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To Anyone Who's Waiting for the 'Right Time' to Seek Help for Your Mental Health

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Seeking help for dealing with your mental illness can be a very off-putting idea. It took me years and countless confrontations with my parents for me to realize I really couldn’t do it alone. Nothing was changing. The day I called the counselor’s office I had narrowed it down to two options. Number one: Get help. Number two: Die. Even though the second option was not appealing at all, it took me much longer to decide than it should have because I just wasn’t ready.

There are so many pro’s to seeking a professional for help when recovering from mental illness that far outweigh the reasons to put it off until you feel more comfortable. So here’s a list of five reasons you shouldn’t wait until you’re ready to get help.

1. It’s not as big of a deal as you think it is.

There it is, plain and simple. Going to see a therapist or counselor is not a big deal. It’s the same as going to see a doctor for the flu or getting an X-ray after crashing your bike. All of the shame and embarrassment you might feel is due to the stigma surrounding mental illness in general. It isn’t at all what our society has made it out to be.

2. Nervousness isn’t a good enough excuse.

You should never let being scared keep you from doing something. Feelings of apprehension toward change and the unknown are completely normal, but allowing those feelings to stop you from taking a necessary step isn’t OK. Think about it. If your friend is in a play or has to speak in front of a bunch of people, they’ll probably be a little freaked out. Do you say, “Oh you’re nervous? Then, you definitely shouldn’t do it.” No, you encourage them. You tell them you believe in them and they’ll be glad they did it. Most of the time, they come away from that experience having grown in some way. Why are we so quick to give ourselves an out for feeling some stage fright?

3. Your illness doesn’t define you.

I say this in some form or fashion in almost everything I write. It’s so true and I don’t think it will ever be said enough. You are not your illness. Losing the illness does not equal losing a part of yourself. You are a person who has a problem that they need help to solve. Seeking a professional doesn’t make you “crazy.” You’re not “crazy” if you have an mental illness. You just need help. Therapy helps you get back on your feet. It doesn’t give you a label or a new personality. It teaches you skills and lessons to help you be a healthier version of the person you already are.

4. Every day you wait is a day you’ll never get back.

The longer you wait to get help, the longer it takes to get better. That means more time not being able to get out of bed, more time feeling like you’re not in control of your own mind or even just more time you can’t spend doing things you love with people you love. That’s day after day that you might come to regret, which could lead to some dangerous “what ifs.” Just save yourself some pain and make that first appointment because, as a wise person once said, YOLO.

5. You’ll never really be ready.

That voice in your head giving you all of those seemingly fantastic reasons to just wait a little longer is never going to run out of ideas. It will keep persuading and reasoning with you for as long as you allow it. There will always be a reason as to why now might not be a good time. If you wait until you feel absolutely no reservation or doubt about getting help, then you’re going to be waiting for a miracle.

There is no shame in admitting you need help. It’s actually the first step to recovery. Mental illness affects your life in ways you aren’t aware of until you’re looking back. Staying in a place of pain and dysfunction isn’t necessary. Getting help can be hard, and there are some jerks in this world who are probably going to have an opinion about you choosing to go to therapy; however, your happiness and well being are more important than anyone’s opinion. So, do yourself a favor. Stop waiting to feel ready because you deserve better than your illness.

Image via Thinkstock.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Originally published: September 20, 2016
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