The thought of wondering about going to therapy in itself is a sign that you might need it. The decision to seek help with your life is indeed a very personal one, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to self-love. Yes! Caring about your needs, and wanting the best for yourself is a way you show self-love. So, if you ever wonder about therapy and when to tell that it’s truly time for it, here are some pointers to help you with it.
Common or Destructive?
Why do we suddenly feel that we need help? Let’s talk about those moments of realizations we have when we feel that something seems off-balanced in our lives. You might find that you are not as happy as you thought you’d be in a step you’re taking. That other negative emotions surpassed your awaiting feeling of joy and you can’t seem to put a finger on why this is so. It’s common to have these feelings, they offer you spurges of alertness. Or you might notice that you’re not attending as much to the tasks, hobbies, or people you once were so focused on. You begin feeling that your life is affected some way or another and can’t seem to figure out why. Yet again, it’s familiar to have these glimpses of attentiveness. Let’s ask ourselves this: To what extent? To what extent do the negative feelings I have and the barriers that hinder my living are not so common anymore, but are dangerous?
We Don't know.
Sometimes we can fall into the habit of comparing ourselves to others. Not on materialistic basis, but more so on emotional ones. For example, seeing if your friends, colleagues, or family members are struggling yet able to continue on with their lives vs you who’s struggling too but seem to be stuck. We use these comparisons because it offers us a gateway into what seems normal and functional and what doesn’t. Especially when it comes to emotional comparisons where we tend to get riled up in them and start wondering why other people seem to have it all together and we don’t. It can be a frustrating process, but trust that everyone has their own struggles, deals with them in their own way, and most importantly decides if what they’re in is normal or not to be begin with. But the fact is: We don’t know what’s normal and what’s not. It’s not that clear. You can’t find a clear-cut manual to follow. What’s normal to you, might not be to others; hence it’s subjective. Hence, although comparing ourselves to others can offer some insight in answering if what we’re feeling is normal (everyone is doing it) or not, remember that it subjectively relies on your judgment. You get to decide if the feelings, situations, and consequences seem ordinary/ suits your life or not.
Check The Evidence
The two guidelines when considering if you need to seek help can fall under these two considerations: Is the problem interfering with some aspect of your life? And if the problem is causing you distress. 1. Finding dysfunctions in one of the different fields of functioning Questions to think about:
- Does the problem take up a considerable amount of your time?
- Have you changed your education or work because of the problem?
- Are you rearranging your lifestyle to accommodate with the problem?
Examples to reflect on:
- Are your feelings of anxiety keeping you from going to class on time?
- Is your lack of sleep hindering the quality of your productivity at work?
- Does your fear stop you from travelling, going out with friends, or taking some required shots?
- Does the self-confidence dilemma you struggle with affect your choices in the relationships you form?
If you answered yes to any of these statements, (that’s okay), maybe seeking help will turn some yes’s into no’s! We ask and reflect on these statements because if we detect any dysfunction in one of the different areas of normal functioning then it’s safe to assume that an interference has occurred in some aspects of our lives.
2. Personal subjective suffering
Did you know that you can be completely functional: going to work on time, making time for yourself, getting good grades, etc. but be suffering? It’s a heavy word, suffering, but it’s something extremely important and sometimes overlooked. It can happen in two scenarios: A. Like mentioned, even if you are functional, you can still be suffering. This happens when you do indeed commit to everything you set for how your life looks like. You get things done as you seem functional in all areas of normal functioning. Yet, something is missing. It’s that feeling you get where you still feel sad, off, and unaccomplished even when you’re doing everything you’re supposed to. Ever had a great day where you ate well, met up with some friends, were productive at work, and just had a blast the whole day only for the night to come, swooping in with all kinds of negative emotions? You feel that you’re suffering. That you’re not yourself, although the whole day can be considered functional. B. You can experience personal suffering and dysfunctions in your life. This can be a clear-cut sign that things aren’t going as planned. Your living is hindered. Some areas are affected by your problem and in turn you are in distress. This can also happen vice versa; your feelings of distress affect your overall functioning. What’s important to note is that suffering is both personal and subjective. Meaning that you decide if you feel distressed and not yourself; you are in control. You are the best person to detect these emotions and label them as such. And since there isn’t a tool to measure one’s personal suffering, you can be your own.
“I feel distressed in this relationship” “I am so tired from this problem” “This makes me fearful”