Let’s face it. Life can be overwhelming. By its very nature, our existence is filled with ups and downs that on their own can be tough to handle. But when you add even just a few modern day stresses (like increased pace, financial pressure and general disconnection) to the situational and emotional shifts that have been part of the human journey since the dawn of time… well, it’s a veritable recipe for meltdown. Throw in our need for love – and general ineptitude for dealing with it once we’ve got it – into the overall mix of your day to day and jeez… who wouldn’t crack up on occasion?!
Hitting bottom – or a place that feels a whole lot like it – does not make you bad, pathetic, crazy, or weak. It only makes you human. So rather than beating yourself up for your meltdown/crack up/break down, stop for a second and be grateful. The worst is over, and thankfully, there’s nowhere to go but up. The only mistake you could make from here out – well, the first really big one – would be to think you have to go it alone. You don’t. In fact, there are times when seeking outside help is more than beneficial, it’s essential.*
*(Professional help is necessary if you’re experiencing suicidal feelings, extended depression, overwhelming fear or any emotion/thought pattern that is debilitating or harmful – to yourself or others.)
The road to your best self can be a few miles or a few marathons away, but no matter what sort of progress you’re after, if you’ve just had a meltdown, it’s highly unlikely that you’re seeing things clearly. Emotions have the tendency to cloud our judgment, especially when the pressure is on, making objectivity virtually impossible. And that’s when we need objectivity the most. Otherwise, we’re setting ourselves up for a repeat episode. And if there’s one thing you’ve probably figured out thanks to recent circumstance, it’s that you never want to go back there again!
Seeking outside professional help (licensed psychologist, psychotherapist or counselor) is the only way to ensure that you get at least one objective opinion – and an informed one. It takes a long time to be able to recognize a situation or pattern when you’re in it. But professionals are experienced at helping people to break bad patterns and make real change. Having someone trustworthy, reputable and caring in your corner will increase the odds that you’re being honest with yourself in your process. It might be easier (or you may think it would be) to lean on a friend or relative, but the simple truth is you need someone who is not invested in your life or situational outcome in any way, shape or form. And no matter how well-intentioned, no one who is an active part of your personal life can make that claim and mean it 100% of the time. Either you’ll hear what you want to hear, or you’ll hear their personally slanted opinion, neither of which helps you make progress.
Cheating is not allowed – especially cheating yourself!
Another benefit to seeking outside help is that it’s a lot harder to fall off the wagon – or at the very least, it’s harder to stay off. By having someone monitoring your progress and helping you set real goals – internal and external – you take one more step toward getting out of bad habits and into productive ones. You give yourself a shot at resolving the past without living in it – by creating the present and laying out the future. It’s simply human nature to let our primary responsibility – the responsibility to ourselves, for our own happiness – slide when the pressures of day-to-day life present themselves. But when you’re speaking to someone on a regular basis, there is real, measurable accountability for your actions – all of which helps you to take care of yourself.
There’s a reason why people go into help professions. Counselors, psychologists and those who offer guidance in its many forms are in business because humankind as a whole needs them… and sometimes, individual people do too.
By seeking out assistance on your internal (emotional, mental and spiritual) journey, you help to ensure your external one will be a lot less rocky and a lot more fulfilling. Scarier, perhaps, than letting things stay the way they are, but in the end, the risk will be worth the reward.
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