When to Seek Therapy
All humans experience sadness, grief, stress, and anger in their lives- it’s part of the human condition and is expected. Some people have diagnosable and noticeable symptoms that indicate a mental health illness.
So what about people who fall somewhere in between normal human emotions and persistent mental health disorders? What tells those people whether or not it would be beneficial for them to seek therapy?
A major sign that a person is in need of seeking help is a difficulty “snapping out of” low times or waves of sadness. Even if you’re the type of person who can typically turn things around and see the brightside, it can be helpful to seek help in times when feeling down appears to linger.
This is especially important if your emotional state is beginning to affect your physical state- are you sleeping more or less than normal? Have you been eating outside your normal diet? Have you felt sluggish or just not felt like doing things recently? These can all be signs that therapy may be something to consider. It is okay to seek therapy for a short-term or to get over one issue, as opposed to seeing it as a permanent and continuous system.
Another indicator that therapy could be helpful is if you are noticing patterns of behaviors that you feel unable to change. This could look like a lot of different situations, but ultimately if you feel stuck in a pattern a therapist could help you with identifying trends and assign adaptable changes in order to address whatever is going on with you. Here are some examples of what these trends could look like:
Failed relationships or friendships
Inability to maintain employment
Jeopardizing boundaries for others
Using vices to cope with daily life stressors
Along the same lines, if you’ve felt disconnected or distanced from the people who are closest to you, then seeking therapy could be beneficial. Often when our relationships experience discourse, it causes internal struggle and confusion that can manifest in many different ways. Having an outside, unbiased perspective can really help to gain insight and create a plan for addressing this shift. On the other side, if you’re experiencing difficulty creating friendships or getting close to people, then it may be helpful to seek the same unbiased opinion to help explore this struggle.
Lastly, if you’ve experienced a traumatic event or any sort of loss it may be helpful to seek some help.
Trauma is a tricky, tricky phenomenon. It is difficult to predict exactly how the event will affect each individual’s emotional, physical, and mental state. Sometimes, it’s difficult for a person to truly acknowledge the full effect trauma can have on their life. Working with a therapist can help you heal and recognize what responses are connected to your trauma in order to feel yourself again. The value of having someone validate and explore traumatic events unbiasedly is huge and immeasurable. This gives you the freedom to fully experience this part of your life in a safe and healing environment.
Similarly, if you experience any sort of loss it may be helpful to seek therapy. Grief wears many masks and shape-shift to create havoc in your life. No one truly knows the “best” way to grieve, but working alongside a healer can assist in your personal grieving process and guide you through this tough time.
Trauma and grief are both incredibly unique to each individual. They can be big or small, massive or tiny, destructive or silent- regardless, they’re worth mentioning and are important. Grief is not just the loss of a loved one, but can be loss of a relationship or a job. Trauma is not just abuse and combat, it is any unexpected or noteworthy event that alters your life or thinking.
If any of this sounds familiar, then it may be time to talk to someone and begin the process of healing.
(by Christian Brown, LCSW, CAADC)