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Mental Illness Requires Treatment: You Can’t Get Better Alone

Many of us with a mental illness have tried to “power through” it. We have tried to muscle through the pain without getting help of any kind. Most of us don’t want to admit we need help. Most of us don’t even want to admit we’re sick. We think that we’ll be fine without doctors and therapists and pills. We think that they are the enemy. We think we’re better off without them.

We are so ridiculously wrong.

Mental Illness is an Illness

Do the mentally ill need treatment? The answer is in the question: mental illness is, literally, an illness. Like cancer, or epilepsy, or diabetes, or Lupus, or Parkinson’s or other disease.

And every person with a disease needs a doctor. Every single one of them. And we do too.

doctor_bagThe Mentally Ill Need Doctors

The idea of life without doctors and pills is extremely seductive. All you have to do is read one personal account of someone magically curing their mental illness and you can become consumed with doing it too. But let’s remember, there was a skydiver who survived a skydive with no parachute; I would still recommend you not exit a plane midair without one.

Doctors and Therapists Are Your Best Shot at Getting Better

I cannot say this loud enough or long enough: you need doctors and medication and therapists. You need them. You need them like insulin, chemotherapy, anticonvulsants and antiretrovirals are needed by other sick people.

As mentioned by a commenter here, Jake:

“…bipolar left untreated is a progressive illness and you need to be compliant”

If you do not receive treatment you will get worse. I can guarantee it. It may not happen today, tomorrow, or next week, but mental illness isn’t something that just magically disappears because we want it to or because we refuse to acknowledge its presence.

We are just every other sick person. We need treatment. Every day we don’t get treatment is a day we get worse. Every day we don’t get treatment is another day of decline. Every day we don’t get treatment adds to the guarantee that we will have another episode and it will be sooner and more severe.

When we don’t get treatment we sign our own death warrant.

spiralMental Health Treatment is Painful

Mental health treatment is really horrible treatment. It’s similar to trying to hammer a nail with a 2 X 4 – even if you manage to get the nail in there, you decimate the surrounding area. I get that. It totally sucks. It sucks beyond sucks. It isn’t fun, it isn’t fair and it’s natural to want to be rid of mental illness treatment.

But let’s be real here: no disease is fun. Every disease, disorder, condition has a price. Usually a daily price. Think people being treated for HIV are having fun? How about people who get organ transplants; a party? How about people with a physical disability, or brain damage, or an amputation, think those people have had only great days?

Yes, our treatment sucks, but that doesn’t mean we need it any less and it doesn’t excuse us from getting it.

Yup, it’s your life. If you want to sign your death warrant, hurt everyone you love and hurt everyone that loves you, that’s your business. But you’re being an idiot.

It was once said that democracy is the worst form of government… except for all the others.

Mental illness treatment is the worst thing in the world… except for everything else.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at the Bipolar Burble, her blog.

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.

44 thoughts on “Mental Illness Requires Treatment: You Can’t Get Better Alone”

  1. How do I know if I am mentally ill? It’s not that I don’t want to admit it. i do. yes I am mentally ill, but i don’t believe it’s a doctor who sees me once in a while who can judge whether i am or not. It’s only a person who knows me well enough and for a certain period of time who can judge and say if i am.
    I wish I know, I need to know, but won’t let any doctor tell me so before he knows me well.

  2. Hi Unusually Cheerful06,


    I can see you’re in a tough spot. Many of us have been there. I just wanted to remind you of something – no one says you have to restart the same meds as before. You may find another medication or another combination that works better for you with fewer of the side effects you seem concerned about.

    Just a thought. Good luck.

    – Natasha

  3. Thanks. Finding your articles down to earth and realistic. Both qualities have temporarily been removed from my mind but I would like them back. Presently below ground level and wondering whether continuing without antipsychotic is something I have a choice over. My evaluation of the situation is I have a choice to carry on and realistically self destruct or to reconnect with the community….. as I seem incapable at present of the second…. and I don’t really want to follow the first path for many of the reasons you have written…. I am trying to commit to a doctors appointment today to probably restart my meds. Not really happy about that but a little unhappy about everything at the moment. Cheers.

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