There has been trojan work done in recent times in terms of breaking down the stigma around mental health in Ireland. I’m sure we all know it by now, but it never hurts to reiterate: it’s OK to be not OK, and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help.
If you’ve done that, sincerely, bravo. It’s an easy sentence to read, typed on a screen like that, but it’s not always easy to go to the point where you feel you can say out loud “I’m not OK”. And that’s OK, too.
But the fact that you’ve said it, I’m guessing, probably means that you want to become OK again. You want help. So, now what? How do you go about doing that?
There are some points to note here. Like everything, becoming OK again takes time. It takes more than one antibiotic tablet to make you better. It takes more than one nutritious meal to make you healthy. There is also no one-size-fits-all path to becoming OK.
Maybe medication is what will work best for you (and trust me, there is as much shame in taking antidepressants as their is in taking antibiotics for a chest infection – i.e. none).
Maybe therapy is the road for you. There are lots of different therapies available so it might take a while to find the right one. Maybe a combination of things is what will work best for you. The point is, please don’t give up if the first option doesn’t work out. It can be hard, and emotional, and tiring, but keep going.
So where can you go to start with? Your GP can be a good starter. They can start you on medication if they feel it’s appropriate, and they can refer you to a therapist too. Some GPs are also really good at helping you keep an eye on how things are going, if you have a good relationship with them.
Not everyone has that kind of GP, though, or perhaps they just don’t feel ready for that route. And that’s OK. There are other options to explore.
If you’re not ready to say those words out loud, the Internet can be helpful. It’s important to be careful about everything you read online, but the HSE and a number of charities provide useful information and even some services online. These can sometimes be good if you can’t afford to wait on a public waiting list or if a private therapist is too expensive, or even if you’re struggling between appointments.
There is always someone out there willing to help, even if maybe sometimes it might not feel like there is. It may be tough to get to being OK again, but you are stronger than you know. It takes incredible strength to say, even if it was silent and spoken inside your head, “I’m not OK”. You can do it. Keep going.
If you’re feeling vulnerable after reading this post, here are some places to go for help right now:
under 18 years old: ISPCC: 1800 666 666 (24h) /text TALK to 50101 (10am – 4am)/ one-to-one chat online
over 18 years old: Samaritans: ph 116 123/ email: firstname.lastname@example.org