Always (or usually) feeling this way.
Not caring anymore.
Always on edge.
I don’t know what else to do.
I have a feeling there’s a different way, but I don’t know how to get there.
The list above is where many people find themselves and start on their paths to seeking mental health services. Of course this list isn’t exhaustive (I’m sure I’ve left a few out), however it usually takes us getting to a breaking point of feeling out of resources, ideas, and energy; when we finally start to feel that it might be time to seek some support.
So how do we know if it might be time to visit with a trained counselor? Check out the list below for some ideas and examples.
Feeling Stuck - Ever gotten a car stuck in the snow, mud, or couldn’t get traction on the ice? It’s not a great feeling and on top of that, it takes resources and maybe some help to get it unstuck. Sometimes we are just a little bit stuck and sometimes, the car is buried deep in the sludge or snow. There’s no shame in breaking out the shovel and accepting some assistance. The same principle applies with counseling too.
Feeling Frustrated - Frustration; we’ve all been there, and it’s a lonely feeling. Sometimes sharing with a trusted and well-trained person, exactly how and why we came to be frustrated, can get us back on the path to feeling as if a solution might be possible, or in an un-ending situation, the support of another person can make all the difference in our perspective and perseverance.
Always (or usually) feeling this way. - If nothing changes, nothing changes. Life is short, but sometimes we go through things that make it feel long and grueling. A trained helper knows techniques and tools to help us to start feeling better and enjoying more of our time.
Not caring anymore. - Ah, apathy! This one is sneaky and even sometimes seductive. “How mysterious am I ?!? Not caring about anything….watch me not care….” OK, so we get a minute or so to entertain this one (ball gown on, fainting couch nearby, long cigarette in hand), but the truth is, not caring about things we used to care about, is anything but glamorous.
On top of that, apathy for the things we once enjoyed can be an actual symptom of Major Depression. It can also be a sign that we are experiencing burnout, or a host of other mental health situations that need attention, or they will likely get worse with time.
Always on edge. - What might it look like to feel 5% less anxious than you currently do? How about 10% less anxious? Or 25% less? If that question piques your interest, it might be time to start a helpful conversation with a trained therapist. We all experience natural periods of anxious feelings, (almost fell off the bike, surprise test, cat scared the crap out of us, etc.), but the truth is, we are NOT wired to live like this all the time and there ARE ways for us to feel less anxious.
I don’t know what else to do. - Sometimes life hands us a situation we did not sign up for. While we were all busy learning geometry (no offense to math-loving friends), very few of us ever learned how to grieve, communicate effectively, build healthy relationships, set and hold healthy boundaries, and the list of skills goes on and on. There’s no shame in learning a new skill. Sometimes a new skill or knowledge is exactly what we need to improve our situation and mindset, and exactly what we work on in counseling.
Not myself. - We see that we aren’t ourselves anymore and we aren’t sure what happened. A trained therapist can help us to discover and appreciate our whole selves, sitting with all the pieces of us; the stuff we show off to the world and the stuff that we hide and hold close or feel we’ve lost. It’s all human, and it’s all welcome in the counseling process.
Getting worse. - We’ve tried all of our tools in the tool box, and the problem is getting worse. This is absolutely the time to check in with a counselor. Oftentimes a second, objective set of eyes on our situation is very helpful for creating an atmosphere of discovery, growth, and even healing. When life is tough, it’s time for a team approach. We don’t have to struggle alone.
I have a feeling there’s a different way, but I don’t know how to get there. - We aren’t quite sure what we need, but we need something. It’s important to keep in mind that every journey in counseling is different, and while some might take awhile, some are very short and solution focused, producing new ideas and change in a short amount of time. We might just need a session or three to get us going in a new direction or to gain some outside perspective, resources, and referrals. Counseling is about growth and self discovery too.
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