Why is it that when we have a physical ailment, we feel free to go to the doctor? Yet, when we have a mental health issue, often times we don’t seek help.
There is a stigma around seeking mental health treatment, and it is killing us in many ways: broken souls, suicides, abuse, stress-related illnesses, substance abuse, etc.
Why is there a stigma around mental health? Why do people feel that it is weak to seek help? Why does our society make fun of people who have mental health issues? Why are we told to “suck it up” or “pull on your big boy/big girl pants” when we are facing a problem? Why do some religions say, “You need God, not a therapist?” Would they say the same thing to a diabetic or a cancer patient? And if they did, most people would disregard that advice and seek the medical help they need.
But – people don’t seek the mental health treatment they need. Because of perceived weakness. For being shamed that they don’t have enough faith. For fear of being chastised by family or friends. For fear of not being able to get a job – or losing it.Here’s the thing – mental health is as important as physical health and spiritual health. #MentalHealth Click To Tweet
Most of my regular readers have probably noticed I have not written publicly in a very long time. I have not submitted to writing contests. I have not submitted queries. I, in essence, took a sabbatical. Other than journaling, I took much needed time off.
Why? Because I am committed to getting healthy. Mentally healthy. Time off to clear my head, heal and re-focus.
A little over a year ago, I wrote a blog post about a childhood trauma I endured. Throughout the years, I sought help to deal with being the victim of sexual abuse and sexual harassment. Never have I ever shied away from seeking the help I needed from a mental health professional.
Almost a year ago, I discovered that the wounds from childhood put me at risk for further trauma throughout my life, which included other forms of abuse, along with other deep traumas. The pain is real, and now I am working at getting myself healthy. It has been a very painful journey, but I dedicated myself to it, because I am worth it. I am enough to live a wonderful life, free from the bondage that other people have subjected me to, and projected onto me.
For me, some of the best ways of healing from these wounds are talk therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) and some cognitive behavioral therapy. One of the most rewarding things I have experienced is witnessing myself growing and becoming stronger. The most rewarding thing I have heard from “my tribe” is that they are seeing the same.
“My tribe” are the very few dear people in my life that know exactly what has transpired – both past and present. They are my angels on earth, and they have held my hand, they have smothered me in love and hugs and prayers, and they have been available to me any time of any day. They encourage me to keep going; they encouraged me to finish my degree – and I did. They know how much I love and need them. For that, I am truly blessed. They are cheering on my healing, and I will never be able to thank them enough.
One of the most important aspects of getting healthy is to have expert help and friends/family that will support you. People who won’t shame you for being a victim; who will listen to you vent without judging you; who check in on you; who are true to their word and will be there any time – day or night.
Because I am starting to feel like me again, I am easing myself back into writing. My blog will take on an additional perspective. Where I had been focused on lifestyle, family and humor, I see a need to incorporate my advocacy for seeking mental health and bringing awareness to victims of abuse.
Life happens. And life can be really hard. During this painful year, the traumatic hits kept on coming: my mom’s serious car accident, my brother’s cancer diagnosis and very unexpected death; two additional cancer diagnoses before being able to fully mourn Greg’s loss; and more issues that I am not ready to share at this time. Just one of those events is traumatic enough – to have them slamming back-to-back makes life – at times – unbearable. (Side note: trauma doesn’t have to be abuse. It can be a life-threatening illness or injury; a near-death experience; grief; anything that produces trauma.)
In upcoming posts, especially during May, #MentalHealth Month, I will share some of the things I am doing for my own healing and self-care. It is my hope that sharing my struggles will encourage others to seek help. And, I am always available to talk to anyone. For privacy, please contact me via email.
I implore anyone suffering with anxiety, depression, grief, trauma or issues with self-worth to please seek help. I am fully aware of how backward our nation is in health care – especially mental health care. It is deplorable. It is my hope that we can work together and be the change that is desperately needed.
Hotlines for help:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: – 1-800-273-8255
National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4A-Child
National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−7233
Feel free to share your experiences in the comment section. Have you been shamed about seeking mental health? Did you have a difficult time finding quality mental health care? Have you tried EMDR? Due to the sensitive nature of this post, these comments will be closely monitored, and may be deleted or removed if necessary. If you are concerned with privacy, send an email instead of leaving a public comment.
© Lynne Cobb – 2019