What should I do if I think I am having a mental breakdown (asking for a friend)?
Signed: Losing My Mind
Dear Losing My Mind,
Your “friend” is not alone!! We all have moments in our lives when things get to be too much – when we feel overwhelmed, exhausted and completely unsure about how to make things feel better again. And usually, when we are in these bleak moments, we feel very alone – like no one could ever understand what we are going through. As a therapist, I can assure you that people DO understand – at least a little! There are many people out there who have experienced the same feelings as you are feeling now – even if it is because of different circumstances. What you need to do is CONNECT. Reach out to someone – a friend, a family member, even a stranger – and talk about what you are going through. It doesn’t matter if you have talked about it already - sometimes we need to talk about it 100 times before it starts to help! Find the people in your life who care and who will listen again. If you need a break from the stresses you are experiencing, then connect with people in order to distract yourself for a short while – hang out, have some fun, listen to other people’s problems so that you can forget all about your own for an hour or two. Just don’t isolate yourself or try to get through those difficult feelings all alone. None of us can do it by ourselves – we all need the support. And there is no shame in asking for it!
As a general rule of thumb, if the thoughts, feelings and behaviours you are experiencing are having an impact on your ability to function in your every day life, you may want to seek professional support. You may be experiencing a very understandable and healthy reaction to an event/circumstance in your life – or you may be struggling with an issue that is beyond your sole control. Either way, it’s the connection to the supports that will help you figure out what is happening and what is needed, faster and more effectively than trying to wait it out alone. In Alberta, you can access free supports by visiting a walk-in Mental Health clinic (the closest ones are located in Leduc and in south Edmonton/Rutherford areas) – or by calling the Distress Line (available 24 hr/day at 780-482-HELP) – or by reaching out to Mobile Mental Health (to have a MH worker visit you at home if you are in crisis). Or you can contact a private therapist and request ongoing counselling – many agencies provide subsidy supports, offer a sliding fee scale or accept health insurance/employee assistance benefits if you cannot afford their standard counselling rates.
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