If you’re taking cues from reality TV, chances are you think therapy is a last resort effort to restore sanity. Only truth is, everyone experiences periods of stress, sadness, grief and conflict. In fact, one in five American adults suffer from some form of mental illness. However, due to the stigma and many myths attached to treatment, especially for Black Americans, only about 45-65 percent with moderate-to-severe impairment get the help they need, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
But, we get it. Our society has us programmed to believe that if we work hard, everything else will fall into place. Log into this app and watch all your worries melt away. Take an “Eat, Pray, Love” trip around the world and return a brand new you. Suffering from anxiety? Try yoga. While these options may work to a certain extent (for a period of time), in some situations, we’re just not equipped with the know-how to make it through the rain.
Aside from restless suffering, those who go untreated and are in distress may actually make the problem worse by avoiding professional help. While, on the flip side, science tells us that speaking our fears and goals out loud to someone (preferably in person) can be a powerful tool for overcoming emotional pain. So, how does one know when it’s time to seek therapy?
Here are 5 things to consider:
1. Everything you feel is intense.
Ever felt like you’re on an emotional roller coaster? While it’s totally normal to feel angry and sad, if you regularly feel overcome with anger, anxiety, grief, or guilt this may be a sign of an underlying issue.
In a 2013 study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, 54 percent of people with depression reported feeling hostile, grumpy, argumentative, foul-tempered or angry.
In fact, when untreated, frequently having a short fuse can significantly impair your ability to function; whether it be at home, work, or in school.
2. Avoidance is your default.
If you’ve begun to cope with life by avoiding it altogether, you’ve basically become a walking, talking, ticking time bomb. Whether you’re avoiding a co-worker, a dysfunctional family member, or even your spouse, a therapist may suggest role play.
By playing out a difficult conversation, this form of therapy will teach you more effective ways to communicate as well as sensitivity to others’ viewpoints.
3. You mentally beat yourself up.
Some of the kindest and considerate people have a secret war waging inside of them. While they may