Friday, February 5, 2016

The State of My Mental Health

Mental illness is a scary thought for most of us.  We rely on our brains, our wits, our minds to carry us through life.  We all of us come with some baggage--preferences, prejudices, some skew of reality or truth.  Perhaps the cause of it was the fall and our sinful tendencies.  I don't know.  I just know that mental illness is a scary thought whether it is personal, to a family member or friend or out there in the broader public.

I think metal illness wouldn't be so scary if there were an identifiable cause, a treatment, and a cure.  Some mental illnesses do have fairly simple diagnosis, treatment and management if not always a cure.  Figuring out that you have a problem, seeking help, finding the right help, and continuing to work at the problem even when it seems over or you seem better is the challenge.  A misstep in any of those areas often derails the well-being of an individual. 

Then there is the challenge of those mental illnesses that defy diagnosis or perhaps defy treatment.  Some people with mental illnesses don't really want a cure or don't want to do the work required to work on the problem, or don't believe that they have a  problem or if they did, that anyone could help them.

Our system is poorly equipped to help people with mental illness.  I know from excruciating personal experience that getting the right help is a painstaking and agonizing process.  I went to 3 different counselors/ therapists before my depression was diagnosed.   This is despite that the fact that I wept almost entirely through the sessions with the first 2 therapists. Wept, uncontrollably.  They were trained professionals and didn't think--this girl is depressed.The anti-depressant I am taking works great, I have few side-effects and I would and perhaps will happily continue on the medicine for the foreseeable future.

I am one of the lucky ones.  I was finally diagnosed.  I received appropriate treatment which was available for me.  I am still working with a therapist.  I am doing well.  The bumps in the road have become bumps again and not impassable mountains.  Some people are not so lucky.

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