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What Made You Seek Help for Your Mental Illness?

People often deny mental illness and refuse treatment, so what made you seek help for your mental illness? More at Breaking Bipolar blog.

What made you seek help for mental illness? Your answer could help people who love someone with mental illness because one of the questions I get more than any other is asked by loved ones. In short, people want to know how to help their loved ones get help for a mental illness. Some people want to know how to make their loved ones accept treatment. Some people want to know how to make their loved ones follow through with treatment, like take their medication. And some people just want to know how to convince someone that they have a mental illness.

I’m dealing with people who love someone with a mental illness who is refusing help, for one reason or another.

So I ask you – what made you get help for your mental illness?

Admitting to a Mental Illness is Hard

Many people refuse help for a mental illness because they refuse to admit they have one. I get this. No one wants to admit to being sick, let alone being sick in the brain. (And yes, your mental illness can make you believe you’re not sick.) So when you try to get someone to accept help for a mental illness, you have to overcome the fear of being sick as well as the fear of treatment. It’s no mean feat, really.

And remember, the person with the mental illness may not see problems the way those around them do. You might see that the person losing his or her job was directly related to a mental illness while the person may see that as unrelated. Sometimes we don’t see the problems sitting right in front of us, even those complete with evidence.

What Made Me Get Help for my Mental Illness?

For me, getting help seemed entirely reasonable and logical. After months of watching the symptoms of bipolar get worse and worse I simply knew I was going to die and I didn’t want to. I wanted to be free of pain and I saw treatment as leading to that goal. I’m actually astonished that more people don’t make this leap. But the fact is, they don’t.

What Made You Get Help for Your Mental Illness?

So I ask you, my readers, what finally convinced you that you had a mental illness that needed treatment? What finally happened that allowed you to seek out and accept treatment?

Help these loved ones and share what made you get help for your mental illness.

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.

22 thoughts on “What Made You Seek Help for Your Mental Illness?”

  1. I had KNOWN something was “seriously” wrong since I was a young teen.(age 13) My family was really struggling with dealing with me, and I was actually a very “GOOD KID.” I had teachers accuse me of being on drugs (age 16) because I was so “UP”, and I never even took a pain reliever unless I thought I was about to die from a headache. I also tried to convince my first husband that he should NOT marry me because I was ‘crazy.'(age 18) When I was 21 I saw an OPRAH episode about Bipolar Disorder. I was almost EXCITED to report this to my new counselor because I KNEW this was me! But my counselor didn’t want to diagnose this. She said my life would be ruined (it was 1989). She said my issues were “environmental”. By the age of 29 I found myself newly single after 11 years of marriage, AND I had 4 little boys AND I was in the midst of a serious mania. I again sought help from counseling and again I did not get a proper diagnosis. I was put on antidepressants after about a year or so. WOOOHOOOO I married a stranger 3 weeks later!!!(I ended it after a few weeks because I knew that was even too crazy for ME) after about FIVE years of MANIC MANIC MANIC Behavior, I calmed back down. I remarried. About 4 years into it, I started getting that OLD MANIC feeling back… I could FEEL it and taste it! My breath tasted like MENTHOL. The HYPERSEXUALITY. The RAGING ENERGY. I felt like cheating on my husband with an old fling. Something I Had NEVER done in my life. That scared the crap out of me. I got my butt into a new counselor and got referred to a psychiatrist… that was July of 2007. I was 39. The roller coaster has not slowed down since then. I am still struggling every single day. Sometimes I wonder if the diagnosis has helped or not. It has helped me understand what is going on. It has provided me resources for support. But, I still feel ‘crazy’ and out of control. I’m afraid of how much damage has already been done to my brain because of all those years that I did NOT have treatment. I may always live in this constant ‘mixed’ state. I often wish I could just live in some type of hospital setting to keep ME safe.. to keep my loved ones from being burdened. So, my answer, I have actually been asking for help since I was 13. I just finally got the BALLS to insist on it when I was 39, and I was afraid of destroying my marriage by being unfaithful. Im still married by the way. He wont give up on me. I think he is nuts. 🙂

  2. Hi
    I was going through a very difficult time and was severely depressed and sucidal.

    I was in a psychiatric hospital but always refused medication as my problem was external and it wouldn’t solve it. Medication to me – unless strictly necessary – just makes things worse as it hides one’s true feelings and doesn’t solve the problem at the root cause – plus you may get terrible side effects. My experiences have inspired me to create my own blog – http://www.theSarayiahpost.com to help others and is my views on Life, Love and Relationships. It was 1yr old last month and I regularly get over 10k visitors. I am very grateful to be alive.

    I was also interviewed by Vice about suicide and you can read the article here:
    http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/the-internet-is-telling-people-how-to-kill-themselves I will caution you though that it may be difficult reading to some as it is very candid.

