I cannot stress this enough. Early intervention is so important. As people say 'old habits die hard' and this true in terms of mental illness. As years go by, the more you will reinforce your actions, thought patterns and reactions. This in turn, makes it harder for you to break them. I know that this is true for myself. I had been using the same safety behaviours for many years and I had the same thought patterns, kind of being stuck at at young age whilst growing older. In this way, I had felt too young and anxious to drive, to have a job, to catch a bus and so on. But, with proper counselling and CBT I am finally getting to a point where I have almost retrained my thought patterns, so that I think and react in different ways. I know that this would have been easier many years earlier, but I didn't know I had a problem with my mental health for many years. For those that do, it's so important that you get help as early as possible. Don't get me wrong, the mental health services we have here in the UK are pretty poor, but that doesn't mean that you should be put off by a doctor who doesn't understand or a long waiting list - I have been there. The longer you rely on your old ways, the more ingrained it becomes and the harder it is to get out of it. That doesn't mean that you won't, it just might take you longer.
I so wish that there better mental health services, so we could nip the problem in the bud before it even begins to grow. Imagine, if even children could be taught about mental health and have access to someone who they could talk to at such a young age. I feel the problems could be lessened, so that it wouldn't necessarily be as of a big problem as they got older. Even though the mental health services aren't amazing, talking, doing your own CBT, and even going down to your local GP are all steps in the right direction and I strongly encourage those struggling to take a stand and take a step towards their recovery. It's not easy, but it's definitely worth it.
You can get there.