Depression leaves you feeling worn down. Without hope. Uninterested in things that used to make you so happy. It can make the smallest task seem daunting. Depression can even lead to physical aches and pains in your body. But oftentimes, people are able to get through their day to day routines and can put a smile on for others.
At some point, however, the question comes up: When should I seek counseling for depression?
Although there is no firm answer, because everyone’s experience is different, there are some key indicators that can help you.
DEPRESSION IS INTERFERING WITH MY LIFE
Sometimes, depression makes it nearly impossible to do anything. This can include things like taking a shower, driving yourself to the store, exercising, working, or even getting out of bed. If you find that you have gotten so “down” that it is negatively impacting your work life or personal life, speaking with a counselor is a good idea.
Without counseling or treatment, some people lose their jobs, or may even start experiencing turbulence in their relationships with loved ones. Depression can truly impact every area of someone’s life. It may feel taxing to pick up the phone and get in touch with a counselor, but you deserve proper treatment!
I DON’T FEEL LIKE MYSELF ANYMORE
Maybe it’s hard to get out of bed. The idea of getting up and doing any sort of activity sounds intolerable or simply undesirable. Perhaps you used to paint as a hobby, and it’s just not bringing you a sense of joy right now. You don’t feel like yourself. If your usual joyous self has been feeling hopeless, helpless, and isolated, that’s a red flag! If you find yourself feeling “more than” sad, or feeling numb and apathetic, it’s time to chat with a counselor.
Sure, interests shift throughout life, and people aren’t meant to be happy at all times. But, if you have been feeling “off” on most days for an extended period of time, talking with a counselor can help.
I HAVE THOUGHTS OF HURTING MYSELF OR THOUGHTS OF SUICIDE
If there is one major sign telling you to seek counseling, it’s thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Although the topic can be hard to discuss, addressing these feelings before they go too far is so important.
If you have had, or are currently having, thoughts of hurting yourself or thoughts of suicide, it’s time to seek counseling. These intrusive thoughts are not you but are a manifestation of depression. As vivid as they may be, these are feelings that can be managed with proper treatment, and it all begins with telling someone what’s on your mind. That’s what counselors are here for, to listen!
Please note that if you are currently at risk of harming yourself, you should seek immediate medical help or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
I WANT TO GET AHEAD OF DEPRESSION
It may be time to seek counseling if you feel that your mental health is beginning to take a nosedive, or even if you’re going through a generally difficult patch. Maybe you want to get ahead of depression before it starts to interfere too much with your life. It’s important to understand that you don’t need to hit rock bottom before reaching out for help!
Mental health is part of overall health, and seeking counseling can help to keep everything in check. At the end of the day, only you can decide whether it’s the right time to seek counseling for depression. Just know that you are not alone on your journey, and you deserve help and hope!