In the United States, we have a long record of ignoring mental illness or mistreating it. From institutionalizing those with developmental disabilities to reading about celebrities committing suicide when they seem to have the world at their fingertips, mental health has not been properly addressed. Some may not even take it seriously but it’s an important part of our overall health. It’s time for preventing things such as committing crimes because of bipolar disease or committing suicide because of depression. It’s time to get rid of the stigma surrounding mental health.
THE FIRST STEP IS DIAGNOSIS
If you don’t know you have a problem you can’t treat it. It’s no coincidence that many people who go into rehabilitation are diagnosed for the first time with a coexisting mental illness. Medical doctors do a psychology rotation during their training but they aren’t experts in diagnosing mental illness and often ignore that component of our problems.
Behavioral care professionals can help you diagnose something that may have been overlooked for years and may be triggering everything from substance abuse to depression about your lack of social skills. If you think mental health counseling is too expensive, try to find a sliding scale clinic that you can go to for professional treatment.
I HAVE A NAME FOR MY PROBLEM, BUT NOW WANT?
You’ve seen a professional and been diagnosed with a mental illness, so now what do you do? There are several approaches to treatment that may benefit you. You can talk about your issues and get some therapy to help you learn to cope. You may have medications prescribed that can help with depression or balance out a bipolar disorder so that you aren’t making impulsive decisions. Medications may eliminate or decrease the effects of manic phases where you might engage in self-destructive behavior such as substance abuse.
It’s a tragedy that here, in one of the richest countries of the world, so many people spend so much time struggling with addiction only to find out that a treatable mental illness has contributed to their substance abuse or other criminal behavior all along. Think of all the years that have been wasted with not being properly diagnosed and treated. You can’t change the past but you can certainly get help for the future.
WHAT CAN I DO BESIDE THERAPY AND MEDICATIONS?
Believe it or not, therapy and inpatient rehab aren’t just for substance abuse and many facilities also treat mental illness. When it comes to an acute crisis, you may need acute care to reboot your life and start over with a healthy mindset.
That’s where an inpatient rehabilitation and mental health center can give you counseling and help you by teaching you healthy ways to deal with your anxiety or depression. They can teach you ways to deal with the excess energy that comes with manic episodes along with reporting them to your doctor. Some offer art or music therapy. Some offer healthy alternatives like yoga or hiking. Still, others offer pet therapy or medications to help you dig your way out of that hole of depression and despair. Just getting an accurate diagnosis can take a huge load off your shoulders because you know you’re finally going to get the treatment you need.
WHAT GUIDELINES SHOULD I FOLLOW?
As we already said, an accurate diagnosis is the first step. Once your doctor and therapist develop a plan of treatment for your case, follow it. That doesn’t mean you won’t need to make some adjustments down the road. In fact, it’s very likely. You may need to make adjustments to antidepressants because each has different side effects that may manifest. But you’ve taken the first step to managing a mental illness that you have probably suffered with for a long time.
No matter what challenges you may face or adjustments you have to make to get mentally healthy, any time you have thoughts of suicide of self-harm, you need to report them and seek attention immediately. Call your doctor. Call your therapist. Call a friend. Call the national suicide hotline and talk to someone that can help. There’s a reason people say that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The pain you leave behind will never go away so don’t think that people “will be better off without you.” They won’t.
And when all is said and done, you have something to give to this world. Please don’t give up on it and it won’t give up on you.
Mental illness has been swept under the rug for too long. It’s time to erase the stigma and it’s time to get diagnosed and treated. We are seeing the long-term effects of misdiagnosis and mistreatment in a skyrocketing suicide rate. With the added stresses of 2020, many have found life unbearable and, for too many people, they felt it was the only way out. We are also seeing it in a record number of people who are incarcerated and their mental health neglected. You can see firsthand on some reality shows that those who are incarcerated get little or no mental health support. That also extends to those of us on the outside who are living in a prison of our own making and our own mind. You don’t have to suffer mental illness alone. At Everlast Recovery Center, we can show you how to heal your mind with a family of trained professionals. When you come to our Riverside, CA facility, you find a home where people want to help and even give you a home-cooked meal. You’ve suffered long enough. Call us at 866-DETOX-25