In recent years, there is a feeling that our understanding and awareness of mental health has improved. There are relatively more conversations about how we could be facing mental health issues and how we can help those around us. Yet, the troubling reality is that countless individuals continue to silently battle with the weight of their own thoughts and emotions. Despite efforts to raise awareness, too many people remain hesitant to seek help either not taking the step at all, or waiting until it’s almost too late. In this blog, we explore the reluctance to get tested for mental health conditions, the stigma associated with it and why getting an early diagnosis can be life-changing.
Why do we hold ourselves back from seeking help?
One of the straightforward answers to this question is societal stigma. People who share their mental health struggles are often quick to be labeled “weak” or “insane” by those around them, including their loved ones. The feelings of shame and embarrassment, combined with the lack of trust their closed ones display can be devastating for anyone to deal with. It doesn’t stop at fearing judgment, people with mental health issues are often ridiculed and discriminated against, actively making their life worse. Know that coping with mental health conditions takes a lot of courage, and wanting to avoid the social repercussions of opening up is natural.
It’s not always societal
That said, it is not all society. Due to certain styles of upbringing, we tend to tell ourselves we are okay in scenarios where we desperately need help. We often resort to “it’s just a phase” and try to brush it off. Similar to our loved ones, it is possible that we have the same kind of misconceptions about mental health, and see our concerns as a personal failure. All these factors can also culminate in self-stigmatization, wherein we convince ourselves that we don’t deserve help. Remember, that feeling this way is normal and not your personal flaw. Your past experiences and a lack of social support can cause you to feel alienated and lonely.
Self-care doesn’t always crack it
While experiences and societal expectations can be major barriers, we must also remember that there is a significant amount of misinformation from internet personalities without mental health care credentials who sell us “self-care” tips, and we are determined to solve our problems without needing any help. In either case, it puts us in a position where we hold ourselves back from understanding the nature and extent of our mental health issues, not through any fault of our own.
So, why should I still test?
You know you’ve not been feeling alright, but it is hard to pinpoint the root cause of it, or why it is manifesting itself in the ways that it does. Well, that’s exactly what a mental health screening does. It follows a series of tests to identify if a person has signs of a particular mental health condition. With a screening, you can develop clarity on the type of mental health issue you may be dealing with or the risk of developing one, based on your existing symptoms.
What are these symptoms?
While symptoms can vary drastically based on the mental health disorder you are dealing with, here are some common symptoms that are often seen across the board:
Persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness
Fatigue or low energy
Changes in appetite
Loss of interest in activities
Mood swings and increased irritability
Isolation and lack of interest in socializing
Testing is not just about treatment
Testing could also be done to rule out the possibility of mental health disorders. It identifies the severity of your case and determines how much immediate and long term care you need. This information is absolutely vital in equipping you with the tools, resources and empowerment to tackle your core issues.
Screening provides us key information about our own mental state, and it is especially of value, when we are able to assess it at early stages. Early intervention has proven to prevent mental health conditions from worsening and allows experts to design treatment plans that are more effective and leads to concrete, positive outcomes in the long-run. It enables you to equip yourself with the skills to cope with your issues with increased independence, while maintaining your overall well-being.
Early testing means early support
We must remember that mental health conditions can be volatile, and bad days can feel extremely low and hopeless. In scenarios like these, having an expert helping hand can go a long way in preventing you from spiraling and bring a sense of calm and control. Further, poor mental health can negatively impact your body, leading to potential complications like cardiovascular diseases or weakened immunity. Early treatment can mitigate these health risks and get you back on track.
While it is true that therapy and screening often come with a significant financial cost, remember that mental health disorders are often a larger economic burden. The longer you don’t test, the increased likelihood that you may have to end up taking more extensive and costly treatments.
Therapy for a new beginning
Everybody’s mental health journey is unique, and your challenges require its own personalized approach to manage. A mental healthcare professional does exactly this. They identify the issue, design a plan based on your needs and support you along the way. Motivation to battle your struggles is often low when you are doing it alone, and with the guidance of an expert, you will not only feel less isolated, but feel a surge of empowerment to take control of your mental health and take the right steps towards recovery.
Taking this step can also inspire those around you to open up about their concerns and seek help themselves, contributing to fighting the stigma around mental health. The downsides of therapy are little to none, and while societal pressure is a tough challenge to deal with, what better than professional support in times of emotional turmoil. If you’re experiencing sadness, behavioral issues, difficulty dealing with emotions, extensive worry, or any of the many symptoms of mental health disorders, seek help today.