For the most part, we wait far too late to ask for help. Usually, we will only go in if our spouse is leaving, our kid has been expelled, we are on the verge of bankruptcy or being fired. It is not supposed to be that way!
Therapy is like dental hygiene. You want to go there while you still have teeth, not after they have all fallen out. You know when something keeps you up at night, or makes you not want to go to work or keeps your stomach churning. That’s a good indication that you need to go and talk with someone who can help you figure it out.
Why not a minister, teacher or friend?
You want to find someone who is a good listener, let’s you come up with your own ideas, will keep your business to themselves and won’t be frightened by your feelings. If you have that person and as a result of talking with them you feel better and make positive changes, that’s a great move.
However, if the problem persists, you start having uncomfortable feelings about having shared info or you feel like your problems are bigger than a conversation here and there will take care of, then that’s the time to seek out a therapist. If you can’t sleep or sleep too much, can’t eat or eat too much or struggle with anger and violent urges, call a therapist for help. If the friend whose ear you have been wearing out, suggests that you find someone to talk to, then it may be time. Or if people start avoiding you, seemed frightened of you or for you, then don’t wait for a crisis.
If you feel suicidal or feel in danger of harming yourself or someone else, call a mental health hotline or go to your hospital emergency room now.
What most people fear
People are stuck with the early movies images of the “psych ward”. They worry that if they admit the need or seek treatment that they will immediately be locked up and declared “crazy”. Supposed people felt that way about the dentist? (They do.) Then they wouldn’t go in until many of their teeth were gone. (They do.) It’s not like that. As a matter of fact, getting someone a bed inpatient with a psychiatric diagnosis is difficult. Insurance companies prefer less expensive outpatient treatment.
Weekly therapy can be very helpful
Outpatient psychotherapy in a therapist office is very effective in taking care of most problems. Medications can reduce the need for hospitalization. Many people find that after a few sessions they don’t even need medication.