As a child, you can probably remember being at your family doctor’s office at least a few times. Maybe for a routine check up, to check on a broken bone or to get some medicine for an illness that just wasn’t going away on it’s own. Tending to our physical health has generally been taught to us from a very young age. But how do we know when we need professional support to manage our mental health?
Some people live with a physical health illness, like diabetes or asthma. They may require more frequent or regular visits with their family doctor. While others may live with a mental illness, such as clinical depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. These conditions also may require specialized interventions by a mental health professional to manage symptoms.
But just like with physical health, our mental health can fluctuate. I might get a cold that temporarily limits my function and through experience, I have learned that I generally just need a bit more rest, some extra liquids and time to recuperate. Our mental health exists in a similar way , we can be managing and functioning quite well and at other times, our stress response systems get so overwhelmed, we can’t function quite as well.
These are normal, biological responses to actual or perceived stress. Generally, when our stress reduces, we are able to return to our baseline and return to a normal state of functioning. But when stress is chronic and persistent, it can interfere with our ability to return to that baseline which leads to feelings of being stuck, overwhelmed or unproductive.
A therapist can help you to identify areas of strength while also helping to identify areas that need a little extra consideration and support. A therapist won’t fix your problems for you, but will work with you to manage your mental health more effectively while focusing on areas of your life where stress exists.