Many individuals do not take their Mental/Emotional Health as serious as their physical health. Poor mental health can negatively impact family relationships, job performance, academic performance, social interactions, motivation, energy levels, sleep patterns, eating patterns, sex drive, physical health (i.e., migraines, stomach upset, high blood pressure) and your overall quality of life. I often ask people, “If you break a bone, do you hesitate to go to the doctor to get a cast?” or “If you are having a severe tooth ache, do you refuse to go to the dentist”? So why, when we are struggling emotionally, do we not go to therapy? Why is it that when it comes to our mental health, many choose to suffer in silence?
Here are three common myths that keep people from seeking therapy or that contribute to people failing to make mental health a priority?
You are supposed to be STRONGER than this
- Well, what is your definition of strong? Strong doesn’t mean suffer until you can’t take it anymore or until something happens to force you to address your mental/emotional health. It actually takes an enormous amount of strength to go to therapy and focus completely on yourself without distraction. It takes strength to face very uncomfortable emotions or past situations that cause an enormous amount of anger or hurt. It can be scary! Yes!! However, working through those things that can keep you emotionally stagnant or hinder your personal growth is worth it. Doing this can improve your overall quality of life.
If you can’t change it why think about it or even deal with it
- You are right, we cannot change the past. However, everything we encounter has an impact on our future, how we interact with others and our overall perception. So that relationship heartbreak or that parent not being a part of your life may not have stopped your progression in life, however, if those negative or sad feelings are ignored, they will manifest in different ways. Oftentimes, they manifest physically (headaches, stomach upset, high blood pressure, overly tired, panic attacks, etc.). Other times they manifest by changes in mood/behavior (i.e., irritability, eating more, isolating, inability to focus, mistakes at school/work) or those close to you may start to make comments such as “you seem more frustrated lately” or “you seem disconnected”. These are all signs that it’s time to address your mental health.
If you go to therapy, you will be prescribed psychotropic mediation
- False! Therapy does not always result in medication. If you see a psychiatrist –which is a medical doctor—you may leave with a prescription, dependent on their assessment. However, most psychiatrists do not provide psychotherapy: they most often manage medication for mental health diagnosis. If you are only seeking therapy, you should go to a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), a licensed psychologist (PsyD) or a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC), all of whom are qualified to discuss your issues and concerns. These individuals primarily conduct therapy. Many individuals attend therapy and choose not to take psychotropic medication as a part of their treatment because seeking therapy is an effective for of treatment. Taking psychotropic medication can be effective as well but is always a personal choice, and each individual should discuss their options with their appropriate medical professional (either their primary care physician or their psychiatrist) to receive the ideal care for their individual unwellness.