In this fast-paced world, people hardly have time to ponder over their mental well-being. Everybody is told to work out at least five days a week to keep their physical health in check and balance. However, rarely do we talk about how much taking care of mental health should be our topmost priority. We fail to understand that mental health is real and holds extreme significance. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 46 million American adults were diagnosed with a mental illness in 2017, but only 20 million received healthcare that year. Also, about every one in five adults in the U.S. live with a mental illness that could range from mild to severe conditions.
People shy away from taking help from counselors because they don’t realize that they need it. Professional counseling is essential for anyone coping with emotional problems and a potential breakdown. Counselors help clients understand goals and provide solutions to help deal with their emotional turmoil. They help strengthen the client’s self-esteem, devise coping skills, and promote optimal mental health.
Previously considered as a subject for the crazy, many have started pursuing a career in counseling. However, thanks to increased awareness about mental health, people have started considering doing bachelor’s and master’s in the field. If you are asking yourself right now, “what can I do with a masters in counseling?” then the simplest answer we can give you is that it will help you better understand why people need therapy and how a therapist can help. Also, a master’s degree will help you get better career opportunities in the field.
Now, coming back to the topic at hand. You aren’t required to observe or feel any specific symptom before seeking therapy; if you feel that something isn’t right or something is taking a toll on your mental health, get professional help. However, if you are looking for something a little more substantial to determine if you should visit a counselor, then check out the signs stated below.
1. Your sleeping and eating schedules are all over the place
Our body has its way of communicating when something is off. If your mind is facing any sort of issue, your sleeping and eating habits are the first things to get affected. You might be sleeping way too much or too little. Every time you close your eyes, your mind may start playing certain thoughts of any past or future scenarios. You might be eating a lot or not so much because you have suddenly lost your appetite to stay healthy and energized. You may be either stuffing yourself with sugar to feel better or not eating at all because you don’t feel like it.
2. You don’t enjoy indulging in hobbies
Let’s suppose you enjoyed watching movies or Netflix after a long day at work, but suddenly you have lost all your interest and instead drift away in your thoughts while watching something. Basically, you have lost all interest in doing things that you previously found exciting. This is one of the underlying signs of depression, so you need to visit the counselor immediately.
3. You are suffering from substance abuse
Being addicted to anything that helps you cope emotionally is a serious problem; be it gambling, using drugs, or doing anything excessive comes as a worrying signal. So if you are spending too much time on your addiction while ignoring other responsibilities, it’s a must that you need to go for therapy.
4. You recently faced trauma
If you have lost someone important to you or have broken up after a promising long-term relationship and are finding it hard to cope, you must consider visiting a counselor. Everyone experiences a different type of pain in a similar situation, but not everyone is expressive enough; thus, coping becomes even more difficult. Speaking to a professional will help you weather the storm.
5. You are trapped in a web of overthinking
Do you keep repeating a specific scenario that caused you distress in your head, thinking of various ways you could have handled it? Do you perceive everything that happens with/around you or anything that is communicated to you negatively, much of which later on you realize was not so bad? Do you have negative opinions about yourself and your capabilities? If all these things have become a norm for you, then you must consider visiting a counselor.
6. You have started to avoid socializing
One of the first signs of feeling disconnected from yourself is that you start disconnecting from your social circle. You just don’t like to be a part of their lives because you don’t understand what’s happening in yours. Meeting people previously made you happy, but if it feels like a burden now, then it’s a sure sign you need to see a therapist.
7. Your loved ones are worried about you
Sometimes it’s the people closest to us who see what’s going on with us before we even realize something is off. You might be under tremendous stress and may be channeling that onto other people, or they might be getting distressed seeing you spread yourself too thin. So if the people closely connected to you are concerned for your well-being, then you should consider getting help.
8. You want to get rid of unnecessary baggage and de-stress
As we previously mentioned, it is not necessary to have a mental illness to visit a therapist. Instead, you may have emotional baggage attached to you from numerous past experiences that may be blocking your positive energy, hindering your personal growth or causing you distress. Thus, the smart thing to do is to visit a counselor to let that weight off your chest, so you can start living a more fulfilled life.
Counseling can give you a unique understanding of yourself. If you are expecting to find all the solutions to your problems through a month of therapy, then you have the wrong expectation. A counselor alone cannot fix your life or undo years of damage that you inflicted on your mind through negative thinking, self-blame and reliving painful memories. However, a counselor can help you self-evaluate and better understand your needs and condition, so together, you can find solutions for a healthier life.
Therapy encourages relief from the hustles of everyday life. It’s a source of venting out all the pain and drama we face in life. And just like physical health, mental health has to be taken care of. Your mind also needs healing from trauma, rejections, pain, and suffering. So you must keep your mental health above anything and everything else to live a prosperous and fulfilled life.