stepping stone towards mental health

IS IT OKAY TO SEEK HELP FROM A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL?

Yesterday, we spoke about how consciously taking care of your emotional health goes a long way in nurturing and strengthening yourself.

Today, we address a slightly deeper issue.

What happens when sometimes, you feel stuck at an impasse? When you know internally that something is not quite okay… that you’re feeling a certain way and you don’t want to continue feeling like that?

You try to resolve it. Yes, it’s good to do that. You’d try and check what’s going wrong; you’d try to correct it.

What happens if still, those stresses or feelings don’t get better? Then what do you do? Turn to friends, family and other people you can trust. This is also good. People who know us act as sounding boards and support us.

But sometimes, even after talking to them, you feel that things are still not okay; like there are some knots that are entangled, and just won’t loosen up.

What then would you do? Perhaps, then you would think of seeking help. Even then, some of you would question yourself, “How would people around me take this?” “Would they think I’m inadequate?” “I couldn’t even solve my problems on my own!”

Culture and convention have perhaps conditioned all of us to believe that not managing our psychological struggles by ourselves is a sign of inadequacy, of weakness.

Though there is definitely more openness towards seeking help today, it perhaps serves as a last resort – ‘only if all else fails will I seek professional help’.

What happens because of this is, the difficulties sometimes aggravate by the time help is sought. Not only that; the angst, distress and anxiety at the difficulties remaining unresolved also build up with time, which greatly add to the overall stress.

On the contrary, if you seek help sooner, issues would get resolved sooner and with greater ease…

It’s like this – Let’s suppose that I’m clearly feeling distressed and troubled because of something. What would you ask me to do? Wait for some months, or even a year to see if it gets better and then seek help?

Or maybe wait for a few weeks and approach a mental health professional soon if things don’t get better?

As you read this, it might appear obvious that one must not wait too much. But in reality, the converse is what happens much of the time. One tends to wait until the tipping point comes before going in for counseling.

It’s simple logic. Just like an infection is healed sooner if medicated sooner, similarly, emotional difficulties get better sooner if worked upon sooner

Drawing another parallel, when you have a need, you approach the concerned services. You contact a marketing professional for assistance on promotional ideas, a real estate consultant for help with selling property and a doctor if you are ill. Why not think the same way for psychological health? 🙂

To highlight this message, one of our theme based posters at the Mental Health Awareness Weekend (remember this one? We told you about this yesterday) is on-

“When is it advisable to seek help from a mental health professional?”

Don’t hesitate to go in for counseling when:-

  1. You feel extremely distressed and unhappy in your situation
  2. Your stresses interfere with your functioning and you are unable to do your daily activities efficiently
  3. You experience symptoms that clearly need attention such as extreme panic, crying spells, aggressive outbursts
  4. You experience recurring thoughts and emotions that are disturbing
  5. You are facing difficulties in a particular area of your life such as at work or in a relationship
  6. You feel unheard or misunderstood by most people around you
  7. You’re looking for a different perspective of your situation, so that you can gain more clarity
  8. You feel stuck in a situation. You’ve repeatedly tried making the situation better, but it’s not working out.

We’re all human and stress can sometimes weigh us down. Having someone to help can ease the struggle a bit

When you seek timely help, you are doing yourself good by addressing the situation in a healthy way

And..

‘You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection’ -Gautam Buddha

What are your thoughts on this? Let us know. Also, if you know anybody who would benefit from reading this article, please do share it with them.

Image Credit: Sean J Connolly

Post contributed by: Anusha Manjani and Malini Krishnan

Anusha is a Clinical Psychologist and she worked with children and adolescents at Inner Space, from 2013 to 2015. 

Malini is a Clinical Psychologist and she worked with adolescents and young adults at Inner Space, from 2010 to 2015. 

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