Maybe it has been a while since you’ve been to counseling, and you’re not sure if it’s the right time to return. Only you can make that decision, but there are concrete reasons to seek help. Keep in mind, these are not the ONLY reasons to return to counseling, but they are GOOD reasons. Remember, it’s time to seek help when you feel like your life needs to change and you’re not sure how to do it on your own.
1) Loved ones have told you they are concerned about you. This one is a pretty glaring sign that it is time to seek help. If friends or family members you trust with wanting the best for you are concerned about something, from anger to depression to mania to strange habits to ANYTHING they bring to your attention, it is probably a good idea to talk to a counselor about it.
2) You feel disconnected from activities you used to enjoy. If you used to be an avid biker but it’s not collecting dust in the garage; if you used to go to the movies every Friday but you haven’t been in months; if you used to host parties regularly but have been alone since you can remember; if you used to read every night before bed but you haven’t cracked a book in a year…if there’s anything you used to love and now you don’t engage in the activity, and you’re not sure why, that’s something important to discuss with a counselor.
3) Your relationships are strained. If you are having difficulty with your partner, children, or parents and feel unhappy with every day interactions, this is definitely something to seek help with so you can repair those relationships effectively.
4) You’re struggling at work. Is a job you used to enjoy now stressful? Even if you never loved your job, have you been struggling with tasks you used to be good at? Are you getting bad feedback from your boss or coworkers? We spend so many waking hours at work that if it’s becoming a problem, you should seek help.
5) You’re using a substance to cope. If you need a glass of wine every night to wind down, or an unprescribed anti-anxiety pill to get you in the door at work, or marijuana every weekend to forget about your stresses, or have moved on to harder substances because what you used to do isn’t working, then it is absolutely time to talk to a counselor. Drugs are always a mask for pain, and a counselor can help.
6) Unresolved Trauma. If you suffered a trauma at any point in your life and now you cannot stop thinking about it, or if you think your past trauma is affecting your current life, a counselor can help you navigate your feelings and get to a healthier place.
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Remember, these aren’t ALL the reasons to seek counseling, but what counselors do best is help people reframe their thoughts and feelings so that they can be happier and healthier.