What to Do When You Know You’re Not Okay

Will Ingman, Staff Editor

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One quick footnote: This piece is intended as a followup to an editorial titled “Life is Hard, and it Should be Okay to Admit That”, published in the Fall 2018 Issue of the Lanier Viking Voice.

 

So, you realized that maybe not everything is okay with yourself. First, congratulations are in order. That action by itself is impossibly hard, although it might not seem that way to some people. The hardest part of what I’ll call the “mental health circuit” is over. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean dealing with any kind of mental illness suddenly becomes easy.

 

The next step after acknowledging that you might have a problem will most likely be pursuing diagnosis. For something like this, a psychiatrist is your best friend. And while things like depression and anxiety are considered “pre-existing conditions” and are thusly not covered under most healthcare programs, there are undoubtedly psychiatrists who will diagnose a patient for practically free. The first psych I saw, who gave me my depression and anxiety disorder diagnoses, did not charge for the session. Be aware that this step can likely trigger traumatic memories if such a thing is present. Having to describe and relive a bad situation to get your diagnosis is extremely common.

After visiting a psychiatrist, there’s a chance various aspects of your life will also shift. In my experience, elements like school and your home life will most likely want to know about your mental health. This process, as I know firsthand, can be extremely grating and clinical. Hours upon hours of sitting in a counselor’s office, or a parent conference, or filing paperwork until your fingers ache. But with any sort of menial step to this process, it’s always important to consider the alternative. Sure, pursuing your own well-being might bore you halfway to death, but the flip side is exponentially worse. Take it from someone who’s been in both camps. I would much rather have admitted that I was depressed and gone through the process of getting diagnosed, medicated, and doing therapy first, rather than suffering in silence for three years and reaching a breaking point with myself. No one should have to experience that, and you’ll thank yourself for taking the steps you need to avoid that result.

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