Many individuals wait until they are in crisis to seek therapy. Whether the crisis is being fired from a job or the end of a relationship, many usually miss the signs that seeing a therapist would benefit them. Therapy definitely helps people overcome difficult situations and work through crisis. However, there are situations that could be worked through sooner and some calamity that can be avoided if one knows the signs that usually indicate that seeing a therapist would be beneficial.
Common indicators that therapy may be helpful:
- Inability to focus
- Forgetting to complete tasks that you normally would remember
- Completing tasks takes longer than usual
- Increase in conflict with friends and/or family members
- Loss of interest in activities that were once interesting
- Feeling nonchalant regarding goals, work, school and/or family
- Not feeling like yourself
- Emotionally disconnected from people you felt strongly about
- Increase/Decrease in sleep
- Increase/Decrease in appetite
- Feeling more irritable and less patient
- Deep feelings of sadness
- Waking up and getting your day started becomes extremely difficult
- You make more mistakes than usual
- Racing thoughts or not being able to “turn your brain off”
- Family or friends complain about your behavior or “attitude”
- Increase in alcohol consumption
- Frequent headaches or upset stomach
- Panic attacks/anxiety
These are just a few of the symptoms that could indicate that seeing a therapist would be helpful. If you are proactive, and address these symptoms once you are aware of them, it could prevent situations and symptoms from worsening.
Many times these symptoms go ignored for various reasons, the number one reason being that we often don’t associate stress with the need for help. If you have the flu you go to the doctor, but if you are stressed and emotionally drained you just “deal with it until it passes.” Many are suffering in silence because of this way of thinking.
Yes, stress is a part of life and we all are faced with it in one way or another. However, having three or more of the symptoms above indicate that your stress level can be negatively impacting you physically, socially and mentally. This is when taking action is necessary. You don’t have to wait until you receive the disciplinary action at work or until your partner has left you or until your children have stopped speaking to you. You can take action now. In doing so, you will learn positive ways of coping with stress and also discover why certain feelings or behaviors continue to impact your life.
Therapy is an opportunity for healing and enlightenment. Therapy is also a chance to focus on yourself and work through difficult situations. It is an opportunity to invest in yourself! If your car was making an unusual noise, would you wait until it stopped working to take it to the mechanic? Most people wouldn’t. You don’t wait because you need your car and not having it would impact every aspect of your life. So, why don’t we treat ourselves with the same respect? Your emotional health impacts every aspect of your life. Take time to invest in yourself…..you invest in everything else.