Why Starting Treatment Can Feel Overwhelming, and How To Take Steps Forward
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Why Starting Treatment Can Feel Overwhelming, and How To Take Steps Forward

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Seeking treatment for mental health can feel daunting and stressful. This stress is often exacerbated by responsibilities such as school, work, caregiving, finances, and many more. It could feel easier to put off treatment rather than pause your life. However, we also know that mental health struggles can make the responsibilities listed above much more difficult, sometimes even making them feel impossible.  

Take inventory: 

Spend time considering the ways your mental health impacts your life and responsibilities, and vice versa. Try to be as honest as possible with yourself; you can even ask trusted others for their thoughts on this. When you have a clear understanding of where your wellness is being impacted, it can feel easier to take the next step toward treatment. If this proves hard, you can schedule an appointment with a mental health professional to receive additional support.  


Consider long-term versus short-term outcomes: 

Think about what it might look like if mental health treatment gave you the outcomes you were looking for –you might be better able to focus at school, stay more present with your kids, and feel overall more capable of managing day-to-day tasks, among other things. Treatment might be a strain in the short term, but the long-term positive impacts can outweigh the current difficulties. Though treatment can never completely guarantee a specific outcome, thinking about the positive effects can prove helpful. 


Ask about it: 

Sometimes there are options, specifically for school or work, that can make time away easier, such as FMLA or an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Though disclosing mental health struggles might be challenging for some (and is not always necessary for these services), it can lead to support that you might not have known about prior.   


There is often no good time: 

Though some times are better than others, there is often no “perfect time” to go to treatment. It will typically interrupt at least some aspect of your life. Unfortunately, avoiding treatment usually makes it worse rather than better. Waiting for the problem to be at its worst can make it even harder to pursue help, sometimes extending the length of treatment needed or requiring a higher level of care. Jumping on treatment can keep the momentum going and get you feeling better more quickly.  


You aren’t alone: 

Mental health treatment comes with a whole team of professionals ready to support you, and a community of peers that understand where you’re coming from. Sometimes just knowing there are people around us who care and “get it” can make all the difference. 


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