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Mental Illness – You Have to Ask for, and Accept, Help

Most people I know with a mental illness try very hard to get better. They look for sources of help, support and information. Most people I know don’t sit around waiting for someone to save them.

But then there are the people who do.

There are the people who whine and complain that no one will help them and yet turn down help or refuse to look for it. There are the people who kvetch that there is no support available to them in spite of the fact that the world is drowning in helplines available 24-hours-a-day.

In short, people think mental health services should be brought to them on a silver platter – and then be spoon-fed.

Mental Illness Services

I understand that accessing mental illness services can be difficult. There is no doubt that money and location often stand in the way of quality care.

But that doesn’t mean that no services are available. There are services available to everyone in North America. There are help lines and support groups and community organizations and providers that work on sliding scale payment. Everyone has access to at least some of these things. (Oh, and there’s the internet.)

These mental health services are wildly imperfect. I know. But then, so is everything else in life. But reaching out to a professional for help cannot be avoided if you want to be well.

I’m Too Sick to Access Services

Male Doctor Abstract Hand Gesture

Now I do understand that some people are truly too sick to investigate options. I’ve been there as have many people. But I honestly believe that eventually, at a minimum, making one phone call isn’t too much to ask of anyone who wants to get better. If you know nothing else, you know that 911 will always answer your call and will be able to refer you to someone who can help. And if you’re really too sick to get out of the house to see a doctor, 911 would seem to be a reasonable place to be calling anyway.

And, on the other hand, you could reach out to a family member or friend and get them involved in the hunt for services. You don’t have to do it alone.

You Have to Want to Get Better

But you have to want to get better. You have to be willing to do the work. You have to be willing to take the steps. Because I cannot spoon-feed you back your life. I cannot wrap a treatment in pretty paper and leave it on your doorstep to be opened at your leisure. I cannot reach through your computer and fix the chemicals in your brain.

The cold, hard truth of it is this: No matter how sick you are, if you don’t actively work at getting better, you never will.

Believe me when I say people with cancer are far too sick to function too and yet they must continue with chemotherapy and radiation and surgery and oncology appointments if they want to make it through their illness. Our illness is just as tough – and we must work equally hard to beat it.

Need Help?

HealthyPlace provides a whopping list of helplines and resources.

In the US, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides a help locator for you.

There is also a locator for Canadian Mental Health Association branch locations and crisis centers for Canada.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar Burble, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

8 thoughts on “Mental Illness – You Have to Ask for, and Accept, Help”

  1. Hi I am 49 years old and I have been married to my husband for 7 years he is 10 years older than me. I am writing because I don’t know what to do. I am Bipolar have been my whole life runs in the family. I am now on Zolft 200mg, Latuda 60mg & Lamictal 200mg daily not including the asthma medication I take. I have a problem with sex. In the past I have been abused physically and mentally I did not come from a good home. My parents were never there to support me but tear me down I’m not sure why I think my mom had resentment because she had me when she was 16 years old. In the past with past relationships I had no problem giving sex because the majority of the time they were taking it so I got used to it but now I have a patient and understanding husband and he wants sex but I do not have the desire for it. He gets really frustrated I do love him and I am in love with him. I want to be different but I feel dirty why I am not sure. It is the only thing in our marriage that we get in a argument about. I need some advice please We get along great otherwise.

  2. I’m not a person who finds it easy to ask for help but there have been times where I was desperate enough to try… I’ve called a crises line, voluntarily went to an emergency ward, been to a GP to ask for a referral, been to numerous counsellors and all to no avail. I still ended up in hospital, involuntarily I might add. By the time I get to that point though I’m usually so pissed off that I want nothing more to do with the ‘help’ because of the quality of help that’s been offered.

    If I make an effort to ask for help I naively expect to get it. I’ve come to recognize my prodromal warning signs so I know what’s coming and when it’s time to get help. But what’s so frustrating is when I’m not taken seriously until the illness has progressed to a crisis state.

    So when I’m in remission I try my best to take care and be pro active by living a healthy lifestyle as much as possibly ’cause I really don’t want to go around that bipolar mountain another time. It takes too much out of me

    I consider myself lucky to finally have found a pdoc that listens or maybe I’m just getting better at communicating my needs… either way what’s important is that I’ve managed to stay out hospital a couple of years now and for that I am truly grateful. Yay!!!

  3. I find the tone of this article to be very unhelpful. Especially in light of the subject matter and the sort of people who may be looking for this information.

    “Most people I know don’t sit around waiting for someone to save them. But then there are the people who do. There are the people who whine and complain that no one will help them and yet turn down help or refuse to look for it. ”

    I think you’re an idiot. Why dont you f_ off

  4. @ AZ

    I hear what you’re saying, and want you to know that you are definitely NOT alone!!!

    Would you mind explaining what you mean by the word “rage”?
    My vision of rage is that it is that EXPLOSIVE aspect of anger, which seemingly “just happens.” You scream at the top of your lungs till you’re red in the face, literally. Your fists are balled up waiting, indeed, even wanting to hit something,or someone. you are waiting for that other person to even give you a hint of a dare of saying something back.

    I don’t have a “rage” problem, but i definitely have an anger issue going on. Seems as tho I definitely have no problem letting someone know, where I stand on an issue. I tend to get angry over stupid stuff more often.

    There are tons of sites out there. I can direct you to some that I like. I read lots of Forums, and Blogs about Bipolar Disorder. The problem is that I don’t participate all that much. Oh sure, in my mind, I’ve got their solutions all ready for them. That hypomania cycle, of mine thinks I have life all figured out.

    ~justaSeeker

  5. Az – you are _not_ the only one.

    Yes, it’s true, I’m a woman, but I can still tell you, you are not the only man. Bipolar disorder affects just as many men as women.

    I suspect though that men are not as willing to talk about it. This is not universally true, some do, but overall, men may not be as willing to talk about their feelings.

    You may wish to check out our new blogger Alistair, perhaps you will relate to him or he can point you to some other sources: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/funnyinthehead/

    Thank-you for your feedback; I’m sure that the HealthyPlace editors are listening.

    – Natasha

  6. Hey everyone, I just picked the most recent post to do this as I noticed the forums are dead. And I’m new.

    And…a MAN! I just wanted to ask why ALL the bipolar stuff I have seen has been for the ladies. I would love to read an article and see a man’s name suffixed at the end…it’s not sexist, it’s just that many articles here and in every other ‘mental health’ site start with comments like ‘As a woman, I’m asked to say sorry a lot…’. Hard to relate to that.

    We bipolar guys hurt ourselves in a different way, we have rage as more of a problem and many of us end up in the nick or at least inpatients. Our moods are different, and we are more likely to indulge in self-medication thru drink and drugs. Women can sit down, and talk, and draw mood charts and go “oh sally why yes im hypomanic now”. Anyone know of a site where a man says that? Or if not, talks about mental illness? Over here, it’s not cool to admit that. I’ve often just gone with ‘drug addict’ as a label, as it can explain symptoms and people understand it.

    Maybe i’m the only one… 🙁 feel like i am

  7. What happens when you ask for help, the provider of the service says yes, and then ‘fires’ you’ from that service only 17 days later?

    I’m dazed, confuzed, belwildered and hurt by the experience of being summarily dismissed in the manner it happened.

    There’s more details about it that I could share, perhaps you can help explain it to me?

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