Would You Visit A Shrink?

By  |  1 Comment
I would. Well, I already have… on three separate occasions. Ok, maybe marriage counselling doesn’t count. But I have been to see a psychological counsellor twice for extended sessions to deal with depression related to ‘stuff’ in my life. Yes, I realise that I’ve just admitted that I needed professional help. Don’t judge me.
There’s a lot of negative discrimination toward anything related to mental health in the West Indies, so people don’t talk about it. Worse, they don’t seek the help of mental health professionals and end up chopping the woman, then drinking weed killer. I remember asking a male relative if there was any history of depression in our family, and he said, “Nah, that’s for white people”. Oooookkkk.
One of the reasons why people think they DON’T need to see a shrink is that eccentricity has become stylish. Thanks to Monk, OCD is kinda cool. Bulimia is really not that serious once the person acts and looks normal. And someone who constantly talks about death and dying, or abuses alcohol to excess? Well, they’re either emo or just ‘have problems’.
Newsflash: these behaviours shouldn’t just be passed off as “that’s how Johnny is”. I understand that it’s not something that you can stop tomorrow, but you shouldn’t cultivate it. And if you have a close friend or family member who fits one of those descriptions, you shouldn’t just pretend that everything is ok, or that they’re just really amusing. These are indicators that the person may be suffering from some mental ill-health, and need help to get back on track.
Mental health is not the same thing as mental illness. Mental illnesses treat with www.ativan777.com like clinical depression can be caused by a number of things we can’t stop or explain: a chemical imbalance in the brain, for instance. Or really serious long-term abuse and/or trauma can contribute. It doesn’t mean that you should be dismissed as “mad like France”, and irreparable, but it is one reason for needing to see a psychiatrist/psychologist/counsellor regularly.
Mental health is about making sure that you stay mentally healthy, which means that you can deal with normal daily life without resorting to way to escape and you can see life as it is and face it head on. Still, people who are healthy mentally may go through periods of stress that mean that they also need to see a shrink, albeit for shorter periods of time, but no less necessary.
When I sought counselling, I was basically mentally healthy, but emotionally crippled by some painful situations. And although I had a very supportive family, they could only go so far. The second time, I had just moved back to Trinidad after living three years in another country, and all my close friendships had suffered from my being away. So all the usual sources of ‘just dealing’ with my problems were not available. I knew that if I did not talk to someone soon, I may have reached a point where my mental health may have become mental illness.
So let’s say that you’re one of those people whose screaming, “Shrink? I don’t need no stinking shrink!” Or you have this sneaking suspicion that you may need some ‘professional help’, but can’t bring yourself to admit it. What would my boyfriend think? What would my boss think?
It’s really no one else’s business if you think you need to see a counsellor; to me, it’s like getting your nails done, or buying that latest PS3 game (and costs about the same per session). It makes YOU feel better; that’s why you do it.
Psychology Today has this really cool do-it-yourself mental health assessment that can help you figure out if you do need a therapist. It deals with how you feel about past traumas, relationships, sex, moods, anxiety and possible substance abuse, among other things. It’s a pretty interesting way to see if you’re really as mentally healthy as you think, but don’t take the results as gospel. Just let it jog your consciousness into a truer picture of what’s really going on with you. Ignoring indicators that your mental health needs some TLC is not a great way to maintain said health.
As for me, I’m relatively ok. I may or may not go see a shrink again. I was robbed twice at gunpoint two years ago, and have not really ever talked about it at length with anyone. And it still affects me. But now, I usually talk to my husband about stressors, or confide in a close friend when things are getting to me. I am emotionally better able to handle life because of my counselling experiences, I can tell you that. And that alone is worth it.
So let’s start a discussion, guys. Would you go see a shrink if you needed it?

shrinkI would. Well, I already have… on three separate occasions. Ok, maybe marriage counselling doesn’t count. But I have been to see a psychological counsellor twice for extended sessions to deal with depression related to ‘stuff’ in my life. Yes, I realise that I’ve just admitted that I needed professional help. Don’t judge me.

There’s a lot of negative discrimination toward anything related to mental health in the West Indies, so people don’t talk about it. Worse, they don’t seek the help of mental health professionals and end up chopping the woman, then drinking weed killer. I remember asking a male relative if there was any history of depression in our family, and he said, “Nah, that’s for white people”. Oooookkkk.

One of the reasons why people think they DON’T need to see a shrink is that eccentricity has become stylish. Thanks to Monk, OCD is kinda cool. Bulimia is really not that serious once the person acts and looks normal. And someone who constantly talks about death and dying, or abuses alcohol to excess? Well, they’re either emo or just ‘have problems’.

Newsflash: these behaviours shouldn’t just be passed off as “that’s how Johnny is”. I understand that it’s not something that you can stop tomorrow, but you shouldn’t cultivate it. And if you have a close friend or family member who fits one of those descriptions, you shouldn’t just pretend that everything is ok, or that they’re just really amusing. These are indicators that the person may be suffering from some mental ill-health, and need help to get back on track. 

Mental health is not the same thing as mental illness. Mental illnesses treat with www.ativan777.com like clinical depression can be caused by a number of things we can’t stop or explain: a chemical imbalance in the brain, for instance. Or really serious long-term abuse and/or trauma can contribute. It doesn’t mean that you should be dismissed as “mad like France”, and irreparable, but it is one reason for needing to see a psychiatrist/psychologist/counsellor regularly. Mental health is about making sure that you stay mentally healthy, which means that you can deal with normal daily life without resorting to way to escape and you can see life as it is and face it head on. Still, people who are healthy mentally may go through periods of stress that mean that they also need to see a shrink, albeit for shorter periods of time, but no less necessary. 

When I sought counselling, I was basically mentally healthy, but emotionally crippled by some painful situations. And although I had a very supportive family, they could only go so far. The second time, I had just moved back to Trinidad after living three years in another country, and all my close friendships had suffered from my being away. So all the usual sources of ‘just dealing’ with my problems were not available. I knew that if I did not talk to someone soon, I may have reached a point where my mental health may have become mental illness. 

So let’s say that you’re one of those people whose screaming, “Shrink? I don’t need no stinking shrink!” Or you have this sneaking suspicion that you may need some ‘professional help’, but can’t bring yourself to admit it. What would my boyfriend think? What would my boss think? 

It’s really no one else’s business if you think you need to see a counsellor; to me, it’s like getting your nails done, or buying that latest PS3 game (and costs about the same per session). It makes YOU feel better; that’s why you do it. 

Psychology Today has this really cool do-it-yourself mental health assessment that can help you figure out if you do need a therapist. It deals with how you feel about past traumas, relationships, sex, moods, anxiety and possible substance abuse, among other things. It’s a pretty interesting way to see if you’re really as mentally healthy as you think, but don’t take the results as gospel. Just let it jog your consciousness into a truer picture of what’s really going on with you. Ignoring indicators that your mental health needs some TLC is not a great way to maintain said health. 

As for me, I’m relatively ok. I may or may not go see a shrink again. I was robbed twice at gunpoint two years ago, and have not really ever talked about it at length with anyone. And it still affects me. But now, I usually talk to my husband about stressors, or confide in a close friend when things are getting to me. I am emotionally better able to handle life because of my counselling experiences, I can tell you that. And that alone is worth it. 

So let’s start a discussion, guys. Would you go see a shrink if you needed it?

 

Check out the rest of this week’s issue (24/10/11; Issue 78):

Look out for a new issue of Outlish.com every Monday!

Desiree Seebaran

Desiree Seebaran is a freelance writer and publications manager who is always on the look out for the next big project. She's written for publications like Caribbean Beat, and Who's Who of Trinidad & Tobago, and most recently edited a children's book. You can check out her blog dingolay-des.blogspot.com.

1 Comment

  1. Sian

    October 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Yes and it was a huge turn around factor for me. My family didn’t want to talk about it, they said I “didn’t need it”, but when you find yourself incapable of everyday living, the advice of family and friends aren’t enough.

    Great article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *