How to Know When to See a Therapist

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    When you’re feeling sad, lonely, hopeless, or fearful, it can be hard to slow those emotions down to determine whether you need professional help. In a time when more people than ever are reporting symptoms of depression and anxiety, it’s important to know that you are not alone. The reality is that one in three adults in the United States suffers from at least one clinical depression episode in their lifetime. If you or someone you love are wondering if it’s time to reach out for help, here are some ways to know.

    Symptoms last for more than a week.

    Everyone has bad days here and there. Feeling sad one day doesn’t mean you are clinically depressed. Even losing interest in a favorite activity for a day or two is pretty common. It’s when you begin experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety for a period of more than a week that you might want to take a closer look at your mental health. The first step in this process is easy with the help of the internet and technology.

    A simple Google search for ‘WithTherapy‘ will point you in the direction of a list of licensed therapists who practice in a variety of therapeutic modalities. Mental health therapists are different from physical therapists and occupational therapists. While physical and occupational therapists concentrate on the body and mobility, mental health therapists work with the mind. Mental health is as important to a person’s overall wellbeing as their physical health. That is, something like a spine injury that requires physical therapy is no different from a mental illness that needs attention.

    For some people, the idea of reaching out to a mental health professional makes them worry that they might be perceived as weak or unable to control their emotions. In fact, the opposite is true. Just like you’d need that occupational therapist to manage neck pain after neck surgery, it’s important to have the help of a professional mental health counselor after a bout of depression. The truth is that mental wellness is important, and ignoring symptoms of clinical depression or another issue could be serious. If your symptoms last more than a week, do what you can to reach out for help.

    You’re experiencing suicidal ideation.

    If you or someone you love is experiencing thoughts of suicide, you should reach out to a therapist or National Suicide Hotline immediately. Even if you don’t have a plan or believe you would ever really go through with it, things can change quickly, and it’s a good idea to get help as soon as possible.

    A licensed mental healthcare professional can help you find the strength to work through numbness, indifference, sadness, hopelessness, and more. By getting help for yourself after experiencing negative thoughts, you might be surprised how quickly therapy will help with the discomfort of depression symptoms. In therapy, you may be able to get on medications to combat symptoms and will certainly be given tools that will help you to return to normal activities before you know it.

    If you’re feeling suicidal, you may be having trouble envisioning a future doing things you once enjoyed. Maybe you worked as an Audrey Hepburn impersonator and enjoyed modeling the perfect little black dress against the Hollywood sign for Vogue, or enjoyed painting at national parks. For now, it could be difficult to imagine your next work of art or acting job. However, in calling a trained professional for help with your mental wellness now, you’ll have a great chance at getting back to creating a happy future.

    Your symptoms are impacting your job or relationships.

    Think about your mental wellness like you would a physical injury. If you had a spinal cord injury or neck surgery, you’d need to get help from a physical therapist. You’d likely rely on tools like a cervical neck surgery recovery guide to make long and short-term recovery goals, and you’d take care of your stitches and take your antibiotics on time to minimize risk of infection. All of this, of course, would have a big impact on the people around you. At the same time, you’d need support.

    If you’re experiencing a mood change or symptoms of depression that are impacting your family and friends, it might be time to get help. While they’ll likely stick around to support you the same way they would with a physical medical condition, they’ll also be glad to see you’re taking care of yourself. The reality is that none of us are truly alone. Your depression or anxiety symptoms are likely having an impact on the people you love most. If you’ve noticed a decline in your relationships or impact on your job, it’s time to reach out for help from a professional therapist.

    You can’t stay focused.

    Loss of focus is a big reason many people begin having trouble at work when symptoms of depression pop up. It can be difficult to concentrate on the task at hand when your mind is distracted by feelings of hopelessness. If this is happening, it’s time to call a therapist for help.

    In the end, there’s no need to suffer any longer with symptoms of anxiety or depression. If you or someone you love thinks it’s time to reach out to a therapist, it probably is. Do yourself the favor of making that initial call to schedule the first session. If you’re hesitant, don’t be afraid to ask questions. The right therapist will be happy to help put your mind at ease.

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