What are some warning signs that you should see a therapist?

You know the feelings that come on that make you rethink how you are functioning and make you ask the question, "Do I need to see a therapist?" If you have, don’t worry we have all been there. As Michael Jackson says, "You are not alone, I am here for you." Seriously though, you aren't alone. There are plenty of people who have dealt with warning signs and they choose to run from those feelings. Do yourself a favor, don’t run from the feelings. Do something about the feelings. Some people could be experiencing these warning signs and don’t realize that they are warning signs. With that being said, I want to expand on what are the warning signs you will see, notice, and feel that are within yourself and tell you, "Hey I think I should see a therapist!"


There are multiple areas of your life that can be affected and show warning signs of mental illness. They are as follows:

  • Functioning
  • Social
  • Mood
  • Concentration
  • Sleep
  • Behavior
  • Thinking Pattern
  • Self-image


Let's start with functioning. Have you notice that you are struggling at work, school, or do not have the desire to even get out of bed or shower? This is probably happening because you are struggling with mental illness. This one is usually the most common issue I see while practicing. People are struggling to want to get out of bed or overall function and realize there is something going on. You can take a step back and try to use some self-awareness and determine if there is another reason this could be happening. Was there a big transition at work? Are you overwhelmed with schoolwork and don’t know where to begin? Are these situations that can you work through on your own or is something bigger going on?


Next up is social. So, you are struggling with functioning, and you don’t want to get out of bed, so you start to notice yourself withdrawing from others or things you used to enjoy doing. You used to go out every Tuesday with a group of friends and now the idea of going out with them is daunting. You have completely lost interest in those around you. You have decided that social isolation is the key to fixing your problems, in reality you need to do the opposite but that’s another blog topic for a later time. Let's say in the winter you love to go snowboarding but lately the idea of going just sounds like a complete waste of time. You struggle with ability to feel any pleasure.


Mood, big one. We are all human right? We all have days where we feel sad and days when we feel happy and some days where we are just blah. That is perfectly normal. The problems start to occur when you start to feel like your mood is very unstable. Maybe one second you are happy go lucky and then next you are mad at the world and then you are sad. Your mood has a lot of power on every aspect of your life. If you don’t find ways to deal with the mood, it can definitely become life damaging.


Trouble with concentration, memory or a logical thought, is this you? Someone talks to you and you didn’t write anything down, so you don’t remember the conversation. You are losing your keys constantly because you can't remember where you put them. You can't concentrate long enough to finish a task. Sometimes it's bad enough that you can't even put a sentence together because your mind blanks on you. These things are all normal when you are dealing with mental illness and know that with help, they can be turned around.


1 sheep, 2 sheep, 3 sheep, 4 sheep, please go the f%#$ to sleep! Insomnia is real people! Are your thoughts racing so much that you can't shut your mind off to sleep? Are you able to fall asleep but you wake up in the middle of the night to go pee and come back to bed and can't get your eyelids to shut again? Do you feel as if you can stay up for days on end and have SO much energy for activities? Do you feel like you are wanting to sleep all day and night? All of these things are issues with sleep that are affected by your mental health.


Are people around you telling you that you have been off lately? Do you feel out of touch with reality? Disconnected from yourself, maybe? These are all behaviors that can cause plenty of problems for someone. You could be feeling as if you are watching yourself from the outside looking in. You are detached from your surroundings and your own personal emotional experience.


Let's shift gears a little bit. So, you are struggling with behavioral issues, what about your thinking patterns? Are you in a constant pattern of negative self-talk? Are you in a pattern of magical thinking? This means you think that you can control or change the outcome of a situation or event by some unrelated event and no plausible link to connect these two events, AKA superstitious thinking? Your one idea, action, words or thoughts can simply change something on its own. You are kind of lost in irrational thoughts.


Lastly, are you experiencing low self-esteem or even an elated self-esteem? Do you believe that you are the greatest thing since sliced bread and you can change the world's problems in one sitting? Do you feel as if you are worthless, not attractive enough, or a waste of space? Have you experienced thoughts of wanting to harm yourself? At one point in time in life we have all experienced low self-esteem. Some have experienced elated self-esteem too. This can definitely come with the territory of being human unfortunately. This can be helped though. You are worthy of help! You are attractive inside and out! Don’t let anyone tell you different! If you are having thoughts of wanting to harm yourself and have a plan in place, please call 911 or call the suicide hotline at 988.


Was this all relatable? Am I the only one who feels somewhat attacked right now by my own words? You are not alone and know that at Enlightenment we want to help you with these struggles! We want you to want to work on yourself and feel good about yourself. We want you to get out of isolation and live your best life because you deserve it! Life is too short to live prisoner to your own self. Maybe it's time to get uncomfortable and start dealing with these issues. The only way to heal is by becoming uncomfortable, getting out of your comfort zone, and surrendering yourself to change! 


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