Mental Health Clinic Vancouver
IMAGINE THIS: One day, you develop a nagging cough, or get sharp back pain. Most of us wait a few days to see if things get worse or improve, then we might do some research on things we can do at home. We go to friends and family for advice. If the problem still doesn’t go away on its own, we usually go to the doctor to get it checked out to find out what it is and what to do about it.
NOW IMAGINE THIS: One day, you wake up and realize that emotionally, you’ve been feeling different lately. You’re not sure what it is, but you (or others) notice that you’re acting differently, feeling unlike yourself and having thoughts that bother you. Two months later, you’re feeling even getting worse, but you still haven’t asked for help. You think it will go away on its own, that it’s not serious, that it’s all in your head. You reason that maybe it’s just your personality or your age or stress. Things you might try on your own don’t seem to help. Or maybe you suspect what it could be and you’re scared of what family, friends and coworkers would say. So you keep it to yourself and just try to get by day-to-day, hoping it will change.
Why do we treat our mental health so differently from our physical health?
How do I know if I need help?
There are many kinds of mental illnesses. Although mental illnesses have a lot in common with each other, each type is quite different. Symptoms of mental illness can look different from person to person. Just like physical illness, symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe and you don’t have to show every possible symptom to have the illness. Probably the best way to know if you might have a mental illness is if you’re not feeling, thinking or acting like yourself—or if people you care about notice changes in you like some of the following:
- I suddenly no longer have interest in activities I used to enjoy
- I find myself feeling angry or sad for little or no reason
- I have strange thoughts or voices that I can’t seem to get rid of
- I used to be healthy, but now I always feel a bit sick
- I eat a lot more or less than I used to
- My sleep patterns have changed
- I feel fear, worry and terror about things in life that people around me seem to cope well with
- I’ve been missing more and more time from work or school
- I have a constant fear that someone is going to hurt me
- I’ve been drinking heavily or using drugs to cope
- I find myself avoiding people
- Sometimes I just want to end my life