Mental health issues impact most of us at some stage
“What’s happing to me? Why am I feeling like this? Why can’t I get better?”
These are some common questions people ask when they are struggling with a mental illness. And times like this can seem bleak and scary. There can be a lot of uncertainty about what’s happening to you, and how you can get help to get through this.
In short, “mental health issues” is a broad statement that captures a range of psychological conditions that affect a person’s ability to function. Areas impacted include: relationships, holding down a job, connecting to people, achieving everyday tasks and activities and maintaining emotional stability.
Everybody will either experience mental illness or know someone who will at some point in life. You may be concerned for yourself, or for a loved one.
Mental illness could be short term in nature, as one adjusts to changes in their life, such as the loss of a loved one. Or it can be life-long requiring ongoing support for some time.
Whether short term or long term, the goal of seeking support from a psychologist is often to gain insight into the condition and to develop skills to cope with the symptoms.
Mental health issues can be quite debilitating
A person may experience changes in their mood, in their personality and in their thought patterns. They may have trouble sleeping and their diet and appetite may change.
Mental illness can also affect a person’s ability to make and maintain relationships and this may lead to conflicts in their personal and professional settings. Or they may lose motivation to continue to do the things they usually do in their life.
Each person’s mental health journey is unique
Many mental illnesses begin to show their signs in a person in early adulthood. Sometimes they display earlier in childhood. Other mental illnesses may emerge at different times in response to certain stimulus such as trauma or grief, drug use, or hormonal changes such as menopause.
Each person’s mental health journey is unique and no one person experiences their condition quite the same as another, so many different factors play out to affect their symptoms.
Due to this reason it is important that your counsellor or psychologist provide a tailored service to meet your particular needs.
Treatments for mental health issues
Some people benefit from therapy or counselling alone. They find that they gain many benefits and resume a higher level of functioning.
However, many people require medical interventions as well. They may be prescribed medication from their GP or see a psychiatrist for further medical follow up.
For many mental health illnesses, research has found that people who both take medication and participate in therapy with their counsellors gain the best results in their improvements.
There are many forms of medication available. Your GP can discuss these with you in further detail. Anti-depressants have been found to be successful in treating mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Anti-psychotic medications can help to stabilise people who suffer from Bipolar disorder or Psychosis disorders such as Schizophrenia.
There is hope for treating mental health issues
Mental health issues, once properly understood, can become more manageable.
A treatment plan can be drawn up and progress towards recovery can be measured. Some mental health issues may be complex to assess and treat, but most have a routine path to recovery.
There is certainly no shame in admitting you are stuck. Courage can take a while to rally. There is a sense of relief and purpose once you attend a first session under the guidance of a psychologist.