Contrary to popular belief, therapy is not for the “crazed and deranged” and you don’t necessarily have to carry a diagnosis. It’s about wanting more for your life. Challenges come, life gets tough, and bouncing back can be difficult. Conversely, not every problem requires that you sprint to a therapist ASAP. So how do you REALLY know when therapy is an option that you need to consider?
- You are no longer enjoying life. You are battling feelings of disconnect and the things that you used to enjoy are no longer enjoyable to you. I’m not referring to a change in hobbies or likes/dislikes. I’m referring to an inability to feel pleasure in doing those things that used to bring you a sense of joy. When you can no longer pinpoint anything that excites or stirs up “life” inside of you, then it’s time to talk.
- You’ve experienced a loss and you find that the feelings are paralyzing. It’s not uncommon for grief to disrupt your functioning. The feelings can be so intensely emotional and/or physical that you find them challenging to address or overcome. Keep in mind that loss doesn’t only come in the form of death. It can be the loss of a relationship, pet, job, identity, physical capabilities, health, freedom, etc.
- You experience unexplained physical ailments. When you’re under stress for a significant period of time, it WILL take a toll on your body. Common stress induced complaints are an Increase in headaches, digestive issues, and/or heart concerns. If a medical issue is not the cause of these ailments, an emotional component is worth exploring.
- You cope with your problems in unhealthy ways. If you (or others) have noticed an initiation or increase in unhealthy behavior(s), then it’s probably a sign that you’re having a difficult time coping. The feelings that those issues produce are what results in the maladaptive coping. This can look like excessive drinking, drug use, excessive eating, excessive sleep, and/or risky sexual behaviors.
- Others have suggested therapy. Have those closest to you noticed a change? When a friend or family member suggests that you speak with someone about your struggles, it’s time that you heed that advice. Often times others (especially those closest to you) can notice changes in your behavior that you may not notice yourself.
© Erika T. Kendrick, LPC, CPEC. Erika T. Kendrick is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Coach in Montclair, NJ specializing in empowering hurting women to regain hope.