to mention that external stigma conditions us to stigmatize ourselves and tell ourselves untrue statements like “I don’t deserve help” or “I’m a burden on people so no one will care.” These self-talk statements are very harmful and lead to other issues and make the original issue more complicated, which makes it harder to treat and diagnose.
So for this article, I will share a little about myself because I know how it feels to have a mental illness and be deep in a substance abuse addiction and feel like the world couldn’t care less about me
I remember the day it was the middle of November in 2010. My human services professor asked to speak with me. The conversation we had was a turning point in my life.
Her advice was: Sandy if you want to help others you first need to learn to help yourself. Her advice may sound simple, but it’s not.
I ended up dropping out of school for the rest of the year to focus on my recovery.
It took me a few months to see I was getting nowhere because I was focusing on the incorrect parts of my recovery. To avoid focusing on the negative aspects of my recovery, I needed to focus on getting better. And a big part of my issues involved not acknowledging my psychological issues and ignoring my anxiety and ADHD.
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Let’s skip to March 2011 the day I said I’m an addict and I want to get better.
It was humbling because the nurse who admitted me into detox I went to university with; we were in a few psych classes together.
I was pretty embarrassed; it still triggers my anxiety even now, because it made me realize just how hard the fall to rock bottom can b.e I also realized I’m sick of falling; its time to climb
Whether it’s living with a mental illness, an addiction, or trauma, these are some of the hardest battles a person can step in a metaphorical ring with and fight.
It’s a lifelong fight, but I have good news: with the right tools that fight gets easier over time.
Here are a few things I’ve learned from being in recovery and living with a mental illness that honestly made a big difference in my progress. They were hard lessons to learn but also very valuable lessons.
1. Focus on what’s in your control
One of the biggest and most difficult lessons I learned was to focus on what’s within your control. These things help you cope with the things that are not in your control
2. Be okay with making mistakes
You will make mistakes and that’s fine. Mistakes are lessons and it takes a strong person to own their flaws.
3. Be patient
There is no quick fix. Getting better takes time, commitment, and perseverance so be patient.
4. Explore your beliefs
Acknowledge your own biases and where those incorrect beliefs stem from with the help of a qualified professional.
5. Don’t ignore your past and your struggles.
Understanding those things is important to the therapeutic process through skills like self-acceptance.
6. Learn to recognize self-stigma
This form of stigma can be very self-sabotaging and in a world where mental illness is so stigmatized it’s easy to stigmatize yourself
7. Listen to professionals
It’s vital to hear what your doctor or therapist says and listen to them. And if you struggle with their suggestions, mention it to them so you both can work on finding a more effective approach for dealing with those issues
8. Free yourself from stigma
Stigma is a very real problem in society. I used to do my best to educate people who stigmatized mental illness, then one day I realized how much this affected my mental health. So I stopped taking part in those conversations and removed those types of people from my life. I started to only listen to people who support me and not stigmatize me, no matter how much it got under my skin. Even though it sounds like a bad piece of advice, I promise you it’s empowering.
9. Develop coping skills
Be resilient by building healthy coping strategies for the aspects of your treatment you struggle to overcome.
10. Work on self-awareness and self-acceptance
A strong sense of self is as vital as your doctor and medication because you also play a role in your treatment. You do this by developing self-awareness and self-acceptance. Also, practicing healthy self-talk is important. What I mean by healthy self-talk is telling ourselves things that enable us and help us grow
In conclusion, asking for help can seem terrifying, and while it may make you feel hopeless or weak, the truth is it takes great strength and courage to reach out for support.
Even though seeking psychological support means dealing with many of the uncomfortable truths about your life, you’ll be better off and a stronger person for it. A few years down the line you’ll look back and say, “Dam, I’m proud of myself and I’m glad I’m still here!”
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The opinions and information shared in this article may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We hold no liability for any harm that may incur from reading content on our site. Please always consult your own medical professionals before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process.