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When is the Right Time to See a Therapist

January 21, 2020

Most of us don’t go through life without picking up some emotional scars. For some, there are some lasting effects that those scars bring that can get in the way of everyday life. Often, it can be hard to ask for help. 

For a long time there’s been a significant stigma in terms of mental health and emotional well-being. While it’s expected you would go to a doctor when you are not feeling well physically, most people don’t take the same type of action when there are lingering emotional and psychological issues that creep in. Unfortunately, that leads to prolonged and often unnecessary suffering. The truth of the matter is, there is help in the form of therapy. This help can be incredibly life changing, drastically improving one’s quality of life and relationships. 

Thankfully, the stigma to seek help for mental health issues is slowly but surely going away. There is still a lot of work to be done, but there has been a lot more acceptance and a more normalized view on therapy and counseling as a whole. 

So, how do you know when it’s time to see a therapist? 

Here are a few things to think about if you aren’t sure if seeing a therapist is your next best step:   

You Have Explosive Emotions

Anger and rage are emotions that can be crippling, especially when it feels like you have control over them. Anger is a normal response that we all feel in certain situations, but some signs that your anger is impeding your quality of life include:

  • Your closest relationships fear interaction with you
  • You have frequent outbursts of violence with small or no provocation
  • You feel constantly irritated and hostile but aren’t sure why

Anger isn’t the only emotion that can be explosive. You might have extreme bouts of sadness that include:

  • Crying uncontrollably without understanding why
  • Long periods of time spent in bed
  • Bursts of sadness that seem to hit you out of nowhere

You can also have explosive positive emotions that might include manic episodes as well. If your emotions seem to be BIG and you aren’t always sure why, or what to do with them, then it might be the right time to start seeing a therapist. An experienced therapist will help you sort through your emotions, deal with the triggers, and learn some coping strategies so that you don’t constantly feel as though you are riding an emotional rollercoaster!

You Have Prolonged Periods of Anxiety And Stress

If you are experiencing prolonged periods of anxiety or stress, then it is likely time to see a therapist. While it’s normal to go through seasons of stress or moments of anxiety, these two things can definitely begin to impair your overall quality of life. If you are experiencing any of the following and feel as though it might be as a result of anxiety or stress, then it is likely time to see a therapist.

  • Chest pains that have been cleared by a doctor
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Intense and paralyzing fear
  • A heavyweight of nervousness that keeps you from taking action in your daily life
  • Aches and pains that can’t be attributed to physical health-related issues
  • Hair loss and loss of appetite
  • Panic attacks

Your Quality of Life is Being Impaired

The most common reason for someone to begin seeing a therapist is to improve their overall quality of life.  

Nobody would walk around with a broken leg, hoping that the problem will just go away. Instead, they would go to the doctor, get an x-ray to find the problem, get the bone reset, and do what they need to do so that the bone can heal properly. 

The same is true for emotional and mental health issues. If your relationships are not exactly what you’d hoped they would be, then it’s time to see a therapist. If you are dealing with something that is keeping you from experiencing and enjoying your life, then it’s time to see a therapist. If you know things could be better, but aren’t sure how to make them better, then it’s time to see a therapist!

You Are Spending Too Much Time Thinking About an Issue

If you’ve walked through something that is dominating your thoughts, then it is likely time to see a therapist. If food, your weight, and your body image are consuming you, then seeking help is a natural next step. If you’ve gone through a divorce or major life transition and your mind is weighed down with thoughts surrounding the change, then walking through those thoughts with a trained therapist can help you get clear, gain control, and start moving forward. 

If your thought-life is being controlled by a certain topic, then going to a therapist to deal with that issue will help you start putting your focus elsewhere.

You’ve Experienced Trauma

There are two types of trauma that can derail things in your life:  

Big “T” trauma: These are the life-threatening traumas, war, near-death experiences, extreme physical or sexual abuse. 

And…

Little “T” trauma: These are personal-level traumas like the death of a beloved pet, bullying, loss of a relationship.

Trauma looks different to everyone, and even little “T” trauma can have a profound impact on how you live your life. If you’ve experienced trauma, big or small, then it’s definitely a good idea to go see a therapist. Trauma can impact your relationships, your job, your self-esteem, and your ability to live a truly peaceful, fulfilling life. 

You’ve Experienced Loss

Loss can turn our lives upside down and throw us into a tailspin of emotion and overwhelm. Although mourning and grief looks different for everyone, therapy can be a helpful tool in helping us move forward after a loss. To read more about loss and grief therapy, click here. 

Your Relationships Are Falling Apart or You Feel They Could Be Better

Seeing a therapist can be a game changer when it comes to strengthening and building healthy relationships. Marriage is hard. Being a parent is hard. Working with others is hard. Being a friend is hard. Being a daughter/son/sister/brother is hard. 

Relationships are hard. 

Therapy can help us navigate through rough times and give us the tools we need to build healthy relationships with our spouses, children, parents, coworkers, and friends.

You’ve Experienced a Transition or Want To Make a Change

Even good changes can leave you feeling lost and unsure. Therapy arms you with the coping skills needed to adapt to all of life’s ups and downs. Whether you’ve walked through a change and don’t know where to go next, or are ready to make a change but aren’t sure how, a therapist can help you through life’s many transitions. 

There doesn’t always need to be a fire to put out. If you are ready to look at a specific area of your life and intentionally make improvements, then seeing a therapist can be a fantastic way to do that. 

If one of life’s transitions has hit you hard, then a therapist can walk you through the process of creating your new normal. Either way – seeking the help of a therapist can drastically improve your quality of life. 

If you believe that life could be better, or you think you need help to work through specific issues, call our local office and let’s set up an appointment. We have therapists trained in a variety of different areas, and can serve anyone in and around the Hinsdale area. Our Hinsdale office is comfortable, our staff is welcoming, and our therapists are pros. We will help you work through whatever season of life you are in, in a totally safe, non-judgemental environment. 

Stay Happy. Live A Good Life.

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