Do you find yourself speaking in metaphors?
15 November 2021
‘Kom op meid, je kan het!”, zei hij.
23 November 2021

What is self-advocacy and why do you need it?

In the context of getting help for mental health, it is necessary to be able to self-advocate. 

It means using your voice. Standing up for yourself. Walking away. 

For me, I have always been a highly skilled communicator, able to articulate my thoughts and feelings in a very intellectual, almost clinical way. This ability, combined with presenting a willingness to do or try anything to recover, ended up working against me. Why?

Because to the outside world, I appeared to have enough cognitive ability and motivation to recover…and if this was true, things couldn’t be that bad…right?

But being willing to try anything set me down a path. A path of taking many – far too many – prescribed medications which ended up causing far more physical and emotional harm than was good for me. 

My first step towards self-advocacy came when I was offered even more medication for my symptoms; only instead of blindly accepting as I usually did, I had a panic attack. It caused me to voice my hesitations. And ask questions. 

My questions were met with hostility. I was informed that, should I decide to not accept these medications, a note would be added to my file that I had pertinently refused help. 

That was the moment I finally heard what my body was telling me by way of a panic attack: it was saying no.

Self-advocacy for me in that moment meant listening to my body. And finding a new doctor. 

Which set me on a new path of getting off the medications and finally allowing myself to heal on my own terms.

Maybe you’ve convinced yourself that you have no choice; that you must do things a certain way because that’s what is normal or expected. 

But it’s not true. 

Judging yourself for wanting to do things your own way robs you of autonomy. Which is what you need to recover.

Saying no is a skill you can learn.

It starts with listening to the signals your body is giving you and acting on them.

Are you ready to learn more about how you can start advocating for yourself in your recovery? Send me a mail and let’s plan in a free 30 minute session today.

With love,

Emma.

English