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Understanding one’s mental health – When to seek therapy? By Inika Khosla

‘It's just a phase’.

‘It’s something you’ll get over'.

 ‘You can’t blame all your problems on the sheer fact that you feel low’.

And countless other phrases each adolescent has heard at some point in their mental health journey. Though these are often taken as light-hearted comments by the individual making them, it more often than not pushes those down the deep hole of almost never seeking help. Therefore, the need to understand one’s mental well-being is automatically closed and deemed null and void.

So, then the question arises, when does one sift through the banter and realise the need for therapy? How does one differentiate between a common blue day and the recurrence of this feeling? 

The following are the steps, I as a teenager believe are the phases before we approach the need to sneak therapy:

The blame-game scenario 

With the immense pressure of expectations, performance, the need to please and being a teenager in the 21s century it's safe to say that things are hard enough. Everyone experiences bad days and yet we always have someone or something to blame for it. Therefore, moving through the occasional blame-game scenario and not taking ownership of one's feelings is usually the first step towards understanding and acknowledging the disruption one might feel in one's mental well-being. Acknowledging a change in thoughts, emotions and even behaviours is a simple indicator that we may be letting our emotions overcome our sense of well-being.  

The ‘burden’ of work

While most ignore the first stage as a simple ‘rough day’, we find ourselves amidst the second stage wherein these emotions often start to affect our everyday duties, so much so that it becomes difficult to carry out simple tasks without being annoyed or exhausted. If one refuses to seek help at this stage, it is purely out of intimidation towards the institution of therapy – which leads to the birth of our most famous line, “What will people think?”. At a time as advanced as ours where the youth almost has an opinion over everything; and still sometimes chooses to ignore their mental health is something I often question, and yet understanding issues as speaking to one’s parents about their situation more often than not can have a huge impact on whether an individual seeks out for help. 

The final step 

What we all fail to understand are the negative impacts a delay in help often causes. One becomes so overwhelmed with their emotions; they often resort to other approaches to soothe the pain they feel. This transcends and manifests itself in different ways, whether it be disconnecting from others, substance abuse or slowly takes a toll on varied relationships in one’s life.  

In these conditions, it becomes difficult to make sense of what we may be feeling which leads to breakdowns among other things. And therefore, we choose to re-blame our parents or society for the happenings of our life instead of seeking an unbiased opinion which would come from therapy. It is only when one can confront their emotions and understand where these problems might stem from is when they can truly understand their mental health. 

One might not be able to make sense of it and may even end up with more problems than answers, and yet understanding yourself before you approach another, becomes the first step towards well-being. In no way do I discourage one from seeking help, but merely suggest analysing themselves before consulting another to do so.

In the end, our world has more than enough problems to deal with and yet even though one may not consider their problems significant when compared to those, they play a major role in making you who you are. Therefore, even if one isn’t ready to take the step towards therapy right now, I implore you, understand yourself, it might not be the solution to all your problems but it would provide you with the path that would inevitably solve your problems.