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It's Life

Why it’s not easy seeking mental help

September 25, 2017

Let’s talk about the mental health of people today. I was talking to a friend whose friend committed suicide a few months ago. No one saw it coming. The girl was happy talked about life and talked about the future but yet she committed suicide. That’s the biggest thing with mental health…no one sees it coming. I myself went through a period of a downward spiral when I lost my mom years ago. Everyone asked me to seek help but I came up with every excuse in the book before I finally went. Why don’t people seek mental help? Here are a few reasons………

The stigma of being called crazy. A lot of people don’t seek help because they think others will look at them like they are crazy. They don’t want to labeled as such. Who wants to be known as the crazy cousin or the crazy Aunt at the family gatherings. Who wants to be thought about as crazy. Most people think that those with mental issues are….I myself use to see people on the side of the road talking to themselves and thought look at that crazy person not thinking that the person may have had something tragic happen to them or that they were mentally insane or had the capacity of a child. A sane person will always call others who don’t act like them crazy so the word and the thought comes up a lot. I think we have to move away from that and educate ourselves on mental health. People aren’t really crazy without a reason!

Will getting help…really help me. So I am one that doesn’t believe in spending money on things that may or may not help. Going to seek therapy I imagine I go into a room and talk to someone about whats on my mind and they sit and write down notes and then say hmmmm every few minutes and then they say well what do you think you should do. I want YOU to tell me what to do…that’s why I’m here. Do I want to spend money on someone not helping me? Is that person going to change my life around or am I going to be wasting their time and mine.

I have my friends…they are my therapist. I heard this statement a lot or…some folks even say I talk to myself…I am my own therapist. Now don’t get me wrong I have a great group of friends who tell me things I don’t want to hear they aren’t always on my side which is good but then sometimes I feel like…well your situation isn’t all peaches and cream. You ever go to your friend about your deep issues and realize that they have some issues also…makes me think that we are all crazy in some form or fashion. Your friends are not therapists and they can only help you to a certain extent. I am a firm believer that if you don’t walk in my shoes you can’t really help me.

Lack of insurance. This is huge because it costs to go and get help. I am sure some states have free help for those who need it but how do you go about finding free help. I googled Free mental help in Atlanta and found a lot of resources so the help is out there.This has greatly affected our women and men to this day. This is a frequent problem in our communities, lack of education and treatments. Having no insurance at all then leads to misdiagnoses, which then results in suicides and domestic violence against a partner or family member. The statics are loud and clear; we just have shout even louder to let everyone know in our communities that it’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok to seek help, or tell a friend.

Mental issues can come about when you are depressed and have a feeling of loneliness or a feeling of not being worthy. You can also have it from childhood. Maybe something happened to you as a child that you still carry with you today. Maybe you are sick and have cancer and want to end your life early. Maybe you were born with problems that doctors or your parents didn’t see. Maybe you lost people in your life and you don’t want to get close to anyone…the latter part is me. When my mom died I didn’t seek help because growing up in an African American household we didn’t talk about our mental health. Our parents would say oh nothings wrong with you that God can’t fix. If we spoke about feeling depressed or having feelings of trying to kill ourselves our parents would tell us to pray or that they would pray for us. No one suggested to go and get help from an actual doctor that was unheard of. They would sweep it under the rug and then just call that person crazy. No…that person was either born with mental issues or it developed because something happened. I was taught that no one should be in my business and I should deal with my problems on my own. I never sought help because I was taught that if I needed help no doctor on earth could help me…I needed to seek God he would be the only one that would heal me. So when I was down and out a few years ago that’s what I did. I didn’t tell anyone my problems or why I was so down and out and I know people saw it. I mean how do you go from 120lbs to 230lbs in 6 months…mentally something is wrong. I prayed and I did seek help a few years later but sometimes I feel like I should have sought more help. Today I am doing much better and I see things differently and it’s because I didn’t go to a regular therapist I went to someone who spoke to me and who outlined things for me. Someone who gave me feedback about my problems. That helped me a lot.

