It is thought that as many as 1 in 5 Australians have a mental illness. Many of them, however, never seek professional help – even though it could help them feel better. So how do you know if you could benefit from therapy? After all, everyone has bad days, right? Everyone gets anxious, angry, sad or stressed from time to time. At what point do these things become a mental health problem worth seeing a psychologist about?
To help you out, we’ve listed 4 signs that you should get professional help. If you find that therapy might be able to benefit you, the process is simple. Just go to your GP and tell them that you feel you might need a psychologist. They will be able to assist you with the process from there.
You’re using unhealthy substances as a means to cope
Some people deal with their emotions by trying to escape them. Things like drugs and alcohol, while perfectly fine in moderation, can cause harm if they are abused. Using these substances to make yourself feel better might seem to work in the short-term, however, it will eventually make you feel worse.
If you believe you might have an issue with substance use, there is help available. A GP can set you up with a mental health treatment plan, which will subsidise the cost of your sessions. Then, we can help you find a psychologist who has experience in helping people like you. Whether it’s substance abuse or any other problems you’re dealing with, there is someone who is able to help. With the right treatment, you will be able to live a happy, fulfilled life once again.
You’re feeling your emotions in the extreme
Some days you might feel so low that you don’t want to get out of bed. Other days you might be riddled with worry about regular tasks or responsibilities. Or perhaps you don’t feel anything most of the time and don’t understand where this numbness came from.
Mental illness can exacerbate certain emotions, such as sadness, worry, stress and anger. It often makes you feel certain things so deeply that you might not think you will ever feel happy or carefree or ‘normal’ again. It might also be hard to remember when you began feeling like this, making it seem like it’s been going on forever – with no end in sight. But with the right help, everyday doesn’t have to feel this way.
If you find that you are feeling certain emotions much more than usual – or in abnormal situations – it might be a sign that you should visit your GP. However, it’s normal to worry that your symptoms aren’t ‘bad’ enough, and this stops many people from seeking help. If you’re unsure, try and get yourself to a GP anyway. The fact that you’re feeling these things and questioning whether it’s normal is enough to check in with a professional. They will be able to help you figure out whether or not you should seek further help for your mental health. And remember – although it may not feel like it at the time – it is absolutely possible to work through these issues with professional help.
You’re finding it hard to cope with everyday life
Everyone has bad days where they feel like everything is a bit too much. But what do you do when you notice this happening all too often? Maybe you’ve started avoiding social situations at all costs. Perhaps you don’t have an appetite or are struggling to eat. Or you could be feeling so anxious about going to work each morning that it’s making you feel physically sick. These are just a few examples of how mental illness can make it really difficult for us to cope with normal, everyday tasks.
Whether it’s taking the kids to school, cooking dinner or going to work, regular responsibilities can feel impossible when you’re fighting against your own emotions. If you’re feeling this way, it might be a good idea to visit your GP and let them know your concerns. They’ll be able to set you up with a Mental Health Treatment Plan so you can begin therapy.
You’ve experienced trauma
Certain events or experiences can trigger mental illness, affecting your ability to cope with everyday life. Common disorders caused by traumatic events include depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress. If you find yourself having disruptive thoughts or feelings about what you’ve been through, therapy can help. A psychologist can provide you with the support you need to overcome these feelings and experiences so they no longer trouble you in the future.
It’s important to remember that everyone copes differently with different situations. Try not to compare how you’re coping with other people and their experiences. If you have gone through something that has taken its toll on your mental health, it’s worth visiting your GP and discussing therapy.
Still unsure whether you should see a psychologist?
Ultimately, if you’re uncertain of whether you need help or not, it’s best to go to your GP. When it comes to your mental health, it’s better to ensure you’re getting the support you need. If you’re worried about a loved one rather than yourself, read our blog on supporting someone through mental illness.