How do I Know When Therapy Should be an Option? Miyume McKinley, LCSW
Everyone will have moments of feeling overwhelmed, stressed, sad or frustrated. So how do we know when therapy should be an option? How do we know when it’s more than a passing heartbreak or just a stressful time at work, or simply the normal anxiety because it’s a new school year? Though mental health symptoms vary and there are a wide range of diagnoses, here are some common symptoms that are indicators that it may be time to take the necessary steps in making your mental health a priority.
Common symptoms include but are not limited to: insomnia, hypersomnia (sleeping more often than usual), increase or decrease in appetite, frequent mood changes, irritability, loss of interest in activities, decreased sex drive, not feeling like “yourself”, nightmares, feelings of sadness/depression that remain for 2 weeks or longer, inability to concentrate, inability to focus, crying spells, anxiety, panic attacks, isolating from others, lethargy, decrease in energy, thoughts of suicide, wanting to fall asleep and never wake up, frequent “mental breakdowns”, and feeling of not being present (feeling you are physically present, however, you are elsewhere mentally).
If you are experiencing 3 or more of these symptoms and they are impacting your relationships with family/friends/romantic partner, job performance, academic performance, or interactions with others while in the community (i.e., taking your anger out on the person at the checkout counter; road rage incidents; ignoring calls from loved ones; etc); seeking therapy can be helpful. In addition, sometimes family and friends’ observations can be indicators of a decline in mental health. Comments such as “you don’t seem like yourself”, “you seem so irritated lately” or “you are so distracted when we talk” can all be indicators that you need to make your mental health a more immediate priority. Your mental health matters!