Henry David Thoreau has often been quoted as writing "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and die with their song still inside them." He actually wrote," the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." No matter the quote, he should have added women to this sentence but that wasnt the way of the world in his day. Women were seen in a different light than they are today. Some things change while other things remain the same. Woman are seen as equals while people still live lives of quiet desperation.
Is it possible, even in todays world, where there is greater discussion and public awareness of mental health than possibly ever before that there are members of our community, family and neighbours who are still living lives of quiet desperation with their song still unsung?
Road blocks on the path to seeking treatment for depression and anxiety could be the myths that still linger on, that block peoples path to seeking help and finding their song. The following are just a few of those myths and it is hoped that through better understanding, people in need of these services will reach out and seek help.
Mental Health myths.
Myth - People who have mental health issues just have a personal weakness.
A mental illness is not a character flaw. It is caused by a complex interplay of genetic, biological, social and environmental factors. Seeking and accepting help is a sign of resilience, courage and strength.
Myth - Talking about things doesnt work.
Fact - Think about for a minute. Nothing of value in our world has ever been occomplished without talking. The making of plans for a building or a road, the conveying of an idea in the process of a new invention and the creating of understanding between people. Why when it comes to the most improtant thing in your life, that being your life, why would not talking about it make any sense?
Myth - Therapy takes forever and you never really get better.
Fact - With the right kind of help, treated appropriately and early, most people recover fully and have no further episodes of illness. For others, mental illness may recur throughout their lives and require ongoing treatment. This is the same as many physical illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease. Like these other long-term health conditions, mental illness can be managed so that individuals live life to the fullest.
Although some people become disabled as a result of ongoing mental illness, many who experience even very major episodes of illness live full and productive lives.
Myth - I dont need help with whats happening "I can pull myself out of it."
Fact - A mental illness is not caused by personal weakness and is not ‘cured’ by personal strength. Due to the complex nature of anxiety and depression a guide to help navigate the various pathways back to mental health is oftern required.
Myth - Only certain types of people have a mental illness
Fact - As many as one in five Australians may develop a mental illness at some stage in their lives. Everyone is vulnerable to mental health problems. It affects people regardless of age, education, income or culture.
Myth - If I go see a Psychologist there must be something seriously wrong with me.
Fact - Seeking out help is a personal decision and sometimes this decision takes place when we are at our most vulnerable. The problems may persist for several months or years because the individual is in denial of just how serious their situation is or that they believe that things are generally alright until a loved one points out how dysfunctional their lives have become. There doesnt have to be something seriously wrong with you to seek help only that your life has become unmanageable the way it is.
Myth - I cant afford to take the time off from work.
Fact - This is a statement about priorities. You can prioritise your work or your life. A good benchmark for this decision is on your death bed when people are reflecting on their life, how many will sit and say "I should have spent more time at work!" Living a life rich with family, friends, happiness and laughter will always represent a good life. These are hindered by mental health issues.