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In an attempt to help de-stigmatize seeking mental health assistance, I've been sharing my own (very slow) process on Facebook. I have not yet started counseling or anything, but in my case, part of seeking mental health services has included figuring out how to pay - so I have also been posting as I applied for health insurance along with how I've managed to get in touch with mental health providers who will most smoothly work with it all. (Mind you, I am not unique in this. I know others who also share updates, and I know others in similarly tricky or even more tricky situations than me.) Earlier tonight I had a particularly interesting experience (one which I have been assured is also not unusual) that I promptly shared - and after further consideration, I want to share it with folks here as well (and in more detail).

My intake appointment is next week. To ease things along, they sent me a form in advance to help assess what I will be needing. Earlier tonight, I figured I should go ahead and get it done before I forgot about it.

The first sheet, separate from the paperwork itself, was a list of my rights and information on insurance, who to make complaints to, etc. (Also, interestingly, it brought up the right to register to vote.) The first page of the actual paperwork was an explanation of what to expect from all of this. In particular, the first paragraph explained that the intake process can cause "uncomfortable thoughts and feelings," and that it was normal and would go away. I shrugged that bit off, partly as "we all get nervous talking about ourselves" and partly as "this warning is for people with more serious troubles."

I should mention that during this entire process, I have been doubting that this is something I need, or even deserve. Part of why I started seeking an assessment to begin with - the first I've had since becoming an adult - was to figure out if there's actually anything wrong with me to begin with or if it's all just in my head. As I've continued, I've had the nagging feeling that I'm using a resource that other people need more, especially by seeking financial assistance. The one thing I've told every person I've talked with so far in this process the most is "I'm okay. I'm fine. I don't have any big problems, I'd just like to get checked out." I have been perpetually undermining my own feelings. Even as I worked through the papers, when I was done with the portion on checking off "current issues," it felt wrong to see so many things marked, even after I had written in a little key allowing me to "rank" the issues listed depending on how certain I felt that they were an issue at all. I questioned myself to the point that I snapped a photo of the section to send to a friend - who agreed that he had already seen each of the "certain" items going on with me. Even though it was about things wrong with me, the reassurance was strangely comforting.

But it was later on, as I continued filling it out, that I suddenly realized that I was shaking and felt like I needed to cry. I did cry a bit, actually. I have ideas about what might have caused it, but there really wasn't a clear trigger. It was happening, and I had to set the paperwork aside and focus on other things for awhile. But the strangely good thing about having that reaction is that it assured me: yes, I am taking the right course of action. Yes, I am right to seek help. Yes, I do have a need.

And that's the point I want to share: you have a right to seek help. Simply thinking that you might need it, or that you might benefit from it, is reason enough to seek it out. It is your validation. If you're a functional member of society, great! But that doesn't mean you don't have the right to seek professional help.

If you can't afford it, seek it anyway - there are lots of nooks and crannies where assistance can come from, even if the ones you find in your first, second, third pass are beyond you. For me to find the sort of assistance and direction I needed, I had to actually call a local crisis line - not because I was in crisis, but because they were the ones who had that information and those connections. It was hella embarrassing and super uncomfortable, and their assurances that it was fine and I did the right thing didn't really help much - but I'm starting to feel like it really was worth it.

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I'm super glad you took the time to share this, Novalyyn! Reading a lot of what you said was really like looking into a mirror of sorts - perticularly the part about stressing that you're not as in need of the service as other people.

I don't think that's an uncommon thought actually, and it's part of the reason I'm going undiagnosed at the moment (I know this is bad and wouldn't recommend to anyone!).

The services are there to be used, and I think everyone needs to get out of their head that it's better off for other people worse than them - let the services decide that. :)

I hope everything goes well for you, and again you have my utmost respect for posting your own progress.
Kim Site Admin

Thank you so much for sharing this. So many very relatable details in this account. You were absolutely right to seek help, and you do have the right to it!
Thank you for sharing your story! I'm glad you filled out the application and got some assistance in finding resources. You deserve a chance to gain access to professional care and there is no sliding scale of who needs it "more". Hoping the process goes well for you.

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