Do You Need Therapy? Signs Talking It Out Is The Best Way Forward

Society has made major strides when it comes to discussing mental health and the struggles many of us face when it comes to depression, anxiety, and other disorders (diagnosed or otherwise). However, for many people, there’s still a fair amount of shame surrounding asking for help. There shouldn’t be! If you’re experiencing any of the following things, it’s likely you need therapy. Don’t feel bad about it — getting impartial feedback and guidance from a professional can help you get your life back when it feels like it’s slipping from your hands.

  1. You feel like you’re constantly on an emotional roller coaster and you can’t get off. We all experience mood swings from time to time — hello, PMS! — but if your emotions are so unpredictable and extreme that it’s interfering with your daily life, that’s a problem. There are numerous reasons this may be happening, from hormonal imbalances to unresolved trauma, just to name a few. However, you’ll never know if you don’t seek help with the problem.
  2. You have too many sleepless nights to count. Tossing and turning or having nightmares regularly? Your insomnia is trying to tell you something. Not being able to switch off once your head hits the pillow does happen on occasion, especially when something major is happening in your life. That being said, if lying awake until just before your alarm goes off turning over a million different things in your brain is your norm, there’s something bigger going on.
  3. Your relationships are never-ending dramas. Sure, you may have dated a couple of people who brought out the worst in you, but if all of your relationships were toxic and traumatizing, you have to look at the common denominator here: you. It could be that you need therapy to identify harmful patterns, as well as to learn how to address them and brush up on skills like compromise, understanding, and communication.
  4. You’re stressed AF and can’t find relief. Modern life can pile on stress, but if it feels like a never-ending avalanche, therapy can give you tools to manage it and find your inner zen. Self-care plays a huge role in our mental health, but if bubble baths, long runs, and meditation sessions aren’t doing the trick, bringing in the big guns (i.e. seeing a licensed professional) might do the trick.
  5. Your self-esteem is in the gutter. Everyone has things they don’t like about themselves, but if your self-worth is pretty much non-existent, you have to do something to change it. A therapist can help you shift your mindset so that you’re able to focus on all the wonderful things about you — and yes, there are many! — so that you can truly learn to love yourself.
  6. You’re still hanging on to past trauma. Past trauma can cast a long shadow if it’s not dealt with. There’s only so long you can compartmentalize or pretend that you’re okay until it comes back to bite you. If you went through a scarring experience, you need therapy to sort through the feelings it left you with so that you can begin to heal and move on. You can’t let your past control your future.
  7. You feel overwhelmed by the prospect of navigating your life. Major life changes like new jobs, moving, or breakups can be overwhelming. Therapy can help to provide a roadmap through tricky situations and empower you with the knowledge and flexibility you need to navigate them more easily.
  8. You’re aware of toxic habits and behaviors you have but don’t know how to break them. Self-awareness goes a long way in life, and if you know you’re doing certain things in life that aren’t good for you, that’s half the battle. However, you may need therapy to actually change those behaviors into healthier alternatives.
  9. You feel like you’ve lost your passion for life. If you’ve lost interest in things that once made you happy and you’re struggling to find motivation, it could be that you’re suffering from depression. While some people need medication to help rebalance their moods, it could just be that seeing a therapist regularly helps identify a blockage so that you can remove it and get back to being happy.
  10. Your life feels stagnant and unchanging. Feeling like life’s in a holding pattern? Therapy can help you get back in gear, set goals, and move forward. Your therapist will never tell you how to live your life, but they can act as a sounding board to help you identify a path forward to help you get out of your rut.
  11. Your self-talk is full of criticism and negativity. Do you have a never-ending inner critic that’s always telling you that you’re not good enough? That’s not true, and therapy can help you silence that harsh voice by giving you the tools to reframe your damaging self-talk into something more affirming. After all, you wouldn’t let anyone else talk to you this way, so why are you doing it to yourself?
  12. You find yourself withdrawing from your life little by little. If you’ve started canceling plans with friends and spending more and more time alone, you’re in danger of seriously isolating yourself and getting into a bad place. In fact, you might already be there. It could be that you need therapy to identify why this has happened and to coax you back out into the life you’ve built and once loved.
  13. You suffer from panic attacks. Frequent panic attacks can be overwhelming, and therapy can teach you techniques to reduce their frequency or even ward them off altogether. Mental health professionals have the tools to help you dig deep into the things you fear or that cause you the high levels of stress and anxiety that lead to panic attacks. Once you master these tools and coping methods, you’ll feel so much better.
  14. You struggle to set boundaries. Many of us struggle with people-pleasing tendencies or tend to overextend ourselves or give second chances when they’re not deserved. If setting boundaries and sticking to them is something you just can’t seem to do, seeking a therapist’s advice could change this.
  15. You rely on drugs or alcohol to feel better. If you’re using substances to cope with emotional pain or stress, therapy can be a crucial step in recovery and healing. Addiction is an issue that can ruin your entire life, so it’s vital this is brought under control as soon as possible. Look for a therapist who specializes in addictive behaviors to get the most out of your sessions.

It’s important to note that there are many different types of therapy as it’s not a “one size fits all” practice. You may need to see several different professionals in order to find one you gel with and whose advice and guidance you find most helpful. Don’t give up — you deserve to be happy.

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill