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What stops us from seeking help?(18 Posts)
Hi everyone, my name is Natalia. As a counsellor/psychotherapist working in private practice and in one of the biggest mental health charity in London, I work with a wide range of psychological issues such as trauma, anxiety, depression and many more.
I often find that people who I work with have been battling with their issues on their own for many many years, often in secret.
There are so many talks and programs on TV about the importance of speaking up about mental health, but in reality, when it touches our own lives, it appears to be not that easy at all. So, where do we start?
I am here to open the discussion on what is stopping us from seeking help.
Join in and share what it is like for you.
I did not know I was in a very bad way until I broke down. I genuinely thought I was hunkydory and that it was everyone else who was odd.
No one was ever prepared to listen to me and they kept getting most things very wrong.. Then I would have to say I told you so. My wife had worked out something was wrong but I didn't know.
I guess you might decide you want to seek help, but it's so daunting trying to find the right person to help you. Most people advise going to the GP, but you never know if you'll get referred for counselling or when. If you can go privately, you don't really know where to start or where to look......
Especially when you are feeling a bit shit.....
Hi, my first and worst episode of depression was when I was 20 at uni. I didn't recognise what was happening even though my DM was always open about her experience of depression and had taken me to her councellor as a child. It was my uni tutor who refered me to councelling through student services and it went from there. Since then I've been pretty good at asking for help early as soon as I realise I'm struggling.
DH suffers with depression and episodes of psychosis. Initially he resisted ADs as his friend had told him not to take them because they were addictive. With regards to his psychosis the main thing that stopped him getting help was his lack of insight. Neither of us understood what was happening he always had a plausible explaination for the voices he heard (neighbour, passer by, etc) which he fully believed. The other difficulty was knowing how to access help. To be honest most of the direction we got on how to access MH help has been from the police when they have been dealing with DH in crisis. Even so the first time he became obviously psychotic it was a nightmare getting help. I pursuaded him to go to A&E, he was assessed as showing some signs of psychosis, I was told it would probably settle on its own, that he should go to his GP and ask for a referal for councelling. When I asked what to do if it didn't settle he told me if I felt unsafe to call 999. It got worse over a weekend and I tried crisis team (knew of them from previous suicide attempts and police advice) they told me they couldn't do anything without his consent and by this time he had no insight at all that he was poorly so wouldn't consent. It got worse and police advised me to call 111, who sent a GP out and finally got crisis team involved, who then refered to early intervention in psychosis team.
In short the main things that stopped us getting help:
1. Not understanding what was wrong.
2.Not knowing how to navigate the MH system.
Going to the doctor and seeing a psychiatrist/counsellor is daunting and scary.
A lot of the difficulties I had in seeking support was not having people who could help me get through the process.
Asking for help and constantly being told 'no' makes it harder and harder to keep trying to find help every time it happens.
I don't have any experience of mental health issues, but I imagine that while people are often being told to read out and ask for help, the people they reach to are simply not equipped to actually provide help - whether that be GPs (who, really, have no specialism in that area at all) or friend/family, who are even less equipped to help.
That surely means the person ends up feeling more alone.
Lack of insight into how bad things are.
No confidence in the MH system and that it can provide the help you need.
I had a bit of a traumatic childhood and have only ever spoken about it to two people, and both times heavily edited. I do think how I was brought up is influencing the decisions I make now, and not really for the better. However, i don't want to open Pandora's box - things are ok, I am ok and I don't want that to change. As i have never really talked about it I don't know how it would affect me. So, for me, it is fear.
I don't have any experience of mental health issues, but I imagine that while people are often being told to read out and ask for help, the people they reach to are simply not equipped to actually provide help - whether that be GPs (who, really, have no specialism in that area at all) or friend/family, who are even less equipped to help .That surely means the person ends up feeling more alone.
Yes, it does. When you're already in the mindset that depression gives you, being turned away/ignored/passed of to others who then turn you away or ignore you makes everything worse, like makes you feel like you're not deserving of help at all. It's not true, and people who aren't equipped to help aren't at fault for not being able to help, but it's hard to not see it as personal when you're depressed. I know I've felt "well I've told everyone and asked for help so many times that obviously nobody cares because nobody is here", when a lot of the time it wasn't that nobody cared but that they didn't know how to help.
