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It’s OK to Get Help For a Mental Illness

a-helping-hand-1511710-1280x960I can remember when I was first diagnosed, I thought constantly about refusing meds and going to see the doctor, but in the hospital, you have no choice if you want to go home. That was my one motivation, getting the hell out of that sterile nondescript wing of the hospital and going home to sleep in my own bed.

I was so angry with my parents for taking me to the emergency room that there were visits where I cussed them out and then proceeded to sob that I had been betrayed and abandoned.

I wanted to get out with every fiber of my being and there were bars on the windows and locks on the doors so my only recourse was taking my meds and going to see the doctor everyday.

Nearing the end of my time there though, I realized the psychosis had faded a bit and the paranoia wasn’t so bad.

Finally I got out and I can remember thinking and feeling so strongly about escaping and going back out on the road to who knows where, anywhere but here, but I didn’t, I stayed diligent.

The thing is, I had also come to the point where I was questioning the things my mind was telling me and I was slowly going forward with accepting that I was crazy.

On top of that I knew that if I told anybody about the connections I was making or the secret messages I was seeing I would end up right back in the hospital, the exact place I had no desire to ever find myself again.

Initially my family and I would meet with my private psychiatrist a couple times a week and it was good that way because in between those sessions I’d get so worked up and right when I was about to throw my hands up we’d have another appointment where the doctor and my parents would talk me down.

Slowly I came to the full realization that something wasn’t right and I didn’t like to feel like I was going crazy so I dutifully took my meds and went to my appointments.

I won’t lie, the first year was rough as I dealt with nasty side-effects and confusion and transition but I knew that the meds took away the delusions and some of the paranoia and for that I was thankful.

Over the course of months, conversations about how I was feeling slowly started to cement in me the realization that the meds were helping and that I was slowly getting better.

The point of all this is to say that I came to the realization that getting help was not only necessary, it was good. It helped me feel better as I took on the long process of rebuilding myself into a healthy human being again.

I understand if you’re scared of getting help because you think the meds will screw you up or you think the doctor will do something nefarious, I’ve been there. In the beginning stages I even thought the doctors office was a set up that my parents had put together to control me.

Slowly I came around though, and things started to gradually make sense again.

It’s ok to be scared of getting help, It’s ok to feel like your world is collapsing in around you but trust me, getting help is necessary if you want to get better.

It’s easier to look at schizophrenia as a disease or a condition like cancer or diabetes, something physical, because with those diagnoses you know have to work on getting better.

The same is true for mental illness, it’s just that the stigma of being crazy causes you to question yourself and think of maniacs or serial killers.

Take it from me though, getting help is ok, it’s good and it will help you deal with the stuff you’re feeling.

Please don’t worry, it will get better, just accept the help and you’ll make it.

It’s OK to Get Help For a Mental Illness

Michael Hedrick

Michael Hedrick is a writer and photographer who has lived with schizophrenia since he was 20. His work has been featured in Salon, The Week, Scientific American and The New York Times. You can purchase his book 'Connections' here or Follow his blog on Living with Schizophrenia here.

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2015). It’s OK to Get Help For a Mental Illness. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 31 Oct 2015
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