Growth & Grace Podcast Episode #13
EP 13: 3 Things You Need to Hear if You’re Struggling with Your Mental Health
Your story is not as unique as you think it is.
I know this sounds harsh, but it is my experience that people who struggle with mental illness typically think that no one will understand what they are going through.
Every addict has the worst war stories from the throws of their addiction.
No one could possibly understand the hopelessness, worthlessness and shame that you’re carrying around.
If i had a dollar for every time I heard the word BUT in a group counseling session...seriously! Part of it is because a lot of time mental health issues trap us in our own thoughts. Like we can’t see outside of ourselves.
But TRUST me when I say this, you are not alone. You’re story is not that unique. There are SOOO many people who are experiencing the same things that you’re experiencing.
But that mentality of, no one understands will keep you stuck. It will stop you in your tracks, and it can hold you back from seeking out the help you need!
I’m not saying that your story doesn’t matter. It 100% matters, but you are NOT alone in this fight.
Educate and advocate yourself!
I don’t know where you are listening to this, and I’m not trying to be political but here in the USA we have some serious issues with our healthcare system. I don’t even want to know all the backroom deals, lobbying and $$$ that is involved.
Educate yourself! Know your rights, read about your symptoms. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. We talked about shame a few weeks ago, but holding back information about what you’re struggling with because you feel shame will only hurt you more.
Now here me, I’m not saying that Dr. Google has all the answers. But there are tons of resources on the internet, books you can read, peer reviews and scientific studies.
Knowing WHAT you are experiencing and WHY can be a huge first step in recovery. There is still a lot of work to do ahead, but education is KEY. And you can’t even begin to advocate for yourself if you’re not educated.
And when I say Advocate, I mean USE YOUR VOICE! Stick up for yourself in social setting, talk about mental health in ways that reduce stigma, and advocate for the best treatment options.
And if you’re a mental health professional, be a resource to those struggling. I have seen again and again people getting sucked into a system, in and out of the hospital, losing hope for better because they don’t know where to turn. They don’t know the questions to ask. And every time they see someone new, they aren’t getting the whole picture. So it is really important that we support each other when we are struggling. And if you’re further along on the road to recovery, then don’t forget where you came from and be a resource for others.
Getting help is the bravest thing you can do.
It does not make you weak.
It does not mean you are broken.
It does NOT have any bearings on your faith.
Some of you may know that I’m a pastor in the United Methodist Church, and it breaks my heart when people use their faith or the bible as weapon to keep people from getting the help they need.
I’m just going to say it. You can be a person of faith and have a therapist.
Help can look different for different people.
And it can start in steps.
For some that looks like calling a therapist, or making an appointment with a Doctor.
For some that is opening up with a friend and telling them how you are really feeling.
For some that is going to an AA or NA meeting.
Maybe you need to get away and try inpatient treatment, maybe a program that meets once a month will work for you.
Treatment is not one size fits all, and that is why that education and advocacy is SO important.
And it’s also likely that you might need to seek treatment more than once. That is okay. Relapse happens. Bouts of depression and anxiety come up. Our lives change, and situations change. There is nothing wrong with seeking treatment EVER!
It is the bravest thing you can do!
When I was working as a counselor at an acute mental health hospital, meaning that we only kept patients for like 12-14 days. So kind of short term, and then no one left without a treatment plan. When I was working there, I saw so many different situations. Bravery shown in so many different ways.
From a woman who was struggling with alcohol, but didn’t want people to know. So she took a few vacation days and checked herself in.
So many people who came, even though they knew their families didn’t support it or they were burning bridges with old friends.
A few people knew that they would lose their jobs if they sought help, because of the time off.
So it is brave for reasons like that. But it is also brave because you are admitting that you can’t do it all on your own. You are letting go of control, and trusting a process that you don’t fully understand. And it can be scary, but is can also give hope!
Hope on the journey of recovery is everything. I got a phone call today from a really close friend who has been struggling with anxiety, depression and addiction. She has been jumping through SOO many hoops. Trusting programs and doctors that didn’t really have her best interests at heart. And this week, she said enough is enough. She started to seek out different options because she knew something had to give. And she called me today and said, I just left the doctor and for the first time in over a year...i feel hopeful.
So want to close today by saying that there is always hope. There are always options. If you’re struggling and don’t know where to turn, please reach out to me! I can at least start to point you in the right direction. There are people out there willing to help. You don’t have to do this alone.
That finishes up our series for Mental Health Awareness Month. I hope this series has been helpful for you guys, but at the very least I want it to be a resource for people. If you have a friend who is struggling, but don’t quite know how to talk to them...then send them over to the podcast and them hear from a 3rd party. Sometimes hearing it from someone else makes all the difference.
Thanks for hanging out with me this month! I have some exciting things planned for the month of June and into the summer. As always, i’m so honored that you’re listening. If you like what I’m doing, then I’d love if you could leave a rating and review! I hope you all have a great week. Until next time!