Do I need therapy?
There are a million statements that are true: one being, “we are human, living in an imperfect world, therefore we will all have challenges along the way”. Some of the challenges we face will be greater than others, and as we are all incredibly different humans, we will experience those challenges differently and relate to them differently. We all could use therapy and counselling at one time or another. Some of us may even benefit from using therapy on an ongoing basis and benefit from seeing a therapist weekly. It is incredibly satisfying finding the right therapist and processing the struggle and challenge you are experiencing.
First off, we need to mention the bad wrap mental health and therapy has. Sadly, therapy has had a stigma and even now is still considered new in the medical world, but this cloud of negative stigma is starting to turn, and we can see the winds of change are starting to blow it away. Slowly, therapy is starting to stand on its own two feet and get the credit and recognition it deserves. Millions of people around the world are seeing therapists for various reasons and their lives are being changed for the better because of it. Subsequently, helping them cope with everyday emotional issues whether it’s, stress, trauma, burnout, OCD, bipolar, and many other mental illnesses.
As amazing as therapy is, it needs to be used in conjunction with other tools in the mental health (and health) toolbox. Such as, a healthy diet, (Connectable passed blog post) good sleep, a positive attitude to what you learn through therapy and addressing the negative thoughts in your mind. Not to mention, your social circle and relationships plays a large role in your mental health. These are just to name a few.
The writing is sometimes on the wall
What to do if you are unhappy, unmotivated, angry and/or depressed? Or maybe you’re feeling exhausted, low or empty? Maybe you’ve started noticing certain negative behavioural patterns in your lifestyle that you can’t seem to break. Sometimes the signs you are having a hard time are written on the wall but other times they are harder to pinpoint and before you know it you have spiralled into a dark place.
Reaching out is a strength and not a sign of weakness and is possibly the biggest step to take toward the path of recovery and self-care. The sooner you reach for help, the faster you will take to reach your goal of recovery, joy and health. It is reported that 1 in 5 (some sources even report 1 in 3) adults have mental health conditions, most of which appear by the age of 24 years old, but ultimately people go to therapy for various reasons, not only for mental health conditions. Therapy can help you gain confidence and improve your self-esteem, as well as help with relationship issues and work stress, the list is endless.
What are the signs that you should see a therapist?
1. You’re overwhelmed, and the smallest things set you off.
Are minor, everyday issues causing great turmoil? Do you find you are snapping at the tiniest nuisance? Is the saying, “you making a mountain out of a mole hill” true for you now? It seems you may have too much on your plate, or there are underlying emotions, tension, stress and possible trauma, that is causing you to behave differently. This can affect your ability to think and act rationally and can even make you struggle to complete everyday tasks. Seeing a therapist will help to uncover what is happening below the surface and how to work through what you are experiencing.
2. You feel consumed by negative thoughts.
Often referred to as Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs). It seems there is an entourage of negative, toxic and anxious thoughts parading your mind. You’ve noticed these Ants are ruminating through your mind and therefore your day, making you miserable. These thought patterns cause immense stress. Seeing a therapist can help you learn how to accept, challenge, and manage these thoughts in a healthy way and stop allowing them to control you.
3. You are avoiding social situations or, the opposite, you want to be around people constantly.
Sadly, when you are feeling overwhelmed by life, anxiety or experiencing poor mental health, you tend to either withdraw or you want to be consumed by people. If you are finding this is you, it might be time to consult a therapist. Talking to someone you can trust is vital to help remove this barrier and help engage.
4. You feel depressed and hopeless.
You seem to be stuck in this hopeless, unhappy situation and nothing (long-term) you seem to do makes you feel better, or helps you get out.
Talking to a therapist will help you understand why and what steps to follow to break this cycle.
5. Your sleep is a struggle.
Sleep is a good indicator of how we are. If you are struggling with your sleep, either you are wanting to sleep too much, or not able to sleep, or your sleep is not restful leaving you feeling exhausted. Simply put, something is amiss. Sleep can be a signal that something in your body is wrong. Depression, poor mental health, stress, anxiety, poor diet, and lack of exercise, these are all indicators. Research shows that sleep deprivation can lead to negative thinking and leave you more emotional
6. Are you using substances to cope?
Masking how you are by using substances as a means to escape what you are dealing with is not healthy and will lead to more problems down the road. This is a common temporary solution to a greater problem which you might be trying to hide from.
7. You can’t seem to control your emotions.
Your emotions are getting the better of you and you are finding you are feeling vulnerable and emotionally unstable more and more often. If this is the case anxiety, depression, stress and poor mental health can and often will cause you to feel as if your emotions are unstable and uncontrollable.
8. You are experiencing physical health problems.
As our body is interconnected, if one part is unwell the rest experiences the same problems. Research shows that lifestyle diseases are often the cause of poor mental health. Stress, anxiety and depression causes our body to become outwardly ill. Our internal turmoil manifests externally, in the form of diseases and overall ill health. Therefore, if you are experiencing any health issues it might be a good time to examine your mental health and talk to a therapist.
Is it time you saw a therapist?
We often think we can solve the problem on our own or it will just go away in time and therefore, there is no need to talk to a therapist. But research shows that unless you are intentional and deliberately do something about your emotional state, it will not change on its own. If your stress, anxiety or depression does not improve within two weeks, it’s time to reach out to a therapist.
Take a mental health questionnaire to find out how you are doing.
Remember, talking to a mental health professional isn’t a sign of weakness but rather reaching out is a sign of strength. It takes much more strength reaching out and admitting you don’t have all the answers than it does to pretend like your life is all together.
Keep in mind you don’t have to see someone in person. With today’s uncertainty and the rush of life, you can now connect easily and conveniently with an online therapist no need to inconvenience yourself to get the help you need while removing any stigma that might still be lingering.