There is a basic human desire to have a comfortable place where we can go and feel safe, which makes sense. Going back to our ancestors, they needed a space where they were safe from predators and violent enemies. Nowadays, this historical need for safety has carried over into the modern need for a safe space for our mental and emotional health.
For many who struggle with mental health, the ability to disclose these struggles is hindered by the fear of mental health stigma and judgment. This is unfortunate because, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “11.7% of adults aged 18 and over [had] regular feelings of worry, nervousness, or anxiety,” and “4.8% of adults aged 18 and over [had] regular feelings of depression.” That’s over 53 million people in the United States alone that are now struggling with some form of mental health issue.
Statistics like these make it so crucial for those that struggle with their mental health to have a safe space to express their problems. Fortunately, many safe spaces are available for people across all populations to get the help they need.
The Importance of a Safe Space
There is an unmistakable level of vulnerability when it comes to discussing emotional distress or mental health issues with others. The idea that someone can be labeled as “bad” or “broken” for the way they are feeling often discourages people from disclosing the issues that they are having. Also, many people don’t realize that there are individuals outside of their personal orbit that are available to help.
When struggling with issues of mental health, there is often a fear of family, friends, or co-workers finding out. This can be for a myriad of reasons, such as fear of judgment, fear of resentment, or even a fear of retaliation.
These fears are why many people do not disclose their struggles with their inner circle. However, these fears, while often unfounded, do not have to stop an individual from opening up and getting help with their mental health issues.
The Importance of Opening Up
There is a common unifying trope in many 12-Step programs that states, “We are only as sick as our secrets.” While these programs specifically deal with addiction, the truth in this platitude certainly spills over into other realms of mental health.
Whether it falls under the category of mental health or a mental health disorder, without proper care, these issues can greatly hinder a person’s quality of life. That proper care cannot come if nobody else knows what’s going on inside. This is why it is important to know some of the mental health symptoms that may be signs of deeper mental health issues.
When to Seek Help for Mental Health Issues
Recognizing signs of negative mental health can be helpful for both the individual, as well as detecting these issues in a loved one. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, these mental health signs include, but are not limited to:
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
- Drastic changes in mood, behavior, and/or personality
- A significant change in sleeping patterns, including sleeping too much or too little
- Experiencing intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities
- An increase in risky behaviors, including alcohol and/or substance abuse
- Extreme difficulty concentrating or staying on task
- Feelings of extreme sadness that last longer than two weeks
- Having thoughts of self-harm or suicide
When these signs begin to appear, it is often an indication that it is time to seek help. That help might come in the form of psychotherapy, clinical care, or mental health-specific safe discussion groups in your community. No matter what form is chosen, the important thing is that the mental health recovery journey starts sooner than later. Though, of course, it is never too late to recover.
You Are Not Alone
When we keep our struggles with our mental health to ourselves, we are robbing ourselves of the opportunity to live a free and fuller life. With all of the resources available, there is no reason to avoid reaching out any longer.
When dealing with a mental health condition, there is a tendency to feel like we are the only ones struggling. Some people in the recovery industry refer to this as “terminal uniqueness.” However, going back to the original statistics we mentioned at the beginning, this is simply not true. When it comes to the struggles of mental health, we are certainly not alone.
Our staff at The Phoenix Recovery Center understand how lonely and isolating struggling with one’s mental health can feel. We also know that there are solutions and that we can help those struggling find the one that is right for them. The first step is simply reaching out to ask.
At The Phoenix Recovery Center, we offer a variety of safe spaces where individuals can begin their road to recovery. Whether it is intensive outpatient, general outpatient, or residential treatment, we have the resources to help you succeed. Call The Phoenix Recovery Center at (801) 438-3185 for more information.