The sad part is…most don’t seek help. They just ignore it and then when it gets to be to much they either suffer in silence or kill themselves. I want those that need help to seek it if you can’t trust anyone talk to someone not biased about your situation but please please please talk to someone. Killing yourself isn’t the answer and you leave more questions than ever. I think the main thing we have to do is speak up and don’t let what other say keep us from getting the help that we need.

Do you or someone you know have mental issues? How do you help them help themselves?

  • Reply
    robin rue
    September 25, 2017 at 11:53 am

    I completely agree with this. So many people won’t talk about mental health and that stigma really needs to just go away!

  • Reply
    Ty
    September 25, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    In the African American community, there is a stigma put on seeing a therapist. Like you said, I think it has to do with being called crazy, as well as other factors but the alternative has probably been the cause of a lot of broken relationships, families, etc. Being able to talk to a neutral person, can be helpful when you need to just get it off your chest and make sense of things. I really hope that more people seek out help and understand that there is nothing wrong with it.

  • Reply
    Terri
    September 25, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    I think a lot of this stems from the stigma of black people being seen as an experiment if they go to therapy. That being said I’ve sought mental health in the past and don’t regret it at all.

  • Reply
    Felecia Monique
    September 25, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Wow. I’m going to share this with a close friend of mine. They are really going through something I hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle
    September 25, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    This is so important for everyone to read, whether they have mental illness or not. Mental illness still has a terrible stigma surrounding it, and that makes it difficult for people to get the help that they need.

  • Reply
    Whitney
    September 25, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    I have a nephew who’s a veteran and help is there for him. He’s paranoid schizophrenic. He does not take his meds. He’s all over social media and it’s painful to read people make rude comments joking about his mental illness. Good post.

  • Reply
    Marcie W.
    September 25, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    I am the type of person that feels every single one of us could benefit from some type of help. We all have an area or aspect in our life that could stand to be improved, and there is no shame in realizing that. Breaking the stigma surrounding mental health is long overdue!

  • Reply
    Meagan
    September 25, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    It is incredibly difficult because our country has stigmatized it. Sometimes we just need a little help thru a hard time.

  • Reply
    Melissa Chapman
    September 25, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Realizing a therapist might help is the first step. It does carry a stigma but you know it will help so you need to go ahead. There are many ways including medication to help these problems.

  • Reply
    Pam Wattenbarger
    September 25, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    There’s such a stigma around mental health issues. I think that is why so many people don’t seek help that I know. They don’t want to admit they need help.

  • Reply
    Rach Ferrucci
    September 25, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    It IS hard to seek mental help. Growing up in an Italian family meant you didn’t talk about family stuff to outsiders. The other thing was we felt if you go to a therapist you’ll find out you had daddy or mommy issues. I think it’s even harder now for older people because society teaches “words hurt”. Those of us who grew up in the 70’s/80’s were taught sticks and stones. I do truly believe that people should be comfortable going to seek help and “we” should back them.

  • Reply
    Sapphire Kharyzma
    September 25, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Mental health is such a serious issue and it’s the most ignored or worst kept secret! I wish we realized how important it is to recognize the signs so we can seek help!

  • Reply
    travel blogger
    September 26, 2017 at 1:17 am

    I come from a family with a history of mental health problems, and I have seen all of these issues play out in their lives. It isn’t easy to get help even when you do want it, but it is so important to encourage them to keep trying and be there for them. Sometimes just helping them find the right resources is really helpful to someone in need.

  • Reply
    Liz Mays
    September 26, 2017 at 2:01 am

    I think not being able to afford it is probably a huge part of why so many people go without help. I do think that the help can be life-changing if you can get it.

  • Reply
    Veronica Solomon
    September 26, 2017 at 2:06 am

    The stigma is still there when it comes to mental health. And people can be so prideful. It is always good to get help

  • Reply
    Emily
    September 26, 2017 at 3:02 am

    Thank you for this post! I like the saying that I’ve seen floating around, “it’s ok to not be ok.”

  • Reply
    Crystal
    September 26, 2017 at 3:29 am

    It’s tough asking for help, especially when you’re not convinced it will make a difference. But it’s important we talk about mental health resources so people know there are options for getting help.

