How to Assess Yourself and Know When You Need Support

In the recent weeks in the U.S. it seems we are reminded of this statement over and over again, “You Matter.” It’s unfortunate that it comes as a result of several tragedies. Mental illness doesn’t often show up on the outside, like a wound on your body. Rather it’s an, at times, extremely challenging inner struggle that we have to find coping strategies to work through. My hope is that the publicity around this statement: “You Matter,” begins to make a difference in the way that we begin talking about our inner struggles and mental health. We shouldn’t need deep sad circumstances to remind us that we all matter. It's important to understand where we are, how we are feeling and when it may be time to seek help from others.

Begin with our own self-awareness; regular check-ins need to be a part of everyone's life. If we don’t have a baseline understanding of who we are, we will not know what to compare it to when something feels “off” within us. So check in. Have an understanding of who you are, where you are, and where you’re going. Have knowledge of what brings you joy and what gets under your skin. Take good care of your body, exercise, drink water, eat colorful food and get good sleep. Recognize when you might need more of something and when you need to hold off.

There are times when we may need more than self-awareness and support. When we feel we may need the help of a professional. This can be in a form of a local support group, doctor or therapist. Recognizing when the issue we are facing may be more than we, and our supports, can handle can be, an overwhelming and very vulnerable process. Even the thoughts and feelings that ensue when you realize that you may need help can be heavy. Once you overcome some of the fear and take action, and see a professional, you will feel better!

For some, there is a question of: “how will I know when I may need the help of a professional?” The feeling of being stuck is often a time we seek professional help. Stuck in a feeling that avenues you have tried thus far have not worked. There are some people that have a feeling of being lost and unsure of the direction they want to take or help they need.

Take care of yourself, find value in who you are and what you bring to this world. My hope for you is that you see all of the amazing qualities you DO have and the wonderful path you on are. And please don’t forget...YOU MATTER!

Danielle Riele, MA