It was many years ago, I was in high school, taking a driving test, preparing for final exams. Many things at once. Add to that teenage years, insecurity, lack of self-confidence, some trauma from the past and a hill of indecision. A prescription for psychiatry.
I didn’t finish at psychiatry, but I did with a psychologist. Barely. Just because I wanted to.
If others were asked – I wouldn’t go because I was just dramatizing, nothing was wrong with me, it was just stress and hormone bursts, and I was too young to go to a psychologist. At least that’s what they said. Turns out I have anxiety-depressive disorder, which isn’t really the point of the story since it’s far behind me and I don’t plan on making a sufferer out of myself. The point is the human attitude towards mental disorders.
We live in the 21st century, let me repeat, in the TWENTY-FIRST, and people who have a mental illness and are going to a psychologist are still a taboo topic. I remember that some did not even dare to tell that I am going to a psychologist, especially not in front of me. It’s like someone is going to die if they say it out loud. Okay, statistically speaking, someone somewhere in the world wants to die, but certainly not because I went to a psychologist. I just needed a conversation with a third party who would look at some things neutrally and objectively, but still, the problem obviously existed. And I’m glad I listened to myself and went to the psychologist, before it was be too late.
Now imagine that someone is suicidal and you tell him that he needs to pull himself together and that there is really nothing wrong with him, just because you do not take mental illness and disorders seriously enough. Like it can’t kill a man. It can kill just like a cancer or a tumor. Why don’t you tell a man with cancer to pull himself together and not need a doctor because he’s probably just dramatizing? You’re too young to have cancer. It will go away on its own, don’t worry about anything. If not sooner, it will pass before you die.
I feel wrong because I actually laughed at this, but yes…
That’s not exactly the best thing you can say to a man suffering from cancer. Then why would it be okay to say the same to a depressed man? It was as if one day he woke up and decided to be depressed. It’s not. Not even a man with cancer decided just one day that he would have cancer now so whatever it is, it will be.
Both situations are serious and require some help, treatment, and a large enough dose of support, only it is still more acceptable to have cancer than to be depressed even though we live in the 21st century, THE TWENTY-FIRST. Depression, anxiety and, God forbid, more serious mental illness are still shock and disbelief and synonymous with attracting attention and dramatizing. People would rather suffer and suppress problems instead of exposing themselves to a public disgrace called going to a psychologist, God forbid a psychiatrist.
Oh, yes, well, we live in a world where what matters most is what neighbor Karen or whoever else says. If neighbor Karen says you’re a freak, you must be. Neighbor Karen is not on trial. It doesn’t matter that that same neighbor Karen will probably take you to psychiatry with her courts and then they will still convict you because you are mentally disturbed. And so in a circle until you decide to say fuck off to your neighbor Karen and get on with your life. You’ll be a freak again, but at least you won’t be a mentally disturbed freak anymore because you’ll realize that neighbor Karen’s judgment doesn’t matter at all and that life isn’t that complicated at all.
Who the fuck cares about the neighbor Karen, let’s get back to the topic.
Mental illness is just as serious as physical illness, understand that once and for all. Sometimes they are even the cause of physical illnesses. Whatever sometimes, in the vast majority of cases if I’m not mistaken.
So your “Pull yourself together, what do you need a psychologist for?” Doesn’t help at all. Not at all. Not a shred. Stop acting like we’re still in the Middle Ages and help people instead of judging them. More importantly, help yourself if you feel there is a problem because it certainly won’t go away on its own.
It’s not a shame to ask for help, it’s brave and it makes you stronger then you believe you are.