Getting Help For Depression Strong
Written By: Rachel Griffin
"I'm strong enough to get through this on my own!" I told myself. "If I just (fill in the blank) exercised more, ate better, eliminated dairy, gluten, etc, I'll be okay!"
I took fish oil (ew!), herbs, amino acids, and vitamins. I tried hypnotism, acupuncture, yoga, positive affirmations and every self-help book known to man. "I'm happy and at ease," I said, as tears streamed down my face. Nothing changed.
I was so stubborn. I wanted to, "beat it on my own." Then I wanted God to cure it. I wanted anything but to just get help from a doctor. Now I realize that there was no reason to put myself through such turmoil and exhaustion. I was strong. I am strong. I do CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and take medication and I'm a bad-ass. I compliment my “western” treatment with holistic practices. If people disagree with the treatment I use to live a happy, successful life, that's their problem. I don't need to defend myself. If I had a physical illness I wouldn't have to defend my treatment, and it should be no different with depression. It’s nobody else’s business. I’m thriving, and that’s awesome.
The view that asking for help and getting treatment is weak is just plain wrong. Society needs some therapy... now. The misconceptions, judgments and the stigma surrounding mental health conditions are serious matters that need to be addressed. We lose so many lives every day because of these damaging views.
I've never viewed someone as weak for getting help for depression. A friend of mine was caught in a cycle of denial; self-medication; and dangerous, risky behavior. When he admitted he had depression, we were all relieved and admired his bravery. I’ve always admired his intellect, creativity, and empathy as much as his bravery in admitting his depression. It takes so much more strength to feel than to deny feelings and numb them.
When I was little, I used to think that everything I learned about the world was true. Now I realize that some things need to be questioned and challenged. Our views about mental health have to change. The definition of what it means to be strong needs to evolve. I am amazed by the strength, compassion, perseverance, and resilience of people with mental health conditions. I finally see my own strength, too.