There is sufficient scientific research to know that mental health treatments work and the misguided British ‘stiff upper lip’ and ‘pull yourself together’ attitudes are inappropriate when it comes to mental health. Recent studies indicate that 1 in 4 adults have psychological difficulties every year; and it begs the question, if psychological problems are so common why do we avoid talking about it or admitting to ourselves and others that such problems exist?
Therapy Saves Lives
When people notice they are feeling worse and their world is getting smaller, somewhere inside they know they need help; however, fear prevents them from making an appointment. This protracted period of suffering – often in silence – and failed attempts to solve the problem alone can worsen symptoms and lead to withdrawal from family, friends and activities, isolation and misery. Every year, adults take their own lives in preference to feeling desperately miserable; yet there are scientifically validated psychological methods that could have helped them. If you (or someone you know) need help, make that call today.
Barriers to Therapy
It’s not unusual to avoid making an appointment with a therapist when we need one, and yet we think nothing of contacting a plumber, doctor, solicitor, financial advisor, mechanic etc. The truth is we all need help and assistance during our lives, but when life has turned upside down it’s often shame, denial and fear that stops us from seeking help.
Shame lets us believe we are bad, it’s inbuilt and we would do anything not to feel it, except ask for help. We like to fit in, to be just like others; and fear rejection from being different. People fear breaking the silence or rules after being told for years to shut up, be quiet, don’t complain about abuse, bullying or the effect these events have had on our mental health etc.
The direct and indirect messages received during our upbringing may have told us, we were bad, unworthy or stupid. These messages may come from family, peers or the media and can be interpreted to mean, ‘I deserved the ill treatment I received’; ‘I must have wanted or asked for it in some way’; ‘I don’t matter’.
For a short while you may experience shame in asking for help, how often have you heard the words ‘stand on your own two feet’; ‘stick up for yourself’; ‘pull yourself together’. But asking for help is not shameful; it’s a sign of strength and self respect.
The purpose of denial is to place some psychological and emotional distance between you and the trauma, so you can carry on with everyday life, to continue some sort of relationship with a perpetrator or to cope with uncomfortable realities. Denial is a natural reaction to bad experiences; ‘it didn’t happen’, ‘it’s not so bad!’, ‘other people are worse than me’, ‘I’m OK, really I am!’ Denial is a way of coping, if we don’t acknowledge what’s happening we can pretend it never did. Problems can be glaringly obvious, but with a sprinkling of denial they hide deep inside us, creating an uncomfortable feeling that won’t go away and over time the untreated issues affect all aspects of our life.
Everyone experiences feeling uneasy during their life and thinks, ‘I really should sort my life out’ then, life gets busy and the symptoms or unhelpful behaviour is forgotten; until a new situation triggers the familiar uncomfortable and potentially debilitating symptoms. And even then we can talk our self out of seeking help, ‘I don’t have enough time or money’, ‘it’s not bad enough to seek help’, people are often nervous of admitting there is a problem and they need help to overcome it. It’s normal for this cycle to repeat its self several times before my clients make an appointment.
You might think you can’t afford the time or money for therapy, but can you not afford not to? What is denial and shame preventing you from doing?
Fear of Therapy
Therapy can seem scary, after all, who is comfortable disclosing what has been denied for a long time. People fear admitting they have been hiding the truth from themselves and others and have not put an end to the problem before now.
If this is you, you may feel uncomfortable about contacting a counsellor; I’d like to reassure you that good counsellors are aware that many people experience anxiety when seeking help. It’s their responsibility to make sure you feel comfortable, safe and understood. You may have some questions or wish to talk about your fears before making an appointment, and that’s okay. Please don’t suffer a moment longer, you are welcome to call me, Dawn Haworth, on 07818 840 841 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask all the questions you have.