By Jo Lynn Bright
Celebrities like Kristen Bell and Prince Harry openly talk about their mental health and the steps they have taken to find healing and hope. These celebrities have started addressing the fact that so many of us struggle, which is helping to decrease the stigma of getting help from professional mental health therapists. But how do you know if it’s time for you to seek help and who do you turn to?
How do I know if I’m ready to seek help?
If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, it might be time to consider finding a mental health therapist near you:*
- My professional life is thriving, but my personal life is falling apart.
- Anxious thoughts take over my mind and don’t let me sleep for hours.
- I have fears so intense I am not able to do normal activities like eat, grocery shop or go on a walk outside.
- I always seem to fall for the same type of man/woman who lets me down in the same ways.
- My spouse and I keep having the same argument over and over, and it’s getting us nowhere.
- I am sad or numb most of the time and uninterested in my normal activities.
I’m ready to talk. How do I know who to trust with my struggles?
Trust can be a hard thing to establish. When you are ready to start looking for a therapist, look for signs that they are trustworthy and a good fit for you. A few places to start are:
- Do they have a state-based behavioral health license? This might seem academic, but a license tells you that this therapist is under a known code of ethics, that they have studied and mastered human psychology, counseling methodology and healing techniques. This helps you know who is keeping this person accountable for how they diagnose and treat their clients.
- Do they have a specialty, and does it line up with my needs? If you are struggling with anxiety, going to a therapist that specializes only in addiction issues is not going to be the best fit. If your faith is important to you, you might connect best with a therapist from a similar faith background.
I tried counseling, but I am not connecting with my counselor. What do I do now?
This can be discouraging, but it is a normal part of the journey toward better mental health. Your counselor will not be hurt if you decide you need to try someone new. They know not everyone is a great fit with them and might be feeling the same thing you are. They want what’s best for you more than they want you as a client. Therapists are there to help you, so if their personality, methodology or even their therapy room is not working for you, you are not obligated to stay. Remind yourself when this happens, that it is normal. And be proud that you are still seeking help. Reflect on what didn’t work and create some ideas of what would be better for you based on those ideas.
As you begin to find healing, you will start seeing the impact in your life. If anxiety has been keeping you up for hours at night, your therapist will help you address your anxious thoughts and give you tools to manage them.
If depression has been making it nearly impossible to take care of yourself, home or family, your therapist can help you establish habits and routines that will renew your mind and body, and increase your energy for daily tasks. They will also help you learn how to discern what things you need to keep in your life and where you might need to cut back in order to flourish.
Imagine you and your spouse having tools to get to the root of that argument and finding common ground. Imagine learning to trust each other and feeling that the other has your best interest at heart. Imagine creating a baseline where you know the other would not intentionally hurt you with words or actions. Imagine your conflict being a source of productive progress.
HopeNet mental health therapists are ready to help you imagine a healthier and happier future. Our therapists are experts in helping people with issues like depression, anxiety, marriage struggles, trauma or in managing difficult life circumstances like grief, loneliness, worry or parenting struggles. HopeNet is ready to help you start your journey to a happier, healthier life. Are you ready?
*This is not an exhaustive list by any means. If you are concerned about your health, mental or physical, the best place to start is with your family doctor.