Mental health issues can quite easily creep up on you without you even realising it. Some people always have them – they are a part of who they are and always have been. For other people, it can slowly sneak its way in and it is not until things are really bad that you notice.
It gradually becomes a part of you and your daily routine. Mental health problems are often caused by how your mind and body respond to events in your life. Perhaps you have recently lost a loved one. Maybe you are sick, or maybe you have lost your job, or maybe you are having money difficulties. It may be something a little more internal for some. It may be a chemical imbalance in the brain, for which medication is needed.
Whatever the root cause of it, being able to recognise the symptoms of poor mental health is important. You should be able to do this not only in others but also in yourself. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for:
Have you lost the enjoyment of things you love?
When people think about poor mental health they always imagine being depressed and miserable all of the time, but this is not the case for lots of people. This always results in a complete lack of emotion. Even if you are not particularly depressed, this does not rule out the possibility that you are struggling with your mental health. People often lose interest in the things they once enjoyed and begin to avoid them.
If you find yourself frustrated and uninterested in activities you always enjoyed, it’s a sign that something may not be quite as it should be.
Are you self medicating as a crutch?
Self-medication with alcohol or narcotics is very common in people who have mental health problems. If you are feeling especially anxious, alcohol can help you unwind, and if you are sad, it can seem to lift your spirits. The problem is that those results are transient, and in the long term, they will add to the deterioration of your mental health. It is also very possible to become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
If you believe your self-medicating has gotten out of hand, seek professional help as soon as possible It’s time to seek treatment if you are drinking a lot more alcohol than you used to, and you’re drinking a lot on your own rather than just at social events. Many treatment centers have an outpatient program so that you can continue with your normal day to day living.
Are you having problems sleeping?
Changes in your sleeping habits are another common sign that you have a mental health problem. People who suffer from anxiety also find it difficult to relax and unwind, which has an impact on their sleep.
Mental health issues can also have the opposite impact on some individuals. They become drowsy and sleep more than normal. Consult your doctor if you find a significant change in your daily sleeping patterns.
*Photos by Alena Darmel