I went to get help with depression after my partner ended the relationship as I was not waking up to the fact that I needed professional help.
As a professional in social care myself it was difficult to admit this, dealing with parents with MH on a daily basis.
My first visit to the GP I was seriously fobbed off due to my profession he just basically told me to crack on "we all get down days" even though I told him I had contemplated crashing my vehicle to escape it all.
I spoke to a counsellor via telephone who encouraged me to go back to the GP, maybe see a different GP and tell them I did not feel listened to. The counsellor was excellent, he told me not to leave the GP until they had listened to me properly, this gave me confidence.
I went back, I was prescribed medication, given CBT counselling and signed off work, although my CBT session were cut short they were extremely beneficial.
My experience has helped me to understand my clients at work and the barriers they face in getting the support they need when they need it.
I do worry about people that are turned away and do not have the confidence/support to go back.
Being turned away does knock your confidence a lot. Makes you feel like you're not getting help because you're not worth it.
Many times I've felt like if I was hanging off a cliff edge screaming for help, everyone I know would just push me off instead of saving me. That's how being turned away makes people feel so isolated.
The feeling that the issues causing the anxiety/depression are external to our own actions, that they are likely to negatively impact us and our families in a big way as they have in the past (eg memories of being called terrorists ourselves for geopolitical/economic/racial reasons) and that there's nothing we can do to change it.
I find making appointments really problematic because I never know from one day to the next whether I'm going to feel up to attending. Seeing the GP often means a wait of over a week and that gives me far too long to work myself up into a state about the appointment so that on the day I panic and end up cancelling. I've finally booked an appointment for next Friday but have known my depression is back for months, it's literally taken this long to summon the courage. There's still every chance I will cancel on the day
It takes weeks or months to get an appointment. No timeslots to fit around work/ childcare. No ££ to seek private help. Need I go on?
Does anyone have any advice for helping a partner who has been depressed for over a year get help?
Shame, mostly. And serious worries about it going on medical records forever and being used against me by social services.
I had quite severe ptsd after I kicked out my violent ex-h. The police made a social services referral and I had to defend all sorts of perfectly reasonable parenting decisions (such as co-sleeping and breastfeeding my toddler). A year later, my ex made a malicious report saying I had mental health problems.
Social services did not have major concerns about my parenting, but I know it would have gone against me if I had ever asked for help with my ptsd. I just googled the condition and did the best I could with information I found and support from my friends. I am much better now, and am so glad my mental health problems are not on my record, as this could also affect my current job (working in sole charge of children).
It's sad that I had to make this decision, but I'm glad I made it.
I also find that sometimes, people who don't suffer with mental health issues or have any experience with mental health services can be quite quick to advise sufferers to "get help," as if a trip to the GP would solve all their problems and they're just too proud to go or something. The reality is, sometimes there is no help. Sometimes the medications don't work at all and the side effects just make things worse. Sometimes there is a six-month wait or longer to sit in a room with someone who just smiles and nods and tells you to get more exercise and be more assertive. Sometimes you can make multiple quite serious suicide attempts and be discharged from hospital hours later even if you say you'll do it again. It's nobody's fault, but this is how it is for a lot of people. Whether it's a question of funding or training or just plain not being able to do anything for someone who is miserably depressed but essentially still in possession of their basic faculties I don't know, but it's not nearly as simple as "just asking for help."
(I don't mean to belittle the experiences of anyone who has been helped by treatment, of course I don't, just pointing out that sometimes it doesn't work for whatever reason and it can feel like everyone is just washing their hands if you.)
For me it was a combination
Firstly fear of employers finding out - as it happens, ten years on, I've never told them
Societal messages around simplistic solutions - stupid of me to absorb them but I did
Unpleasantness of frequent doc visits and time off work which had to be explained to boss - with lies in my case as I saw how badly they treated other staff with depression or anxiety
Then later on as I gained weight with meds I kept trying to come off them. Different issue there I guess. Now I accept I am unlikely to be really skinny again but at least my brain works.
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