Sharing this blog by One of Our Youth - Gowri Anupama, who is a freshmen in College.
Mental health shouldn’t be any different from physical health. Just like you go to the hospital to get help for a broken bone, you should be allowed to do the same for your mental health. Without the stigma. Reaching out for help is one of the hardest yet most important things to do, especially when it comes to mental health. It is easy to get caught up in your head and feel alone in this struggle. The first step is acceptance. You have to first come to terms with the fact that you need help. This is by far the hardest step, but it is crucial to feeling better. The very nature of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety make it hard to reach out for help. So don’t let the fact that this step is hard make you give up. It can feel impossible when you are heading down a spiral to reach out and ask people for help. It can even make you feel worse at times, but that initial step is the key to starting recovery. For me personally, I know that the easiest thing to do in a time of crisis is shut everyone and everything out. I stop reaching out, and I stop accepting help. This is one of my main warning signs, because I forget the value of a solid support system. Support systems are the foundation to recovery, so find a way to keep fighting past this and reach out.
Remember that there is nothing abnormal about you for needing help. In fact, anyone and everyone can benefit from some form of therapy or mental health program. These programs teach skills that are applicable to everyone in their daily lives. Everyone has baggage of some sort, but you just have to make sure you don’t let your baggage define you. You are strong and brave for being able to ask for the help you need, because that is one of the toughest things to accept. Once you begin your path to recovery, do not be harsh on yourself. Remember that relapses do happen; that is just the nature of recovery. It is about picking yourself back up after these relapses that shows how far you have truly come. Growing as a person takes time, but the lessons and invaluable. If anyone questions you for taking this help, remind yourself that you do not owe an explanation to anyone. See what feels genuine for the situation, and respond accordingly. Think of mental illness like any other illness that can flare up time and time again. There is no finish line on the road to recovery, but rather it is a continuous process.
Some of the most helpful programs to better equip yourself with coping skills are CBT and DBT programs. CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, focuses on the relationships between thoughts (cognitions), actions (behaviors), and feelings (emotions). DBT, or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy focuses on wise mind. Wise mind is the middle ground between an emotional and rational mind, especially when it comes to decision making. DBT is broken up into four main section: Mindfulness, Emotional Regulation, Interpersonal Effectiveness, and Distress Tolerance. This is just the quick run down of both of these forms of therapy, and I will be going into further detail into each of these as well as specific coping skills in future posts.
Just remember one thing. You asked for help. You want to get better You are strong for that. You are brave for that. And you are incredible for that. Stick with it.