Many of us are walking around silently suffering from different challenges life throws our way. People say feeling down or anxious is just a normal reaction to loss or disappointing events, which is true. But when does it become not normal?
Have you often caught yourself wondering, “Should I go to therapy?”
Furthermore, how would you know that what you’re feeling isn’t a typical reaction anymore but a systemic disease?
Here are seven signs that would tell you it’s time to see a therapist:
Your Fuse Is Shorter Than Usual
Do you find yourself having an emotional outburst over “little things?”
Sudden or unexpected changes in behavior can sometimes be a sign that it might be a good time to talk with a professional. Pay attention to how you’re reacting to everyday stressors—are your reactions more intense than usual? Are you frequently getting into fights with family and friends?
If you are, perhaps it’s time to visit a therapist. What you’re experiencing might or might not be a mental health disorder, but you don’t have to wait for things to get severe and for people to get hurt before seeking help. Therapy can unravel the reason behind your mood swings and help you get to the bottom of what’s happening.
You Always Feel Inexplicably Tired
All of us can feel tired and unmotivated sometimes. However, it shouldn’t interfere with your daily life. If you’re always in bed, unable to get up, or if you can but feel you’re functioning differently from your baseline, it’s a red flag that you need help.
Feeling this way could affect other areas of who you are: your concentration, memory, decision-making, and your ability to get things done. Mental health disorders don’t always manifest the same way all the time, but your therapist should be able to help evaluate your condition
You Feel Disconnected From Reality
You feel like your head is “wrapped in cotton.” You’re an outsider from your thoughts, feelings, and even your body. When you talk or move, you feel like you’re not in control of them or like you’re detached from everything around you and you’re losing your sense of self.
This may sound like a plot from a sci-fi movie, but it happens in real life. Those could be signs of Depersonalization-Derealization disorder, childhood trauma, Post Traumatic Disorder (PTSD), or emotional detachment. Only a therapist can say for sure.
You’re Abusing Alcohol and/or Substances
Many people abuse alcohol or drugs to alleviate symptoms of (undiagnosed) mental health issues. It helps temporarily change their mood and gives them a false feeling that they’ve escaped from their problems or stressors.
However, drug and substance abuse has side effects that only exacerbate the symptoms they initially tried to relieve. In short, if they have a mental health issue, it only makes their condition worse.
If you’ve been abusing drugs or drinking heavily, seek the help of a therapist. Therapy and counseling could help you better understand what you’re trying to cover up, teach you coping and life skills to combat life’s pressures, and give you tools to stop unhealthy behaviors so you can abstain from drugs/or alcohol.
Your Sleeping and Eating Habits Are Messed Up
Are you having trouble sleeping? When you do get some sleep, do you often get nightmares? Are your thoughts so intrusive that it’s impeding your ability to concentrate and function?
Being unable to sleep or eat or sleeping or eating too much to cope with your emotions are signs that it might be time to see your healthcare provider. These can be symptoms of trauma, depression, or other mental health issues.
You’re Easily Overwhelmed
The question, “Should I go to therapy” might enter your mind during times when everything feels like it’s just too much. However, feeling overwhelmed per se isn’t always a sign of a mental illness. Some types of “overwhelm” where there are obvious triggers—witnessing an accident, life changes that take time to process (e.g. divorce), giving too much work, etc.—are all typical.
But when you feel overwhelmed without any logical reason why or your response doesn’t match the situation (e.g. the dishwasher stops working and you find yourself crying on the floor), is a big, broad sign that therapy could be helpful for you.
It could help identify and understand external and internal factors that are contributing to the inexplicable overwhelming feeling you’re having. Therapy could also provide skills so you can work through difficult situations and feelings to improve your well-being.
You Constantly Worry
Worrying is normal if it’s in small doses. But if it’s constant and disproportionate to the cause, you could be experiencing anxiety. Aside from worrying, other symptoms of anxiety include:
- Feeling on edge
- Easily tired
- Racing thoughts
- Feelings of dread or impending doom
- Rapid heart rate
- Chest or stomach pain
- Unexplained aches
- Lethargy or weakness
- Sleep problems
- Difficulty concentrating
Difficult experiences, childhood trauma, and stress buildup among others could trigger anxiety. The cognitive component of therapy could help uncover thought patterns, understand how they contribute to your fears, and change them to alleviate anxiety symptoms.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
The question, “Should I go to therapy” shouldn’t have to be asked. If people strive to regularly go to the gym, spa, or salon for some “me” time, why not therapy?
You don’t need a “big reason” to go. We all need a little help—it’s nothing to be ashamed of.