We all go through crappy stuff, we all get stuck sometimes. And with a combination of good supports, positive coping skills, intact values, and internal motivation, we can usually make it through without therapy (but I DO think everyone should try therapy in their 20’s at least once…check out that post here). However, if you’re going through something and you’re on the fence about going to therapy, here are some good indicators it’s time.
You’re running into the same obstacles over and over.
You date guys for about 3 months before everything falls apart, and you can’t figure out why it never works out. You say you don’t want to party and get blackout drunk every Saturday, but here you are again, disappointed and annoyed with yourself on a miserable Sunday morning. You’ve tried to lose weight, but you give up on eating healthy and going to the gym after about two weeks. Your obstacles keep coming back, and the truth is that it’s not the situation. There is a deeper issue that you need to address. A counselor or therapist is an objective, non judgmental outside person who can help you do that.
Your obstacles keep coming back, and the truth is that’s not the situation. There is a deeper issue that you need to address.
Nothing excites you.
You’ve hated every job you’ve had for years, and aren’t even sure why anymore. You hear people talk about their “passion” and have no idea what yours is. You don’t feel downright depressed, but few things make you happy anymore. This kind of blah existence could have a number of names….adjustment disorder, mild to moderate depression, or simply lack of identity and purpose. Therapists have great tests, topics to discuss, and techniques that may help you start to journey through finding your identity and passion. I really do believe everyone has one if they have the right tools to look for it!
You’re struggling with a mental illness.
This one may seem obvious, but it often isn’t. And the reason why is because there are so many people living with mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, Adjustment Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder, who lead normal lives. Mental illness doesn’t just apply to “crazy” people who can’t function, speak gibberish, and hear voices. But we often think that, so we shuffle through life refusing (or not knowing how) to address real concerns that significantly harm our quality of life for the sake of not looking “crazy.” And for the record, a LOT of people see a therapist or take some kind of psychotropic medication and do absolutely live normal lives. You may have a known diagnosis, or you might sense that something is off but aren’t sure what. Either way, go see a therapist! They can help give you a diagnostic impression and get you started. Therapists and counselors do NOT prescribe medications, only medical professionals like psychiatrists, MDs, certain nurse practitioners, and some PAs can do that. But a therapist CAN recommend whether see one of those people would be helpful, or if perhaps therapy itself is the best course for treatment.
You’ve gone through a significant life event.
Death, divorce, marriage, birth of a child, moving, new career. Whatever it is, if it has caused a sense of grief or loss or has simply caused a significant change in your life, it might be worth addressing with a professional. Some people slide through change just fine, others take longer to adjust. And if it is a negative event, such as a loss, you may not be adjusting well and not even realize it. We do not grieve well in Western culture at all. We are expected to suck it up and go back to work. And for some people, staying busy really is helpful. But i don’t think that staying busy forever and never addressing the grief is healthy. Talk to a therapist. Even if it’s only a few sessions, taking time to be honest about what it’s like can do wonders.
Those are just a few indicators that you might be a good candidate for counseling…. I know there are many more! What other indicators might be helpful for making this decision? Share in the comments!
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