Knowing you need help can feel overwhelming and scary. Some people fear the perceived social stigma of a diagnosed mental health disorder. Some don’t know where to look or don’t have enough readily available knowledge to help them. If you have made the important step in recognizing that you need help, but aren’t sure what to do next, this guide is for you.
Know That You Are Not Alone
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five adults lives with mental illness. This means that you are not alone in your struggles, and it’s not “just you.” Many people who seem “fine” on the outside could be struggling internally. Take comfort in people who understand your experience because they can help you. When it feels like you are the odd one out, remember that it is not a struggle that you have to carry yourself.
Document Your Symptoms
Seeking help for your mental health is the same as going to a doctor. Your brain is just like any other organ in your body. If you injure a limb, you need to get it bandaged so it can heal, and the same can be said for your mental health. Once you notice symptoms, keep track of what you feel, when you feel it, and what may cause you to feel it. Having nightmares and panic attacks after a traumatic event could point to PTSD. If you start losing interest in things that would bring you joy or if you feel numb to the world around you, you could be experiencing a depressive disorder. Documenting your symptoms is a way for you to understand what is bothering you but also helps you customize an effective treatment plan.
Remember That You Have a Choice
The power of choice is a reassuring thought when seeking treatment. Treatments for mental health disorders are only effective if you are a willing participant. You may be presented with several treatment options, but you alone can choose what you want to try. If you don’t want to stay at the treatment center but don’t want to be by yourself, you could try a partial hospitalization program (PHP).
If you don’t like the idea of chemical management for symptoms, you could try a holistic approach instead, where the whole body is treated. If you want someone to listen to you when you talk, you can try cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). There are many types of treatments out there, and you have the final say in what you choose.
Remember That There Is No Such Thing as a ‘Stupid’ Question
There are a lot of terms you may see when researching that might not make much sense to you. What is neurofeedback? What is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and how can it help me? It can seem overwhelming, with medical research articles to sift through and late-night web searching. You don’t need to do everything alone. Mental health professionals are more than happy to answer any question you have, no matter how “silly” it seems. You cannot be expected to know everything right away, and nobody will put that burden on you. Even if you have a quick question, you can call most treatment centers to get an answer. If they don’t know the answer, they will find someone who does.
Build Up Your Confidence
It takes a lot of bravery to muster up the courage to ask for help, and it can seem frightening. The first step, they say, is often the hardest, and making a phone call can seem like climbing a mountain. It may be hard, but you must remember that you are worthy of compassion. Those that work in the mental health field will not judge you and are willing to help. What you talk about and what treatment you receive will be kept private. Your consent and safety will always be of the utmost importance.
Take a deep breath and make that phone call or write that email. Remember that on the other end of the call or email is someone knowledgeable and ready to help you. Asking for help is no mark of failure or weakness. There is no “right” way to ask for help. Use the above guide to help motivate and inspire you to take action. It can seem bleak now, but there is help for you. There are people who are proud of you for asking for help. Take a deep breath, and know that today is the beginning of a wonderful journey toward physical and mental wellbeing.
Understanding that you need help is the first step to improving the quality of your life; however, it’s hard to admit when you need it or know what you need. You may be stumbling in the dark, but there are people that can help lead you out of the darkness. At Acera Health in Costa Mesa, California, plenty of educated and understanding people know what you are going through. We offer you the power to choose from many different treatment options that will suit your needs, from holistic approaches to current scientific breakthroughs. You can choose to stay in one of our beautiful treatment centers or in the comfort of your home. Remember, you and your loved ones are worthy of happiness and deserve compassionate care. Take back your life, call (949) 647-4090 to learn more about the next step of your journey.