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In Response to Anyone Who Thinks Someone With a Mental Illness Can be 'Beyond Help'

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It’s true — not everyone gets the mental health care they need.

It’s true — there aren’t enough services for people with serious mental illnesses who may have a hard time helping themselves.

And yes, recovery means something different for everyone. Not everyone with a serious mental illness gets a chance to make a full recovery, and some need a lot of help to get to a place of stability. But that doesn’t mean anyone is “beyond help.” It doesn’t mean they’d be better off dead.

An XOJane article addressing this issue made waves this week — and upset the mental health community along the way. The author claimed, using information from Facebook, her “former friend” was so “unwell,” her death was a blessing. The writer, whose byline was switched to “anonymous” after publication, used triggering language, both to those who have lost someone to suicide and to those who, at their sickest, have struggled with their own worth.

In response, we asked our Mighty community to send a message to anyone who need a reminder they are not “beyond help.” No matter how sick you are, your life is worth living.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. “No one with a mental illness is ‘beyond help’ no matter what they are struggling with. The severity of people’s symptoms doesn’t make them any less worthy of help and love and support.” — Hannah Mesches

2.I believe some people may need more help than others, but isn’t that what help is for? I have thought at times I was beyond help, but look at what I have accomplished; I spoke at a large event last year about living with mental illness and I just graduated with my advanced degree in mental health counseling. If I just thought of myself as beyond help, I would have never accomplished what I did, and if I can do it most people can do it!” — Marlena Davis

Marlena wearing a graduation cap.

3. “No human being is beyond help. All that is really saying is there is a lack of understanding, a lack of education or a lack of empathy. People who struggle with mental health conditions are no less human or perfect than those [who] society may dictate are normal. If you’re struggling with mental health conditions know you are not alone, you are loved.” — Paul Falcone

4. “Telling someone they are beyond help is telling them they should not try, they should give up, that they don’t have worth because of something they can’t control. It’s a cop out. People need to step out of their comfort zone and say, ‘Maybe I don’t know how to help you, but let me help you find someone who does.’ As someone who has heard this statement multiple times, this is what I would have rather seen happen. I’ve had doctors and hospitals turn me away because I was beyond help. But that is why those hospitals exist! To help people like me.” — Kimberly Labine

5. “To people who said I was beyond help: I almost believed you and almost listened. You told me I would never achieve anything and would have to expect less, if I survived at all. It wasn’t till I met another beautiful lady you said was beyond help who showed me they were wrong about her and me. And now you have to watch the girl you didn’t think would make it live a happy life, speak at events, headline the world youth day and best of all, shut down your opinions at the same tables where you used to say people are beyond help. My very badass presence (and many others’) shows how wrong you are.” — Aliçia Sarah Raimundo

6. “I have borderline personality disorder (BPD) and for the longest time, even professionals believed people with BPD were and are beyond help. I internalized that for years and years while I self-destructed. What did it matter, right? I was beyond help. I got tired of being that sick, I got tired of driving people away, of the violent rages, of the thick purples scars dealt by my own hand, of wanting to die so I could escape from my existence. I decided to seek help one more time before giving up. I found a dialectical behavior therapist and a DBT group and for the first time in 20 years, I had a team of clinicians who didn’t think I was hopeless, who weren’t scared of me and my desperate behavior. I didn’t think people like my therapist even existed, but she does and I’m grateful beyond words for her. For the first time in my life, I feel that maybe all the other times I was told I was beyond help were lies. I’m getting better, albeit slowly, but I’m already starting to see what my therapist sees underneath all the borderline defense mechanisms and behaviors. Don’t believe it when they tell you you are beyond help because you aren’t so long as you want it with everything in you.” — Niki Garrette

7.I keep this note a client wrote me on my desk at work (I work as a psychologist). It is my reminder there is always hope, and improvement is always possible even for someone who has lost the will to live.” — Alana Schuurs

note that reads: Alana has changed my life. She is incredible. She's made me want to live. I am sad my appointments here have come to an end.

