10 Signs You Need Therapy

Life will always present challenges. Though most of them seem easy to recover from, there might be a few that will be a bit harder. In those moments, where you feel overwhelmed, tired, unsure, or generally overwhelmed, you should reach out to a therapist. 

There is a common misconception about therapy. Most people immediately think that visiting a therapist means that you have a mental health issue. While psychotherapy is a helpful tool to cope with mental health issues, it is also a wonderful tool that can help you cope with stress and other distressing emotions.

Therapy provides you a safe space where you can unload your emotional burdens, vent about your experiences, and develop skills to help you handle challenges you may face in life. 

Below are ten signs you should consider going to therapy.

  • You’re having difficulty regulating your emotions. 

Emotional regulation is the ability to control your own emotional state. It is a process that the majority of us are accustomed to doing. It’s almost second nature to us. For example, if you were to accidentally spill a cup of coffee all over your notes for class, on a good day, your response might be temporary irritation, annoyance, and a tinge of sadness. You might yelp if the coffee spills on you. But, your immediate reaction might not be to run around the library cursing every coffee bean in existence. Though, it depends on the context.

There are many factors that can affect our affect and cause a dysregulation of our emotions. 

Frustrating and overwhelming situations can cause temporary emotional dysregulation. However, if you notice that you are having trouble controlling your emotions, you might want to consider reaching out to a therapist. Oftentimes, persistent emotional dysregulation is a precursor for depression or other mental health issues. However, emotional dysregulation does not always appear as an overly emotional outburst. It can also look like repressed tight smiles and tears blinked into submission. Repression is also emotional dysregulation.

It’s important to reach out to a therapist because they can provide you with tools on how to deal with your emotions.

  • You’re not performing effectively.

Your performance level may not always be at 100%. External factors like working conditions can always affect how you decide to perform. However, a decrease in performance can be a sign of a struggle with a mental or emotional issue. 

In an interview with Forbes Magazine, Dr. Ramani Durvasula points out that mental health issues can cause a lapse in memory, impair your attention, and cause you to feel apathetic which can kill your drive to do any work. 

Additionally, a decrease in performance can also be caused by stress. Regardless of the reason, it is best to seek help from a therapist if you notice a decrease in your performance.

  • You’ve experienced changes in your sleep and appetite.

It’s common to have fluctuations in eating and sleeping patterns. But, if you notice a significant change in your eating and sleeping patterns, that may be a sign that you should take a moment to figure out what may be causing those changes. 

Typically, stress plays a role. It has been shown that chronic stress can certainly cause changes in sleep and appetite. However, those with a mental health issue exhibit similar changes. Regardless of the cause, it is always a good idea to ask a therapist for help. 

  • Your relationships are struggling.

Our mental health affects all aspects of our lives, especially our relationships. If you notice that you have pulled away from your relationships or shying away from opportunities to create new relationships, you might want to figure out why. 

A common cause is an internal emotional or mental struggle. Luckily, a therapist can help you figure out the underlying causes of your struggling relationships and give you skills to improve your relationships.

  • You have experienced trauma.

Therapy is a great resource for those who have experienced trauma. Even years after the trauma, the event can still leave scars that can hinder or impact your future. Hence, it is a great idea to unpack and cope with those unresolved emotions in a safe non-judgemental place. Additionally, a therapist can provide you with tools that can help you reframe the trauma and overcome it 

  • You no longer enjoy your favorite activities.

It’s normal to outgrow certain hobbies and passions. As we age, our interests change. But, a sudden disinterest in current hobbies and activities can be indicative of more than just maturity. 

A lack of joy in things you once enjoyed sometimes speaks to a feeling of emptiness or apathy. It denotes that you feel a bit empty and disconnected from life. This feeling is common for those who have or are experiencing depression, neglect, grief, or abuse.  

Though you might not identify as someone who suffers from a mental health issue, it is still a good idea to reach out to a therapist for help. They can help you figure out what is causing the disenchantment, how to get rid of negative self-talk and relearn joy. 

  • You are grieving. 

Grief is an incredibly complex emotion. Though many people would argue that it has stages, I believe that grief ebbs and flows. It’s like a train station. The train pulls in and you sometimes get off at the station and other times you catch glimpses of it as you pass by.

Grief is borne out of loss– a loss of a loved one, a loss of a job, or a loss of an opportunity. This period of mourning can be a long and painful process, but you do not have to go through it alone. Therapy or counseling can provide you a safe space filled with compassion to help you process the grief.  

  • Your physical health has taken a hit.

It is now common knowledge that the mind and the body are interconnected. Whatever is going on in the mind, is often manifested in the body and vice versa.  

A change in physical health can sometimes point to a mental health problem. Studies have linked chronic pain with mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. 

But, what happens when your physical health declines? The same thing. Physical ailments can cause distress, anxiety, and in some cases, depression. The link between your mind and body is so strong that many researchers are not sure which affects which first. 

Regardless, it is a good idea to reach out to a therapist for help.

  • You are working on self-improvement but feel overwhelmed. 

Therapy is not always about fixing something. It can also be about growth.

If you have decided to walk down the path of self-improvement, you know how overwhelming it can be at first. There are countless books and seminars on the topic, but the best resource is therapy. A therapist is almost like a librarian in the sense that they can direct you to the right resources for the particular topic you want to improve on while also providing you with additional information. They are better equipped to help you understand what areas you should focus on improving and give you tools to achieve your self-improvement goals. 

Ignore the stigma and misconception around therapy. Therapy is a helpful tool that provides you a space to heal, learn, and grow.  If you are in search for a therapist, there are many places to look. You could ask your health insurance provider for a list, check out mental health resources at your school, or ask your employer for an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) referral. You could also try an online therapy platform such as Talkspace or BetterHelp. You can also search directories like Psychology Today or WithTherapy to find therapists in your area.

Hope this information has been useful and that you have felt encouraged to ask for help if you need it. Let us know in the comments below if this topic motivated you to seek help or why you decided to see a therapist. 

Take care! 

Sources:

Cohen, I. (2021, February 25). 9 Signs You Should Think About Seeing a Therapist. The Healthy. https://www.thehealthy.com/mental-health/signs-need-therapy/. 

Ferguson, S. (2020, June 30). Yes, Mental Illness Can Cause Physical Symptoms — Here’s Why. healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/mental-illness-can-cause-physical-symptoms. 

Legg, T. J., & Fraga, J. (2019, August 15). 7 Physical Symptoms That Prove Depression Is Not Just ‘In Your Head.’healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/physical-symptoms-of-depression. 

Nazish, N. (2019, September 20). 10 Sure Signs You Need To See A Therapist (And How To Find The Right One). Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nomanazish/2019/09/20/10-sure-signs-you-need-to-see-a-therapist-and-how-to-find-the-right-one/?sh=4fc117a9501b. 

Salters-Pedneault, K., & Gans, S. (2020, September 15). How to Improve Your Emotion Regulation Skills for Better Health. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/emotion-regulation-skills-training-425374. 

Salters-Pedneault, K., & Morin, A. (2019, September 17). Why Suppressing Emotions Doesn’t Work for People With BPD. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/suppressing-emotions-425391. 

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