Recently I was at dinner while on travel and I was asked several questions: Do you like traveling alone?
I must admit that I can focus and gain clarity on my personal, career, and professional goals when I take time to be alone. When I am alone, I can meditate and sit in solitude. In those quiet moments, I can hear my grandmother quoting “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference to the 10-year-old within me and understand acceptance. I can make decisions about things I wasn’t sure about in the past. Things are more apparent when I can see them as a choice of different possibilities, rather than an ultimatum. When you don’t know where you are going distractions tend to look like opportunities.
When do you know when it is time to seek a therapist? On this journey of life, we will have struggles and challenges despite what people might portray on their social media feeds. It is a part of life that we have growing pains. There will be moments on our journey where our burdens, depression, loss, or heartbreak, etc. will become overwhelming and we need to reach out for help. One of my favorite poems entitled Alone by Maya Angelo states “I came up with one thing and I don’t believe I’m wrong that nobody, but nobody can make it out here alone.” If you have been thinking, praying, meditating, or considering seeking out a therapist here are a few signs it might be time to talk with a counselor if you have reached a point where things have become challenging and causing distress in your life. It’s normal to experience challenges in life, especially during times of transition or loss. But sometimes the way we have difficulty coping with these challenges. Symptoms of distress may include feelings of anxiety, depression or low self-confidence. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by these feelings or them, seem to be lingering it may be time to talk to a licensed therapist.
If you have drained your support system, sometimes when we are at our lowest moments, we can exhaust our friends and family. In some instances, your support system may not know how to help you or what to say. Or you might feel that you are draining your support system with your issues. It is essential that we remove the stigma because a therapist can provide you with an unbiased perspective and tools to help you deal with your loss, issues, or challenges. Anyone who has a reliable support system knows their family and friends have great intentions but can be defensive, judgmental, or they might be dealing with their issues, and you become collateral damage in the process of them trying to help you. If you feel that your relationships are beginning to suffer under the strain of your life challenges a counselor can be a valuable addition to your support system. If others are noticing that you don’t seem yourself, it could be a sign that you are struggling and might need to seek some help.
If you are regularly shopping, eating (not eating), using substances, isolating, or having a lot of sex to cope with your issues then you might want to consider contacting a therapist if you’re beginning to use substances such as alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings of loneliness, sadness, anxiety, etc. Then it’s a good idea to consider talking to a therapist. These behaviors serve as a temporary distraction and help us feel good, or at least numb for a moment. I have had people tell me they are to move and then moving becomes a regular thing. Relocating to different cities does not solve the problem because you will carry every issue with you to your next destination. Unfortunately, though the feelings of numbness don’t last and when they do fade we’re left with the emotions, we were trying to escape.
If you feel that you have tried everything to cope with your issues, but the problems are still present then that is a perfect time to contact a therapist. Remember “that nobody, but nobody can make it out here alone” there is no shame in asking for help and seeking counseling does not mean you are weak or ill. A professional therapist can provide you with a safe space to share all your challenges and work with you to build skills to cope with these challenges & see things differently. If you are struggling with some issues or know someone who might be struggling let’s encourage them to contact a therapist. Mental Illness happens when we lose our presence in the present.