Giving a Voice to the Silence offers positive angles to the issue that faces those with mental illness. Living with Schizo-Affective Disorder and being able to share my experiences with others, is the best way I know how to pay it forward. Life can be difficult, my goal is to bring a bit of hope to a place where many feel there is none.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B is for Barriers #atozchallenge

One of the biggest challenges (no pun intended) I have found with blogging for this month is that  there are numerous choices for each letter, I may end up having to write more than one a day.   The one that jumped out first this morning is barriers.  Yes, we all know those things we do or don’t do that keep us from accomplishing tasks, but all too often for those with mental illness it that stubbornness that leads to additional problems, though they may not be seen right away.  

In an article titled, Barriers to Mental Health Treatment: Stigma or Self-Sufficiency?, The reasoning behind this practice is looked at more closely.  It is an assumption that stigma would be the first reason why people do not seek treatment, surprisingly it ranks at number four, self-sufficiency is the top reason.   There is a profound belief that mental illness can be handled without doctors, medication and other treatments.  I can disagree with them because I have done that myself.  It took me almost seven years to realize that I could not take care of this my way; I believed I knew better than anyone else.  Eventually I realized I  had to look for help in other places and trust that the doctors I turned to would be able to guide me to wellness in a way I had been unable to do on my own. 

Another side to the self-sufficiency decision is all too often the inability to find the right doctor and medicine cocktail.  These two factors are probably the most common reason why treatment is cast aside.  I cannot begin to tell you the number of medications I have been on, over the last 18 years I have tried more medications than I could name.  Few have worked; however, many more have left me with side effects that I would not wish on my worst enemy.  The last one landed me in the emergency room with stroke like symptoms.  It was at that point that I told my psychiatrist; I was done with medications, and if I was to be treated, we had to find another way.  Her response, she referred me to another psychiatrist who has become a godsend, and we are using, ECT (Electro-convulsive Therapy) and TMS (transcranialmagnetic stimulation) to treat my illness along with CBT (Cognitive-BehavioralTherapy) with my Psychologist.  I still take two medications, and for now; it seems to be the right plan for me.   

We are taught as children to be self-sufficient, to find the answers on our own and follow a different path, we have to understand though that there are times when looking for a treatment alone is not the best plan.  Persistence is the first course of action and for some, it can take years, but when you find the right doctor, medications, and treatment it makes all the difference in the world.     

Additional reading:  What prevents people from seeking help 

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