If Not Now, When?

time for counseling?

Many people hesitate to get help from counseling. The reasons why are numerous, and maybe I’ll talk about them in a future post. The root problem of all of them, though, is they can keep you from getting a resolution of your emotional pain.

Small issues in life might resolve themselves without further harm to you by ignoring them. For example, say you have a cold. You can relieve the symptoms a bit, but you have to let the cold run its course. You can’t cure it, but eventually it will resolve itself.

This is not as true of mental health issues.

Take relationship problems. Ignored problems tend to get bigger, rather than go away. Soon they are “filling up” the whole relationship. And, oftentimes, actions we take in hopes that they will help, end up making things worse. With a perpetual problem in your relationship, your partner is still there the next day, still not giving you what you want or still wanting what you’re not giving them.

The same goes for the Big Two, as I call depression and anxiety. While you might create the right approach to get yourself away from these conditions, how long are you willing to have them a part of your life before you “call in the calvary”?

There are studies that show people tend to wait a long time before seeking assistance with what they’re dealing with:

  • Couples with relationship problems wait an average of 6 years before asking for professional help.
  • Individuals suffering from depression wait 6-8 years before seeking treatment.
  • A person in distress from anxiety waits 9-23 years before consulting with a therapist.

If something has been bugging you for a year, how much time and effort do you think you’ll have to invest to make a change? How about if it’s been hanging on for 5 years?

The sooner you take on what’s bothering you, the better.

What’s been your experience with timing in getting assistance from a therapist—Did you go too soon, too late, or time it well? Would going sooner or later have helped or hurt?