It's a known fact that when you are sick you go to the doctor. If you have the flu, and you're throwing up or sweating or coughing, you head to the nearest doctor's office in order to feel better. Now, imagine having all of these symptoms for many months or years; your stomach hurts so much, your cough is scraping your throat and keeping you up at night, and you have sudden hot and cold flashes that cause sweating. You are feeling terrible on the inside and out, but you feel as if you cannot go to the doctor or tell your friends for fear of being turned away or called crazy.
This is what happens to many people who suffer from mental disorders and illnesses.
I believe that improving your mental health is difficult because, at the core of the issue, there is a belief that getting help isn't possible. Because having an issue mentally is not visible the way a gash on your leg is, many people consider disorders like this to be fake or not a big deal. This belief has created a stigma, over the years, that we have only just begun to eliminate. The sudden comprehension of mental health and its importance has pushed it into the limelight recently but has not been able to rid the world of stigma.
So, in order to improve one's own mental state, it takes a hell of a lot of courage.
First, you must realize within yourself that there is a problem. Next, you must take initiative and decide you want to improve your state. You then must ask for help, which can be extremely difficult. Because asking for help can be so hard, it takes courage to do so, which causes many people with mental disorders to shy away from the challenge.
However, even if you rise to the occasion and ask for help, many more challenges are presented to you. It is scary to feel mentally unstable and unwell and know that you will have to face many more obstacles while you still feel this way. The best comparison would be being told you are going to run a marathon without building up your endurance first and then being told when you get to the race, that you have to wear flip-flops instead of sneakers. Basically, you know the task will be hard from the beginning, but new challenges arise that make it even more daunting to feel better.
After working up the courage and finally asking for help, you may feel relieved that you overcame the first challenge. However, there are many more that can make this process very difficult. For some people asking for help means getting medicine, and for others, it means getting therapy. (These are not the only options, but are just some of the most common.) It can be difficult to accept that you need either of these treatments because society has decided that accepting help means that you are weak and unable to deal with your own emotions. This is kind of ridiculous, as mental disorders are exactly that: disorders. They occur due to chemicals in your brain not functioning correctly, and how is that something that you can control on your own?
Mental health is an important factor in order to live a happy life, so it is necessary that we treat it as such, including understanding the difficulties of the process of getting better.
I feel that we should also treat the need for therapy and medicine with respect. It is hard to accept that you may need medicine or therapy, and it is also quite difficult to devote time to bettering oneself, such as talking one's deepest feelings out in therapy. The process of bettering one's mental health is a long, hard, emotional battle that, frankly, does not get enough credit. So, it is extremely important to support all that are working on their mental health because it can often be just as hard, if not harder, than most physical issues.