In this digital age, it is impossible to avoid the messages of tragedy being broadcast every day. Tragedy related to weather, terrorism, violence, and more reinforce broad (and often misunderstood) concepts of Mental Illness. It is easy to believe that we’re either severely mentally ill or perfectly healthy with nothing in between. We’re here to share with you that there is an in between and to show you what it looks like so that you aren’t suffering in silence.

If television, films, the news, and Facebook are to be believed, then the only ways we know that we are experiencing Mental Illness is if we want to hurt ourselves, hurt someone else, or are actively experiencing hallucinations (hearing voices or seeing things/people that aren’t there). If these symptoms are present, then it is absolutely time to contact a mental health provider, or 9-1-1 to seek emergency treatment. However, the reality is that we are not mentally healthy any time our emotions decrease our ability to function normally. In other words, any time our emotions make it harder to go about our daily routine- or completely interrupt it- we are not experiencing optimum mental health.

Sometimes this looks like feeling so stressed or anxious that we don’t socialize as much- or that we start drinking or using other substances to make socializing easier (or possible at all); Sometimes this looks like being late to work multiple days per week because we’re too tired to get out of bed and are suddenly less motivated to succeed; Sometimes it looks like increased bickering with our partner or family members; Sometimes it looks like nothing is wrong at all, but feels like an inability to show or share that there is sadness underneath a smile. Experiencing any (or all) of these is not an indication of instability or weakness, but a road sign that something in your life is off-kilter.

Rarely do people discuss this state of being, so it’s easy to feel alone when these difficult feelings come up. But we’ve actually all been there. Life gives everyone obstacles and difficult emotions- it’s a normal part of the human experience, but it’s the part we NEVER seem to talk about. This results in dismissing these symptoms because “We can handle it” or “it’s not a big deal”. Ignoring symptoms for too long frequently escalates the problems until they become out of control, with consequences ranging from suffering work performance, suffering relationships, substance abuse, and even self-harm or violent outbursts.

You don’t have to wait until it gets out of control to seek help. If you notice that your stress levels aren’t decreasing after a bubble bath or a run; if you notice that you aren’t enjoying some of your favorite activities as much as you used to; if your relationships aren’t as close as they once were and you want to improve your communication; if you’ve experienced big life changes – even positive ones- and aren’t adjusting the way that you thought you would, then it may be time to seek therapy.

Here at Xplor Counseling, LLC, we have clinicians who have worked with a wide range of client concerns, and none are too “small” to come in and talk about. Our Therapists in Honolulu have two offices- one in Hawaii Kai and one in Waikiki- and offer Telehealth options, so that clients have easier access to services. You don’t have to wait until you feel “out of control” to take the leap into therapy- and we are available to catch you. We would be happy to help you take the journey back towards Mental Health so that you can go back to living your fullest life.