The first time I saw a therapist I did not know I needed one. In my mid-twenties, still in college, I had a decent job and apartment. It was my father who told me he thought it would be good for me. He was a psychoanalyst so I figured he should know. I asked him anyway, “Why do you think I should go to a therapist?”
What evidence did he see, I wondered? Self-sufficiency was something I prided myself on so I admit I was a little insulted that he thought I needed help. I wasn’t wallowing in bed all day, or starving myself to death, or contemplating suicide. Weren’t those severe symptoms what signaled the need for therapy?
My Dad diplomatically said I appeared to be stuck. My college career was stalled after bouts with kidney disease had understandably slowed things down. Healthy now, I had changed majors three times and still didn’t have a clear path for my future. I did not look happy. Maybe therapy would help me get unstuck.
Years later I can appreciate how lucky I was. Without my Dad’s gentle kick in the tush I could have floundered without direction for years. My depression and isolation would have gotten worse, I don’t doubt it for a second.
Today I want to provide the same nudge to you. Do you wonder if you could use a therapist’s help but always seem to talk yourself out of it?
Take this little quiz. (This quiz assumes you have seen a physician within the last year and medically you are well.) If you answer Yes to any of the questions AND Yes to the last question, consider a consultation with a good therapist. Therapy may give you just the lever you need to break free from whatever is holding you back from your happiness.
I wake up without energy no matter how much I sleep.
My sleep is totally messed up.
Often when I eat I wonder “Why am I eating this?”
I hate my body.
I am bored.
I need to drink in order to relax.
The thought of changing anything in my life, even things I know it would be good to change, just makes me feel tired or anxious.
I feel restless a lot but have no motivation to exercise.
I am jealous of my friends.
I know I’m smart but I’m mad at myself for making bad choices.
I feel like the years are passing me by and I’m nowhere.
I am in a relationship that weighs me down but I’m afraid to leave.
I’m a loser magnet. I date one disaster after another.
I dread (circle as many as apply)
– going home after work
– going to work
– looking for a new job
– meeting up with so-called friends
– running into acquaintances at the store
– the future
Whenever I spend money, time, or attention on myself I feel guilty.
Maybe this really is as good as it gets and I should settle.
I’ve been feeling this way for over a month.