I’ve Been in the Mental Health System for Years, Why am I Not Getting Better?
The unfortunate reality of our mental health system is that most people who get into the system, stay in the system. Intense symptoms and challenges and unbearable thoughts bring most people in. Life may feel as though it’s crumbling around you, as though the life you once had or the life you wanted to have are just distant memories and day dreams. It doesn’t have to stay that way though.
1)The focus has been on surface level symptoms, not the root cause of the struggles
While the symptoms are what brought you to the mental health system in the first place, they are just the messages and signals your brain and body is using to communicate with you. Symptoms don’t appear out of thin air, they happen for a reason. If your treatment has been focused on managing the symptoms, supressing the symptoms, or getting rid of the symptoms, your healing will be as surface level as your treatment. From my experience, once you get to the root cause and begin to understand why those symptoms are there, that is when the deeper change and healing can begin.
2)The root cause for your struggles hasn’t changed
It only makes sense that your body and brain would keep sending you the same message over and over if it’s needs are never met. Blood sugar changes, hormonal changes, food allergies and intolerances, illnesses and diseases, traumatic experiences, being unsafe and side effects of medications all can cause symptoms that resemble mental illness. When you begin to take a step back and see the patterns and when the symptoms arise the story you begin to see will be very different from what you saw prior. Once you can see when the most intense symptoms are happening and what has led to them, real and lasting changes can start to take shape.
3)You are stuck in the system
The unfortunate reality is our system is not designed to cure people or make them fully better, it is designed to manage their symptoms. Ask most doctors, psychiatrists, neurologists or other people working in the mental health system and they will tell you that for the rest of your life you will be living this way, battling these symptoms and struggling with the mental illness(s) you’ve been diagnosed with. It isn’t their fault, they are funding by pharmaceutical companies and trained to prescribe lifelong medications to incurable people. They are just doing what they know and understand. I’ve met next to no people who did make a full recovery simply from being in the medical system. In order to heal you need to be able to step outside the system and access the care of people who know recovery is possible because they have seen it and believe in it. The perspective, beliefs, and expectations of your support people is going to make a huge difference in what path your life is on and where you mental health journey is taking you.
4)You have lost hope
The most unfortunate thing is that for most people they lost hope for themselves. The doctor or psychiatrist (the head of their health team) has told them they will be sick forever, they will be on medications forever and this is their new normal. The psychiatrist may have told them they will never finish school, never have a healthy relationship, they will never go back to work and that their life will be managing their mental illness. It’s a pretty grim and dark thing to say to someone who is already struggling so much. It only makes sense that when offered the choice of the intense pain and suffering they are experiencing or ending it all, many people turn to suicide. Life with intense mental illness symptoms can feel like a life that is not worth living. That is why it’s so important to have a professional in your life that can hold onto the hope for you until you are able to hold onto some hope for yourself. If the choice is between losing hope and risking your life in the free system or investing in a therapist who will help you regain hope and rebuild your life, the decision really is simple. If you die, the money won’t matter anyways. There is no price tag that can be put on your life.
If there is one thing I’ve learned over the past two decades volunteering, working and studying in the mental health system, it’s that healing is possible. I’ve seen people heal and regain their quality of life after countless diagnosis and so many years of suffering. From people who have just had a traumatic experience and gets help quickly to heal quickly, to children who are able to lessen learning challenges and ADHD symptoms, to people who have numerous diagnosis but forge a healing plan and high quality of life anyways, to those who dedicate a year or more to ensuring they understand their symptoms and needs and hear their body and brains communication so they can meet the requests, anything is possible. Miracles happen, people heal. It isn’t the popular message people get, but I know it’s true because I’ve seen countless clients do it, and I’ve done it myself.
If you have any questions or would like to book a session with a skilled therapist who believes in healing. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org Happy Healing!