If you’re struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
There are various reasons why we don’t reach out for help with our addictions and mental illnesses, and those reasons are unique to us and our experience. There are some common elements that can be found in all of our stories, and the debilitating nature of our illnesses along with our fear are often to blame. When we’re still actively struggling, many of us are still too embroiled in our addictions and mental health issues to reach out for help when we need it. We might not have gotten to a place of clarity yet that would enable us to even know we need help. We’re not even aware how bad the problem has become. Our patterns are so intense and overpowering, our addictive habits too ingrained in us, for us to be able to do what’s best for ourselves.
Some of us might know we’re struggling and need help but assume we’re past the point of being able to be helped. We feel as though we’re too far gone to recover. We feel weak and powerless in the face of our illnesses. We’ve essentially given up on ourselves. We are self-hating and don’t feel we’re worth the effort it would take to get better. We suffer from severe depression and suicidal thoughts. We tell ourselves that there’s no point in trying, that we’re a burden to our families and loved ones, that they’ll be better off without us. Sometimes we don’t reach out for help because we assume no one cares about us. We might feel abandoned in our lives. We may have already lost everyone we could depend on, especially when our addictions have caused us to hurt the people in our lives and push them away.
Many of us don’t reach out for help because we’re afraid of the judgment we’ll assume we’ll incur. Some of us are prideful and don’t want to risk being labeled as an addict or mentally ill because we’re afraid of how we’ll be perceived. There is still a great deal of misunderstanding and stigmatization around addiction and mental illness, and our fear of being judged, looked down upon, shunned and ostracized keeps us silent. We keep our severe problems to ourselves, getting worse every day, trapped by our fear.