(This is a continuation from last week’s post. Click here to read that post.)
Matt looked at from another perspective: his problem is distressing him and impairing his daily activities. Sometimes, thoughts of committing suicide have entered his mind due to the difficulties the problem has caused him. Indeed, his friends have noticed his lack of sleep is making him have some strange behaviour. On top of it all, he is not eating very well. He did not have an appetite and was not feeding seriously. Maybe a combination of bad sleeping and eating patterns might be his real problem – or, at least, that’s what John thinks. But then, again, for John, missing a meal ranks equally as committing a crime!
John’s assessment is obviously only partly correct. Matt’s current behaviour and functioning are symptoms and not the actual problem. Whenever you have an issue that is troubling you enough to affect your daily functioning negatively, that’s a sign that a therapist’s input is needed.
Sometimes unusual behaviour may not have an obvious cause, like the heartbreak in Matt’s case. Some mental health issues are genetic and need the assessment of a professional for diagnosis and treatment. Sometimes, relationship issues are the cause of distress; while, in many cases, childhood issues may have formed a person’s personality in a way that sets them up for emotional problems. Some people experience emotional and mental distress due to life’s transitions.
Transitions such as growing up and leaving home; starting a career and starting a family pose the difficulty of negotiating change. On the other hand, parents who may not take the maturity of their children well, may get distressed when the adult child leaves. Negotiating this change may cause friction between adult children and their parents. Therapy may play a role in easing the parents’ distress and normalizing this transition.
Another set of issues that causes people to seek therapy are their jobs. Some people are qualified but do not have a job. Endless idle time may lead some people to depression. Others have outgrown their jobs and are looking for a way out. Some lose their jobs unexpectedly and are at a loss for what to do. Retirement may also take a toll on those who retire, whether they have a plan or not.
Yet another set of issues that people in therapy face is ageing. Advancing in age is a hard time for many people as their bodies no longer achieve what they used to with ease when they were younger. Facing one’s mortality can throw one into despair, not to mention the physical illnesses that start appearing beyond a certain age of maturity. These and other transitions may cause enough distress to justify therapy, not to mention the fact that most chronic illnesses are accompanied by some form of mental illnesses.
All these and many others are examples of what may lead one to therapy. I have seen a combination of these factors too.
There are numerous methods of treatment that a therapist may employ. In our society, it is almost automatic for one who see a doctor when they are experiencing a disturbing physical ailment. Therefore, why can’t we accept that emotional, psychological, and mental pain requires equal attention? Indeed, I dare say that emotional, psychological and mental pain need even more attention: without being healthy in these three areas, it is almost impossible to function in life overall!
On which side of the divide are you? To see or not to see a therapist?
Photo Credits: Pinterest