Pride should never be the reason for you to keep from seeking proper medical treatment for any mental ailment. Yet that seems to be the most common reason that people refuse to seek out treatment because the stigma of having a mental disorder is so damaging to people’s pride. A study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) back in 2008 found that, 3.4 percent of adults in the United States received treatment for a mental health problem. This includes all adults who received care in inpatient or outpatient settings and/or used prescription medication for mental or emotional problems. The Health and Human Services website, with a statistic cluster from 2014 about the frequency of mental health disorders, saying: One in five American adults experienced a mental health issue, one in 10 young people experienced a period of major depression, and one in 25 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. Mental illnesses are frequent occurrences and yet, the stigma of seeking help still burns brightly within our society.
My experience with my depression and anxiety has been a long hard road. There were times where I was resistant to therapy and embarrassed to tell people that I was attending therapy for my depression and anxiety. It doesn’t make any sense to me now, but back then, all I worried about was how people would treat me “differently”. My pride was keeping me from the help I desperately needed to preserve my sanity. It got so bad for me, to the point where I felt like I was going insane and it clicked inside of me that I needed the help I was so desperate to deny. Now, I don’t have qualms about therapy or talking openly about my struggles with mental illness. Granted, I am still resistant to trying medication as a treatment option out of personal preference, but it’s not because of my pride. And people did treat me differently when I openly spoke about my therapy and struggles with depression and anxiety. They treated me like I was brave. I have realized that many of my problems with explaining my mental disorders to other people: the
misinformation of individuals about mental health and the way mental health is mistakenly portrayed. On the Health and Human Services website, I saw a whole list of mental illness “myths” or mistaken beliefs held by the general populous in America. Some of the things, like people with mental illness can’t hold jobs or that they’re violent and unpredictable or that serious character flaws are the causes behind mental illnesses, surprised me with their inaccuracy. This enlightened me to why the stigma is so prevalent in people’s choices about seeking treatment.
My advice may seem like a hard pill to swallow, but I strongly suggest that you seek the necessary help if you are still hesitant about treatment for whatever you have. Because your problem isn’t going to solve itself of get any better with inaction and fear; it is only going to make it worse. I’d also advise accepting that some people won’t understand what you’re going through and won’t be willing to take the time to understand, so you’re better off just not sweating their opinion. Surround yourself with supportive individuals; people that genuinely care about your well-being and betterment. Healing and the road to recovery starts with support and care from others. Finally, be open about your mental disorder. Honesty and people being open will be the only way that the stigma will be broken.
Asking for help and seeking out help when you’re stuck with a problem can be bittersweet and humbling. I went through the denial for a long time before I gave into what was good for me. I encourage you to join the brave few that opened up about their mental disorders and forced pride to take the backseat this time.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.