Many people spend years deciding to engage in therapy mulling over whether their problems, dilemmas, and symptoms justify sitting with a professional. And while they idle away their time in decision-land the symptoms build, and the dilemmas become more complex.
There is no proper tipping point that is a marker for reaching out to a mental health professional. Suffering from any amount of anxiety, depression, confusion, discomfort, or turmoil warrants support from a therapist. More importantly, waiting until things fall apart or when there is a crisis before seeking help can be counter-intuitive as therapy often serves as the container in which an individual, couple, or family can build skills for emotional regulation, managing stress, and cultivating resiliency in challenging times.
Some may find that the road of suffering in silence is better than sitting with another caring human being; or that there exists a deep feeling of “I can handle this” or “I don’t like to ask for help from others” that keeps them from engaging in mental health support. These are common thoughts and beliefs, that are often rooted in our upbringing and could even be culturally bound, as airing family grievances and personal issues to others outside of the family unit may be frowned upon. It’s important to understand that therapists are profoundly aware of the many reasons of trepidation for many in initiating therapeutic services and will spend time in the first few sessions finding a pace and rhythm that works for that individual even if they show up with some level of resistance or unsureness.
Last, the avoidance of mental health support can stem from lowered levels of self-esteem and self-worth. The brain then provides false messages that justify not seeking help and repeatedly minimized symptoms and problems. This cycle of negative messaging can keep an individual from considering therapy and finding the proper support for their mental well-being.
Whether it’s feeling bummed out from a break-up, grief from the loss of a pet, relationship or co-worker problems, struggles in your family, or any symptoms of anxiety or depression that feel mildly or strongly unmanageable, EVERYONE deserves and is worthy of professional mental health. No matter how big or small, simple or complex, there is room in the therapy space for you.
Final note: If you have been considering or seeking professional mental health support with a licensed therapist and you are facing financial hurdles, know that many mental health professionals provide sliding scale fees and subsidized services that can be more affordable; it is ok to ask therapists if they offer these options and if they don’t, ask if they can refer someone who does.