August can be a tough month for me, and this year is no different. Admittedly, there have been some pretty massive bumps in the road the past couple of months, but somehow the root causes and concerns are do not seem as bad as they did in 2016. I have been using the tools I have learned from professionals and gained insight into how my mind and body works in order to try to read myself better and stay in better mental health.
But this post isn’t about my journey. This post is about “getting help”. You know, that incredibly scary, hard, and unattractive step in the mental health process. It’s hard to admit when things aren’t going well, and it is scary to play out what could be wrong, and you view professional help as something that won’t/can’t work on you – you know the tricks and “talking to someone isn’t going to solve my problems”…
But that is not the voice of reason, logic, or help, that is the voice of the mental illness that is fighting for its self-preservation. If you get help then it loses power, and if it loses power, then how can you remain in the current state you are in?
I have been pleased to see more talk about “getting help” and wanted to share a couple quick links that may make the process easier. I know how hard and daunting the process can seem when you already feel like doing the most basic of daily activities feels like a miracle to complete.
First, listen to, subscribe to, and support “The Hilarious World of Depression”. Specifically, listen to the episode “PLACEBO: How to Get Help”. This is not an all-encompassing, step-by-step guide, but it is as specific as you can get when dealing with the general clusterf*ck that is American Health Care.*
Second (and last), there is some good news about Google implementing the PHQ-9 survey when keywords dealing with depression are searched. This survey is clinically validated and used by medical professionals as a first step for screening folks who may be dealing with depression. I have taken this survey numerous times and it is incredibly simple. it takes only a couple of minutes (I promise) and can really give you an eye-opener just by taking it. Sometimes depression can take such a swift grip that you forget just how bad things have gotten and how much it has impacted your life. This test quantifies the impact and can help guide you to the next step.
I’d urge everyone to take the questionnaire. Even if things are going well and you do not suspect any depressive factors in your life, it is nice to have a baseline or gain an understanding of what some of the “warning signs” could be for depressive behavior. If not for helping yourself, it could help someone else down the line.
* – I would also like to add another area to receive help that wasn’t covered in The Hilarious World of Depression. I understand that not everyone has the luxury of being a part of an “Employee Assistance Program” (or something of a similar name), but if you do have one at your place of employment, you may be able to use it for mental health help!
Each employee assistance program is different, but from the one that I dealt with, I can tell you that they were not only able to help guide me to a list of mental health professionals in my area, but they also would pay for the first few sessions (in my case, it was 3). They also offered a discounted rate for any additional sessions, which is very helpful if you are paying out of pocket, due to health insurance coverage.
And if this was a mental health emergency (a severe breakdown with suicidal thoughts), they also made it clear that they have professionals available that can counsel you on the phone right then and there. I cannot speak to this care, but any amount of help and care, especially in the toughest of times, is better than none.
These assistance programs are woefully underutilized. Companies pay quite a bit of money for their services, so please, USE THEM! Having someone be able to search for local mental health professionals and do the dirty work of finding them for you is a huge chunk of the battle that is off of your plate. Let others help you. Please.