Recently, I read an article about choice. It’s overly academic sounding title (False Freedom and the Slavery of Autonomy) caught my eye and as I read further, I noticed connections to the world of mental health. You can read the entire article here http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/09/03/false-freedom-and-the-slavery-of-autonomy/.
With the entire world’s information available at our fingertips, we can often become so consumed with the choices we have that we never actually choose. Take medication for example. Even people who do not avidly read medical journals are able to know the side effects and clinical trials done on any medication with a few keystrokes and a mouse click. Many of us mentally graph out every option and seek out the advice of everyone from trained professionals to the blogosphere. We read reviews on every medication and see if the complaints about side effects are outmatched by positive posts, thumbs ups, and “likes.” When faced with everything available to us, we can often get paralysis by analysis. There is so much information available that we cannot make any choice. This leads to an inability to choose that plagues this modern generation.
We question everything, even the answers we are given.
I used to think that not being able to choose was an isolated problem, a product of my overactive mind, but this article reminded me that it is an issue with everyone, especially my (millennial) generation. I see now that this inability to choose is caused by too many choices. Eventually, we all need to take a leap of faith.
I have noticed this pattern in some of my mentees. The bevy of information about paths to wellness is so overwhelming that we feel like we need all the information available to us before we can act. As stated in the article, we fear that we may miss out if we start taking one route over another. We fear that we may be settling and that it will be very difficult to switch (for example) from natural remedies to pharmaceuticals. This fear of making the wrong choice often leads to a desire to make no choice. We recognize that dealing with the illness is better than taking the wrong prescription or supplement.
This is where it is easy to fear getting hurt.
I know. I was tired of trying to figure out what was going to happen and just took a medication my psychologist recommended the first visit. It was the wrong one. But now I know. I know what happens when a person with bipolar takes an antidepressant. I know the mania I experienced and the withdrawal I endured after. I hope to share this information with all who will listen. It made me find a better one, and the reaction I had to it helped guide my doctors to the right combination of meds and supplements.
What is it that keeps you from seeking help? Are you afraid that the diagnosis is a death sentence? It’s not. Are you afraid of having a diagnosis and the alienation it can bring? It’s difficult, but our loved ones are there for us, regardless of the illness or suffering we endure. Are you afraid of making a choice of one route over another because of numerous unknowns? We are here to help, as are the health professionals in our resource list and those around you. Maybe the time for analysis is over and now is the time to act.