Realising that your mental health is not where you would like it to be, or reaching out and asking for professional help can be a real hurdle for a lot of people. Often we don’t want to admit that something is wrong, or that we have a problem that we can’t fix in-house. Whilst there is a lot more talk and understanding around counselling and various talk therapies there is still a certain amount of stigma attached to seeking professional help. Sometimes we judge ourselves, or sometimes we worry about the judgement others may have of us if we admit that we are struggling.

Today we are going to have a quick look at some of the arguments commonly used against reaching out and allowing ourselves and those around us to get help. Many of them are quite deeply ingrained and hard to shift but are worth looking at in a critical light if holding onto these ideas are preventing you from living your life to the fullest.

Other people have it worse than me. Firstly, do they? And how do you know? Everyone’s life experiences are different and everyone has different responses to hard situations. The truth is that there is no hierarchy of struggling. Some people manage to navigate awful trauma with minimal fall out and others end up feeling totally destroyed or employing damaging coping habits in order to keep functioning. Not being able to cope with difficulty does not make you a lesser person, much in the same way that just because you are managing to cope better than some others doesn’t mean that you are less deserving of help. Prevention is better than cure, so if you feel like you are finding life difficult, getting help sooner rather than later is alway going to be helpful.

I should be able to handle all situations on my own. We can be our toughest critics, and at the same time we can also take on board unhelpful criticism from those around us very easily. Often the idea of the good old fashioned ‘stiff upper lip’ is a sentiment carried over from our parents or even grandparents. It’s worth toying with the idea in these instances where we know instinctively that we need help but don’t allow ourselves to reach out, of what we would say to a friend if they were struggling. Often we find we are much kinder and more compassionate to those around us than ourselves, when the reality is that sometimes we really need to put ourselves first. Often harbouring these feelings of having to weather everything on our own can be a response to not having the option to rely on others when we were in our formative years. As an adult you do have that option to reach out and ask for help on your own terms.

Mental health is so important 

Only crazy people have therapy. Firstly- who is crazy? What indeed is normal, if crazy is a divergence of this? It is important to remember that life is often very difficult to navigate and the fall out from family dynamics, trauma, socioeconomic struggles and so many other problems which are beyond our control can have a huge impact on our lives. People go to therapy for all sorts of reasons and for many it can be completely transformative, whether they are in dire straits or not when they enter the therapy room.

Why would I need therapy when I have friends to talk to? This is a great one as it seems to make perfect sense. However engaging with therapy in a formal setting works entirely differently to sitting with a mate over a cup of tea. A trained professional is able to guide you through the therapeutic process with a deeper understanding of what might be going on for you and will be able to offer thoughts and insights that a friend might not be able to.

The notion of confidentiality and impartiality is also something not to be overlooked. In a therapeutic setting nothing you say, aside from a safeguarding concern, will go beyond those four walls. Being able to speak entirely honestly and without any worry of having any information relayed on, whilst knowing that there is no judgement from the person listening can be a very powerful factor in therapy.

If you feel as though you are currently struggling with your mental health and are unsure as to where to turn it may be worth having a look into what counselling could offer you.

At The Henry Centre in Southend we have a number of highly qualified and insured mental health professionals who specialise in a variety of areas such as couples therapy, psychodynamic theory and substance misuse. Get in touch today to start your journey to better mental health.