Patient Blogs | Depression
When I Knew It Was Time to Get Help
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I was 16 years old when I first sought out treatment for my mental health. I had noticed changes in my mood and behavior for a few months. I was more down, irritable, and exhausted mentally and physically. I didn’t enjoy the things I used to. I used to love spending time with my friends, playing a sport, and school was a priority for me.

I found myself wanting to lie in bed all day, I wasn’t motivated to do my schoolwork, and didn’t want to spend time with my friends as much. I started isolating myself from my friends and family and didn’t want to leave my room.

I looked at my behavior and emotions lately and realized this was different than my normal emotions and it wasn’t changing on its own. I wasn’t happy with myself or my life, and I didn’t want to accept that this was my new reality. When I noticed this change in my behavior, I talked to my parents about seeing a counselor. I ignored the hesitation and stigma I felt about getting help.

I am very lucky that I didn’t go too long in my depressive episode before getting help. It’s dangerous and life-threatening for me to be in a depressive episode and not seek treatment. I had to realize that at a certain point, I was losing control of my suicidal and depressive thoughts. I didn’t trust that I wouldn’t hurt myself.

There are different levels of mental health treatment I have received over the years. When I became suicidal, I was already seeing a psychiatrist multiple times a month and a counselor twice a week.

So, some people in my life were confused when I said I needed more help because on the outside, I was getting help. I realized the level of care I had been getting wasn’t enough for the increasing suicidal thoughts I was experiencing.

I told my parents that I needed to go to the hospital and get in-patient care under suicide watch or I was afraid I would hurt myself. After a little time and continuous pushing from me, I was finally brought to the hospital.

Telling my parents and loved ones I was worried I would hurt myself is what saved my life. I don’t think I could have fought it off on my own. If you feel this way, don’t be scared to get help, it will save your life.

Being honest with myself and my loved ones is a big reason I’m still here today. I realized I needed to get professional help and did just that.

Despite not knowing anyone at the time that had spoken out about getting mental health treatment, despite being in high school and worried about what my peers would think about me, despite the fear of getting a diagnosis and making it real – I got help.

I am so grateful I did. If you’ve been looking for a sign or a push to get help, let this be it.



Photo Credit: Konstantin Sud / Eyeem Premium via Getty Images

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Katharine Hartleb

Katharine Hartleb

Diagnosed since 2014

Katharine Hartleb was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in 2014, at age 16. She has a passion for helping others and plans on becoming a mental health counselor. Hartleb lives in Charleston, SC, and is a recovery coach at a substance use disorder facility. She is also a young adult presenter for NAMI, sharing her personal story. Connect with her through her personal Instagram and her kat4kindness Instagram.

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