”3 Ways To Spot Mental Health Problems In Yourself” is a collaborative post. Please see the disclosure page for more information. Disclaimer – always verify medical information with your doctor or a professional.
Looking after your mental health is so important and if you are struggling with yours, you should seek help from a doctor. Increased awareness of mental health issues means that it is easier for people to access the help that they need. Unfortunately, a lot of mental health problems still go untreated because people do not realize that they have an issue.
I went through my teens and all of my 20s not realizing that my “reality” wasn’t completely reality. I didn’t know that my mood swings were not what a mentally healthy person experience every single day (or every hour on some days). When I was working as an engineer, a good friend of mine called me Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I was nice during normal working hours but when I would lead teams of 20 for production line moves at night, I just was so ugly. I didn’t realize that wanting to harm myself one second and feeling as high as a happy kite the next wasn’t normal. There were a series of events that happened that saved my life when I was around 33-35 years old. A mom did a presentation about postpartum depression during a Mom’s of Preschooler’s(MOPS) group That made me to start noting my ups and downs. I woke myself up laughing hysterically one night, and the next day I made an appointment with my OB/GYN for help. I wish I had known in my teens about biopolar disorder but at that time identifying a mental illness was a shameful or looked down on thing. Plus, my parents and I weren’t equipped with the knowledge that is available today. I’m so thankful for the brave pastor’s wife that spoke in that MOPS meeting years ago about her postpartum depression. I really believe that was what helped me have the courage to figure out what had been going on in my head for so many years.
She saved my life.
Poor mental health can often also creep up on you. It might not be something like a permanent chemical imbalance that has been part of your DNA all along. It can be such a gradual change that you don’t always notice how bad things are getting. You get used to feeling like that and it just becomes your normal. Depression is most times a chemical imbalance but it can be how your mind and body react to how your everyday life is going or because of a life changing event like a death, being fired from a job, an illness or more. That’s why it’s so important that we know how to spot the signs of mental health issues not just in the people around us, but also in ourselves.
Here are some of the things to look out for –
Loss Of Interest In Hobbies
When people think of depression, they assume that it just means feeling down and sad all the time, but that isn’t the case. Often, it causes a lack of any feeling and even if you don’t feel particularly sad, that doesn’t mean that you are not suffering. People tend to find that they lose interest in hobbies that they used to enjoy and they stop doing anything for fun. If you find that you are bored and uninterested in things that you always took enjoyment from before, that can usually be a bad sign. But in some cases, it might mean that you are just more interested in a different hobby. If you don’t enjoy doing anything at all, that’s a sign that your mental health is suffering.
Self medicating with alcohol or drugs is very common in people that have an undiagnosed mental health problem. Through part of my 20s, my husband traveled for work during the week and almost every night I would drink myself to sleep. If you feel very anxious, alcohol can help you to relax, and if you are feeling down, it may help to boost your mood. The problem is, those effects are short lived and it will make your mental health worse in the long term. It’s also very easy to become reliant on alcohol or drugs and develop an addiction. If you feel that you are already in dangerous territory with your self medicating, you should seek the advice of an organization like JC’s Recovery Center before things get worse. If you notice that you are drinking a lot more than you used to and you are drinking on your own a lot instead of at social occasions, that is not a good sign. Seek help now!
Changes In Sleep Habits
Changes to your sleeping habits are another very common sign that you have a mental health issue. Often, when people suffer from anxiety, it makes it incredibly difficult for them to relax and unwind, which impacts sleep. For people like me, I had such highs and lows that I would stay up 24 hours and finally crash. Still, to this day, I sometimes stay up until 3-4am because my mind races. I struggle with sleep and before getting help, I just assumed everyone was an insomniac and felt extremely down or extremely excited. Depression can affect sleeping patterns in different ways for different people. While some people find that they cannot sleep at all, others find that they are sleeping a lot more than they used to. If you notice a sudden change in your sleeping habits, that could be an indication that you are suffering from a mental health condition.
If you spot any of these signs in yourself, it is worth considering whether you might have a mental health problem. If you are struggling, seek medical help! Don’t wait!!!!! Maybe you just need to share with a therapist or good friend about the burdens you are facing right now and learn some tools to help you through your feelings(uh oh, is that a bad word? lol). Or maybe you need help with your internal body chemistry. Make an appointment with your doctor and learn about options that could help. While you are waiting for your appointment, here are some simple changes that could help to improve your mental health. And if you are worrying what others will think about your decision to help improve your mental (& actually physical) health, consider that the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimated that 17.3 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in 2017 and as people become educated about mental health and seeking help those numbers climb every year.
You are not alone.
If you or those you care about are feeling down or depressed for more days than not, please seek medical attention. If you are feeling like you cannot go on, please call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat here>>> https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/ Or visit the suicide prevention lifeline at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/