A possible new client called me recently. She desperately needed to see someone. In between sobbing, she said she should have seen someone six months ago. When I saw her, I agreed. Here’s why, and why you shouldn’t wait.
If you have a serious problem and you’re not able to handle it, you need help. Family and friends are not always the best advisors, although they may be great for support. They may not always be the best resources for you.
In this woman’s case, she had been a stay-at-home mom and had just gone through a painful divorce. She went back to work. Her young kids resented her for that and she had lots of stress in her new job. She felt as if she was “over her head” in being able to handle her new life.
Another client came in a long time ago. She said her husband wasn’t listening and that they had “philosophical differences.” The differences were about their values in life. The children, she said, were not aware of any tension in the house because they mostly kept their differences to themselves.
When I started seeing her, I found out that she wasn’t taking her meds and that she was drinking more than usual. I also found out that she and her husband were verbally abusive to the point of out-of-control rage, with each storming out of the house whenever it was appropriate or inappropriate. Still, the kids were “all right.” I urged her to take them to a therapist, too. She kept refusing.
Another person finally decided to see me. He wasn’t happy with his sex life. I reviewed sexual issues with him and suggested he bring his wife to the next session. She looked bored when we reviewed this concern. Finally, I asked her: what do you see as a problem? She said she was still angry about him talking to an old girlfriend. This happened twelve years ago. He had no idea she was upset.
Aside from communication problems that these clients experienced, I am suggesting that they knew—or felt– that there were other problems. They waited too long. The problems grew and grew until they created new sets of problems.
The lesson is, when you start to feel something going wrong, go to a therapist before it blows up in your face and everyone else’s!