For most people, the idea of seeking professional counseling is likely to be very intimidating and even unsettling. But if your problems are severe, have persisted for some time, or your personal efforts have been ineffective, it is advisable and advantageous to seek professional help.
How do you know you need help? Here are seven major symptoms that are usually a signal you need professional counseling.
1. Your thoughts are confused and unreasonable: excessive panic, anxiety, fear, or an inability to cope with daily activities like, work, family or personal care.
2. Prolonged depression, sadness or apathy, specifically feelings of hopelessness, helplessness or loss of pleasure in activities that you used to enjoy.
3. Excessive anger/hostility or wide mood swings that result in erratic behavior or thoughts.
4. Marked changes in eating (binging or purging) or sleeping patterns (difficulty falling or staying asleep).
5. Alcohol or drug use that is affecting job performance, your personal or professional relationships or health.
6. Thinking or talking about suicide, including social isolation and withdrawal.
7. Difficulty dealing with loss as in a divorce, death or change in lifestyle due to illness.
Every day, some form of counseling makes a difference in the lives of people, young and old. Especially for Baby Boomers, who are transitioning through their midlife, it is imperative to be aware of the emotional changes you may be experiencing. A trained therapist can help you begin the process of deepening your insights, coping with challenges and creating a happier, more fulfilled life.
Amy Sherman is a licensed mental health counselor in private practice. For further information about Boomers, go to www.bummedoutboomer.com.
Coming soon: Distress-Free Aging: A Boomer’s Guide to a Fulfilled and Purposeful Life by Amy Sherman, LMHC. This e-book will be available mid April/2007.
By Amy Sherman, LMHC