Many people talk about taking care of your physical health but it is less common to hear tips on managing your mental health.
Approximately 1 in 5 Americans experience mental illness at least once a year. That’s nearly 44 million people who experience mental illness!
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So many people struggle with mental illness or mental distress and don’t get the help that they need. In fact, mental illness can have some devastating consequences.
An estimated 46 percent of the homeless population lives with severe mental illness and/or addiction. Additionally, 70 percent of youth in detention centers deal with some type of mental illness.
Your mental health is just as important or maybe more important than your physical health. Your mental health significantly affects your quality of life from your enjoyment of hobbies to dealing with the highs and lows of everyday living.
If you feel like your quality of life has been slipping lately, you may need to see a counselor.
Here are five signs you should see a counselor:
1. Your Mental Situation Is Causing Distress
One major way to know whether or not you need help with your mental health is to see how it’s affecting your life on a stress level.
Does your mental condition cause you significant distress; so much so that you’re starting to experience physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, sweaty palms, nervous tics, or acid reflux?
What about your cognitive functioning at home, school, or work? Do you feel like your enthusiasm is slipping at work or school? What about your concentration?
You may feel like you can’t muster up the strength to sit down and concentrate on your work, which can lead to problems at work and even unemployment. Sometimes significant distress can just mean feeling overwhelmed on a daily basis.
If your mental distress is preventing you from functioning at a normal level in your relationships, work, and personal life, it may be time to see a counselor.
2. You’ve Experienced Some Type of Trauma
Have you experienced some type of significant type of trauma at any point in your life? Believe it or not, both recent and past trauma can affect you emotionally in your everyday life.
Some examples of trauma that may affect you could be the death of a loved one, an abusive relationship, whether intimate, professional, or familial.
Getting help with any type of recent trauma is a good idea as it can cause unhealthy habits, cause loss of sleep, and more. If you just can’t get over a particular experience and it’s affecting your job, relationships or sleep, it may be time to get help from a professional counselor.
3. You’ve started to Use Food, Substances, or Some Other Type of Unhealthy Behaviors to Cope
Another really significant sign of mental distress is using some type of substance or behavior as a way to cope. Some common substances that people use to cope with their mental state are alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and food.
Substances aren’t the only things that people use to deal with mental distress. Sometimes seemingly innocent behaviors such as checking your phone, looking at pornography, having sex, gambling, or shopping can turn into full-blown addictions.
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Using substances or behaviors as a way to avoid the pain of your mental distress can put you in the position of having to deal with your mental distress on top of addiction.
4. Your Friends or Family Have Tried to Talk To You About Your Mental State
Have the people close to you in your life mentioned unusual behaviors such as you not keeping up with your appearance as you usually do, gaining or losing a significant amount of weight in a short period of time, or how they see you’re distancing yourself?
Sometimes, we can get so wrapped up in our own mental state that we don’t have any awareness of how some of our behaviors have changed. Some people can be depressed or anxious and not even notice.
It’s important to pay attention to people’s questions or pleas for concerns about your unusual activity and behavior. These people care about you and wouldn’t bring it up if they didn’t feel like you needed some type of help or support.
If a loved one, a close friend, or even a co-worker says to you, “You need help” then it may be a sign that you need to look into getting some type of help.
5. You Want More Support
You don’t necessarily need to have a mental illness to go and see a therapist. Sometimes we just need extra emotional support in our lives and it may help us get through the temporary issues in life to know that someone is listening to us.
Going to therapy is a great way to have someone listen to you, not judge you and give you unbiased feedback.
Additionally, getting support doesn’t mean that you are necessarily struggling. Maybe you want to understand yourself more, find out what your purpose in life is, or just get some direction on your current relationships and career.
Therapists are extremely talented at asking the right questions to get us to think, reflect upon our thoughts, and discover the answers to our problems and questions.
Learn New Strategies to Live Life
Suffering from mental illnesses or even going through mental distress is normal. It’s important to remember that dealing with mental illness or mental distress is not a personal choice.
Getting the help that you need can give you the mental strategies and coping skills you’ll need to manage your mental state. Doing this can take time; even years, but it is worth it in the end.
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Stop suffering in silence and get the help that you need to get through this trying time. Schedule an appointment.