How do I know if I even need a therapist?

I sometimes feel depressed and not interested in doing the basics like cleaning or showering.
I get upset with people sometimes who accomplish things i haven’t yet.
I don’t know what i need help with? If i need help at all.
Asked by Ri

Thank you for reaching out and submitting your question. I am sorry you are experiencing some difficulties and challenges in your life right now.

You have pondered something which many people find themselves faced with at some point in their lives (or even at many, many points): do I need therapy? Is seeing a therapist the right thing for me to do?

There are a variety of reasons why people attend therapy. For some, there is not any particular reason at all. They simply like having a neutral, objective person to talk to. Or perhaps they want to have meaningful discussions on the regular which help them explore themselves more deeply or which contribute to them getting a deeper understanding of their personal meaning and purpose in life.

For others, there might be a situation reason. This could include a death or perhaps a child moving out of the home or a job change/loss or some other major life event. At these times in life we find ourselves struggling and in need of some added support. Theses sorts of things lead many people into the therapy room.

There is, too, a variety of mental health diagnoses which become too much to manage. Symptoms begin making it harder to function in daily life and in relationships. This can include every diagnosis which exists from anxiety and depression to bipolar.

Here are some things which could be a good indicator that therapy may be helpful to you:

Maybe you are avoiding social situations. If you begin to isolate more, and are withdrawing from your friends and family, it could be indicative of some other concerns. We all have those times when we want to be on our own, but there are times when it just becomes more than normal – it is more than just wanting some peace and quiet for a short bit.

You just feel like life is too much sometimes. You maybe struggle to get the basics done. Things which were easy to do are now incredibly hard to tackle. You could feel extra challenged when it is time to make decisions. 

You could be feeling hopeless. It can sometimes hard to look into the future and feel anything positive. You maybe no longer see a light at the end of the tunnel. It has gone dark with signs of ever turning back on. This could be a sign of depression.

There has been a change in your eating. Some people find they begin eating more. For others, they go the opposite way and start eating much less. If you are struggling you might notice a change in your eating habits.

You are noticing issues with work or school. It could be hard to focus and concentrate. You feel like it is all too much to manage. You might lose interest in what you are doing.

There is no longer much enjoyment in the things you found fun before. You can begin to feel disconnected. You lose interest in hobbies.

Often, when someone is considering therapy, and wondering if they might benefit, then it is clear there is something amiss and you are not feeling your best. Essentially, if you have to ask, then something is wrong and so the answer would be yes. In fact, we all could benefit from added support.

The issues which you mention are ones which bring many people to therapy.

The reality is that many people begin therapy simply because things are not going well. They might not even be able to put into words what is happening. They might not understand why it is happening. Every therapist is prepared and accustomed to this. Many people just feel like they are struggling and they enter the therapy room with more questions than answers. This is normal.

If you do decide to try therapy, you have the option of ending care whenever you like. There are no requirements to continue if you find it does not feel like the right choice. Also, it is always acceptable to change to a new therapist at any time if you find you aren’t connecting. Often, people need to switch to a new therapist due to moving or they need to find one who specializes in a particular concern.

Therapy can help. There is considerable research which validates how effective it can be.

If things continue to be a struggle, think about giving therapy a try. The reality is that having extra support is always a positive and pretty nearly everyone could benefit from therapy.