Mental illness and career choices

I asked this on the Cutting and Self Mutilation Recovery Board, who on here is wanting to work in the field of mental health. And it seems quite a few people are interested in becoming a psychologist especially.

It’s interesting that a lot of people with mental health problems themselves want to go into a profession that helps others with mental health problems everyday.

Being one of those people who do have mental health problems, I’m not sure about working in the mental health field. I wanted to be a psychologist from when I was 13 but didn’t because i didn’t think I could and went into pharmacy instead. Now I’m considering social work which does relate to mental health too. Mental health is always an issue that I will be interested in and passionate about, simply because it’s been an issue in my life for years.

On one hand, someone with mental health prolems could offer understanding due to their first hand experiences, something that someone without mental health problems may not be able to provide.

On the other hand, there’s the question of ‘How can I help others if I can’t even help myself?’ It would seem hypocritical, if I were trying to help someone stop cutting while I was still self harming myself. Plus, there is a risk that the people you’re trying to help could actually trigger your own mental health issues.

So I’m torn as to whether I can work in mental health or not.

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