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Do You Have Mental Illness?

By Expert HERWriter
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A patient on antidepressants recently told me she wanted off of everything because she felt they were not good for her body. However the few times she weaned herself from them she couldn’t stop crying and immediately went into a deep dark depression.

Being a Naturopathic Doctor, I understood her desire to go a more natural route. However it’s a delicate line to walk when it comes to depression or other mental illness.

She isn’t alone, as the 2011 U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that 11.4 million adults have mental illness and 8.7 million have had suicidal thoughts.

Do you fall in those numbers?

Many associate mental illness with common conditions such as anxiety or depression, however there are other serious conditions such as bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia.

Researchers believe the state of affairs in the United States is a large part of the rise in mental illness, such as the financial crisis, housing collapse, unemployment, health concerns, lack of insurance, and the war.

This doesn’t mean you can move to another country and escape your problems. The 2011 European Neuropsychopharmacology Journal reported that 40 percent of Europeans have mental illness too.

A big problem for those with mental illness as discovered by the U.S. study was that many Americans don’t have access to treatment. They either can’t see a health care provider to receive a proper diagnosis, or have the diagnosis but can’t afford the care required such as medications or counseling.

Another problem was that many were on medications that weren’t working well or stopped working altogether because the stressors were still there or had gotten worse.

Many reporting on both the U.S. and European studies were shocked at how challenged adults were in the world that we live in. I know as a health care provider, I find myself discussing "stress" most of my day and how that relates to the symptoms of fatigue, insomnia, mental fogginess, mood, memory, digestive problems and hormone challenges.

If you are feeling the effects of the stress around you and in your life and you have insurance, talk with your health care provider about options for help. If you do not have insurance, look for community clinics that offer reduced or free care, clinics run by schools such as masters programs in psychology or medical schools or search online for free support groups.

Be aware that there are a lot of programs to help you if you’re having suicidal thoughts and most cities have a free suicide hotline you can call 24 hours/day and talk to someone.

Don’t ever feel that you are alone in your journey. Your journey might be rough and bumpy but you are not without options for help.


1) Mental Illness Report. Web. January 19, 2012.

2) Nearly 40% of Europeans Have Mental Illness. Web. January 19, 2012.

Reviewed January 20, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment5 Comments

Connieow, The first 5 paragraphs I totally identify with! Some days you feel so alone-like nobody else understands. I have searched for local support groups but have not found any yet. On top of everything else then rheumatoid arthritis comes along. I know I stress too much about things, even though I try not to. Anyway, I really hear where you are coming from!

February 8, 2012 - 11:53pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Tammyb58)


I know what it is like to not have someone who understands and can be supportive. It is tough on family. Everyone wants to fix it or they do not understand and wish you would just get over it. :)

I have been lucky enough to find some support. I belong to a PTSD support group and as a recovering alcoholic I sponsor and have been sponsored. My biggest support is the Divine.

Still there are days I do not want to get out of bed. I do allow myself to feel what it is. Retraining my brain has been slow work.

Best wishes and blessings for you Tammy. You can always contact me. :)

February 29, 2012 - 11:10am
(reply to Anonymous)

Thanks for your response Connie. You have a great day>

February 29, 2012 - 1:50pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have not wanted medication. Ever. The first 10 years I lived without it. How I held down a job for as long as I did, I have no clue.

The second 10 years plus years I have used medication. Nearly every year the dosage changes. I have changed medication a half dozen times, mostly the first year.

I am tired. PTSD has its own symptoms, depression being one of them. Chronic depression and anxiety together? I am tired.

County mental health services are extremely limited. The selection of medication is not the same as it is for those with insurance. Therapy is very limited. Knowledgeable therapists are few.

Some days I want off all medication. But, homeopathic and naturopathic is not enough for my level of depression. PTSD and menopause, yeah.

One more day, one more breath, non-traditional treatment and medications are working. I just don't always like it. Being dependent on a drug. Sort of reminds me of drinking and drug use years ago. Drink a little, take a bit of speed, find the right balance. :) Never worked well.

February 8, 2012 - 11:21am

I’m not sure how severe this issue is in the other states, but here in Illinois the budget cuts to mental health have been so drastic. My anxiety/depression gets almost unbearable, at times. I am gratefully on Disability, but this also puts me in the low-income bracket. Thus I utilize our Community Health Clinic. My appointments with my Counselor and my Psychiatrist keep getting farther and farther apart. This is due to each Counselor being so overloaded with their caseloads. The result of being overloaded causes errors being made concerning medications, lack of patience with us patients, and shortened appointments.
I worked for years and years in the manufacturing industry. A combination of my job being outsourced to Mexico and 2 consecutive concussions to the left side of my brain, leaving me with mild Traumatic Brain Injury have brought me to this point. I know I am not alone in this "catch 22"-it is just so disheartening. In my opinion, it is no wonder that mental illness is on the rise. I try to do as much as I can to help us here in Illinois. I sign the petitions, and write letters to our representatives online.
I just wish I could get the help that I need and be on the right “cocktail” of meds to help pull myself out of this deep, dark hole so I could do more to help all of us where these mental health issues are concerned. -Tammy

February 3, 2012 - 11:19am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.