Considering Therapy? Perhaps you’ve already gone to therapy, received a diagnosis, take medication for your mental disorder and you feel the need to hide your mental disorder. Now, when I mention mental illness, I am not simply talking about one’s overall emotional well-being. Mental illness is something that significantly impacts your life on a regular basis. For instance, I have depression. I take medication for this depression after much discussion with my primary care provider. I even added a supplemental depression medication before I just did not feel like I was getting all the results I wanted lately. On the flip side, there are times when I am sad. My mother is slowly fading away due to dementia. My emotional well-being takes a hit when I think about losing her. There is a difference between being depressed and feeling sad. Depression is a psychological/ medical condition that often times takes therapy as well as medication to help the person make the symptoms manageable.
Back to the issue of shame. So many individuals throughout history have either shrugged off mental health or treated psychological disorders as frightening disease that meant people needed to be locked away, parts of their brain needed to be extracted. If I had a psychological disorder back then, I’d hide away too. With the advancement of medical science, including behavioral health, people should no longer feel shame over their mental health. Think about this, we do not even know all the brain can do or does. Does it not make sense that mental health is a real and logical part of our health that we should take care of.
So, my job. I am here to make sure that you are not alone in your journey to find a better life for yourself. This is why I became a psychotherapist, to help others find and keep their identity within the confines of their mental health. You may feel like you are unsure of where you are going most days and find that you not only feel lonely on your journey, but that you are actual alone. People either think that you are melodramatic or faking it. Some might even think that you are dangerous because of your mental health issues.
You should not be ashamed. Someone with a traumatic brain injury should not be ashamed. Someone with diabetes should not be ashamed. Someone with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress or obsessive-compulsive behaviors and thoughts, should not be ashamed. Our mental health should never be seen as taboo. Let me make myself clear, it’s not a taboo topic that should be made fun of or taken lightly. When I cannot take care of my children properly because of depression, I feel terrible. I am not being lazy or intentionally taking myself away from them.
Do not feel shame my friend but open yourself up to the possibility that healing is possible and that there are individuals in this world who care about you.