• Rachel Paige

Take a Step

This is going to make some of you mad. I'm okay with that. The people angered by this post are likely the people it's directed towards.

Here we go.

If you've been saying your mental health is terrible for years, you are the reason it is that way. Not entirely of course, but at some point, this is your brain. You need to take care of it the same way you'd take care of the rest of your body.

Let's use a physical illness as a comparison, because that seems to help people understand. If you break your leg and do nothing about it, that leg is not going to get better. It'll continue to be messed up until you see a doctor and do something about it.

At first, people will be understanding when you say you can't go on a walk because your leg is broken. But after a while, let's say six months, they're going to get annoyed. People will point out that your leg is still messed up because you're not doing anything about it. It doesn't change the fact that your leg is messed up. It doesn't make it easier to get medical care for it. But you can no longer use it as an excuse. The leg is not the problem at that point. Your lack of action is.

Similarly, if you've had depression for years and you've been struggling to go to class or get out of bed for years, there comes a point when that is no longer the depression's fault. If it is impacting your life, it is your responsibility to do something about it. If you don't, the only reason you're not getting better is because you're allowing your mental illness to control you.

Now remember, choosing to get help doesn't make your mental illness better right away. Realizing you need to get help doesn't make it easier to do so. Counseling is hard. Medication is hard. Asking for help is hard. But there is a point when you need to do it.

I'm an understanding person. If someone tells me their mental health is bad that day and they can't do something, I'll do my best to help them. But if that same person continues to have bad days for months and doesn't try any of my suggestions, my patience is going to wear thin.

Not because I don't care about that person. Not because I don't understand anymore. But because they simply aren't trying. I'm not saying you need to pull yourself up and go about your life like nothing is wrong. Please don't hear that. I'm saying you need to consciously realize you need help. You need to look at your options. You need to try something, even if it's journaling or breathing exercises or prayer. It doesn't have to be something big, but you have to do something yourself. You need to take a step toward healing.

Please hear me when I say this: you do not have to heal immediately. Taking a step may mean it only took you an hour to get out of bed. Or you made it to one of your classes this week. The progress can be small, even tiny. But it has to be there.

I'm about to make some of you very mad. It is easy to cling to diagnoses. It can be easy to keep using that as an excuse not to get better. Because when you're depressed, everything seems dark. It doesn't seem like there's a way out and if people are being understanding of your situation, why try?

Because you don't want to live like that forever.

It's not easy to get help, but your life depends on it. Just like if your break your leg or have another physical injury or illness. If you don't do anything, it's not going to get better. And at some point, people are going to run out of patience with you.

You can take your time to heal, but you have to be taking steps towards healing. Doing nothing and expecting people to understand is allowing your illness to control you while simultaneously complaining that it does so.

Feel free to contact me if you'd like to discuss this issue further. I'm open to a conversation, but I will not engage in arguments.

I want to say one more thing. Maybe you've realized you need help, but you don't know where to start. Or you don't think you can do it on your own. That's okay. Talk to a friend or family member to hold you accountable and help you take the step towards healing.

If you think you don't have anyone to tell, or that no one cares, you're wrong. I care. I care about every person who reads this blog, and that includes you. It doesn't matter if we've never met or we haven't talked in years. If you need someone to stand by you while you get the help you need, send me an email here or message me through Facebook or Instagram (@rachelpaigeauthor). I'll do my best to help you.

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