“You should talk to a therapist”, said my best friend five years ago. “You think I’m mad” I retorted. “You’re not okay, I’m worried about you”, she said in a tone that sounded concerned.
It was a phase when I lost my father to severe cardiac arrest, I was struggling for a job, blaming others for my financial loss, low on some important vitamins and minerals in my body, was tired and irritated always, and I’d jump into arguments for any petty reason. Even after trying hard, I failed to bounce back to my happy, high-life state. Sometimes, it’s hard to recognize and break the negative patterns in your life.
There are times when you are confused between what is normal and not normal. Your thoughts, actions, and feelings may seem okay to you. But, when your loved ones say it’s not okay, you need to pause and think again.
Keeping aside the stigma and shame, I decided to talk to a therapist and it is the best decision of my life. That little extra professional help made it easier for me to cope with my life’s challenges, heal and grow. It’s never wrong to ask for help! You will feel less alone with your problems.
According to Dr Ramani Durvasula, a California-based licensed clinical psychologist, therapy means “an honest, objective and confidential space that allows a person to explore uncomfortable feelings, understand its root causes, place it in a context and learn coping skills to overcome those feelings.”
You might need help too, but you are unaware of it.
So, here are a few signs that it’s time for you to talk to a therapist.
1. You’re highly stressed
Racing thoughts, constant worry, anger, irritability, restlessness, difficulty in performing activities of daily living, or problems at work/school or home are all signs of a mental health issue. Because these are the signs listed for nearly every diagnosis listed in the DSM-5, the mental health diagnostic manual.
When you are more stressed than usual, it is necessary to seek out help. Talking to a therapist will help you figure out if you are having anxiety, depression, or mania. Therapists are not just passive observers or listeners. Instead, they work hard on your behalf to bring understanding and relief in the context of a trusting relationship.
2. You’re unable to regulate your emotions
We all experience anger, excitement, frustration, anxiety, or low mood, but some people can well-manage them. You must have seen people giving witty replies even to the most embarrassing questions. And there are some who maintain a smiling face even during heated arguments. These are people who have mastered the art of emotional regulation.
People with poor emotional regulation may feel overwhelmed without any explanation. Anger is often a part of a depressive presentation but is often misinterpreted as short-temper. According to expert psychologists, a poorly regulated response to stress leads to uncontrolled anger. That is often linked with deeper issues in life, which can be explored with the assistance of a trained professional.
Counseling or talk therapy is designed to help you self-regulate your behavior and learn more adaptive ways to manage stress through active problem solving and relaxation strategies.
3. You’ve serious and frequent shifts in mood
Having mood swings is quite normal. It is okay to feel sad or anxious sometimes. It can be due to a sudden rush of bad emotions or because you’re missing someone special. The matter is of serious concern if it persists for more than two weeks.
Prolonged mood-offs can leave you too exhausted even to manage your daily affairs. Self-help techniques like reading books, talking to friends, exercise may help you reverse the lethargy, sadness, or hopelessness feelings.
Otherwise, you must talk to a therapist to get clarity for the shift in your mood and energy. The therapist will bolster your resilience and help you find meaning in your life.