Why does it hurt?

Ouch! Someone has said or done something that hurt you. The body and mind are wired with an automatic nervous system that tells us when something is wrong. Without it, we may not know how to spot danger, where it hurts, or when we need help.


Physical injuries are much easier to identify, and usually we know when to get help or what to do to fix it. If I cut my finger, I put a bandage on it and maybe some ice.


But how do you spot mental and emotional pain? In general, this "pain" is characterized by problems with your ability to manage daily tasks (i.e., eating, sleeping, working, chores, hygiene), on-going problems with relationships (i.e., irritability, frequent arguments, cannot keep jobs or relationships), or find yourself seriously thinking about hurting yourself or someone else.

What can you do when you do notice it? Depends on the person/situation:

  • Wait and see if things improve or get worse

  • Talk to people you trust about the problem

  • Google for solutions, maybe even try a few ideas

  • Call crisis line

  • Talk to your primary care physician

  • See a counselor

  • Admit yourself to the hospital for help

When is it time to ask for help? If what you have tried isn't enough, it's time to ask for help. We all need help from time to time and if you're hurting, then the time is now.


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