The energy of the mind is the essence of life~Aristotle
Someone asked me last night, “So how did you know you needed to go see a therapist?” To be honest, I couldn’t tell him the exact moment I said, “Let me find a therapist”. I remember I did have a close friend that I discussed the topic with, but I don’t know if she suggested it or I mentioned it first. The important thing is that I knew it was time to get help…. but what was it about THAT moment? My answer, I was tired of feeling how I had been feeling and I wanted to get back to being myself. Despite appearing to be content with my life at the time, I wasn’t happy. I was actually very sad, over eating, taking EVERYTHING personal, crying often, and either not sleeping or sleeping my days away. That is not the life I wanted for myself.
After I finished a lengthy phone conversation with my friend, the questions stayed in my mind. “So how did you know you needed to go see a therapist? “When should I find a therapist?” In the end, I gave an honest answer, but it didn’t stop me from thinking about how I could better answer the question if I were asked by someone else. After much thinking, I composed a list of my top three suggestions. DISCLAIMER: I am not a mental health professional, a doctor, nurse, life coach (though some people may disagree)-This is just giving my opinion.
1. After the death of a loved one
I would encourage people who have lost a child, a parent, a sibling, a best friend or a spouse to talk to someone, about their feelings. If the person you lost was extremely close to you, or if there are feelings of guilt or extreme sadness, I would suggest grief counseling. Everyone deals with death in different ways, you need to make sure you are coping with it in a healthy way. Many times we have feelings of guilt, thinking about what we could have done to prevent it, or we often think about things we wish we would’ve said or done before they left us. Talking through those feelings with a professional can make the difference between letting their death consume you and letting their life inspire you.
2.If you are a ‘bag lady or bag man’.
Did you have an unstable childhood? Have you had several failed relationships? Do you have anger issues? Do you blame your failures in life on other people? If so you should consider seeing a therapist. Many times the feelings from a bad situation stay with us, and we don’t realize it. An absent parent can often lead to abandonment issues and a lack of self-love. Staying in a bad relationship can destroy your self-worth, and make you question everyone’s intentions, preventing you from developing healthy relationships. Many people think they are justified in feeling how they do. They believe it is normal because they have lived through these bad situations. At some point, we have to place those ‘bags’ on the ground and walk away. Carrying around those constant negative feelings, leave no room for love and happiness in your life, and everyone deserves to be happy and loved.
3.When things are changing (or you want them to)
This statement may be too broad, but it is the best phrase, to express the point. Change is inevitable, however it can be difficult to initiate when we want to make specific changes. When we want to change but for whatever reason we cannot, it is important to know what is preventing you from moving forward, and a therapist can help you figure that out. Many people want to change their job, their relationship, their lifestyle, or even their religious beliefs but find that it is difficult. Other people want to get rid of anger issues, trust issues, abandonment issues, body image issues, feelings of guilt, and feelings of insecurity. So many people stay in their current state because they don’t know what lies on the other side of change. There is an element of fear of the unknown, that is expected. Often we settle in our unhappiness because… that’s part of life, right?? It doesn’t have to be. If you want to change, you can, but not always on your own.
A therapist does help those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, and those who may have a mental illness but have not been diagnosed. A therapist can help you deal with the stress of change in a healthy way. They can help you look at life with a different perspective, but you must be open to it. It is such a great feeling to sit and talk to a professional whose job is to just listen and help. Success in therapy requires you be totally honest with yourself and your therapist. This person doesn’t know your family or friends; this person does not judge you so you can speak freely. While finding the right therapist may not be easy, once you have found him or her, you will know it. So if you are considering getting a therapist, take the first step and look for therapist in your area, set an appointment and keep it! Don’t get discouraged if after a couple of visits the first therapist isn’t the right fit, there are plenty to choose from!