The only alternative to seeking necessary psychological help is to ignore the problem. Maybe if I wait long enough, it’ll go away. Maybe I’m just imagining. Maybe if I have another drink. Maybe if I can get some more coke. Maybe if I can get hold of a gun. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
When mental and emotional problems become overwhelming for anyone, the best solution is to seek professional help. If you are lucky enough to have caring friends and family, they can guide you in the right direction. However, as with any medical or other dilemma, the only one who ultimately must solve the problem is the troubled person … you.
The best way to start the healing process before seeking competent counsel is to make a self assessment. What is the problem? Strip away all the excuses and illusions. Just what is bothering you? What is causing you to worry, lose sleep, alienate yourself, behave badly? In too many cases, as all the recent celebrity scandals have emphasized, the root problem is chemical abuse: alcohol or drugs.
If you’re not in blind denial, you know the questions you must ask yourself about addiction. With the support of your loved ones, you may be able to work through the problem without seeking professional help. There are many resources on the internet, self-help and support groups and elsewhere. Unfortunately, the chances of do-it-yourself success are not good, but it may be worth a try. However, after making all kinds of promises, if you find yourself gradually falling back to your negative behavior and attitudes, it is time to seek immediate professional help.
It is always wise to consult your family physician, even if you think you are making progress in solving your problems. A physical exam could reveal physical reasons for your dilemma. What causes your sleeplessness, confusion, unexplained anger, nervousness? Are there persistent headaches and joint pains? You may be relieved to find that your unexplained anger is caused by eating too much spicy food that gives you too many nights in the bathroom.
If you have a competent and caring physician, in addition to taking care of any physical problems, will advise you to make sure your lifestyle gets back on the right track. If any of the causes of your dilemma are the result of poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, booze, drugs, his/her advice can be invaluable, and can at least get you started back to decent health.
I don’t have much respect for the support group solution. To me, it is a crutch, and attending is usually no more than a mutual misery-loves-company session. However, if you know people who’ve been genuinely helped by participating in such groups, you may want to give it a try. But, as with any other self-help solution, always realize that if your condition does not improve within a short period of time, go get that professional psychological help.
Some may disagree with me violently, but I feel the same way about religion. I have nothing against those who believe deeply, but if you have serious psychological problems, to claim you suddenly found God is just another crutch. Too many murderers find religion, but only after they’ve been caught and are in prison. Of course, such religious organizations as churches and the Salvation Army have very effective programs that help people in trouble. If you feel that by going the religious route can help you, give it a try, but keep a totally realistic attitude throughout.
While on the subject, one of the most admirable aspects of true, peaceful religions is that they teach you to help those in trouble. Maybe, while working through your own problems, if you reach out and help others, you’ll find the solution. However, I believe firmly that, particularly in severe or long-term situations, solving psychological problems has no alternative. Get the help you need from a professional.