Seeking therapy is a big step. It’s the first move towards acknowledging your problems. Undoubtedly though, it’s hard work.
It requires you to make yourself emotionally available to another person, to be willing to talk and work through your most private thoughts and matters. A fair bit of your time and finances are also involved.
Although the stigma around therapy has gone down in the past few years, many myths still surround the field of psychotherapy. No, it is not only for those who are diagnosed with a serious disorder, and NO, it’s definitely not only for the “insane”.
But how to know if it’s for you?
If you think that perhaps you need therapy, but are still conflicted – then read on and ask yourself these questions:
Have I Been Feeling ‘Different’ Lately?
Think about your recent moods – do you feel that they fluctuate more than what has been normal for you? Have you been going through periods of strong uncontrollable grief or anger? Has there been a significant loss or gain of appetite?
Perhaps you feel withdrawn of late and don’t feel like being sociable. Sometimes we pass off our moods as just ‘off days’ – and that very well may be true – but if left unchecked for a long period of time the negativity may escalate faster than you can control it.
How Have I Been Coping of Late?
Is there a feeling of loss of control in your relationships, or maybe your job or even your anger? Do you feel like it’s becoming the norm for you to go out and get a drink rather than face the situation?
If you’ve been drinking, smoking or taking drugs more than before and for the specific purpose to feel better, than it could be that it has become your way of dealing. Sometimes the problem itself is addiction; mostly the addiction is a sign of other denial.
Could I be Grieving Over the Loss of Someone or Something?
Has there been a break in an important relationship? Have you lost your job – or lost someone who mattered to you?
Grief manifests itself in several ways. You could either be withdrawing within or trying to lose yourself in work, alcohol or people. We tend to think that these feelings will go away on their own (and sometimes they do), but grief can be impairing and there’s no shame or harm in getting help to deal with it.
Are my Relationships Getting Tougher to Deal With?
Looking at relationships and their recent patterns can also be important. Sometimes difficult relationships impact the self on a deeper level, and sometimes the unhappiness and stress of an individual can seep into a relationship.
If the interactions with a particular person or your family are always unhealthy, spiteful, and stressful it could be that the communication patterns in that relationship need to be worked upon. Marital or Family Therapy is a good idea to work on compatibility, communication and understanding in relationships.
Am I Having Difficulty Making Decisions?
Indecision can be a result of anxiety. Fear of taking wrong decisions and living through their consequences can impair us and affect our ability to take a well thought out, rational decision. A lack of self awareness also leads to indecision. Not knowing what you want in life is obviously a barrier in going about seeking it.
You need to identify the root of the problem.
Has a Sense of Apathy Set in?
Apathy is an absence of emotions. Not happy, not sad, not angry and certainly not passionate.
You begin to feel more and more disengaged with the activities going on around you – even things you enjoyed earlier. Like your job, sex, a sport, etc. The idea of getting up and going through the motions may seem more unimaginable as the days go by. Apathy is NOT to be ignored; it can be a sign of many underlying issues.
Understand this – If you’re feeling off or not quite like yourself that’s reason enough to seek therapy. Getting help at the right time can be life altering and trying is always the better option.
(Prachi Jain is a psychologist, trainer, optimist, reader and lover of Red Velvets. )