I really do apologize for the silence as of late. I can assure you that it is not due to lack of blog fodder, but a lack of time on my part to write much. I've been working on my B.F.A. Thesis Exhibition for the last few months, and that has kept me thoroughly busy during all of my waking hours. Luckily, that mess is (for the most part) over and done with, so I can come back and do more regular posts for you all again.
Alas, my thesis is not the only reason I've been away. I will be entering myself into therapy again soon, after being out of the system for about four or five years or so. I've maxed out on my current medication, but my symptoms are reaching the point where they become disruptive to my everyday life.
As I've mentioned in past posts, I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression, and PTSD. I have been able to manage my illnesses with habitual management and minimal medication. However, my medications are losing their effectiveness, and my lifestyle adjustments haven't been adequate to keep symptoms at bay. I have had several panic attacks at work, I'm not sleeping, and have been seriously tempted on more than one occasion to self harm.
But why write this? Why put this out into the ether? I write this because I am familiar enough with my illnesses to know when I can no longer manage on my own. I know when things become too much for me to handle on my own, and I need to seek help. I seek help because I am not ashamed to, I am not afraid to admit that I can't do this by myself. Too many that suffer from mental illness are afraid to seek out the help they need; whether from social stigma or their own personal fears about the mental health system.
It is true that there are bad therapists out there. In too many places, quacks are able to legally advise people that are ill and need real help. I know first-hand how incredibly frustrating it can be to deal with those therapists and counselors that subscribe to dubious practices. It is hard to find a therapist that is right for you, that fits with your goals and meshes well with you. But to me, the benefits far outweigh the negatives once you do find a therapist that fits. I don't honestly don't know how well I would be functioning, or that I would have ever stopped self-harming, had I not worked for so many years with the excellent therapists that I've had.
I know too many people that are afraid to get the help they need. They are afraid of dodgy practices, of being over-medicated, of receiving damaging advice, and so on. These are understandable and legitimate fears. But to me, I would happily risk all of those things, as well as the social stigma that comes with mental illness, if it means I get to go to class, to have my job, and to go out with friends. For me, being able to function, makes therapy worth it.
I write this because too many go without help. I feel that, like with the story of my assault, if I put myself out there and let them know that they are not alone, that they can perhaps find the strength they need to confront their illnesses. It is okay to be afraid, it is okay to be nervous, as long as despite those fears people still get the help they need. Share your fears with your therapist, tell them why you are uncomfortable seeking professional help. It's okay.