Why we have to change the narrative around mental health treatment. Therapy is good.

A short break from current run of therapy session downloads, although I suppose still related. I mentioned in passing to a family member this week that I was getting some treatment. It was a casual statement when they were asking what plans I had for the week. A couple of days later they messaged me and included this statement…

Bit perturbed to hear you receiving counselling but did not like to ask about it.

Not asking. It’s ok.

Asking can be a sign of caring. Equally not asking might be caring for yourself. Don’t let the absence of a question perturb you.

I understand the nervousness to ask, when we think someone might be struggling with their mental health, we worry we could say the wrong thing. Sometimes the timing feels wrong. Maybe we have our own issues and worry exploring their challenges will expose our own. There are lots of reasons we don’t feel comfortable and I’m ok with that I never expect anyone to enquire. Equally though I never mind if they want to ask, I can always decline to answer a question if I want too.

I know for some people the lack of questions is disheartening. They feel that people around don’t care or they would ask. To anyone in this boat, perhaps you are right, but perhaps it is the worry of saying the wrong thing or exposing the home truths and they are afraid. Don’t be disheartened, you do you. Striving to improve your mental health is great for you.

Getting treatment is good not bad.

Talking therapy works for some people, for others it may be medication or a mix of many other treatments. Being on a treatment path of any kind is good.

For me I had not even noticed they did not enquire at the time. Nor did I pay it any thought after. The thing that threw me when I received the message was the word perturbed. It sat a little uncomfortably with me. The Oxford dictionary describes it as worried or anxious.

https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/perturbed

Now I understand that it is natural for someone who cares about you to worry if they hear you are unwell. However it feels like this is an example of the negative stigma surrounding treatment for mental health. The fact I am actually getting support or help is a great thing,

I think we need to be more positive and supportive of people getting help. We need to say things like. That is amazing, how courageous, I am glad you are taking the time to improve your health.

I mean we don’t say to people I am worried you are taking diabetes medication or I am anxious that you are using crutches.

We can be worried someone is unwell but please let’s start to talk more positively when people take medication or get talking therapy or take any other action to improve mental health. The action is a good thing not something to worry about.

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