When to Seek Help

This week was one of those weeks. I was confronted with my least favorite emotion… Anxiety. It was my first week back at work after my maternity leave and the thought of returning was stressing me out. I had other stressors going on, but having to go back to work was daunting. I spent so much time worrying about how I’d multitask, if I’d get enough rest, if I’d be able to stay up, if I’d miss the weekends, and a plethora of other loosely related ruminations. My body was hurting, I got a headache, my thoughts were racing, and I was losing sleep. Fast forward to today… I’ve done 2 shifts and they both went well. I’m a little slow, but it’s almost as if I picked up where I left off. Needless to say, all that stress was for nothing.

Multiverse Story Time

The point of that story was to normalize strong emotions. We are meant to feel emotions and sometimes they affect us deeply. When I tell you I was stressed, I meant it. I was stressssssed, but I was still able to function and push through in order to see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, as the title suggests, I’m going to spend the rest of this blog post describing when it’s time to get professional mental health treatment. There are times where we can’t simply push through. This is not a matter of effort or strength. Sometimes people are drowning in their emotions without knowing it’s time to get help. I’ll give an example of this using my anxiety ridden week. Let’s say that instead of making it to my first shift, I was so anxious that I became unable to function. I loss so much sleep that I had no energy to eat or feed the children. I stopped bathing and relied on Arlinton to take over all household responsibilities. I became so crippled by my anxiety that I didn’t show up to my shift and was ultimately fired. I then became so self loathing that I started to think about hurting myself. As extreme as this may sound, it’s a reality for many people. The saddest part is that many of these people don’t know it’s time to get help or how to get help.

When To Get Help

The main thing that distinguishes an emotion or an experience from a mental disorder is the inability to function. Functioning is your ability to do regular activities like eat, sleep, attend to hygiene, concentrate, engage in activities, or work. Functioning also includes your ability to engage and sustain relationships. Functioning is subjective because we all have different levels to begin with. Therefore, a decrease in functioning is a better marker. Some examples of not functioning include: not eating, not sleeping, not bathing, not cleaning the home, stopping or quitting a job, no longer going out, no longer engaging with others, more fights, an inability to talk, or not moving. If your quality of life decreases markedly in any way, I’d seek out help. Two other main reasons to seek help are if you’re having thoughts of killing or hurting yourself or others. Ideally, the earlier you get help, the better. You don’t have to be at your wits end to get help.

Where To Get Help

There are 2 main places where people get help initially. Those two places are the emergency room and their primary care provider’s office. If you have thoughts of hurting yourself or others or if your quality of life has decreased because of a mental health issue, go to the emergency department. If your condition is less urgent, tell your primary care doctor. They can start treatment for some conditions and refer to a specialist for the others. Aside from professional help, it’s good to seek out support from loved ones and community supports like churches.

I hope this post was helpful to someone. I went over why and how to get help in broad strokes. Please tell me in the comments if this is something you’d be interested in me posting about more. Also feel free to post any resources you’ve found helpful.

Links to Resources

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

CDC ( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

One thought on “When to Seek Help

  1. Thank you so much for the information. It’s always good to know so you can look for the warning signs. This was a well written article. You not only describe the problem; You also give information about where to get help. I know this will help someone and I pray that they will seek help.

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