Simply put if your questioning or even thinking it might be time to get professional help odds are it is and maybe even past due. Mental health services don’t always have to be used in just emergencies; it can actually even be used for preventative mental health measures. Many of you know some of what I went through. I can tell you it is much better to seek treatment at the earliest signs then it is to wait for a total nuclear melt down. Just like with most things in the health field the amount of time it takes to recover and how bad the symptoms get largely are impacted by how quickly you go about seeking treatment.
If you do research online I can see why it would be terrifying. The truth is the majority of the stuff you hear about bad medical care is written by people who are going through a really difficult time and are generally wrote out anger. The truth is people are more likely to let people know if they had a bad experience than I good experience. If you know some or a good percent of my experience you might question if I’d really even recommend seeking professional help. I know your concerns, the stigma’s you hold, and what’s holding you back. I’ve been through the majority of the concerns that almost anyone could possibly face when dealing with mental health professionals and every little bit of it was more then worth it to end the suffering that my mental illness was causing me. I know the fear of having your rights and freedom taken away, the fear that you’ll be misdiagnosed and with something worse then you really have, the fear that you’ll be over medicated or have negative reactions from the meds, the fear that you’ll have to try multiple meds to find one that helps, the fear that the health professionals will judge you, the fear that there is no help, the fear that yours is the worst case they’ve ever seen, the fear that your case is to mild they’ll wonder why you are even there…. Okay this list could get way to long. The truth is 90% of the time like anything the anticipatory anxiety is worse then what you are actually afraid of. The truth is does some of the stuff that I’ve mentioned and even been through happen, yes. Realistically, this happens far less than people are truly helped and there are laws and regulations to protect from many of the things you’d be afraid of. Plus, they’re professionals and trust me they’ve heard and seen more than you could imagine. Almost anything you could say isn’t going to shock them.
So, how do you go about getting help? You can talk to your general physician, search the web, or search a phonebook. If you are looking for help there are many ways to go about getting help. At this point it’s important to say, if it is a mental health emergency please go to or take them to the nearest emergency room or search for local crisis hotlines.
Next, what do I expect when I seek professional mental health help and how do I prepare? Going and seeing a mental health professional in a lot of ways is similar to going to a regular physician in some ways. Usually, first they’re going to ask you some general questions as they do assessments. They could ask about a fair amount of things. They’ll most likely ask your and your family’s medical history, ask about your symptoms, and they’ll probably do a fair amount of talking. Most times the first session is generally longer then most sessions. For psychiatrist appointments a first appointment is probably around an hour and each additional appointment is typically 20 minutes to a half hour. For psychologist appointments the first one could be between an hour and an hour and 1/2. Every appointment after that is usually 45 minutes to an hour. Anyways, they’re trained to make this process as painless and comfortable as possible. I know it can be a little scary and a little how are they going to perceive me and what kind of judgments will they make. The truth is they’re human too. They’ve made mistakes and heard more stuff then you could probably ever imagine. They’re very understanding.Preparing is simple have a good idea of your symptoms and just be honest, open, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Also, for every session to get the most out if it keep a record of anything you feel you’d like to address.
In addition to this I’d like to address one other thing. I’d like to say that despite many people’s view that psychology is a secular science field and that the advice maybe contrary to religious views. The truth is like many things there are secular parts that may exist with certain people practicing it. However, from my own personal experience is that just like in the general population where roughly 90% of people are religious or spiritual, with the majority of them being Christians the same applies to the mental health profession. Many of them are actually highly educated on religious matters and even consult with different religious members, especially when dealing with any religious issue. Well I think this long post is cooked and I’m sticking the fork in it.