16 Honest Confessions From Mental Health Pros With Mental Illness
Health News From BuzzFeed
“Just because we have a mental illness of our own, doesn’t mean we’re not equipped to help you with yours.”
Special thanks to the mental health professionals who provided intel and anecdotes for this post: Erin Wiley, LPCC, executive director at The Willow Center and Thomas Franklin, MD, psychiatrist and medical director of The Retreat at Sheppard Pratt. And by the way, different mental health pros use different terms (patient, client) to refer to the people they treat based on their certification. So we’ve used a variety of terminology in the piece based on our sources.
Yes, mental health professionals can be diagnosed with and need treatment for mental illness.
Psychological problems are common, and mental health professionals can suffer from mental illness too — and probably just as often as people in the general population.
People assume that, if you’re in the helping profession, you must be in perfect mental health, you must be 100% emotionally competent, and you know how to make all the right choices in life. But the truth is that we're human. We struggle just like everyone else.
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Although sometimes we keep it to ourselves because we're afraid it will affect our professional reputation.
The stigma surrounding mental health problems can be tough to overcome for anyone, but may be particularly challenging for those whose job it is to care for others with mental illness. We may be reluctant to pursue a diagnosis and treatment because we sometimes believe (and may be told by our colleagues) that having a mental illness could hurt our reputation and be bad for our career.
Despite our training, we can't just make our mental illness go away.
Being a mental health professional doesn't give us super powers. Once we decide to seek help and get diagnosed, we have to go through the same process of figuring out how to treat our illness. And once we figure out what that is, we, too, have to work at it and put in serious time and effort in order to see results.
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