Last week I wrote about the times when seeking therapeutic support is advised. This week I wanted to write about the times that the benefits of therapeutic support may not be so obvious. It is during these not so obvious times that getting the right support could help you quickly return to well-being and avoid reaching crisis altogether. The key is to learn how to recognize when your mood and behaviors have shifted from their norm. Recognizing these signs can lead the way back to emotional health.
When we begin to experience a shift in our mood or behaviors, this process tends to be very gradual. It is the often slow progression from health to dis-ease that causes us to miss the signs that something is happening. I will highlight three major areas in which these subtle changes may occur that can help increase your self-awareness.
You may notice the following:
- A decrease in effective communication. You may notice you are not communicating with your significant other to the same degree or frequency as before. Misunderstandings over topics that never used to cause difficulty may increase. You may notice an increased sense or irritation or agitation without an identifiable cause. You may also have an overall sense of unease within the relationship that was not previously present.
- An increase in work and/or school stress. You might notice feeling more rushed to complete assignments. Frustration may be present due to feeling unable to give your best as you’ve previously done. You are still able to get your work done and submitted on time, but it is taking longer or is being submitted at the last-minute. You may also begin to interact with your coworker/peers with more or less frequency to either avoid or hide your increased difficulties.
- A decrease in self-care activities. You may notice a decrease in the frequency or duration of your self-care activities. For a person who attends the gym regularly, you may notice you start to go less often. You may notice shifts in your diet that are distinct from your regular eating patterns. You may also notice that you don’t spend as much time on your hobbies or with friends and loved ones as you usually do.
All of these signs are subtle. They have not reached the point to where they are necessarily noticeable to anyone or have a large negative impact on your day-to-day. In this instance, therapeutic support could be beneficial if, in addition to the above, you also experience the following:
- Feel unable to identify or address the cause of your distress
- Have been unable to return to your previous level of function despite your efforts
Life can be very stressful, and sometimes we lose access to the resources that help us to manage these times effectively. When we notice this is happening, going to seek therapeutic support can help us find our way back to well-being.