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Episode 146: The Stigma Of Needing Help

Last week Ant McPartlin, half of Ant & Dec, spoke out about his struggles with Depression and Anxiety, and has checked into rehab to learn more about how it got so bad and how to hopefully overcome it.
He said that he was making it public because he thinks that it’s important that people going through a rough time ask for help so as to get the proper treatment to help their recovery. Great!
But he followed it by also saying “I feel like I have let a lot of people down and for that I am truly sorry.” That’s the part I didn’t like, because that guilty feeling is part of what made him ill in the first place!
It’s important that anyone going through similar issues recognises that there should be no shame in needing help. No reason to feel that you’re letting anyone down at all.
If you have to say to people that you’re struggling and need to step aside from something then you’re not letting them down.
Imagine if someone came to you saying that they’d been diagnosed with Cancer and they need to take a break while they get treatment, none of you would reply with “Oh I feel you’ve really let me down”. Of course not.

But It’s normal to feel guilty. Presuming you’re not a complete sociopath, everyone feels guilt. It’s part of being human. We all make mistakes and we all feel bad about them. The thing is, for someone with mental health problems it can feel as if they make more mistakes than everyone else. People can feel guilty just for having a mental illness in the first place let alone because of the things they do because of it.
Clients often tell me that they feel ashamed because they couldn’t go to work because they couldn’t stop shaking. They feel guilty because they don’t spend as much time with their partner or their children because they so often can’t get out of bed. They say that they are mortified over their behaviour because they used alcohol as a crutch and all that negative emotion will make it worse.

Sometimes we need to sit and talk it through and get help from a professional. Look at Prince Harry, it took him 20 years of anxiety and anger before he realised that having to walk behind his Mums coffin, aged 12, in front of a billion people watching around the world did not set him up for life very well, and it needed dealing with.
It’s great that someone so much in the public eye as Prince Harry can step up and say “You know what, you shouldn’t have to feel this way. You’re not a freak, and you’re not alone, you can do something about this.”

The Time To Change organisation have promoted the use of a hashtag #IWantYouToKnow to promote the idea of talking about mental health and it really has worked.
We shouldn’t have to keep hearing about all these suicides. Suicide is the UK’s single biggest cause of death among men under the age of 45.
Women still commit suicide but there are 3 times as many men. 3 times!
When the musician Chris Cornell died a few months ago and the medical reports said “The cause of death was suicide” we need to accept that it wasn’t.
Suicide was HOW he died, but not WHY. Suicide wasn’t the cause of death. Depression was.

75 per cent of people who take their own lives have never been diagnosed with a mental health problem at all. Probably because they didn’t ask for help.
But those that did ask for help, only 5 five per cent of them will go on to take their own lives. That’s quite a difference.

If we know that 3/4s of all suicides are Men we can also see where work needs to be done. I think the dangers come from expecting Men to be emotionally stronger than Women, the idea that someone should “Man Up” has been with is in one shape or form for generations and it needs to stop.
When a little girl falls over her dad will be the first to say “Come here, everything’ll be OK” and give her a hug. But when a little boy falls over it’s so often a different story “Pick yourself up, lad. Boys don’t cry”.
I hope we’ve come a long way to try and get better at this sort of thing. If we have, then we need to make sure that it’s maintained. And the more times that we can share our stories the better.

Episode List

Episode 138: Keeping Up With The Joneses
Episode 137: The Likeable You
Episode 136: Why It's OK To Be A Loser
Episode 135: The Psychology Of Extremism
Episode 134: Are You A Lobster?
Episode 133: Critical Thinking
Episode 132: There Is Nothing Either Good Or Bad
Episode 131: The For And Against Of Imagination
Episode 130: Loneliness & Social Networks
Episode 129: Letting Go Of The Past
Episode 128: What Is Love?
Episode 127: Procrastination
Ep. 126: Who Were You Before The World Changed You?
Episode 125: Stop Saying "Sorry"
Episode 124: Emotional Contagion
Episode 123: Patience
Episode 122: Building On Your Foundations
Episode 121: Dealing With The Critics
Episode 120: Being Assertive. Just Say No!
Episode 119: Inactivity
Episode 118: Social Functioning & Evolution
Episode 117: Unleash Your Inner Superhero
Episode 116: Goals, Values and Priorities
Episode 115: 10 Tips To A Happier Life
Episode 114: Lies And Confabulation
Episode 113: Confirmation Bias
Episode 112: Are You An Imposter?
Episode 111: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger
Episode 110: Are New Years Resolutions a good idea?
Episode 109: The African Violet Queen Of Milwaukee
Episode 108: Reframing
Episode 107: Spiders And Behaviourism
Episode 106: Practise Makes Perfect
Episode 105: Fear Of Flying
Episode 100 - 104: Happiness
Episode 99: Body Image And The Media
Episode 98: Evolution and Adaptation
Episode 97: Reflections And Regrets.
Episode 96: Dealing With Fear
Episode 95: Confidence
Episode 94: Enthusiasm
Episode 93: Tips To Relieve Christmas Stress
Episode 92: Dealing With Change
Episode 87 - 91: Self Esteem
Episode 86: Correlation Does Not Imply Causation
Episode 85: The Importance Of Being Lazy
Episode 84: Elephant Chains
Episode 83: Eating Bananas And Setting Goals
Episode 82: Ignoring The Media And Listening To Music
Episode 81: Awakening The Instincts
Episode 80: The Fine Line Between Love And Hate
Episode 79: The Best Medicine
Episode 78: A New Start
Episode 77: Time Distortion
Episode 76: Making Decisions
Episode 75: What's In A Name?
Episode 74: Pushing Ourselves Further
Episode 73: Conformity
Episode 72: Purpose
Episode 71: Perspective
Episode 70: Expectation
Episode 69: The Mind / Body Link
Episode 68: Overcoming Shyness
Episode 67: Mood Boosting
Episode 66: Sabotaging your goals
Episode 65: Self Talk
Episode 64: Money Makes The World Go Round
Episode 63: First Impressions Count
Episode 62: False Belief
Episode 61: Absolutes
Episode 60: The Psychology of feeling calm
Episode 59: Belief
Episode 58: Anchoring Emotions
Episode 57: Negativity and Perspective
Episode 56: Health And Happiness
Episode 55: Imagination vs Reality
Episode 54: Change