There are many misconceptions about therapy but perhaps one of the biggest (and most dangerous) is the idea that there needs to be something seriously up in order to make it to your therapist’s couch.
So let’s say it loud and clear: don’t leave it until breaking point if you’re not feeling good.
Whilst therapy can also be helpful in a crisis, the earlier you seek the right help, the faster it’s going to be to work through the issue. Pushing through and pretending everything’s fine serves no one. Because the more we stuff painful emotions down the more we’ve got left to untangle.
Instead, try and consider therapy as an emotional and mental health check. In the same way that we exercise and eat right to look after our bodies, therapy provides the space to check-in with our minds and make sure everything is ticking along OK. That way it gets easier to spot when things are amiss, and we’re able to steer ourselves back on course much faster.
Below are some warning signs to look out for which might suggest it’s a good time to seek support:
1. You’re feeling overwhelmed
Culturally, we tend to stuff our emotions down. Whilst this might work temporarily, over time our emotions usually wind up resurfacing elsewhere (and often tenfold). If you feel like you can’t stop crying or angry outbursts are becoming a regular feature for you, take it as a sign to dig deeper.
2. You keep getting ill
Our mental, emotional and physical health are all deeply interconnected. If you’re suffering from physical symptoms with no apparent cause, then therapy is a good next avenue to explore. Excess stress can lead to lowered immunity, bodily aches and pains, digestive difficulties, difficulties sleeping etc. Take these as your body’s warning sign that something is amiss.
3. You’re drinking more than you used to (or using other coping methods)
If you find yourself reaching for the wine bottle every evening and letting impulses rule your life, this might suggest you’re struggling to cope. Turning to things outside of yourself in order to make you feel better is a dangerous sign, and this would be a good time to check-in with a professional.
4. You’re less productive or finding it difficult to concentrate
Maybe you find yourself losing your train of thought mid-meeting, struggling to finish a book or umm-ing and ah-ing over decisions that had previously been straight-forward… All of these should be taken as a warning sign that something’s up. Depression can cause changes in the brain (the amygdala and hippocampus) that make it harder to focus.
5. You don’t feel excited about anything anymore
You feel like you’re stuck in a rut, and don’t get excited about things in the way you used to. Anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure) is a common symptom of depression and strips the sufferer from the motivation to do anything. If you find that you’re not taking as much pleasure in your favourite activities anymore, this should serve as a major red flag.
6. Your friends are concerned
This is an obvious one but it’s easy to ignore the things we don’t want to hear. If your loved ones are concerned or have mentioned that it’s time to seek help, trust that they have your best interests at heart.
7. You’ve pulled away from your friends
If you feel like you don’t “get” your friends anymore and find that you’re becoming more and more insular, it might signal that you’re struggling with your mental health. Isolation is a common symptom of anxiety and depression.
8. You keep repeating the same mistakes in life
If you feel like you’re in a perpetual ground-hog day, then it might be time to dig deeper. Making the same mistakes time and time again could signal that there are some deeply ingrained patterns at play. Speaking to a therapist can help you identify where they stem from so you can build a life that’s no longer dictated by the stories of old.
9. You’re struggling in your relationship (or can’t hold down a relationship)
Maybe you enter into intense love affairs that always end badly or you’re consistently at loggerheads with your partner… The way we interact with relationships today is closely intertwined with our past. We tend to create relationship dynamics that feel like the ones we had growing up. In order to break these patterns, it’s usually necessary to revisit and heal the pains of our past in therapy.
10. You’re having sleeping difficulties
Sleep should be seen as a barometer for your mental and emotional wellbeing. Sleeping difficulties often point to something going on at a deeper emotional and mental level. When most people think of insomnia they think of it as the inability to fall asleep at night, but it can also manifest as waking up very early and not being able to fall asleep again or waking up multiple times throughout the night.
Complete our free online assessment and start your therapy journey today.