Counselling: Signs that you NEED it.

iibp-admin Anveshan, Issue 3

Counseling, today has become a very common word amongst the general public but cultural stigma still surrounds it. People reach out to their friends or family when they face difficulties in dealing with problems in their life rather than going to a trained certified counselors. While it may work for some in specific situations, mental health problems always require a trained professional.

According to a recent report by WHO, about 7.5 percent of Indians suffer from some mental disorder and according to the numbers, 56 million Indians suffer from depression and another 38 million Indians suffer from anxiety disorders. Though most Indians have become sensitive towards mental health issues and starting to accept counseling as normal, the stigma still acts as a barrier for many and stops them from reaching out to a counselor for help.

In today’s fast-paced world, we all experience emotions like anxiety, stress, sadness at one point or another. We are capable of dealing with it ourselves but sometimes we need a little extra help from a professional. But how to identify these times which require us to seek help from a counsellor?

Here are 5 signs that say you need to see a counsellor:

1.Your emotions are affecting your performance and productivity at work or school or interfering with your daily routine If you experience negative emotions frequently, which are too intense or difficult for you to control, you need to pay attention to them. We often mistake precursors to mental disorders as a phase or something we would get over eventually. To avoid this from happening, it’s important that we are aware of what’s going inside our minds at some level.

2. You notice a change in your sleep cycle or appetite

If you notice that lately you have been eating or sleeping more or less than usual it might be a sign of an underlying mental illness. Any change in your sleep patterns or your appetite should be acknowledged.

3.Anhedonia If you find it difficult to enjoy the activities you usually did, you might be experiencing Anhedonia. People with emotional distress often feel disconnected and alienated from life. They lose interest in activities which they used to love and were the source of their happiness. The most common reasons for anhedonia are depression, grief, mood disorders, etc.

2. You notice physical symptoms without any general medical conditions: We don’t give mental health the same kind of attention as physical health and that is a huge mistake given that they are interconnected. Mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression have both direct and indirect effects on our physical health—direct because psychological issues affect the central nervous system which in turn has an impact on all other health systems (endocrine, immune, cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, etc.), they are associated with a whole host of physical health conditions including headaches, fatigue, muscle aches and pains, greater cardiovascular reactivity, weaker immune system, chronic inflammation, etc,” says Dr. Durvasula.

If you have been experiencing physical problems and no medical treatment seems to be working, support from a trained mental health professional might be the key to your problem. Keeping this in mind, it’s important to pay attention to your mental health and take care of it as much as you do for your physical health.

3. You’re struggling to build and maintain relationships:If you find it difficult to build new relationships or find it difficult to maintain the current ones, it might be because of mental distress. If you often find yourself struggling with relationships/ communication or you isolate yourself frequently from others, it might be the time for you to approach a counsellor.

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.” Fred Rogers

This is a quote by Fred Rogers, for those who are currently experiencing any kind of emotional distress. It’s important to remember that you are not alone and together we can fight anything.

About the author- Ms. Dishaa Sinha is pursuing BSc in integral psychology at MITADT University, Pune. She is also doing a certificate course in Yoga therapy from Yogavahini, Chennai. She works as a community development expert at the Indian institute of business psychology.