For a long time, going to therapy was seen as taboo; something you didn't talk about if you engaged in, and something to be ashamed of if you needed it. Slowly but surely, the idea of therapy and putting your mental health in the forefront have become widely accepted ideals. Personally, I'm surprised if I meet someone who hasn't been to therapy. Having been in therapy for too many years to count, I'm a huge advocate of seeking out a therapist for help. If you're not sure that you need — or want — therapy, there are signs you'd benefit from therapy to help you determine whether or not you should take a chance on it.
Contrary to what you may have heard, you don't need to be "crazy" or deeply depressed to seek out therapy. Sometimes, you just need an outside third party to listen to your struggles and lend you a hand on your way through a tough time. So if you haven't been feeling quite yourself lately, or you're feeling a little bit deeper in your despair, take a gander through the following signs you might benefit from therapy, and reach out to a therapist if you feel the need. Shake off the stigma and take a load off by putting your mental health first, and you'll feel much better for it in the long run.
1. Your Emotions Have Been Intense Lately
Psychologist Mary Alvord told The Huffington Post that feeling intense anger or sadness on a regular basis could point to a greater problem. “We all get angry and sad, but how intense and how often," Alvord asked. If you're experiencing long-lasting bouts of extreme anger, sadness, or other negative emotions, heading to therapy could be a good idea.
2. You've Suffered A Trauma And Need Support
In an interview with Buzzfeed, clinical psychologist Andrea Bonior said that if you've suffered a trauma in your lifetime, therapy can help you process that. “That’s sometimes one of therapy’s best uses, is for somebody to listen in an objective way, to give you a safe space to talk through your feelings,” Bonior said. Regardless of what type of trauma or how recent the trauma occurred, therapy can provide a wonderful way of working through residual feelings and emotions.
3. Your Physical Health Is Suffering
It's no secret that stress can manifest itself in different ways, including physical reactions, as noted on WebMD. If you're experiencing headaches, nausea, frequent colds, and inexplicable aches and pains, it could be from stress. And if you can't get to the bottom of any of these symptoms, therapy could help you discover if it's stress, and how to better cope with the stress.
4. You're Chronically Tough On Yourself
Are you tough on yourself in every situation? Do you self sabotage? If so, you might want to consider seeing a therapist to get to the bottom of why you're so tough on yourself. “If you notice you’re consistently not acting in your best interest or doing things that keep you from meeting your goals, and don’t know why or how to stop, that’s another reason to see somebody,” Bonior told Buzzfeed. In order to get past your inability to cut yourself a break, you'll need to figure out what's hindering you from letting yourself succeed.
5. You're Self-Medicating To Cope
If you're consuming alcohol or drugs in bigger quantities than usual, or even thinking about them more than often, psychologist Daniel J. Reidenberg told The Huffington Post that it could be a sign that you're trying to numb feelings that you should be acknowledging. But Reidenberg noted that it doesn't need to be drugs or alcohol; it could be food that you're self-medicating with. Over-eating and not wanting to eat could be a sign of unresolved stress. Regardless of how you're self-medicating, the fact remains that there's something underlying that needs to be dealt with, and therapy could help.
6. Your Work Performance Is Suffering
If you're dreading work, or if your performance at work is suffering, it could be a good idea to see a therapist, according to Reidenberg. Feeling disconnected from your work and your coworkers could mean that you're struggling with emotional or psychological issues. If the quality of your work seems to be slipping it could be a sign of something larger at play. Talking to a therapist to figure out what's changed can help you get back on track.
7. You Don't Want To Participate In Anything
If you no longer find joy in the activities you usually enjoy, or have stopped feeling connected to your friends, family, and community, talking to a therapist could help you sort out the why, and help you figure out how to find your way back to joy. According to Psychology Today, falling away from your previous social engagements and activities could be a red flag that something's wrong in your life. The opportunity to talk through why you've lost that joy to someone who's unbiased about your relationships, hobbies, and past, can be extremely helpful when you're feeling blasé about life.
8. Your Relationships Are Strained
If your relationships — romantic, familial, or otherwise — are feeling strained as of late, therapy could not only help you figure out why, but help you figure out how to lessen that strain. “We can help empower people to make better choices in how they phrase things," Alvord told The Huffington Post. "We teach people that it isn’t just about what you say, but about your body language and overall attitude.” Whether it's trouble communication how you feel, a general feeling of unhappiness or uneasiness, or consistently negative interactions, a therapist can help you hone your coping mechanisms during tough times in relationships.
9. You're Not Feeling Like Yourself
If there's nothing in particular pointing to the idea that you should see a therapist, but you're still not feeling quite like yourself, Psychology Today recommended taking the chance and seeing a therapist anyway. Often times when you're feeling off, even when you can't uncover why, or there doesn't seem to be a solid reason why, there's something underlying that you may need to deal with.