Is it time for you to get mental health counseling?
We know; the thought of “needing” therapy can be overwhelming, and even a little scary. It’s incredibly stigmatized, even when it shouldn’t be; while it’s estimated that nearly 20% of people struggle with mental illness each year, only 9.5% of adults received professional therapy treatment in 2019.
However, we know that mental health is JUST as important as physical health; so if it’s recommended that everyone establish routine medical care with a physician, shouldn’t it also follow that routine mental health counseling should also be established?
So while any time is the right time for therapy, here are some red flags if you’re struggling to determine if you should be seeking the support of a mental health professional NOW:
You’re Relying on Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
If you’ve found yourself turning to unhealthy vices, it’s time to schedule your first appointment. You’re not alone; many people turn to alcohol, drugs, sex, and other endorphin-releasing devices to distract from their mental health struggle; but it’s not healthy, and could lead to serious harm down the road.
Your Relationships Are Hurting
Have you found yourself pushing away the people you love, relying on them too heavily, or worse...they’ve started avoiding you because you’re overwhelming them? It’s probably time for therapy. It’s natural and good to seek support from loved ones, but if you’re continually struggling with the same issues, if the issues are too big for them to give you full support, or if they have their own struggles and can’t help you at the moment, it’s definitely time to talk to someone who has the education and resources to actually help you find your footing.
You’re Struggling to Self-Regulate
Have you been feeling BIG feelings lately, and having a hard time getting them under control? Have you been lashing out, or emoting in negative ways? Have your mood swings been a LOT, even for you? Are all of your usual tricks and management techniques failing? A therapist can help with that, too.
You’re Experiencing Physical Symptoms
Have you been experiencing insomnia, or the opposite--sleeping wayyyy more than you should? Are you exhausted all the time? Are you eating too much, or too little? Are you experiencing hair loss or digestive upset? Are you struggling with symptoms of burnout? All of these are common symptoms of struggling with a mental illness and often require professional intervention.
You Have (Or Think You Might Have) a Chronic Mental Illness
This is a BIG one: if you know you have a mental illness, or if you suspect you may be experiencing one, it’s time to get some help. By attaining that professional diagnosis, you enable yourself to find management techniques that will help you live your daily life with less impact from your mental struggles, whether it’s ongoing therapy, new coping mechanisms, and/or medication.
You’ve Experienced Something Traumatic--Now, or in the Past
If you’ve ever experienced an event that could be characterized as traumatic, whether in the past or recently, it’s time to go to therapy. Whether you recognize it or not, odds are good that you are being impacted by the event, and even just talking it out with a professional can do you a world of good.
Remember: Therapy is a GOOD Thing!
When you make the decision to go to therapy, you are committing to the work to attain and sustain good mental health. It will probably take time, and if you experience chronic struggles there will still be bad days in the future--but you are getting the help and support you need, and that is awesome!
The stigma towards mental health, and therapy in particular, is strong; but when you do what you need to do to take care of YOU, and especially when you share those experiences with others, you are helping to put an end to that terrible stigma.
If you’re worried about cost, or accessibility, it may be time to consider one of the many mobile mental health resources available today; everything from peer groups and guided journaling to teletherapy are available on your smartphone!