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Remember to Thank Mental Health Workers, Too

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I’ve been with my psychiatrist for six and a half years now. He’s become a huge part of my life and my story. As a patient with depressionanxiety and a suicide attempt survivor, I feel I wouldn’t be alive writing these lines if it weren’t for him and for my therapist.

Of course, as in any therapeutic journey, we’ve had our ups and downs, which I’m 100% sure have been product of those sessions in which the confrontation of my own fears and broken parts were too much for me to handle and I took it out on him. I would step out of his office, holding back my tears (angry tears, for sure) and telling my mom, “I’m never coming back here. He’s talking nonsense. He doesn’t get me. I’m done.” Still, that anger would last for as long as I saw my psychologist, who would make me see — with her love and gentle words — the root of my anger issue, and I would be in my psychiatrist waiting room again. Each week — each Thursday at 2 p.m. — for the past six years. He would stand on the door, smile at me, and I would (reluctantly sometimes) go inside. The doors of that psychiatric office have seen me in my worst moments; they’ve heard the things I’m still afraid to say aloud; they’ve seen me broken and get mended back together. Some of my most painful moments have been there, the moments in which I realized I had been damaged in ways I didn’t know, or where I gave my best cries for help.

My psychiatrist, as many around the world, also works in a hospital which he loves, and during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is full-time there. And I miss him. I miss even the sessions in which I wanted to kill him. I miss my safe space. I feel like it’s absolutely selfish for me to miss those things, as I’m perfectly capable of understanding that he is fighting for a greater good and that he’s got bravery I could never have. I’m lucky enough to keep my therapy sessions with my psychologist, and to have enough medication unil I can see my psychiatrist again. But I miss him and I’m afraid because I live in a country where I know doctors don’t have enough protection and are risking their lives every single day out there, trying to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. And I wanted to put these feelings into words because I know many, many mental health patients like me are missing our safe space, our safe people and are fearing that this pandemic may take them away. I wanted to do it also in order to recognize the work, in this case, of mental health workers.

They’ve saved our lives so many times by being there, by believing in our story, by paying attention to our signals, that they are our heroes. I know they are mine, for I have lived for three years slowly being back to my old self, thanks to their effort and for them not giving up on me, even when I gave up on myself. If you are a mental health worker, a doctor, a psychiatrist, a therapist: Know that the blessings, the prayers and the energy of your patients are there with you during these horrid times. You are our heroes now more than ever. May you all be safe, healthy and we can meet each other again for many sessions to come.

For more on the coronavirus, check out the following stories from our community:

Photo by Irene Strong on Unsplash

Originally published: April 21, 2020
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