“Sometimes asking for help is the bravest move you can make. You don’t have to go it alone.”
Hi Motivation Seekers, how are you? I hope you have had a wonderful week. Last week was Mental Health Awareness week here in NZ, it’s great to see so much help around this now and to have the whole topic of Mental Health becoming more open and normalised. It’s about time!
There was always such a stigma attached to anyone who was mentally ill. Whilst it has become more understood and accepted, there is still a long way to go in recognising that Mental Illness is just that – an illness. The other aspect of this is how widespread it is, 1 in 6 NZ adults has been diagnosed with a mental disorder at some time in their lives.
I have a lot of experience of Mental Illness through my family as my Mother was Bi-Polar. She had frequent psychotic episodes that were really scary, both for her and those around her. In those days, she would be hospitalised, heavily drugged and be given electric shock treatments. It was pretty barbaric. The worst thing though, was the sense of shame around her illness. I remember kids at school taunting me about it – “ooooh, your Mum is in the Loony Bin.” It was considered a big, bad thing and sadly, I took it as a reflection on me. I felt weird and ashamed as well. It became a family secret, one that we didn’t want to share. I still struggle even today, to share it.
The saddest thing though, is that she had to go through that. She was made to feel an outsider, someone flawed and weak, who had no control over her emotions. No-one spoke to her about her illness, she never had counselling, in fact the whole family probably needed counselling, but that just wasn’t available.
We eventually had it explained to us, that her condition was probably due to a chemical imbalance. However, years later we found out that she had been sexually abused as a child, so who know what long term effects that had on her. She wouldn’t have had any help through that experience either.
In the quote I have chosen this week, it tells us to ask for help, that you don’t have to go it alone. That is the thing that my Mother didn’t have, she didn’t have any support or proper therapy to get her through this and even if counselling had been available, I doubt that she would have been able to open up about the things that were going on for her. That is partly a generational thing, but also because of the shame attached to Mental Illness.
We are so lucky that we have come so far with this and that help can be made available, if you are brave enough to ask. When people are in the depths of despair, feeling depressed or in high anxiety, it is common to think that they alone feel this way and that it is a shameful thing.
I remember reading about John Kirwan, who set up depression.org.nz. When he first became depressed, it started with really bad panic attacks. He was so worried about what was happening, he did open up to one of his team mates and told him how he was feeling. That team mate said “harden up, mate”. Not a great help to John. However, he has turned that experience around and made it his mission to help people with depression and to spread the word that it is ok to ask for help. What an awesome guy and what a great outcome.
The really important thing to be aware of, is that you don’t have to go it alone. You don’t have to hide this from others, it is nothing to be ashamed of and getting help might be the bravest thing that you will ever do, but it is so worth it to do that.
There are so many resources available to help though, and the internet makes it freely available and accessible to all. Some really good sites to check are: http://www.depression.org , https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/home/ways-to-wellbeing/, http://www.cph.co.nz, http://www.balance.org.nz
Have an awesome week, please feel free to contact me if you want to discuss any of this further click here to email me, and always know that you are not alone.