I have been utilizing the mental health system since I was 10 years old. It was at that age that I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Major Anxiety Disorder. Ever since then I have been off and on medications and off and on in therapy. It hasn’t been until the last few years that I have really taken my mental health journey seriously. There are four main things that the mental health system has taught me over the years.
What I Mean by the Mental Health System.
Before I go into the four things the mental health system has taught me, I need to really dive into what I mean by the mental health system. What I am referencing here is treatments for mental health as a whole. Such as therapies, pharmaceuticals, mental health facilities, and even down to primary care offices that help manage mental health concerns. It is all looped together.
Education of Treatment Options is Limited.
One thing that I have learned over the years is that the education of treatment options for mental health is extremely limited. When I decided I needed to get help, I knew that I needed to see someone to get on medications and see a therapist, but I did not know where to start.
I originally went to my primary care doctor but quickly found out that I needed to see someone more specialized. A friend told me that it would be more beneficial to see a psychiatrist since they are more specialized in this field. So, I did; I still did not know what to expect or what I was doing. When I decided to start therapy again, I went to what I knew-psychotherapy. I did not know that there were different types of therapy treatment for different types of mental health concerns. It took me over a year in traditional psychotherapy to realize that there were trauma-based therapies out there and that was where I actually needed to be.
The biggest thing that I believe our Mental Health System educates is just getting help. And I believe that is a VERY powerful and important message. People need to know that it is okay to get help and that there are people to help. However, there is not a lot of education on the types of treatment that are available.
Be Open to New Treatment Options.
There have been many times in my therapy career that I feel like I have gotten stuck. The first big time that I felt this, was when I was in psychotherapy, and I just felt like I needed a trauma-based therapy option. I fought this for a few months though because I knew that would mean I needed to find a new therapist and go through the whole process again. That felt overwhelming to me. But it got to the point where my Complex-PTSD symptoms were so bad, and I knew I needed more help.
This feeling of being stuck has happened again in the past couple of months, so when my psychiatrist and therapist recommended an additional type of treatment, I knew I needed to be open to the experience. In the short amount of time trying this new treatment, I have seen tremendous improvement. Even though change is hard and scary at times, it is important to be open to trying new things in one’s mental health treatment.
The Mental Health System has Taught Me That the Hard Work Pays Off.
One of the biggest things the mental health system has taught me is that all the hard work that is put into one’s mental health, does pay off. There are long days; days that it seems like you are taking 10 steps back or making no progress at all. Sometimes one will feel defeated. But the work that one puts in, does pay off in the long run.
I had to learn to trust the system and trust my providers. That was not an easy thing for me because I have had poor experiences with other providers in the past. This was a big concern I had to process through and heal from. Once I was able to trust my support team fully, I was able to lean into the uncertainties and made huge strides.
The Mental Health System Taught Me Healing is Possible.
This point sort of ties into the one above. Healing is possible. I thought for a long time that I was only going to therapy to lessen my symptoms. I did not believe in my heart (until recently) that full healing is possible with the proper treatment. As I started to embrace the system and trust my providers, huge strides in my healing journey have been made. I still have a ways to go but every day I am seeing evidence that I am healing.
If you are struggling right now, please know that the hard work you are doing is working. Even if in the moment it does not feel like it. Stay strong, stay brave. Remember your why for getting help. You got this. Just keep swimming.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of The We Spot, it’s employees, sponsors, or affiliates.