Seeing a doctor, especially for mental health, is never as easy as the header makes it look.
Firstly, if you are feeling weak or broken for experiencing these difficulties, remember that if anything, you are not the only one. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about one in five adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in any given year. Clubhouse International alleges that mental illness outweighs cancer and diabetes in sheer numbers and claims by 2020, behavioral disorders will far outweigh physical illnesses or disorders in prominence.
It is also clear that many of these patients go untreated Mental Illness Policy states that around half of all patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are not receiving treatment, or will stop taking their medications within nine months of being prescribed.
It can be extremely difficult to get a diagnosis, let alone proper medication and therapy. This was something I went through when seeking to receive ADHD medications as well as mood stabilizers. First, I had to wait for paperwork to be faxed from the psychologist who diagnosed me over to the doctor that would actually be overseeing my mental health care. Then, in order to receive ADHD medication, I had to take a urinary drug test, which took about two weeks to clear.
I waited for months before I was able to fill my prescriptions, and even once your prescriptions are filled, it doesn't guarantee that is the medication that will work for you. The whole thing can be disheartening and may be part of the reason so many people stop taking their medications.
It's also possible that the gridlock of the mental health care system means many people who need treatment do not see it at all. They may not be able to reach a therapist in their insurance network, they may have trouble getting in to see a doctor that they like, or the long wait times discourage them and they give up hope.
If you fall into one of the above categories I want to remind you again that you aren't alone. And because that somewhat cliche and cheesy statement can be rather intangible, I'd like to remind you that I understand. I want you to keep on fighting to find a doctor and a treatment plan that fits your needs and works for you.
Because of correlative symptoms and the issues mentioned above, it can a long time. You might receive a diagnosis and then find out that it's wrong if you elect to take medication you may find you need a different dosage or a different type of medication altogether.
But speaking from personal experience, the right fit can be absolutely life-changing. It certainly was for me. I went from struggling to get out of my bed and keep my eyes open in class, to graduating with the best grades I've ever had. It became so much easier to be motivated and to live my day to day life.
Your daily life shouldn't feel like a struggle. You deserve to find care that fits your needs, and while I recognize that it can be a struggle to be patient through that difficult time, it most certainly will benefit you in the end.
Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.