There is no fear like walking into your doctors surgery, past reception, making sure you got your appointment time right, sitting in the waiting room, until your name gets precariously called. You’ve got a list in the notes in your phone of the things you should talk to the doctor about, the ‘symptoms’ you think you’ve been experiencing that may just be normal, but what if they aren’t?
You will probably go in, and if the doctor deems your condition of a severity in which it is required, you may be given a handful of leaflets for local counselling services like ‘Steps to Wellbeing’, or group therapy groups in the area. You may even be handed a prescription for Citalopram, or a similar medication.
This is a situation many people, of any age, who are struggling with intrusive thoughts, depression or anxiety may find themselves in.
But I think there is a problem with this. Why does it take reaching a point where you are unable to cope, or live normally, before we reach out and open a dialogue about how we are feeling?
I think this is because of the stigma attached to therapy. Personally, I believe therapy or counselling should be the first port of call in any issue relating to mental health. Why does it take addiction, depression, suicidal thoughts, or crippling anxiety for people to sit in a room and open up about trauma, difficulties and fears? We are conditioned to think that we should be able to cope with life’s stresses on our own, even though we often have never been taught how.
There are a couple of forms of therapy and they are generally (depending on region) available on the NHS, if you are experiencing mental health troubles. The main two are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and counselling. CBT generally is a way of teaching you ways of processing emotions and handling the manifestations of your issues. Counselling however is more conventional talking therapy, where you talk through the things that ‘trigger’ you or past trauma and problems. Through these types of therapy you can take away ways of coping on your own, of grounding yourself in reality again, when you feel so far from that. Controlling responses to fear, trauma, upset or insecurity is so hard, for us all, but by talking and creating healthy patterns, it’s possible.
We have all experienced things we don’t know how to process whether we have experienced ‘mental health problems’ or not. If everyone, no matter their mental state, had an hour of therapy, or maybe a few sessions, in my opinion, the world would be a much calmer, happier place, where people have the tools in their emotional belt to deal with anything challenging that comes their way.