Thinking of seeing a professional, but can't seem to decide if what you're going through is worth the trip? Perhaps you may feel that despite the gravity of your situation, you still manage to get by. It's always good to know that somehow we're still chugging along, right? So how do we know when it's gotten pretty bad and it's time to see a mental health professional? Here are four signs to look out for:
1) It is beginning to cause you distress. Whether you're finding it difficult to get rid of trash, trinkets, people, or habits, if you feel paralyzed because of your experience and feel a significant amount of stress when this happens, then it's definitely time to seek professional help. Some examples of situations that could cause you distress could be:
- Inability to fall asleep at night
- Inability to connect with other people
- Inability to fulfill certain tasks due to sudden sensations that come up in the body
- Bodily pain and discomfort
- Inability to shift out of particular thought patterns
- Obsessive thoughts about people, situations, places, things, etc.
- Excessive crying
- Inability to gain clarity in certain situations
2) You feel paralyzed / disabled. Imagine this, if you had the flu, you would literally be stuck in bed because you would feel terrible. Certain situations may cause us to feel just as stuck or paralyzed, and if that paralysis tends to linger on for too long, then this is a sure sign that we may need help. Sometimes the paralysis we are feeling can manifest in various ways:
- Maybe it's your inability to step out of a toxic relationship
- Or a feeling of overall distress when it comes to social interaction
- Trouble getting out of bed, out of the car, out of the house, etc.
- Stalling towards deadlines / goals in life because of severe stress
3) There is a feeling of dysfunction. For some people, dysfunction can manifest in the body. They begin to notice that they are unable to fall asleep - so they never feel sleepy. For others, there might be pain in areas that would otherwise prove to be normal or functioning well if run through different medical tests. Sometimes it could also be a tick or a severe stiffening of the muscles. These not so subtle signs tell us that there is an obvious misfire in our brain, thus body function may not be optimum. Another way to understand dysfunction is through the possibility that distress and paralysis may be a cause of a chemical imbalance.
It is important that we notice what is happening to our bodies, because in the subtle signs of what could look like a panic attack, catatonia, and a nervous tick to name a few, we may seek help that will get us to work through it.
4) Deviant thinking and acting. Thoughts about harming yourself? Wishing other people harm? Sharing plans on how to execute this behavior? Designing a strategy that would cause yourself and others pain or discomfort? These are examples of deviant thinking. Some other deviant thoughts and behaviors might be the likes of stealing, bursts of anger, planning revenge, and so much more.
If you or someone you know might be showing signs of deviant thoughts and behavior, then it's certainly time to see a professional.
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