Assess Your Support: Is it Time to Reach Out?

“Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.” — Norman B. Rice

Deciding to reach out for mental health support is never an easy step. It takes a great deal of courage (and often a great deal of pain), for most people to admit that they feel overwhelmed.  Some clients even tell me that they feel as though needing support is a failure.  Does this sound familiar to you?  If you have thought about therapy, but not been sure about taking that step, today’s post is for you.

Do you feel bad more often than you feel good?

If you feel sad, frustrated, scared, alone, or worried some of the time, that is entirely normal.  We have a wide emotional range, and it is healthy for us to experience different emotions.  But if you feel painful feelings most of the time, that’s a sign that you may be dealing with one of the hard stretches of your life.  We all have them.  A difficult time can happen after the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job–even after the loss of a pet.  Intense feelings are a normal reaction to major health challenges as well.  If you are noticing that you can’t remember the last time you felt happy for a day–that may be a sign that it’s time to get some support.

Is it hard for you to move through your normal routine?

Do you feel like it takes everything you have got just to get out of bed in the morning?  Are you distracted at work or with your family? Do you feel like even your hobbies are a chore? These can be signs that your emotional struggles are taking a toll on you.  You might also be getting feedback from loved ones, co-workers, or friends that you seem different or distant.

Do you worry about “wearing out” your friends and family with your sadness or pain?

Many people with excellent support systems still find themselves feeling alone when they are dealing with difficult feelings or health concerns.  This might happen because you don’t want your loved ones to worry about you.  It may happen because you feel as though you are saying the same thing over and over.  It may happen because you are facing a situation that does not have an easy solution, and you are frustrated when people try to “solve it” for you.  The therapy relationship is a unique relationship–one where it is okay to repeat yourself, and where sometimes the “solution” includes simply holding space for you to say and feel whatever you need to.

Are you overwhelmed by the intensity of your feelings?

Sometimes, painful feelings can be so overwhelming that they lead to thoughts of escape, even thoughts of suicide.  This can be a frightening experience.  Psychologists and other mental health professionals are trained to hear and support those intense feelings.  There is probably nothing you will say that will shock or surprise us.  We are here to create safe, non-judgmental space. We can teach you strategies to help you express your feelings and cope with them–without being overwhelmed.

Reach out!

If you have been nodding your head as you’ve read this post, then it might be time to reach out.  If you felt like I was stealing thoughts from your brain (don’t worry–I have zero psychic ability), then you might benefit from some support.  Wherever you are, there is probably a psychologist or counselor close by.  Getting help when you need it is a sign of strength and courage.  And getting mental health support is just as important as getting medical support.

If you’re not sure how to find the right match for you, you can check out this list of suggestions to help you find a psychologist.  There are also good resources at the American Psychological Association’s help center, and in the Psychology Today directory. And, of course, you are always welcome to contact me–you can use that nifty button over on the right hand side of the screen, email me, or give me a call at 816-822-1922.


Image Credit: Photo by legends2k via Flickr

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