At a certain point, I felt the need to consult an analyst. For six months, I went to her house once a weak to clarify a few things.
As many of you have read in recent articles, Pope Francis has revealed for the first time that he sought help from a psychoanalyst when he was younger.
In the new book Pope Francis: Politics and Society, he says that at the age of 42 he went to see a professional psychoanalyst in Buenos Aires. And I am extremely glad that he made that statement, especially for the impact that he has worldwide. His statement can be regarded as a step forward for the cause of mental health.
As I always say to all my clients, we all have a mental health as much as a physical health. If you think you have a broken arm you go to A&E and you want the doctors to fix the problem. A plaster cast will usually be applied to your arm before you go home. Your cast will need to stay on until the broken bone has healed. This usually takes a month or two. I am sure you haven't found the above description shocking, weird or shameful. It's normal routine, right? It's what you would do if you had a broken arm. You wouldn't be thinking too much about it. This is because it's 100% socially acceptable to seek medical help for physical health problems. And I am not suggesting this shouldn't be the case. The point I am trying to make here is that it's not exactly the same thing when it comes to mental health and mental wellbeing.
In our modern society there is social stigma attached to mental health problems.
This is because society in general has stereotyped views about mental illness and how it affects people. Many people believe that people with mental health problems are mad, violent and dangerous, when in fact they are more at risk of being attacked or harming themselves than harming other people. As a result, many people who live with a mental health problem try to keep their feelings hidden because they are afraid of other people’s reactions.
But what is mental health and mental wellbeing? And how can you spot a mental health problem or when should you seek professional help?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. And we all struggle at times to deal with changes and transitions in our lives.
To go back to Pope Francis, he did not specify the nature of his difficulties, but he did say the treatment was successful. "In those six months, she really helped me", he said. Well, this is exactly the point about seeing a mental health professional. Some times there is a need for that neutral and nonjudgmental view. If you are considering seeking help at this stage remember that not all those who wander are lost. And you can get back on track with the help of a caring and supportive professional.
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