There are practical reasons people with mental illness or unhealed trauma fail to seek professional help, like financial difficulties, or a lack of access to proper care. However, a team of researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital who surveyed over 200 participants with issues ranging from depression to substance abuse problems found that money and access are not the biggest factors holding one back from seeking care. Shame. Embarrassment. A certain stigma in their social group or culture. These were reasons that came up far more often for individuals who need the help of a mental health professional but are not seeking it out.
Often in life, we learn the rewarding lesson that when we stop caring what others think we start to enjoy ourselves and find success much more. But that can be a particularly difficult philosophy to live by for those struggling with mental health or emotional matters. And yet, they could benefit from it the most because unhealed, true emotional trauma can really hold one back in life. We spoke with therapist Lacrisha Holcomb (IG: @TherapyisLight) about this topic. In addition to a being mental health professional, Holcomb is an activist working to dissolve some of the stigmas around discussing and treating mental health in underserved communities, and the owner of Therapy Is Light.
Holding it all in, or holding on too tight
“Feelings of possessiveness, gaslighting tactics, and lack of boundaries,” are some ways Holcomb says unhealed emotional wounds can manifest themselves in romantic relationships. She explains that “An individual can develop a fear of retaliation or ended connection. Another individual may believe their emotional survival requires protecting their true feelings at all costs in attempts to prevent themselves from being hurt.”