HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED COUNSELING ?

It is not uncommon – every one of us experience sadness, anger, a nagging dissatisfaction, stress, grief and loss, strained relationships. However when we are experiencing some of these states it might be very difficult and hard to know if it is time to seek the help of a professional.

We all know it is important to identify and manage diagnosable mental illness and it is certainly a priority it is also important to understand that seeking psychological help for those symptoms that does not have a clear condition or diagnosis – is equally a priority. This is because it is very possible to relieve self from the endless suffering of some of the symptoms mentioned and actually escalate these states and becoming habitual by avoiding professional help.

Remember, the age old proverb that Prevention is better than Cure and the earlier someone gets help it is easier to resolve and get through the problem – this will also reduce the amount of stress and strain you endure constantly engaging in these states.

 Many times, people get stuck on the myths of seeking Counselling and relate it to a treatment for people who have serious mental health issues.  What we are talking here is that Counselling can be extremely beneficial even for those who are on cross roads in their life trying to navigate their journey forward but feel overwhelmed and strained by the myriad of life stressors that are emotionally and behaviourally draining .Counselling at this point can be a wonderful stress reliever that could you help you to propel your life forward with the most effective coping strategies 

 

Now, what are some signs that could help you decide if you need to seek professional help?

 

Everything in your life is starting to feel intense and beyond your ability to handle 

Feeling immense anger and sadness on a constant basis. You tend to catastrophize everything way beyond when something unforeseen happens in your life. You tend to get anxious very easily and constantly expecting the worst to happen. You feel paralyzed, feel everything is super sized and you are unable to handle.  This leads to avoiding situations and drastically starts to notice that you are living a constricted life and you are starting to avoid everything a lot.

 

You have suffered a trauma and you are constantly preoccupied with it 

This could happen at different phases of our life – a death of a loved one, a job loss, a major illness, a relationship breakup or an exposure to a natural or manmade calamity. This can all require some counselling to handle the pain and the intrusive thoughts that spiral in our head for years.  All these states can bring about major changes in you as a person – you might feel demotivated, feel withdrawn, lack of enthusiasm, pulling away from life’s day to day chores .However, on the contrary some can respond to these losses with a manic reaction – hyper responsive and engagement to spending time with friends, being overly active in activities and the inability to sleep.

You  experience unexplained physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches , body aches and a weak immune system 

When we are emotionally upset, we can experience a myriad of physical symptoms that can inhibit our day to functioning with a wide range of physical ailments such as chronically upset stomach, headaches, body aches and muscle twinges, frequent colds, neck pain and body pains that come from nowhere. These can be caused by years of stress and emotional distress that has gone unresolved.

You rely on substance and addictive behaviours to cope 

You start to realise that you are unable to function or participate in your day to day chores without indulging in your habitual dependence on substance , an activity or a thing –  such as alcohol , controlled drugs or substance ,  food, gaming and gambling,  internet addiction ,  engaging in reckless sexual activities and watching or engaging in sexual acts on internet 

You are being singled out at work for your poor performance

You are finding yourself increasingly with the Inability to concentrate, getting angry easily, feeling disconnected from your job, the quality of your work is slipping, and there is negative feedback from your colleagues and bosses on your work. Most of us spend considerable amount of time at work and therefore people and colleagues who notice this slip are people who will have to compensate just like in families

A total disconnect from activities that gave you purpose and pleasure

You are feeling totally unhappy, you do not enjoy going to the places you enjoyed going before, you avoid parties and get together, and you do not feel enthusiastic and do not look forward to gathering and meetings with friends and families. Everything starts to feel like a chore. You feel a general sense of unhappiness and feel a total disconnect and do not find much purpose or meaning in these activities 

Relationships are getting strained and drained

You are starting to feel a total disconnect with your partner or spouse – you are unable to communicate, you feel emotionally distanced and feel unhappy when you are engaging with them. You want to be left alone.

You notice people are noticing and sharing that something is not right with you

Sometimes our friends and families can better see or notice patterns about our behaviours that we might not realise or notice that are different.  We are sometimes unable to see what is going on inside and how they are manifesting on the outside. Therefore, it is very important to take them seriously and give importance to their perspectives. They can be your agent for change and a better version of yourself.