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Why Do We Avoid Getting Professional Help?

When we’re struggling with addiction and mental illness but are afraid to begin the recovery process, it is often because we’re avoiding professional help. We’re avoiding finding a therapist or going to rehab. We have some deeply rooted fears around both recovery and professional support that are keeping us from taking these important steps to healing ourselves.

Fear of Judgment

Sometimes we avoid professional help because our fear causes us to be prideful. We want to tackle our recovery alone, without external input or support. We want to be able to say we managed to kick our addictions and mental health issues on our own. We might associate receiving help and support with being weak, vulnerable and dependent. We might see managing everything on our own as being strong and independent. We don’t want to be perceived as incompetent, weak or incapable. We don’t want to be judged for our addictions and mental health issues. We fear vulnerability and rejection. We don’t want people to look down on us, and we might assume that professionals such as therapists and treatment specialists will judge us if they don’t have the same personal experience with addiction and mental illness that we do. We might assume that their lack of firsthand experience will cause them to be dismissive, unkind, judgmental and arrogant. We’re afraid of feeling judged, shunned and criticized, so we often will keep our struggles to ourselves and resist getting help.

Fear of a Diagnosis

Another reason we avoid professional help comes from our fear of receiving a diagnosis. We may already know that we struggle with addiction, depression, anxiety or other mental health challenges, but we don’t want to have a formal diagnosis given to us. We don’t want to see the words on paper or hear them spoken out loud. We don’t want to have to confront the reality of our unwellness, so we avoid the truth as much as we possibly can. Receiving a professional diagnosis means we have to face our illness. We can’t avoid it, telling ourselves that addiction or depression isn’t a real thing, or that it’s just a phase we’ll get over, or that we just have to pull ourselves out of it. When we receive a professional diagnosis, it leaves less room for doubt and uncertainty. Once we know the truth, it’s much harder to avoid it. We can no longer hide behind the fact that we don’t know what’s really going on with us. We can’t pretend we don’t know why we have so many challenges in our lives, why we’re unable to function. Sometimes we hide behind our confusion. We tell ourselves we can’t heal if we don’t know what’s wrong with us. We convince ourselves that we can’t recover because we don’t even know what it is we need to recover from. We allow our misunderstanding, our misinformation and our lack of knowledge to be our excuses for avoiding recovery. We let them stall us. We allow our disconnection from self to keep us from getting better. We know that once we do know what it is we’re struggling with, we can no longer hide from it. We’re so deeply afraid of confronting our unwellness that we avoid a professional diagnosis at all costs.

Comfort in Complacence

Very often when we’re resistant to professional help, it’s because we’ve gotten so comfortable in our routines and lifestyles, the same ones that support our addictions and mental health issues, that the thought of pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone feels unbearable and unnecessary. We tell ourselves we’re fully functional, we’re managing our lives normally, and we’ve found ways to cope. We convince ourselves that it’s better to coast along as we are than to rock the boat, try something new and run the risk of worsening our conditions and being even worse off. We fear change because we assume it will bring us more pain. We fear the hard work of recovery because we think it will be too difficult for us to bear. Sometimes our complacence feels so much easier, so much more comforting, so familiar to us that we don’t want to push ourselves to see what more we might be capable of.

Haven’t Hit Rock Bottom Yet

Sometimes the greatest reason why we put off getting professional help is that we don’t yet see how desperately we need the support. We might not have hit rock bottom yet. Our lives might not have become unmanageable yet. We might not be feeling the mental, emotional and physical symptoms of addiction and withdrawal that can make our daily lives unbearable, such as intense panic attacks and physical shaking. We might be fully functional in our depression and other mental illnesses, able to hold a job, care for our families and go about our normal routines. We might not have experienced something so destabilizing that it forces us to realize we need help, such as a traumatic experience or crisis we feel we can’t handle on our own. We might have convinced ourselves that we’re doing just fine as we are. Until we hit rock bottom and feel we can’t continue on with our lives as they are, many of us will continue to avoid getting help. We haven’t yet become so frustrated, disappointed and fed up with our lives that we see no choice but to seek out support. We haven’t felt the overwhelming pain of multiple relapses. We haven’t had the shock of hitting rock bottom to wake us up to the realities of our suffering. We’re able to continue to avoid the truth, and avoid getting help, because our lives haven’t become unmanageable and unbearable for us yet.

At The Guest House Ocala, we are uniquely equipped to help our guests heal from trauma-induced substance abuse, process addiction, anxiety and depression in a safe, comfortable and confidential setting.

Call 855-483-7800 today for more information on our treatment programs.

3230 Northeast 55th Avenue Silver Springs, FL 34488