Going to the doctor is relatively easy these days. Most people don’t even bat an eye at it. It is a socially acceptable norm that people go to the doctor at least once a year for a well-visit, even more so if you are a child. There are no qualms, no stigmas, no worries associated with traditional doctor visits. Unfortunately, mental health is not viewed with the same social acceptance. There are many opinions and beliefs about what it means about you to be seeing a therapist. There is still a substantial stigma around mental health. Many people avoid asking for help either because they don’t want to seem weak or because they have been told that whatever they are feeling or experiencing is no big deal. Either way, avoiding proper help can lead to negative effects that spread into other areas of your life. A person might begin to miss days of work or school, struggle to maintain relationships, experience an increase in other medical health issues, or increase the risk of suicide.
However, if a person takes that first brave step to begin the therapeutic journey, the gains can be great. Therapeutic benefits can include increased self-esteem, increased positive coping skills, increased frustration tolerance, increased job or school performance, and overall healthier relationships.
Mental health issues are common. The National Alliance on Mental Health reports that 1 in 5 Americans are struggling with some type of mental health. Nevertheless, asking for help is hard. What’s harder is knowing when to ask for help. Here are 8 common signs it might be a good idea to seek help.
You feel overwhelmed
The feeling of being overwhelmed can come from feeling like there are too many tasks for a person to complete. This can lead to a person feeling unable to complete these tasks, which can push a person into the freeze or flight responses of stress. If you find this happening often, it might be a good idea to reach out to a therapist. They can help you learn coping skills to manage your stress and function optimally.
You no longer enjoy activities you used to
Maybe you used to love skateboarding or cooking or hiking. Now you find yourself feeling fatigued and no longer enjoying these activities. It feels like too much work to get up, get dressed, and go to the park, or bake a cake. Before, these activities revived you and recharged your batteries, giving you energy for the coming week. Now they seem to drain you. If this sounds like something you are experiencing, reaching out for help may be the best option for you.
You feel apathetic
Apathy is when you no longer have concern or interest in something. Burnout is a great example of apathy. No matter what your job is, a stay-at-home parent or the CEO of a hospital, apathy can affect anyone. Apathy goes further than not caring about activities. Your friend might be telling you about a hard time in her life and you find yourself careless and uninterested as if you don’t have the energy to muster up any emotions. If you feel like you are starting to not care about the things or people you used to or feeling void of emotion, then it might be a sign to think about talking to someone.
You are hopeless
This is often a sign of depression or anxiety. It is not uncommon to feel hopeless or lose motivation after a hard period, however, it can be concerning if persists. Here is a quick self-assessment for anxiety and depression. This assessment is not meant to replace the diagnosis from a counselor or doctor. If you feel you need help, please reach out to your physician or click here to talk to a counselor at WellNest Counseling.
You have disproportionate emotional reactions to events
Think of a 4-year-old who falls to the floor, kicking and screaming because he or she cannot have cotton candy 15 minutes before dinner. A person with typical emotional regulation wouldn’t think that waiting until after dinner is a big deal. However, if you are reacting to these small things like a 4-year-old tantrum, something deeper might be going on. Disproportionate emotional reactions happen we are over-tired, overwhelmed, sad, or stressed about something. If you feel this is a persistent trend, seeking help can bring relief.
You are experiencing excessive worry
There are several ways worry can present itself. One of the most common ways is ruminating thoughts. If you find yourself thinking about something persistently, this is a good sign you have crossed into over-worry. Other signs of over-worry include lack of sleep, lack of appetite, and inability to concentrate.
You have intrusive thoughts
Intrusive thoughts are when a thought or idea pops into your head uncontrollably. They are often disturbing and leave you questioning yourself. Many people think, “why would I think that, what is wrong with me?” Intrusive thoughts don’t always indicate a mental health disorder, but sometimes it can be linked to OCD, depression, anxiety, or a traumatic brain injury. If you are experiencing stress over these thoughts, a therapist can help you to address this.
You are socially withdrawing
You no longer want to see your friends or family. You would rather be alone and you feel sad or just not like yourself. You find it too hard to “put on a face” and act happy around people. Therapy might be able to help you understand why you are feeling this way.
This list includes and covers just some signs you might benefit from therapy. There are many other reasons to get help as well. If you are feeling distressed or having thoughts of hurting yourself, please don’t wait. Seek help immediately. Suicide is usually impulsive, not planned out. HERE is a link to the suicide prevention website and the number is 1-800-273-8255.
*IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING AN EMERGENCY, PLEASE CALL 911 OR GO TO YOUR NEAREST ER*
Benefits of talking therapy. (2018, May 12). NHS. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/benefits-of-talking-therapy
Mental Health by the Numbers (2021) National Alliance on Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-by-the-numbers
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