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We have spent a few articles discussing mental well-being and the different pillars of the concept. We have established that as much as physical and spiritual well-being, mental well-being is a cornerstone of our health and wellness.
We do, however, sometimes, get to a point where we need additional help to sort out the challenges and struggles we are facing in our daily lives. The additional help could take many forms: support from family, the community or mental health care professionals. In this article, we will explore when we need to seek assistance with the process of self-care outside of our everyday support system.
There are a multitude of mental health care professionals who offer support services for different purposes. We will have a look at these in a different article, but today, we will look at when you should consider seeking the guidance of a mental health care professional.
Ultimately, you should seek the help of a mental health care professional when the challenges you face cause distress and interfere with some part of your life – like your sleeping patterns, your eating patterns or/and your relationships. These signs could include but are not limited to what is discussed later in the article. A critical point at this stage is to remember that we are all different and the effects of challenges in our daily lives are unique. What might be helpful to one person might not be for the next – one type of therapy might work for one person and be completely useless to another. Then some can adjust their mental well-being without additional guidance. The choices you make are personal and no one can dictate what is best for you.
So, when do we need to seek additional guidance and support? Let us have a look at some signs that you should not ignore.
Not getting the sleep that you need can have a detrimental effect on your holistic well-being (we discussed the importance of sleep in a previous article and the effects of not sleeping enough could have on your well-being). When we allow challenges and mental struggles to influence our sleeping patterns it affects every other aspect of our lives. Another caution is to understand that fatigue does not just mean that we are not sleeping too little, but also that we sleep more but still wake up tired.
Feeling overwhelmed can be explained best by the proverbial “juggling of balls in the air” and the feeling that at any time soon, we are going to drop them or some of them. It might feel that you have too many issues to cope with and that you cannot get to a relaxed state. This could cause elevated symptoms of stress which could lead to serious physical health concerns.
Disproportionate rage, anger or resentment
We all have our moments of anger and this is ok. When anger becomes disproportionate or a constant state – it will be harmful to your mental wellbeing and additional help should be a priority.
Agoraphobia refers to a mental condition which causes people to avoid specific situations out of fear and anxiety. This is not the instinct that kicks into gear when we are in situations that could cause us harm (like being afraid to walk through a dark alley late at night), but it is an irrational fear – the type of fear that reduces the quality of your life. When this becomes part of your narrative it is best to find someone to coach you through the cause of the fears you are experiencing.
Anxiety and fear
Worry is one thing, anxiety and intrusive thoughts are another. We all have things that worry us at times and that might cause some introspection to solve. Anxious and intrusive thoughts are something completely different. When worry becomes anxiety, it takes up a significant part of our daily lives and could cause physical symptoms – like ulcers or constant migraines. This would be a good time to explore the cause of your anxiety with a person removed from your daily life and someone who has an objective view of your experiences.
Losing interest in activities, the world around you, people you love and your well-being could be a red flag when it comes to your mental wellbeing. This could cause depression or anxiety disorders. Speak it out with someone who could offer objective support.
Being demotivated to live life to the fullest or losing hope for the future could be a serious indication of a mental health condition. Feeling hopeless – especially after some difficulty – is not uncommon, but if it persists, it is best to release the tension by seeking the guidance of a mental health care professional.
Withdrawing from social activities and cutting ourselves off from friends and family or other support systems are always a cause of concern. However, sometimes we do need to spend time alone just to structure our thoughts and feelings. This is ok, but if we specifically cut out the support from others whom we rely upon, it is a clear alarm bell that we need additional guidance and advice.
As a final note: seeking guidance from a mental health care professional when you need to is not something to be ashamed of. Taking care of your mental health is as important as taking care of your physical health (we argued the importance thereof in many articles). You will not shame a diabetic seeking medical care, right? Why then is someone who seeks support with their mental wellbeing – both are equally critical to your overall wellness.
Always take care of yourself first – keep your cup filled because you cannot be everything you need to be for yourself and for those who depend on you if you are constantly running on empty.