Shopaholics are often born innocently enough. For Lynn Braz, for instance, shopping was a bona fide hobby until a pair of family tragedies pushed her over the edge. "When my sister died, the shopping went out of control," says the 47-year-old San Francisco writer. "The next thing I bought was going to be the magical thing that was going to fix me and make me feel good."
Let's face it, shopping can feel good. But beware: Although the uplift is real, a blue mood may short-circuit your ability to spot...
"It's hard to schedule and find time for an appointment."
"I can't get there."
Therapists, clinics, and hospitals may offer
after-hours appointments or weekend hours.
Plan your appointments for times that work for you. You may have to
wait a few days, but if that's the time you can do it, it's worth the wait.
When you call for an appointment, explain your situation. Most
mental health care professionals will try to find a time that works for both of
Ask a friend to help you get there, or check local bus
"See a shrink? I'm not crazy."
"People will think I'm weak."
"What will my family and friends think?"
You are looking for help so you will feel better.
It takes strength and courage to seek help from others.
health problems are real and can harm your physical health. They are often
caused by an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain. They also may run in
families. Mental health problems are not character flaws.
get better with the right kind of treatment. Treatment includes medicine,
counseling, psychotherapy (therapy), self-care, or a combination of these. The
kind of treatment you have will depend on how severe your symptoms are.
"Someone might get into my medical records and see this."
Doctors, mental health care professionals,
hospitals, and clinics take privacy seriously. They won't share your records
with anyone not involved in your treatment. If you have questions about your
privacy, ask them about it when calling for an appointment.
"I've tried to talk to people. They just don't get it and don't care."
It may be hard for some people to understand or
relate to your experiences. But other people can understand. Consider finding
people who have had similar experiences.
"I can't afford it."
Many towns and cities have resources that may
help. Call your local social services department or welfare office to find out.
If you have insurance, check your policy. Mental health benefits
often are covered through a separate company.
Check to see if your
state has a mental health parity law. Your employer may be required to provide
mental health insurance.
Look into the Family and Medical Leave
Act (FMLA). You may be able to use it to take time off for doctor visits.
Ask your doctor for help. He or she may be able to find free or
low-cost medicine, counseling, or therapy.
Check Medicaid if you
have a low income or Medicare if you are 65 or older. These programs may be
able to help you.