When Is It Time to See a Therapist
And what are you doing to talk yourself out of it
(In a rush? Scroll down to find the list of signs that it may be time to seek additional support).
Yup, sometimes, the weight of it all is just too much.
We can easily get wrapped up in the understanding that “having it all together” will bring us happiness and fulfillment. This leads to the classic instagram life:
Look at this matcha late! Look how cool shoes are! Look at this sunset! Look how together I am!
When, perhaps just maybe, inside we’re totally falling apart.:
If people find that out though, then what? Will they think I am weak? Spoiled? LOOK AT THIS LATTE. Look how great my life is right now. Why should I feel bad? Or angry? Or sad? Suck it up. You have a good life.
This is the attitude that kept me from seeking help for many years. And all those feelings of sadness or anger or anxiety? I worked to fix them on my own. A plan that is great if you are… I don't know… Jesus? Because even the therapists need therapists. But I am not Jesus nor a therapist, so I worked to heal these negative thoughts and emotions with things that seemed like they would do the trick. This included but was not limited to:
- Googling my symptoms and reading blogs (like this one)
- Shoddy at-home yoga
- Fishbowl margaritas
- Scrolling, comparing, and trying to replicate my life to that of instagram blogger’s
- Working long hours so as to not leave time or space to feel my feelings
- Filling the small free time I had with wild nights out continuing to chase that escape
It’s been said before, but I will say it again:
All of this works. Until it doesn’t.
It was not until my about 20th panic attack, sitting in the closet of my small downtown apartment with my husband trying to bring me down again did I finally mutter through tears, “I need help.”
I wish I had not let it get to that point. What I would give for the first time I experienced a panic attack, I went to my college counseling office and said:
“Hey! So, weird thing happened. I was just walking up a flight of stairs and out of nowhere I fell down, my heart started beating out of my chest, I was sweating out of every pore in my body and crying for my boyfriend to call 911. Is that normal?”
When did not feeling your emotions, or looking happy all the time become the standard for living a fulfilled life? The constant running away from this and chasing that next thing that will make us “feel better” (or at least look it) is not only exhausting, but it’s what is keeping us ‘stuck’ in unhealthy patterns.
I recently struggled to get tears out, explaining that I’m so tired of feeling the weight of holding everything together. That this shit was just too much.
Sometimes shit is just too much.
And that is okay too! Sometimes the healthiest thing to do is to breakdown, and let yourself walk through your emotions rather than greet this with judgement about how you need to be stronger or ‘hold it together’.
So, when is the right time to throw up your hands and say:
Okay. Enough is enough. I need help.
Here’s a Few Signs It may be time to seek outside support
- You are going through a significant life change such as a severe loss, a bad break up, a big move, a big career change, etc.
- You find yourself scrolling the internet, and landing on pages that help explain what you are feeling and why.
- Your mental health has manifested into a physical form such as anxiety attacks, chronic headaches, butterflies in your stomach, alcohol or drug use as a form of self medicating.
- You’re reading this article and relating to anything that I am saying.
Here are some ridiculous things you may be telling yourself that are keeping you from working through the tough stuff:
- "Some people have ‘real’ problems. This is nothing. I can get through this on my own."
- (Your feelings are valid—no matter how much you have, or how great things look on the outside. People who need help OFTEN… so, so often… look like people who do not need help).
- "What I am doing to cope is no different than anyone else, so it’s fine"
- (Seeking additional support is you being an advocate for yourself. It’s like having a broken arm, and using a ruler and some tape to hold it together. Or chronic acne and convincing yourself a DIY mud mask will clear it up).
- "I read self help books and follow “notes from your therapist” on instagram. I got this."
- (No matter how educated you are on what may be going on, you are doing yourself a disservice by walking through it alone. Somethings can only be seen from the outside looking in).
Still not sure? Let’s talk. Okay, so you're sold, but not sure what to do or what to expect? Let’s also talk.
or dm on instagram [@victoriahtowery]