Paralysis, confusion, shame are all feelings I experienced upon hearing my diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I know I am not the only one who literally felt crippled by the thought of having a mental illness. On top of living with a mental illness, we have to face all of the externalities that are associated with the stigma of having a mental illness.
One of the most detrimental effects this stigma on present is the inability to reach out for help because we feel shamed or afraid of what others may think. Don’t believe the hype! Don’t believe people who tell you that “You are weak if you ask for help” or to “Just get over it”. It’s okay to ask for help with your mental illness.
Just like any physical illness, mental illness needs to be treated. Many cases of suicide take place because of untreated mental illnesses. In order to take a step into the direction of recovery, you must first admit to yourself that you need help. The second part, which is the hardest, is actually going to get the help you deserve. Here are some health care providers that can help you get your mental illness treated.
Primary Care Physicians (PCP): Starting off with a visit to your PCP can really help you get a head start in recovery. A PCP is not trained to treat your mental illness, but they can refer you to a mental health professional who can. Also, seeing a Primary Care Physician can help you rule out any physical illnesses that can add to how you feel mentally.
Social Workers: Social Workers are great resources. They are trained to recognize mental illness and sometimes they treat people with therapy. My social worker helped me find the tools I needed to start my recovery with anxiety.
Psychiatrists: These doctors have been taught to diagnosis mental illnesses and to prescribe medications for it. Psychiatrists also have the skills necessary to perform many therapies including psychotherapy. In addition, they are able to treat people of all ages that have mental illness.
Psychologists: One of the main differences between Psychologists and Psychiatrist are that Psychologists are not able to prescribe medication. They are also trained to help people of all ages who are struggling with mild to severe mental illness.
There are a number of resources out there to help you cope with your mental illness. If you are still unsure on what to do, talk to someone you trust; a friend, or a family member. Mental illnesses are tough to deal with and no one should have to go through that alone.