Picture this– you walk out of the grocery store and notice that your car has a flat tire. Most of us would probably be able to manage to change the tire. (Or at least have the phone number of a friend or loved one who would come and do that for us!) Easy fix, problem solved, no help required. But what about when you’re driving along and you notice a funny noise coming from under the hood? Or maybe there’s a strange squeak that happens only when you make a hard left turn and it’s below 40 degrees outside. You’d probably head to the mechanic to figure out what’s wrong. Or maybe you don’t because you think that it’s not a big deal, it’s not hurting anything, the car still drives fine, it’s not causing a problem, etc.
But how do you know unless you have the mechanic check it out???
The same is true for our mental health. Maybe you feel blue or get down in the dumps for a few days or weeks. Maybe you’ve been dealing with difficult family issues for awhile, and there’s no end in sight. Maybe you’re going through a divorce or a bad breakup. Maybe things at work aren’t going as well as you’d like. We all go through those times– they’re normal human experiences that we all face. Sometimes there’s an easy fix– the work project ends successfully, a friend calls to chat and cheer you up. But sometimes there isn’t a quick and easy fix. Maybe you think it’s not that bad, this will all pass soon enough, I can get through this on my own, it’s not a big deal, everyone has tough times, etc.
But how do you know unless you have a professional check it out???
And how do you know when to see a professional about it???
The key question to ask yourself– Is this affecting my ability to function in life? In other words, is this problem keeping me from doing things I need to do (projects at work, housework, personal care, maintaining friendships, etc.) to be happy and healthy? Am I spending so much time and energy dealing with this divorce/work problem/family issue/fill in the blank that I can’t do all the things I want and need to do every day?
If you answered yes, then it’s time to see a professional for help.
If you answered maybe, then it’s time to see a professional for help.
Sometimes what stops us from taking our car (or ourselves) to a professional is that we’re afraid. Afraid of what the diagnosis might be. Afraid that it will cost more than we can afford right now. Afraid the professional will say the problem can’t be repaired. Afraid it will be an inconvenience. Afraid that it will take too long to fix. Afraid that other problems will be discovered. Afraid that we’ll be judged for causing the problem in the first place (like not changing the oil regularly or not practicing good self-care). Afraid we won’t get the help we need.
And sometimes the mechanic will say that we need a new transmission and that it will cost more than the resale value of the car to fix. Most often, though, it turns out to be something not nearly as serious as our imaginations have dreamed up. Maybe the car just needs a new belt or a brake adjustment. Maybe your family issues can be resolved in a few months of therapy.
How will you know unless you ask???
If you’re curious about how music therapy and GIM fit into the picture, contact me anytime. I’m always happy to answer questions!