We Are Bigger than This

I met a lady who struggled with depression. She was hopeless and did not have a good outlook on life. Our first encounter consisted of her telling me how she didn’t think no one could help her. She was stressed out with work and didn’t have any help at home. She didn’t have anyone else to turn to and thought just for a second if she went to the hospital her life might change for the better.

She was ambivalent when she arrived at the hospital because she didn’t know what to expect. She was scared because she had to trust us as professionals and listen to our word. Over a matter of days, she became comfortable and opened to options I was able to provide for her. She allowed for us to talk to family and we were able to meet with them and identify her primary issues at home. The family was not aware because she made it seem like everything was perfect. The husband agreed to help out and found ways to make “home life” better for the client. After a couple of weeks of taking medication and learning about coping skills, she was able to talk about ongoing treatment. She was discharged a few days later, followed treatment that was recommended and felt good about coming to the hosptial afterall. That was her experience with mental health but she is not alone.

At my previous job work, I met with patients and talked about their mental health issues on a daily basis. At length, we discuss what I can do to help their current situation, whether it’s linking them to see a psychiatrist, therapist, or any kind of program that will improve their mental health needs. I encounter women who experience depression, anxiety, bipolar, and panic disorders just to name a few. Typically, at the beginning of our conversations, they are frantic and upset. They don’t want to talk about their issues and prefer to go home or they believe being in a mental health facility is beneath them.

I have been in the mental health field for ten years and I notice a lot of things women do and do well. Most females put themselves last when it comes to self-care.  For some women, they are the sole provider for their family. Women who are married may seem to have it easy but they still have to be a wife to their husband and pick up any slack their spouse may leave behind. When women come into the psychiatric facility, it’s often I hear them say, “I came here to get a break from home.” They want to shut the noise of hearing their name being called throughout the day, and want to learn how to focus on themselves for once. Some women are so used to taking care of others that they do not know how to put themselves first or have forgotten what that means.

I also talk to young women (ages 21-33) who feel alone and don’t know where life is going to take them. This uncertainty leads to depression, anxiety, and many other mental disorders. They don’t have a love life or they feel unattractive because they believe their bodies are not “accepted”. Being a woman is difficult, society places a lot of demands when all people want to do is be accepted. We have to change what a “perfect body” looks like because it is killing people in our society. A lot of women come into a psychiatric facility wanting to commit suicide because they are not accepted and appear to be “unfit.” It frustrates me when I witness this first hand. I question who are “they” and why do “they” matter? I don’t think anyone had the answer to that question. We all struggle with body image. If you talk to any woman you will hear them complain about something they do not like about themselves. Some may say their arms are flabby or they don’t like their hair, or their legs are too long, etc. I am sure you are nodding your head because there are some things you may not like about yourself too!

We Have to Change The Stigma: We are Better Than This

For some, mental health is viewed in a negative way. They think if they receive help then “other people” will look at them in a bad way. They don’t want to be discriminated against when they look for employment, however that to me is all fear. If you need help, go get it. It will only better serve you in the future. Mental Health is a silent disease that can grow unnoticed. You can be alone with your thoughts, something may not go your way and then depression sets in.  You may want to take a leap of faith and branch away from that 9 to 5 job and start a business but anxiety prohibits you from doing so. It’s important to identify and seek help this happens. Being depress will stop you from pursuing your dreams and not live the life that was destined for you. It’s helpful to seek professional help from a therapist to talk about things you struggle with in life.

Mental Health is a silent disease that can grow unnoticed. You can be alone with your thoughts, something may not go your way and then depression sets in.  You may want to take a leap of faith and branch away from that 9 to 5 job and start a business but anxiety prohibits you from doing so. It’s important to identify and seek help this happens. Being depress will stop you from pursuing your dreams and not live the life that was destined for you. It’s helpful to seek professional help from a therapist to talk about things you struggle with in life.

When we encounter a bad mood our energy becomes different. Some people release their energy in hobbies like writing, singing, working out, boxing, or other physical activities. Some people call their best friend or favorite cousin to vent. But what happens when that energy is released? We start to feel good for a little bit but the thoughts may creep back into our mind. So what do we do when that happens? Some people don’t do anything and their thoughts linger, and when things go untreated it can lead us down a spiral that can be difficult to get out of.

Benefits of seeing a therapist:

  • A therapist views situations in a perspective you may not notice.
  • Allows you to express yourself and get the feedback that you NEED instead of what you WANT.
  • It’s life-changing for those who invest their time into it.
  • You can be honest with them without feeling judged.
  • You learn more about yourself.
  • You learn how to face life stressors with strategies and skills.

So your next question may be this…where do I find a therapistThere are people out there who believe seeing a therapist can be a financial burden, but it does not have to be. You can always go through your insurance company and if you are currently working you can reach out to human resources to see if you have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), where you can see a therapist for so many sessions. Some people search “free clinics” and locate a behavioral health center and pay a sliding scale fee. Anxiety and Depression Associated of America (ADAA) has a website where you can search for clinics in your area.

Mental health is apart of our health and wellness. If we cannot help ourselves how effective could we be in helping others?

-Jamie Rockymore-Bess

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