Over the years, I have had my ups and downs like everyone on this planet. And some of my closest friends who I love and cherish have also had their difficulties. It has been my privilege to be there to do whatever I can to help them, but knowing that they are suffering more than I am has continually lead me to believe that I don’t need help and that my problems are insignificant. Without the amazing people that I have in my life I would have taken far longer to seek professional help and ultimately made things a hundred times worse.
In the UK particularly, where everyone is aware of the massive financial stress the NHS is under, it can be easy to fall in to the thinking that you are wasting the doctors time because so many others have it worse than you. But if you go to your GP (or another professional service) they do this amazing thing called triage where they give you the right level of help for where you are now. No one is going to make you take medication or make you an inpatient if all you really need it someone to talk to once a week.
So here is my advice to you.
1. Stop - Never compare your mental health to another person’s, discuss it and share to gain support and to feel less alone in it, but try not to focus on who has it worse.
2. Think – if your friend came to you with your symptoms what advice would you give them?
3. Remember - In nearly all cases it is cheaper, quicker and easier to help you if you seek help early on. Being proactive about your mental health makes you less of a burden.
4. Sometimes making physical medical comparisons can help too. If your friend had cancer would you refuse to take antibiotics for your throat infection?
5. And if you are a total altruist remember that you can’t help others if you don’t first help yourself.
Look after yourself and remember that YOU are the most important person in YOUR life.