It May Be Time To Book That Therapy Session.
Seeking therapy, has unfortunately, been the subject of ridicule and jest for a long time. Pursuing professional counseling for mental health concerns has unfortunately been stigmatized and labeled as something that “only those with mental disorders need.” This may be attributed to the African culture of being reliant on religion and other cultural beliefs as a solution to all our problems, and while they are still very important, seeking therapy has unfortunately been used in our society as a punchline but effective therapy can be extremely worthwhile for many—and critically necessary for some.
The brain, after all, is an organ and, like other organs, it requires some qualified medical attention. Therapy can help you manage life’s many twists and turns, it can help you understand what you’re feeling, why and how to cope. It can also provide you with the much-needed tools to manage your emotions by learning the art of mindfulness-based practices that can even help you take care of your own mental health and wellbeing. Think of it as how you visit your doctor for regular wellness checkups, or your dentist for an oral examination, a therapist can help keep your mental health in check. Indeed, therapy can be beneficial “just because.”
In other words, therapy can be an important aspect in improving your overall wellness, after all, ‘Without mental health, there can be no true physical health by Dr Brock Chisholm (WHO). There is, however, one limitation: therapy may not be the best option for those in crisis. For anyone having suicidal thoughts for example, it’s best to forego therapy in lieu of immediate admission into a hospital where they can be managed by both a psychiatrist and a psychologist.
So, how can we tell that it’s time for us to see a therapist?
- Advice from Friends and Family isn’t doing the trick. Well intentioned as it may be, advice from friends and family may not be enough for us.
- You Feel Like You’ve Lost Control, and even close family members and friends have begun to notice changes in your recent behavior. Maybe you are using alcohol more than usual? You are more irritable and lash out at the slightest inconvenience? A therapist can help you get to the bottom of it.
- You have been Using Alcohol, Drugs, Porn or Other Unhealthy Coping strategies. However bad things may be or seem to be, using alcohol, drugs, porn and other unhealthy coping strategies is always a bad idea that often leads to addiction problems.
- Lately you have been feeling Overwhelmingly Sad, hopeless or helpless. These feelings can be a sign of a serious mental health problem such as major depression.
- You or a Loved One are Living with a Chronic Health Condition. The uncertainty of serious illnesses can bring on stress, anxiety and depression.
- You’re Undergoing a Big Change. Change is never easy, be it positive or negative, we all need time and sometimes help to adjust.
- You’ve Recently Lost a Loved One or Close Friend. While there is no specific period of time to grieve, if you’re having difficulty coping after the death of a loved one, support from a therapist can go a long way.
- You Suspect You Have a Serious Mental Health Condition. Visit a therapist or psychiatrist to confirm.
- You Feel Like You Need to Talk to Someone. Maybe just for personal development, as simple as it sounds—trust yourself. Sometimes seeing a therapist is about understanding yourself a little bit better, the way you interpret the world, to build better healthier relationships, to managing stress at work or home, to building confidence, or even becoming a better parent.
If you feel like you need help, seek it. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed for taking action to improve your mental health, no matter the reason.
By Leah Ndegwa,
Chiromo Hospital Group