If you’re on the fence about whether or not to see a therapist, consider this: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And the earlier you get help, the easier it is to solve the problem.
But how do you even know you’re having a problem? Everyone suffers from blue periods, stress, anger and strain. So it’s hard to know if you need professional help with ‘normal’ down times. The fact is, if you’re suffering, you could alleviate that suffering. You don’t need to have a mental illness to benefit from therapy.
Yes, there’s been a stigma attached to getting therapy. About one in five American adults suffer from some kind of mental illness, but fewer than half are in treatment. However, the old shame associating therapy with weakness is a thing of the past. The stigma is waning. In fact, it’s a sign of strength when you can admit to needing help. And everyone does every once in a while.
So what are the signs that you might need an appointment with a therapist?
You can’t seem to get past anger or sadness or anxiety. You feel so intensely that you find it hard to function properly. Perhaps you even find it hard to get out of bed in the morning. What used to be a normal activity is now an immense chore. If you are overcome by anger, sadness or anxiety, worried or upset to the point that it interferes with living your life, it’s time to get help.
You’ve suffered a major loss and can’t get over it. It takes time to heal after a breakup or a death in the family or losing your job. Everyone is different, so don’t let someone else tell you that you ought to be over it by now. Take as much time as you need. But if you can’t stop thinking about it to the point that it’s a major focus of your life and you are stuck without hope of moving on, perhaps you need help.
You have physical problems like headaches or stomachaches. The stress of emotional distress can definitely affect your body. A woman I know suffered from terrible migraines until she divorced her toxic husband and then she was suddenly cured. Your mental state can cause a wide range of physical trouble, from a compromised immune system to a poor sex drive. Getting at the root cause often requires a therapist to assist.
You’re self-medicating. You find yourself drinking or taking drugs in greater quantities than before just to numb your feelings and get through the day. Or you could be over eating to deal with stress. If this goes on over a period of time, you may struggle with getting back to normal. The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone if you find a good therapist.
Your friends and co-workers sound the alarm. When people at work or at home express worry about you, your reflex may be to deny there’s a problem and assure your friends that everything’s all right. Sometimes it’s easier for someone on the outside to notice there’s a problem. You might get negative feedback on your performance at work—it’s easy to slip when you’re not mentally tip-top. Do not waste any time finding a professional who can help.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact