We will all experience stress, sadness, grief and conflict at some point in our life. That’s just the way life is. Some believe we experience this to deepen our learning and sharpen our life skills. While you are in the middle of a crisis, however, it can be hard to recognize when you’ve exhausted your emotional skill set and when it’s time to see a professional for some extra help.
If you were struggling with a physical health issue you wouldn’t think twice to see a doctor, so why not take that same approach with your mental health. It’s time to take the stigma off mental health issues and find the help that we all will need at some point in our life. A good counselor will teach you coping mechanisms we should have been learning in elementary school all along.
A 2004 report by the World Health Organization reviewed rates of psychiatric treatment usage across 37 research studies. They found that between 30 and 80 percent of people with mental health concerns never receive treatment.
There are lots of reasons why people don’t seek treatment. Here are just a few:
- It’s too expensive
- Once you start crying, you will feel like you may never stop
- You can just talk to friends for some advice
- You don’t think it will help
- Counseling is a sign of weakness
All have some validity, but there are times when a trained professional really can and should get you back on the right path. Aside from suffering needlessly, those in distress may actually make the problem worse by avoiding professional help. Sometimes it’s better to err on the side of trying therapy out sooner then later to see if it helps verses powering through the issue and risking a spiral downward.
Besides, there are many options available for treatment, from overnight treatment centers to psychiatry to spending some time with a life coach like me. As long as you aren’t a danger to yourself or others, you get to stay in control of how you want to proceed with your own mental health treatment, find what works best for you.
While some treatments can be expensive, many are covered by health insurance plans and others have you pay according to how much you make or by scale.
What’s important is that you get the help you need to learn the life skills we all so dearly require to cope with stressful or traumatic situations.
How do you know when it’s time to find a therapist? Read below and see if you answer yes to any or all of these. The time could be now:
Everything you feel is very intense
We all get angry and sad, but how intense, and how often are you feeling this way? Does it impair or significantly change your ability to function? Does everything that goes wrong ‘stick’ to you so you can’t let it go? Also, when something comes up do you immediately assume the worst case scenario will take place and respond accordingly?
Feeling overwhelmed with anger or sadness on a regular basis could indicate an underlying issue or trigger. Furthermore, if you are having panic attacks, becoming paralyzed with fear, or avoiding things altogether because you are unrealistically worried about the outcome, it is probably time to see someone.
You’ve suffered a trauma and you can’t seem to stop thinking about it
The pain of a death in the family, a breakup, job loss, or serious medical issue can be enough to require a bit of counseling. The response from a traumatic situation can accidentally get you stuck in a survivor pattern. Severe grief from any issue can impair daily functioning and even cause you to withdraw from people or healthy activities. If you find you aren’t engaging in your life, or those around you have noticed that you’re pulling away, you may want to speak to someone who can help you process through the event.
You have unexplained and recurrent headaches, stomach-aches or always getting sick when stressed
Our emotional health directly effects our physical health. Research confirms that stress can manifest itself in the form of a wide range of physical ailments, from a chronically upset stomach to headaches, frequent colds or even a diminished sex drive. Also if you notice you are constantly shaking your legs, your hair is falling out, or you’ve developed brain fog or a twitch, you may want to talk to someone about how to alleviate the stress in your life.
You’re using alcohol or a substance to cope
If you find yourself drinking, using drugs or eating in greater quantities or more often — or even more often thinking about food, drinking or drugs — these could be signs that you’re hoping to numb feelings that should be addressed.
You’re getting bad reviews at work or your work is suffering
Changes in work performance are common among those struggling with emotional or psychological issues. If you’re having trouble with concentration, forgetting deadlines, or not finding joy in a job you once loved, you might want to look at why. Also, it could be a sign that it’s time to talk to a professional if you get negative feedback from managers or coworkers that the quality of your work is slipping.
You feel disconnected from people or activities you loved
Feeling disconnected from others, or that there’s not a lot of purpose or point to life can be a sign that something is amiss. And, if your friends or family gatherings have lost their previous joyfulness, a therapist could help you regain some clarity or start in a new direction.
You are regularly fighting with loved ones
If you find yourself feeling unhappy during interactions with family members on a regular basis, picking fights with loved ones, or you’re quick to raise your voice to get your point across, you may be a good candidate for couples or family therapy.
Your friends or family have said they’re worried about you
Sometimes friends that know us well can will see patterns in our lives better than we can, so it’s worth considering their point of view. If you are hearing more than once that your peers are worried about you and that you may want to see someone you should probably take their advice.
Life is about discovering the lessons we were meant to learn. Some are harder to learn than others. When you hit a wall and feel yourself at the end of your emotional skill set and drifting away, get the help you need. It will probably be much easier and take far less time than you think and your family life will be much happier as well.