  • Reply
    Erica Alcox
    September 26, 2017 at 3:58 am

    I felt like a new person after my first therapy session. I had so much bottled up and it was seeping out in hurtful ways.
    Somehow the stigma has to be changed! Our lives depend on it.

  • Reply
    Arlene
    September 26, 2017 at 4:28 am

    Thank you for this courageous article. So many people are battling internal struggles while carrying on with a smile on their face. I too was raised to think that you don’t tell other people your problems but who does that really help? Sometimes seeking God isn’t the only answer, after all He did make therapists for a reason. I hope that we get better at seeing people – beyond their “I’m fine” responses when we ask how they are. I wholeheartedly believe suicide is preventable 🙁

  • Reply
    Our Family World
    September 26, 2017 at 4:43 am

    This post is an eye opener. There is a significant number of people who are silently suffering from mental illness, afraid to seek help for fear of the social stigma attached to it. I wish people’s mindsets would change. We must reach out to these people and help them, not judge them.

  • Reply
    Toni | Boulder Locavore
    September 26, 2017 at 4:44 am

    This is a great read! Seeking mental help is really not easy. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Reply
    Adanna
    September 26, 2017 at 5:03 am

    When I first got therapy it was in college and it helped me so much with the changes I was experiencing in my life. I’m so happy that I did it.

  • Reply
    Virginia Duan
    September 26, 2017 at 6:06 am

    There is a huge stigma against going to therapy or seeking help in the Asian community, too. Thank you for sharing your story. The more we normalize talking to a therapist, the more others will be encouraged to seek help.

  • Reply
    Carol Cassara
    September 26, 2017 at 8:07 am

    It’s because of the negative connotation that our society has with mental health that forces people who are dealing with it to hide it than to seek help. Which in turn is making it worse. In this day and age you’d think that we’re a whole lot better at dealing with mental health but it feels as if so little has changed.

  • Reply
    Tiffany H.
    September 26, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    I have a cousin who committed suicide. He was the life of the party, everybody who was somebody knew him. When we got the call that he had committed suicide, I was so shocked and did not believe at first. All of the reasons you mentioned are absolutely correct as to why we don’t seek mental health. I think its important to pray and seek God but I also think he gives us wisdom to seek professional help when needed.

  • Reply
    Bernetta
    September 26, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    I wish more people would get mental health. It’s so important. We go to the doctor for everything else, sometimes we need to work on our mind. As a culture, we need it. Just my thoughts. Great post!

  • Reply
    Alisha
    September 26, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    I work on a crisis line and I can’t even tell you how many calls I get a week with people saying they don’t have support from their families and that “it’s just a phase you’ll grow out of it”. I’m glad that some of the stigma is being lifted but still have a long way to go.

  • Reply
    Charryse Johnson
    September 26, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Thank you for this post! I advocate for students with disabilities in particular mental illness. It is harder to function and get help when you dont look like you need help. It is so important because everyone can be successful with the right medicine or strategies in place.

  • Reply
    Camesha | Mama Motivator
    September 26, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    You’re right. It’s hard for people to make the choice to get help. There’s such an ugly stigma that goes with mental health and it keeps people sick. Gotta change that.

  • Reply
    Carissa
    September 26, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    I think in the African American community the stigma was like engraved in us so it’s hard to seek help. I eventually went to grief counseling a year after one of my twins passed away. I was trying to be strong for everyone else and eventually, everything came to a head. I didn’t want to be called crazy either. But I felt so much better after going.

  • Reply
    Bianca Dottin
    September 27, 2017 at 12:18 am

    Seeking mental health help is probably the hardest thing that I’ve ever done. It’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror and convince yourself that you’re okay. I knew after losing my son that I definitely had to make the move before I lost myself but it’s definitely hard especially in the black community because of the way people look at you. Thanks for shedding light on this!

    xoxo,
    Bianca

  • Reply
    Nicole
    September 27, 2017 at 1:20 am

    It isn’t easy seeking mental help but I did counseing for a year some years back and I LOVED it. I would totally do it again.

  • Reply
    Gina
    October 11, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Thanks to social media and blog posts like this, the stigma of seeking a professional therapist is not what it use to be. It still isn’t easy, but its getting better.

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