Sometimes you feel like you just want to talk out your problems, and in those instances you may wonder what constitutes a visit to a therapist. Meeting with a therapist is helpful for lots of people, whether they are struggling with a big issue, or just don't quite feel like themselves. So the answer is — there really is no right or wrong reason to seek out some help.
Often times people avoid therapists because they don't feel like they should go, while others avoid going because they think it means they're crazy. But that's simply not true. Therapy is incredibly helpful for the craziest people all the way down to those who just want to vent about their day. And there's no shame in any of it, no matter where you fall on that spectrum.
Therapy has as a way of changing how you look at things, which can help you get over any problems you're dealing with in life. A therapist can pull you out of a dark depression, help you get over old childhood traumas, and guide you through difficult times in your life. Therapists can also act as a sounding board for your ideas, and hold you accountable for your goals. According to Lindsay Holmes, healthy living editor for the Huffington Post, "Talking to a professional life coach can help you get over those mental blocks you encounter with any challenge."
Whatever your reason, seeking out therapy is bound to be beneficial. But if you're wondering if it's right for you, here are some signs it may be time to chat it up with a doctor.
1. You Don't Feel Like Yourself
If something is bothering you, even if you don't quite know what that "something" is, it's still worth talking to a therapist so you can sort yourself out. "Maybe your concentration is shot, or your enthusiasm and drive for getting things done is simply not there any more. Maybe you avoid any interaction with your classmates or coworkers. Or maybe you’re just feeling plain overwhelmed," said John M. Grohol, Psy.D. for PsychCentral. "If your anxiety, depression, mania, or whatever is causing you to function poorly in one of these environments, for weeks on end, that’s a sure sign it’s time to seek out help."
2. You Experienced Something Awful, And You Can't Get Over It
Bad things from your past can haunt you for a long time, so don't hesitate to talk to therapist about whatever's bothering you, even if it happened ten years ago. According to David Sack, MD, for Psychology Today, "If you have a history of abuse, neglect or other trauma that you haven’t fully dealt with, or if you find yourself the victim of a crime or accident, chronic illness or some other traumatic event, the earlier you talk to someone, the faster you can learn healthy ways to cope." It's never too late to learn new ways to deal with your problems.
3. You Lost Something Important To You
You can lose someone or something in lots of different ways, whether it be from death, a breakup, an illness, or even a bad fight. Once that thing is gone from your life, it can feel like you'll never be happy again. But don't try to feel better on your own. According to Dr. Sack, "Grief can be a long and difficult process to endure without the support of an expert. While not everyone needs counseling during these times, there is no shame in needing a little help to get through the loss of a loved one, a divorce or significant breakup, or the loss of a job, especially if you’ve experienced multiple losses in a short period of time."
4. You're Drowning Your Feelings In Alcohol
It's common to joke about spending the weekend with a bottle of wine, but some people truly do take it too far. Using a substance, whether it be alcohol or drugs, to drown your feelings isn't the best way to cope. Talk to a therapist if you think you're drinking or drug use has gotten out of control.
5. People Are Tired Of Listening To You
There's only so many times you can call your best friend at 2 a.m. before they start to feel a little resentment. Pretty soon she may stop answering the phone completely, which is a sign your friend is officially overwhelmed, according to Dr. Grohol. So instead of wearing your friends and family out with a problem, take it to a professional who is trained to listen and respond to what ails you.
6. Your Friends Are Worried About You
If your friends are constantly asking if you're OK, then maybe you should take that as a hint. After all, they know you pretty well, and will notice immediately when you aren't acting normally. Take their perspective into consideration, especially because it can often be difficult to notice changes in yourself, according to The Huffington Post.
There's no shame in talking to a therapist, so if you think you need some help, go out and ask for it. And, most importantly, if you are feeling depressed or even suicidal, then there are absolutely resources out there. Visit Mentalhealth.gov or StrengthOfUs.org for information on how to get help in your area, and if you feel as though it's an emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Images: Pexels (1); Giphy (6)