Remember the old childhood song: "Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream"? When one is in harmony with life, problems are handled without excessive effort. Support from family and friends, along with inner resources, equips one to confidently maneuver around the rocks of life. However, life changes may cause difficulties with everyday coping. These life changes may be either anticipated or unexpected. In addition, they may be considered positive or negative life events, such as: the birth of a child; a job promotion; or the death of a loved one.
If anxiety, sadness, or feeling overwhelmed becomes chronic, one's sleep and appetite can become disrupted. Over an extended time period, if this stress is not addressed in a healthy manner, additional problems may crop up: irritability with family or friends; poor job performance; low energy; and isolation. Other unhealthy coping mechanisms may include: alcohol or drug abuse and just generally making poor decisions. At this point, if one's own personal resources are insufficient, then one has to either ask for help or continue to try to deal with it alone. It can be difficult to muster the courage to disclose your feelings and thoughts to someone you don't know - even if that person is a professional. However, one may be pleasantly surprised to learn how beneficial it is to seek wise counsel.
After an assessment by this professional, it is important to ask questions and to participate in ones' treatment planning. For behavioral health issues, there are many available treatments, such as outpatient therapy, which is a weekly office visit or more intensive treatment, which can be attended several times per week. The highest level of care is In-patient, which is 24-hour round-the-clock care. However, issues can usually be addressed at a lower level of care, especially, if addressed early.
Another helpful resource is an employee assistance program (EAP). Check with your Human Resource (HR) office to see if your company has this program. This service allows one to speak with a mental health professional at no cost to you.
No matter which avenue an individual takes to feel better, a successful outcome is more likely if a person:
- Remains in contact with her helping professional to allow for progress updates.
- Attends all scheduled appointments.
- Lets his doctor know about any medication side-effects.
- Continues to take all prescribed medication even if he or she feels better.
- Attends follow-up care such as day treatment or intensive outpatient services if In-patient hospitalization was required.
If followed, these steps will allow one to return to her previous level of functioning. In addition, adherence to one's treatment plan will result in a more enjoyable life, preventing the chance of symptom recurrence.