You, Your Needs, and When To Seek Therapy
When Should I see A Therapist?
To be honest, there isn’t one answer to this question, which is what makes therapy magical. Below I explain how to reduce any shame or stigma over what you need and provide some questions that can help steer you in the right direction.
Everyone is unique and experiences life and its stressors in different ways. What truly matters is how life is impacting you. Yes YOU. If you feel like you “shouldn’t” feel “this way”, and think that others would be able to manage the external and internal distress swirling around and within you, then you are minimizing your needs. Can we just put everyone else’s opinions in a box, close the lid, and put it on a shelf that you do not ever have to go back to?
YOU get to decide when YOU need help. Therapy is magical because a therapist shapes, moulds, and personalizes their support specifically just to you and your needs. Its not one size fits all, cookie cutter, take the same pill kind of support. Therapists aim to understand you, what makes you thrive and what makes you dive into your bed never wanting to be seen again.
Every single person responds to the same experience differently. God created us all as individuals and therefore we will respond to life in a way that can look dramatically different than others. The habit to compare our coping to someone else brings shame, fear, and doubt, which are not from God. If you are experiencing distress for ANY REASON then know there is no condemnation in Christ. He stands with his arms open wide encouraging you to““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus acknowledges that people get worn out, burdened, and exhausted and his desire is to be there in that with you so that he can give you rest/relief/comfort and healing.
Let me give you an example:
I used to work in the emergency department at the local hospital responding to victims of sexual assault. Now sexual assault is simply described as unwanted sexual interaction/contact. It ranges from an inappropriate comment, the slightest touch, to someone forcing sexual interactions on you. This wide umbrella of assault can leave individuals feeling powerless, hopeless, fearful, alone, and unsure of what happened and what to do about it. Myself and a nurse would meet with the individual to support them in how to best move forward in a way that meets their physical and psychological needs during this experience. Every single person we met with was different. As we presented the options and how to best help them some would cry, some couldn’t speak, some couldn’t stop speaking, some came alone, some came with multiple friends, some wanted to “deal” with it, some wanted to just hear that everything would be ok, some came in with a plan, some came in hopeless and lost unsure of what to do. From tears to apathy, from crisis to shock, every single person that we sat with had their own unique needs and we would meet them there, wherever they were. Some were 20 minutes, some were 5 hours… it didn’t matter – we were there to help whatever that looked like. No two people were the same – and that is the norm.
So YOU have unique needs that are important to pay attention to. Your emotions, thoughts, behaviours, and life needs should never be ignored, minimized, or hidden – addressing your needs is the truest form of self care. Listening to you, your needs, and addressing them in the way that you need.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you could benefit from the support of a therapist or mental health professional:
1) What do I look like at my best? What do I look like at my worst? When I wake up in the morning and throughout the day, do I feel closer to my best me or my worst me?
a. If you have been closer to your worst me, has it been longer than 2 weeks? No amount of coffee with friends, naps, sick days, or Netflix binging seems to be helping or changing your mood and sense of wellbeing
2) Are you experiencing something (ANYTHING) that makes you feel overwhelmed and is impacting your day-to-day activities and functioning? Does everything feel really intense, difficult, and like a task? Do you find it difficult to experience pleasure and joy in your activities?
3) Have you experienced a traumatic incident (car accident, victim of a crime, abuse, sudden loss, spiritual disappointment etc) that you can’t stop thinking about? Does your past seem to keep popping up into your present and draining you of being able to enjoy your current life?
4) Do you simply want someone to talk to that listens, understands, isn’t critical or judgemental and can give good counsel on how to move forward? Not all therapy needs to dig into your past but can help support you to find solutions to current needs in your life.
—> If you answered yes to any of these questions then I would encourage you to reach out and seek professional support. DO NOT let excuses of time and money get in the way of your needs. I always say there is no health without mental health. Social workers, psychotherapist, psychologists are great resources that can help you manage life in a way that is unique to you and your needs. You get to decide what is important, and let me encourage you that YOU and YOUR needs (whatever they are) are the MOST important! They are priority. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Come experience the relief that therapist provide and start your journey of self care so you start feeling like yourself again.
Reach out to me if you need help.
I am here for you and your unique needs.
In Truth and Love,