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How Do I Know If I Need Therapy?


If a physical pain is not debilitating, we tolerate it for a few days because we believe it will go away. There are times we talk to friends and family members to find solutions to our ailments.  Sometimes we are lucky and the pain goes away on its own.  There are times, however, when the pain becomes unbearable and we end up in the ER having surgery 30 minutes within arrival.  Then after a few weeks of recovery, we go back to being ourselves.

What do you do with emotional and mental challenges?  Do you treat them the same way?

It’s wise to be informed and learn what may be happening with your emotions and thoughts.  In this day and age, it’s easy to enter keywords online and come up with enough answers.  This can be helpful but it can also backfire.  You may get overwhelmed, confused or believe it may be possible to take care of the issues yourself.  Asking friends and family members for advice may be helpful, but sometimes that is not enough.  When you start noticing your “current self” is not your “typical self,” it may be time to consider professional help.

Below are important points to help you determine if you need help from a professional expert in the issues that are afflicting you:

  1. Your feelings and thoughts are getting in the way of your behavior, thus affecting your  relationships and your normal everyday functioning.
  2. You are experiencing sleeping difficulties despite keeping your normal bedtime routine.
  3. Your confidence and self-esteem are lacking or have diminished significantly.
  4. Your loved ones verbalize their concerns about your emotional and mental well-being.  They ask you repeatedly to seek professional help.
  5. Your attempts to take care of the situation yourself have failed and your symptoms have worsened.
  6. You are feeling hopeless.
  7. You have apathy and don’t care about anything anymore.
  8. Your distress, anxiety, and depression seem to paralyze you often.
  9. Your appetite has changed significantly.
  10. Your mood is negative and you feel unhappy most days.

It’s certainly difficult to take the first step to call a therapist, schedule an appointment, and ask questions to help you decide whether a therapist is the right one for you.  You may not be sure what type of questions to ask.  If you are looking for an OCD therapist in your area, the OCD Foundation website has a page with tips for interviewing therapists.  Check it out, it may be helpful: http://www.ocfoundation.org/treatment_providers.aspx#Interviewing_therapist

Neglecting your mental health could also take you to the ER.  Indeed it would be wonderful to undergo surgery within minutes of arrival and have a speedy recovery.  But waiting too long to take care of your mental and emotional needs could only lead to a longer road to recovery.

Don’t wait too long.

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