When it comes to treatment of a mental illness, there are many things that are fundamentally different than a physical one. If you get admitted in a hospital with something like typhoid, you would have to put very little effort from your own side. You need to take the medicines regularly and even that is optional since in extreme cases, you can be sedated and injected with the necessary medicines intravenously. When treating a mental illness, there needs to be a voluntary effort from you as well. No amount of medicine and therapy would help unless you don’t want to get better.
When I was initially going through therapy, I struggled with the idea of needing to co-operate in order to get better. It was an alien idea to me because previously whenever I had been treated for my ails, taking medicine helped. The fact that I wanted them to work or not didn’t have any impact at all.
I believed it would be the same with depression as well. My first therapist didn’t point out the fact that I needed to put in some conscious effort as well and I went on without it. I would go to a therapist, talk a bit and return. I was waiting for them to work some kind of magic. Something that they must have learnt in psychology. Something that would make everything ok within minutes. It wasn’t to be so. I waited for some magic to take place but I didn’t realize that I was the magician I was looking for.
When I shared my Facebook post, I changed my therapist as well. She took me off anti-psychotics and was the first one to point it out to me that I need to put some conscious effort as well if I wanted to get better. To other therapists, it may have seemed like an obvious assumption but I was not aware of it at all. When I got to know is when I realized the importance of it. It made me realize that it was going to be my mind against me. The only thing I could seek from outside is emotional support to help me fight it. I couldn’t have had anyone other than me fight the battle for me.
Consent to Treatment.
This is why it is so important for anyone suffering from a mental illness to actually consent to the treatment they are looking for. Forcing someone to visit a psychiatrist or therapist would be redundant and just be a waste of time and money. You can try and convince someone to seek help. You can suggest them people they can reach out to but you cannot do it for them.
I sometimes get asked whether people should get me in touch with someone who is suffering, I tell them one thing, “You can tell them about me and suggest my services to them but if you force that person to talk to me, I would not be of much help.” It is something the counsellor at my high school had told me. I didn’t understand its significance then. When it comes to mental illness, outside effort cannot be a substitute for inner will. One can only be helped when they wish to be helped.
“We can only be your allies, your weapons and your shields. We can be anything you want us to be but we cannot fight this battle for you.”
When Rajeev visited his psychiatrist she told him he had Clinical Depression. Isn’t that what the lazy people use as an excuse? Rajeev believed it was a pharmaceutically invented illness to increase profits. He also was sure that it wasn’t real since his fore-fathers never complained of something like depression. Is he right? Find out tomorrow on knightofsteel.com