Home Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy Finding Strength in Acceptance: How to Let People Help You

Finding Strength in Acceptance: How to Let People Help You

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Accepting that we’ve been diagnosed with a chronic illness is, undoubtedly, a monumental challenge. By the same token, it can be just as challenging to accept that we need professional help to treat our condition. 

This is especially true when it comes to mental illness. Society’s stigma around psychiatric disorders can lead us to develop internalized rejection of our mental conditions, as well as reluctance to seek help and accept treatment. But the truth? There is strength in seeking support, and in admitting that we need help.

Part 1: accepting your illness

The first step to getting help for your psychiatric condition? Accepting that you have one. 

But with stigma, shame, and discrimination around mental illness a harsh reality of the world we live in, it can be distressing to receive this diagnosis. Being diagnosed with a mental health condition can elicit a sense of self-loathing, diminished self-worth, and the feeling that we are, in a sense, “damaged goods”. This internalised stigmatization of our mental condition is not helpful, however. The truth? If you have a psychiatric condition, you’re not alone: recent studies have found that 23.1% of U.S. adults experienced a mental health condition in 2022

If this statistic doesn’t reassure you, just know this: there exists a wealth of mental healthcare support resources that can help you. A positive next step? Reaching out to a licensed therapist who can provide you with the support you need. You just need to be willing to accept the help.

Part 2: seeking support

So you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness. And, you’ve accepted the diagnosis. The next step? Seeking support. But how do you let someone in, and trust them enough to open up to them with your innermost thoughts, feelings, and emotions?

First, you need to know you can trust their skills and experience. If they’ve completed online masters programs in counseling psychology, for instance, you’ll know they’ve attained the requisite industry accreditation to practice as a mental healthcare professional. They’ll also have completed their mandatory clinical placement rounds, giving them real-world experience. The best part? As their patient, you’ll be able to benefit from their wealth of training and experience. 

Whether you’re experiencing anxiety or depression, or you have been diagnosed with a mood disorder such as bipolar, borderline personality disorder, or schizophrenia, your therapist can teach you strategies to navigate your illness. Most important, though? You’ll need to take their advice on board and implement their recommendations into your routine, to cultivate, develop, and maintain the best possible quality of life for yourself, despite your illness.

Part 3: implementing the advice

The truth? You deserve to enjoy a positive quality of life – just like everyone else – irrespective of your psychiatric diagnosis. But your happiness, emotional stability, and mental well-being are not solely a product of external support. Your mental wellness and well-being is also an inside job

What does this mean? For starters, it’s not just a question of sitting down to a therapy session and listening passively to the recommendations of your psychologist. No, it means actively taking steps to implement the advice they’re giving you. If your counselor gives you “therapy homework” to action in the real world, be sure to do it. 

Whether it’s engaging in exposure therapy for anxiety by tackling your fears head-on, completing guided meditations to help regulate stress, or pursuing pleasure-giving, uplifting activities to combat depression – what you do outside of your therapy sessions is just as important as attending your appointment. By actively taking on your therapist’s advice, you implicate yourself as a co-pilot in your recovery.

Takeaway

Acknowledging and accepting your mental illness is the key to pursuing a path toward emotional wellness and an enriching quality of life.

Once you’ve accepted your diagnosis, you can finally get the help you need, and seek out the support of a licensed therapist. As mentioned though, getting external support is not all that’s required. You also need to put in the work yourself, and actively integrate the advice you receive into your life. 

Most important? By accepting to let the professionals help you, you are helping yourself.




Adam Mulligan, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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