  3. I avoided the idea that I was mentally ill for years. In my thirties,I went for counseling due to depression and she suggested I see a psychiatrist. I was horrified, thought for sure I’d be on this terrible drug called lithium, or worse. It was another 10-15 years before I sought treatment again. My family doctor incorrectly diagnosed me as depressed, and I swung from up to down, lost 2 jobs, and flunked out of university. I wasn’t until a nurse practioner suggested I see a psychiatrist. Best advise I’ve ever gotten. He diagnosed me as bipolar 1,put me gradually on a med cocktail and all is working so far. I often wonder how things would have gone if I had listened to the counselor all those years ago.

  4. My employer, at the time, forced me to use our employee assistance plan to get counseling. It was either that or get fired. This was after several hysterical visits to my bosses office claiming that everyone on our row was “out to get me” and that “everyone hated me and judged me and that I just couldn’t take it anymore!” I was convinced that one co-worker in particular was “turning everyone against me.”

    The therapist led to a psychiatrist which led to medication to control my Bipolar II. I always thought I was just sensitive and dramatic and different and that these things made me unique. It was hard for me to admit that my brain was sick to the point where I couldn’t hide it from everyone anymore. I stay on my meds because:
    1. I want to keep my job
    2. I don’t want to lose my boyfriend who I love dearly but was always pushing away because of my illness
    3. My son deserves a better mom who doesn’t spend the entire weekend in bed with her crushing depression and anxiety while he has to “fend for himself” so to speak.

  5. I grew up taking care of alcoholics from the age of seven. I was so depressed but stuffed it because that was my job.
    I started therapy about the time I was living with a girl that thought that I walked on water. I couldn’t understand that.
    But I sought therapy for a physical problem that haunted me for years. I found the best therapist I’ve ever had since and learned so much. About my tenth appt she said I want to introduce you to a colleague. He was a psychiatrist and I’ve been on meds since, 30 years ago.
    So, I sought help for a physical issue not knowing that it was something altogether different.

  6. The final straw was buying a handbag that cost more than my rent at the time ($1200). I had been feeling out of control but I finally realized there was more to my spending sprees than just stress.

    Was diagnosed with Bipolar a month later. That was nearly six years ago.

  7. I got a job and only worked for one day. When I left the job that evening I had a major breakdown. I cried for days. I had to call them to quit. It was awful. My parents and husband said that I needed to get help. That was the breaking point although I had many breakdowns before and I even self harmed a lot. No one thought anything of these things. It’s not normal for someone to completely lose it because their son got in trouble at camp, not really trouble just got told to talk to him. He was five. It’s not like that was the first time, he has adhd. I also had a breakdown once when my kitchen sink overflowed. My parents and sister had to come over to clean it up because I was hysterical, beyond what would be normal. Plus it goes back all the way to me being a kid. I sought help when I was 33 that was 6 years ago. It’s still a rough road but at least I’m getting help.


  8. Many times before I took some advice, I was offered advice from various people. Here’s some of the things that did not help.
    “It’s not in my role description to help you with these kinds of problems. Here’s the number for employee counselling”
    “Look I can see you’re not yourself. Why don’t you get some help?” (from a ‘best friend’of fifteen years, who has avoided me since)
    “Oh, you’ve been in hospital. Oh that’s alright then. I thought you were on ecstacy at my party. I won’t have to defriend you after all”
    “That’s a dramatic story”
    “(tears) you’re just not the same person any more – I try but it’s just all too hard for me – please get some help”
    “ooh, hallucinations, cool!”
    And so on.
    It’s not so much the form that these attempts take, or the words used, but the lack of actual concern for my well being, the implied stigma that once I was ‘mental health’ I was no longer their problem and they could wipe their hands and move on. Well, I wiped my hands and moved on too. To better people and a better life. Bipolar tends to accelerate things like that.

  9. For several years I did not seek help, for the usual reasons I suppose. Then a family friend asked me to house-sit for her and dog-sit her beagle for a week. When she and her husband came back, they treated me like a human being. She discreetly gave me a note sharing some of her experience and the usefulness of psychiatrists. That was the first time I actively sought help, despite having gone through several manic, depressive and psychotic episodes. It was really her nature and humanity that allowed me to trust her advice.

    So, I went to my GP to ask for a psychiatrist referral. Bad idea. He was one of those pill pushers who talked me into trying some zoloft before he would write me a referral. That of course made things much worse, and I actually convinced Dad to take me to hospital because I had been ‘poisoned’ and needed them to cleanse my system of the poison.

    4 years later my health is under control and my life on track again.

  10. When one aspect of my OCD got to the point that I was sitting in my bedroom at midnight crying for the who knows how many-th time – I had to admit to myself that I needed professional help, something I had denied even to myself for so long. And even once I started in therapy, it has taken a long time and it’s an ongoing journey. And now my goal is working as a life coach, specializing in helping women break through their anxiety…Who would have thought?

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