Over the last couple weeks, I have covered several mental health topics including: the stigma against mental illness, misconceptions about mental illness, and how mental illness can affect your overall well-being. However, I haven’t covered much about ways to determine if you might have a mental illness, or ways to determine if you should seek help.
While we’ve all experienced bad days, some of us have suffered through bad days that have turned into bad weeks, bad months, or sometimes even bad years. While it’s easy to tell when you’re feeling down, it’s not always easy to determine when you might need to seek help for those feelings. Because of this, it’s especially important that we discuss signs of mental illness and indicators that it may be time to enter therapy.
For reference, I’ve outlined some situations that indicate it may be time to seek therapy.
You struggle with extreme emotions.
We all experience emotions such as sadness and anger from time to time. It’s all part of being human. Unfortunately, sometimes these emotions become too intense, or overwhelming. When this occurs, there could be an underlying issue that needs addressed.
You lean on harmful substances “cope”.
Using a substance such as illegal drugs, alcohol, or even food, to numb negative feelings is a large red flag. While it’s perfectly okay to indulge in a glass of wine or a piece of pie every once in a while, these behaviors can become a problem when they are used to cope or avoid underlying issues.
You’ve experienced trauma.
If you’ve experienced something traumatic that you just can’t stop thinking about, you may require counseling. Sometimes feelings of grief don’t go away on their own. When this happens, a therapist can help you work through those emotions in a healthy and productive way. (Note: the traumatic event doesn’t have to be recent! Past traumas can be just as painful.)
You are unable to connect with others.
When things get tough, it’s not uncommon to withdrawal from friends or experience a small lapse in daily functioning. We all have bad days, right? However, if you are having issues with maintaining relationships or communicating with others, therapy may be able to help.
You no longer enjoy your favorite things/activities.
If your favorite activities have lost their luster, you might be wondering why. Occasionally, preferences do change. Yet this could be a sign of a deeper issue such as depression. Luckily, therapists can help you understand the change you’re experiencing and whether it’s a sign of changing tastes, or changing mental states.
You just don’t feel like yourself.
This can be hard to explain, yet we all know that feeling. Each of us has a unique temperament that we live with day-to-day. When our temperament and the way we feel changes, it can be hard to decipher what’s going on and why it’s happening. When the way you feel is significantly different than what is your “normal”, therapy may be necessary.
If you’ve been suffering through any of these examples, please don’t hesitate to contact a therapist! And don’t forget: the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department is now offering Behavioral Health services by appointment only. We are currently accepting new patients, so don’t hesitate to make your appointment today by calling the office during normal business hours (Monday-Friday; 8AM-4PM) at 304-265-1288. We look forward to hearing from you, and beginning your healing journey.