Everyone needs guidance in life. Think about all the stages of life; someone taught us how to walk, how to talk, and how to feed ourselves. Later in life we need support in learning how to drive, how to manage finances, how to study, and how to get a job. Many of us seek guidance for the basic necessities of life. So when it comes to how to manage feelings of low self-worth, depression, anxiety, stress, crisis in relationships, and chemical use concerns, why is there often hesitation to seek support? Let’s address some of these barriers below:
"The problem is not that bad"
Sure, things might be going okay, but why be satisfied with an unsatisfying lifestyle? If we catch the concerns early, we can prevent the problem from getting worse. Often, symptoms of prolonged stress or sadness are the warning signs that some area in our life may need further attention. It’s just like seeing the doctor when you have minor pain for preventative care.
“I should be able to handle these concerns on my own; others seem to manage fine without professional support”
Others manage the problem because they did receive support. The support doesn’t always have to come from a professional. Our parents and caretakers are given the responsibility to navigate us through life, but they don’t always have the tools to navigate through every problem in life, or it may be something they are not familiar with. Many of us did not have the proper guidance from their family because of an absent/abusive parent or the parent was never given the tools to cope with the problem themselves. A trusted counselor, teacher, respected leader, or family member can give to us what we never received in the first place.
Stigma around seeking support for mental health
Many people would not hesitate to take off of work to address a serious injury or illness; yet they neglect their own mental well-being? The stigma around “mental health” is being addressed better than ever now, but it still exists. Everyone is prone to sadness, stress, traumatic experiences, insecurity and fear. If you were to deny ever experiencing any negative thoughts or emotions, then you would either be a robot or be in denial (see below). The healthy person is the one that gains insight into these symptoms and obtains support in addressing them.
“I don’t have a problem or the problem is not with me”
One of the hardest steps in anyone’s life is to admit they have a problem or need support. To admit we have a problem means we have to take a hard look at our life. It may mean that we have to change. Change can be a difficult process; things would be easier if they just stay the same. But defensiveness and denial ignore the truth and the role your actions play in any given scenario. The consequences to denial can be loss of relationships, and having areas in life that never improve or never receiving access to a person that can assist you in growth.
You see the doctor for medical concerns, an advisor for your finances, a lawyer for legal concerns. A counselor or therapist can offer you guidance through some of life’s most difficult, complicated and painful circumstances. Receiving counsel is a gift, and without it we risk going through life lost, frustrated, or unsatisfied. Don’t ignore the warning signs and schedule with a licensed professional near you to address your concerns.