Giving yourself time to talk about what has happened to you, your thoughts and your feelings, is an effective way to deal with many of life’s difficulties. However, many people still hesitate to take that first step and reach out for help to a counsellor or therapist. Maybe there is a fear that we might be judged as ‘ill’ or ‘crazy’, or maybe it is just hard to admit that we are not coping. Sometimes there can be feelings of disloyalty or guilt for seeking help outside of our established family or network of friends. But you do not have to be ill, desperate or on the verge of a breakdown to seek out therapy. Often, finding a space for reflection and support can be a way of avoiding ill health.

Here are some signs that it might be time to seek out that sort of space in your own life:

  • Feeling stressed and under pressure – when under pressure, perhaps you find yourself working harder or faster. Alternatively, you might be the sort of person who starts avoiding people or tasks to win yourself some breathing space. Whilst these tactics might work in the short-term, over time you could find yourself burning out or letting people down.
  • Experiencing intense or unmanageable feelings – feelings can become overwhelming, even ones we normally think of as positive. Anxiety, fear, jealousy, sadness, excitement or elation can take grip of us and cloud our thinking. Sometimes these feelings get translated into behaviour that others find confusing or worrying. Making sense of these feelings enables us to communicate clearly to others.
  • Lack of motivation – feeling flat and down means we can no longer find joy in things we previously enjoyed. It can feel like too much effort to engage with family and friends. Even a low-level, niggling sense of disappointment or confusion can indicate that something is not right.
  • Bad habits – whether it is food, excessive exercise, drugs, sex or alcohol, turning to substances or certain patterns of behaviour in order to cope with feelings can become a habit that is hard to break. When we have a sense that we are no longer in control of these behaviours it is probably time to seek help.
  • Trauma – unpleasant circumstances happen to everyone at some point. It might be an illness, a loss, an accident or a crime. It could be that difficult experiences from childhood are making it hard to progress with everyday life. These events can be hard to process alone and can replay in our lives through nightmares, flashes of uncontrolled emotion or difficulties in relating to others.

Some of these things may be experienced intensely or suddenly, but it maybe that they are creeping up on us slowly over time. Either way, any of these factors suggest that we could benefit from some time to talk with a trained professional. Contact Richmond Psychotherapy and build some space into your life where you can understand yourself better and get the most out of your relationships.