8. “No one is ever beyond help. If society believes that, it’s all over. None of us have the right to impose a ‘grading’ scale. You — yes, we’ll help. You. Hmmm. No, not today. Any person experiencing mental health challenges has a right to care and a right to be involved in their recovery and long-term care plan.” — Rebecca Symons

9. “When I’m at my deepest and darkest point I feel like there is no hope. Hearing someone who doesn’t know what it’s like saying it just deepens the desire to give up! People should be more careful with their words because they can be dangerous.” — Tammie Obenrader

10.I was beyond help until I figured out only I know who I am, how I feel and why I do what I do. I literally had to help myself. Everyone’s needs are different. It’s just a matter of finding what works for that person. Even if it takes an eternity, finding what helps is always worth it.” — Davi Stanley 

11. “We should be encouraging people to seek help, not deterring them in their greatest hour of need.” — Aoife Barry

12.N0 one is beyond help. I live with my schizophrenia quite successfully due to the help I received from those who believed in my inner resilience and capabilities. Compassion, empathy, patience, kindness, education and a place to feel connection and belonging helped me to succeed in life. I was not beyond help, and neither are you my friends.” — Deb Lee


13. “For the many out there who are in the midst of a deep struggle, that is like a nail in the coffin for them to hear. No one is unreachable in their depths, it just takes the right person who understands and is brave enough to reach in and help. It takes adequate resources and support systems. And it takes a whole lot of myth busting in society. (And if anyone reading this is in the midst of a struggle, know this, you are not beyond help.)” — Jenn Stine

14. “To say that anyone is beyond help is nonsense. There are always ways to help people with mental illnesses… counseling and medication are just two parts of a really large human picture. It may take years to put a complete treatment plan in place, but once one is established, most can achieve some sort of relief or help with their mental illness.” — Colleen Walker

15. “I’ve had an eating disorder for 22 years now. I used to think I was beyond help, but I don’t anymore. Some very special people (therapists, doctors, etc.) assuredly told me they still believed it was possible for me to regain health, even when I dared not entertain the thought, and I am alive today because of those same people.” — Adrienne Shirk

16. “No one is beyond help, but if you give up on someone, you can’t wonder why they give up on themselves.” — Katie DeMore

17. “I don’t believe anybody is beyond help. I’ve seen the most disparaged and down fallen people, through their own strength and the strength of others to stand by them, get better. Nobody is a lost cause in this world. Nobody.” — Becky Hone

18. “As someone who has viewed myself as an individual who was ‘beyond help,’ I can say first hand that no one is beyond help. Many people don’t realize getting the help we need to deal with our mental illness is scary for us, they just think, ‘why would you want to live like that’ … It’s the only way we’ve known for so long. Unfortunately, so many of us are scared to reach out and ask for help we get to a point where we basically give up on ourselves, leading to others giving up on us as well. No one in this world is helpless, I learned the hard way that there is help out there for me, and I know anyone who chooses to look for the help they need and want will find their path too.” — Savanna Noe

19. “Help looks different for everyone, but no one is beyond help. Sometimes your journey is just longer. Keep an open mind and be there.” — Ashleigh Egbert

20. “Can someone with a serious mental illness be beyond a particular person’s limited, misguided version of ‘help’? Sure. Does that mean they’re beyond all help whatsoever? No.” — Kim Wright

21. “No one is beyond help. People just don’t have access or availability to the help which is necessary for them and which they absolutely need.” — Nadya Cohen

22. “Not even a surfer caught in the ocean is beyond help. It just takes the right kind of rescuer.” — Madelyn Heslet

23. “No one is beyond help. Every single person deserves the best life possible.” — Horn K. Jean

*Some answers have been edited for brevity.

The Mighty is asking the following: Create a list-style story of your choice in regards to disability, disease or illness. It can be lighthearted and funny or more serious — whatever inspires you. Be sure to include at least one intro paragraph for your list. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: May 21, 2016
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