But I’m fine!—Recognizing I Need Help

“It’s just a phase! It will pass.”
“It’s just stress from work.”
“I’m very overwhelmed with school.”
“I’m just tired.”
“I’m just sad about the breakup.”
“It will pass”.

How many times have you heard or even said such phrases, trying to convince yourself that what is happening is only momentary, due to the circumstances, and that soon these feelings will pass?

It’s true, we all go through moments of stress, sadness, emotional crises during life. And yes! Often time does take care of organizing things and we go back to what we consider “normal”. But how do I know if what I am feeling now will pass naturally, or if I need help to understand and overcome this period?

During my years of work as a psychologist, I have met many people with these doubts. People seeking answers, seeking help, some who had already resorted to many things and who considered therapy as their last option. And I can say with all certainty, the sooner you seek help, the faster and easier your healing process will be. Unfortunately, we still find a lot of misinformation on the work of a psychologist, a lot of taboos and a lot of prejudice around it, but little by little these get broken and people realize that just like taking care of our physical health, taking care of our emotional health is of utmost importance.

You may have your physical health in order, but without emotional health you will not be able to enjoy all the resources and blessings God offers you each day.

The World Health Organization states that 25% of the population has some kind of emotional disorder. Among the most frequent anxiety and depression disorders. And the tendency is for this number to rise every day.

Still, we can’t start believing that living in anguish, depression, or oppression of any sort is normal. God created us to have abundant life, and His son Jesus came into this world to deliver us from all the bonds of sin, so that we may live our best lives in this world and in eternity. That is why we should not settle for unstable emotional health, or a life we just “push through”. We must seek the best every day, only then can we be lights and good instruments for His cause.

“But Faíla, I don’t think I have depression, and I don’t know exactly what I am going through yet. Should I still look for help?”

Certainly! Anything that is preventing you from having a healthy and balanced emotional life deserves to be taken care of, regardless of names or diagnoses.

Let’s talk about some signs that can help you gauge when to seek help:

  1. Physical Symptoms: Most of the time when we neglect our emotional health our body ends up paying a heavy price for it. They are what we call psychosomatic illnesses, pains and illnesses that have already been investigated, that do not go away, and apparently have no “cause.” Migraines, body aches, nervous gastritis, dermatitis, and so many other examples. After investigating the clinical causes it is important to pay attention to the emotional part involved in this process.
  2. Feeling out of place everywhere: starting to isolate oneself, getting “lazy” with social relationships, losing touch with people, and not feeling part of any group. These unattended symptoms can develop negatively and aggravate the condition, even turning it into depression.
  3. Relational difficulties: Often looking at our relationships helps us see signs that we need help. Communication problems and stress in your marital and family relationships, friendships, work or church relationships can signal that you are in need of help.
  4. When your routine is negatively affected: stress, anxiety, memory loss, constant irritation, and that never-ending tiredness. When some of these symptoms start to get in the way and affect your daily life, it’s time to investigate what is really going on emotionally.
  5. When you go through trauma or a big loss and you can’t get back to “normal” life, even after a long time.
  6. When emotions are paralyzing or very intense: bouts of crying, of anger, desire to “disappear”, euphoria. We all have emotions, but when they become very intense and uncompensated it is a warning sign.
  7. When the people around you say they are worried about you: Most of the time, the people around us notice changes long before we do. If you are hearing family and friends constantly asking what is going on and saying they are worried, be aware and seek help.
  8. When things you like are no longer attractive: It’s normal for us to change our interests throughout our lives, but when everything we like suddenly loses its “glow” and life gets “grayer”, it’s also an important warning sign.

Here we listed some of the tell-tale signs that can hint that it is time to ask for help, but there are many others. If you read the list above and identified with any one thing on the list, but still have doubts, seek help anyways.

You are very special to your Creator. He wants you to have a happy and prosperous life. He has empowered people who can help you understand how to best go through this process. Do not be afraid or ashamed to seek happiness.

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