The quest to be perfect.
Our social media sites are filled with women (and men) who seem to have the best life ever.
And if you’re like me, you might take a look at your own life and feel like you simply can’t measure up.
Or maybe you’re on the opposite side of the spectrum and are a well-accomplished businesswoman or executive with a highly-visible leadership position.
Perhaps you’re involved in ministry at your local church and are in charge of helping people get their lives together.
All of these situations can set up potential roadblocks which might discourage you from getting help.
You might feel others will look down upon you or judge you.
Even more tragic, you might feel shame in finally admitting (out loud) that you are struggling.
But let’s step back and look at the alternative.
If you struggle with anxiety, depression, or any other type of mental illness – then you know the sometimes occasional or frequent components of your reality all too well.
Those sleepless nights (or not being able to sleep at all).
Racing heartbeat. Panic attacks.
And despite the fact you are miserable and struggling, you still feel too ashamed to ask for help.
Oftentimes the fear of asking for help is rooted in the lie that if we do ask for help, that somehow we are “defective” or there is something wrong with us.
Other times it’s just hard to admit (even to ourselves) that we struggle with a mental illness, because then we’d actually have to do something about it.
But the thing about mental illness is, it doesn’t discriminate.
If effects a wide range of people, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, or age.
But one of the worst parts about struggling with mental illness is the feeling that you are the only person who is experiencing its torment.
But the truth is, millions of Americans struggle every single day.
In fact, The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) listed startling statistics on just how many people are suffering with some form of mental illness:
- Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (46.6 million) experiences mental illness in a given year.1
- Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S. (11.2 million) experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.2
- 9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.6
- 1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.7
46.6 million people.
That’s a lot of people who are struggling.
And those are just the ones who have reported it.
This world can be tough. Life happens. Trauma happens.
And it’s okay to reach out to a trained professional to process whatever situation you are going through.
Whether it’s PTSD from a past trauma or anxiety from being in a tough situation, talking it out and seeking help puts you on the path to recovery.
The worst thing you can do is suffer alone and in silence.
By staying in isolation, our minds can play tricks on us and start us down a bad mental loop where our problems seem almost unsolvable.
But the truth is, it’s empowering to ask for help, because it shows you are serious about your own recovery!
Instead of staying “stuck,” you are choosing to walk out of your brokenness.
There is no timetable for healing – and the main thing you need to remember is it’s a process.
Some days are good. Some days are bad.
Your feelings will fluctuate, but remember, they are not in charge!
If you are a Christian, pray to the Lord to help guide you to just the right person to unpack your struggles.
One person who previously struggled with mental illness shared the life-changing benefits of seeking help.
“If it wasn’t for a close friend of mine that encouraged the idea of therapy. I would have never developed the courage and self-awareness to enter therapy. Therapy gave me the tools and techniques to live a more confident and emotionally balanced life.
Therapy fosters help, empowerment, and motivation. For me, therapy helped improve my life, my relationships, and assisted with getting to the root of my problems.”
Sometimes we are simply “stuck” in a pattern of negative thinking and need an objective person to help us out of a rut.
Other times, it’s more serious and deeper therapy or even medication might be needed.
Regardless of your situation, if you struggle with a mental illness, please know you are not alone and there is no shame in seeking help.
We weren’t meant to walk through this life alone.
Not sure where to find a therapist?
If you have insurance, start there and look for an in-network provider.
Depending on your income, you may qualify for Medicaid and receive free treatment.
In addition, many private practices offer a sliding scale structure – and you may receive a significant discount, all you have to do is ask!
(h/t Better Change Project)