Although this blog series is directly related to mental health and mental illness, I don’t often talk about mental health services here. Perhaps the reason I skip over subjects like medication, therapy, and hospital visits is because, although these services and techniques help those suffering to keep living, they aren’t often something to look forward to. Hospital visits are exhausting and, in a society which tends to see mental illness as a weakness, usually embarrassing. Therapy is time-consuming and occasionally unsuccessful; finding the right therapist can be one of the most difficult parts of having a mental illness. Medication, which used to be the bane of my existence, can have unbearable side effects (read about my journey through mental health services and medication in my articles, The Harm of Hope: A Personal Overview of Selected Mental Health Services in London, Ontario and My War on Medication is Over).
Though mental health services and mental health professionals in the Western world can be unorganized, poorly educated, arrogant, forceful, understaffed, and downright dangerous, they are still oftentimes underappreciated. Amidst the mess of doctors who know too little but believe they know too much, six-month wait lists, and costly therapy sessions, there are kind, wise, and ambitious organizations and people who are working to help those in need.
I don’t want to get too sappy or start falling into clichés, but I am endlessly thankful for the successful services I have received and continue receiving. The worst part of this whole situation is that the only thing I have to show for all the good help I’ve been given — besides my improved mental health, of course — is a yellow sticky-note my psychiatrist wrote to me during our last session. It’s a reminder of my next appointment, but it’s also a promise: a promise that my psychiatrist will continue seeing me, that I will continue attending our sessions, and that my mental health will continue to improve.
Without that promise, without good help from good people, I wouldn’t be living the life I’m living today.
Find these good people. Hold onto them. You’ll discover that, soon enough, the challenge of staying alive will be a challenge no longer.
If you have a reason to keep living, whether it be big or small, simple or complex, send it with a photo and a brief explanation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your photo and writing will be featured on the Amber Typewriter in weeks to come!
To read the original post of Reasons to Keep Living, click here.