Listening to the news recently, it was disturbing to hear that gaining access to mental health counselling services in the UK can take months. From my own experience, I know how tough it can be. If you are in that position you are not alone. Please don’t give up hope.
Of course this is so simple to say. But I cannot emphasise enough just how beneficial talking to a professional can be. In fact it can be life changing. One of the biggest obstacles you will face when you are dealing with a mental health issue is simply admitting you have a problem. The next is actually asking for help. Just getting to that point not only takes massive amounts of courage. It requires serious intent and a determination to get better.
To then be faced with weeks or even months before actually seeing someone can be so disheartening. The risk of losing that precious courage and determination is sky-high as the days and the weeks pass. Voices in your head will scream that you are making a mistake. They will say that you don’t actually want or need help. They will be doing anything in their power to change your mind. You may have spent months battling against these voices and just when you thought you had got them under control they will come back with a vengeance.
The temptation to find an alternative option such as prescription drugs can weigh heavily on your mind. However they may not be what is really needed. Yes, drugs can be critical in many situations but in others, they can mask an issue instead of resolving it.
Asking for help
The decision to ask for help can be a momentous event. For me it was one of biggest and bravest decisions I ever made in my life. Despite being many years ago I can recall it with such clarity and still feel the sensations. So bound up in emotions was it. When we make that decision, we want people to rush in. Want them to give us everything we need and understand just how big a deal it is.
What we don’t want is to have all that put on hold or for it to be ground to a halt by interminable bureaucracy. In an ideal world it, of course it should not be like this but we don’t live in one. Money can make a difference but only for those that have it.
I was initially in shock at the wait. I had not factored in joining a queue into my assumptions about getting help. It certainly took the wind out of my sails for a while. But then I was lucky as I was seen by someone in weeks rather than months. I was therefore got through without giving up too much hope.
What should we do? It cannot be stressed enough how beneficial getting that talking therapy can be. However long the wait may be. For what it provides, the term ‘life changing’ is not enough to give credit for it. It opened a door that allowed me to live my life with anxiety firmly under control.
Getting to the route cause
I could have gone down the prescription drug route and it did tempt me at points. But I had to get to the root of what drove my anxiety. I had to dig it out and take back control rather than masking it. I am so glad that I did, it was not an easy journey. Realising that asking help was the start line, not the finish line was tough, unbelievable at times. But in the end it was a determination to get better that got me through.
The wait in actual fact made me become even more determined. I was more willing to want the upcoming therapy to work. And by going into therapy wanting it to work, it helped make it work.
If you are on this journey you can find the determination to get through it. It is incredibly tough, yes. The wait is awful at times. And determination is elusive but it can be found. On some days you may lose all hope. You may become so frustrated that you want to give it all up. Sometimes you have to grind out each and every day. But days pass, weeks pass and even months pass. In the end it is worth it. Trust me.