Mental health is talked about now more than ever. Wherever you go online, you read hashtags of #bekind and #itsokaytonotbeokay and all those cheesy quotes. The thing is, it’s really not okay that you’re not okay – you deserve to feel contentment and security and happiness. You may be afraid to speak out about your mental health, but you need to come forward to talk about how you feel so that others can help you.
You may think that you’re holding up just fine when in reality, things are starting to decline at a pretty rapid pace. You don’t need to feel afraid to speak out. In fact, you should feel empowered to do so in the face of all those cheesy hashtags. If you know that you are shouldering a lot right now, you should consider that you may need some help. The other problem is that most people don’t see it when their mental health is declining. Some severe warning signs crop up when you are too busy to pay much attention to your mental health. Some of the symptoms that you are dealing with may not be apparent until it’s too late, such as turning that glass of wine with dinner into a bottle a night habit. It’s in those moments you are stuck in a cycle before you have a chance to realise what’s going on. It’s also those moments you realise that you may need the help of a rehab clinic to get you back on your feet. It’s not the easiest thing to figure out, but you need to think about the warning signs for you and how you can ensure that you are looking after your mental health as much as possible.
There is a need for recognition here. It would help if you noticed when things are starting to decline, or you will be dealing with the result of the spiral. Whether your stress comes from your home life or from your business, you need to get it under control so that you can be better equipped to deal with your mental health properly. So, let’s check out some of the worrying signs that your mental health is starting to decline faster than you’ve realised.
- You’re Isolating Yourself
In the past, this would have been an easy sign to spot, something that would immediately have started alarm bells ringing, making you – or those around you – want to check in to make sure you’re okay. Right now, though, things are a little different, and isolating is something we’re being encouraged to do, not something that is out of the ordinary. Think past this, though. Think past the need to stay safe, to get a private coronavirus test, to stay quarantined as much as possible. Think beyond all this and imagine life as it is in normal times.
You’ve typically been known as the social butterfly of the group, and yet lately, you’re turning down invitations and turning down group things that you would usually have loved to attend. You’re saying no to a coffee and cake, and you’re feeling low and sad about pretty much everything. Given that you feel miserable, you’re withdrawing into yourself and refusing invitations to see your friends and family. This leads to depression, and this misery can lead to a glass of wine a night becoming a big problem. Isolation is one of the most significant issues and avoiding contact with other people isn’t going to help you.
- You’ve Stopped Bathing
Believe it or not, people who are depressed or exhausted are those who are going to stop bathing. You’ll blame it on the exhaustion, the lack of time, the fact you’ve forgotten. You’re not even going to notice it at first. Then you’ll start wearing the same tops and socks day after day. You won’t get in the shower after work. The laundry is piling up. It’s all starting to get on top of you, and that doesn’t help, as it makes you resist it even further. If you can’t motivate yourself into a hot bubble bath, alarm bells should be ringing. It would help if you wanted to take care of your body and ensure that any funky smells are washed away. Talk to someone. If you don’t feel like you can get into the bath, strip-wash at the sink to freshen up. Ask for help to wash your clothes while your brain doesn’t have the strength.
- Oh, So Tired
The stress and depression you are feeling right now are going to lead to some pretty brutal exhaustion. The fatigue leeches every bit of energy your body has and makes you feel like you can sleep for weeks on end! You’ll notice it quickly; it drags at your body like nothing else. One minute you’re feeling great and the next you’re so tired you can feel it in your toes. This isn’t normal, and it shouldn’t be ignored.
- Swift Mood Changes
Mental health issues can often cause a burst of rage, anxiety, moodiness and other mood changes. Repressing the mental exhaustion can cause it to burst out of you at intervals of which you were not expecting. If you find you’re catastrophizing scenarios, it may be worth a trip to see the doctor. They can offer medication and solutions to help you to rationalise.
Drinking may not be caused by mental health. You could have slipped very gradually into addiction from a simple pleasure that has become extreme over time. Those suffering from their mental health turn to drugs and drink and other outlets to escape, and this behaviour is reckless if it’s not your usual behaviour. This behaviour is also destructive, so you need to worry about it if your recycling bin is filled to the brim with empty bottles.
- Red Ribbons?
Self-harm is a severe side effect of mental health declining. The cutting makes the pain inside feel released and relieved for a short time. Those who are cutting themselves do it on their legs and arms more often than not choose those places so that they can hide the cuts.
- Loss Of Concentration
When you’re in a meeting, and your mind wanders, that’s normal. However, if you find you’re arriving to work without any idea of how you got there – this is due to autopilot. Your brain switches off and goes through the motions and is packed with anxiety. You lose concentration with your day to day calendar, and you are no longer paying attention to your life. Loss of focus should be the red flag waving that things are not okay, especially if this is not like you!
- Aches, Pains, Panic
Stress isn’t just something that affects your mental health. It can physically make you ache, and it’s not always easy to notice the mental strain, but you will definitely feel it physically. Your immune system will lower, you will be likely to vomit, deal with high fevers, shivers and situations in which you will panic. However, it would help if you kept an eye on what is occurring in your body to know what happens next.
- Playing Hooky
Running away from turning up to work on time – or at all – or college, or school? It’s all a way to run away from responsibility. During a time of stress and panic, you are likely to want to bury your head in the sand and not pay attention to your life. It’s like pressing the pause button on something that you cannot possibly pause, and it’s not healthy to do it.
While we are making huge leaps when it comes to mental health awareness, it’s not enough. We need to have more knowledge and more conversations, more support and more therapy for all. It’s so crucial that you are aware of your mental health and what it will all mean for your life. You deserve the very best, and with the right support and help, you can come out of the funk and stop your mental health from spiralling. You can do this – we believe in you!
*This is a collaborative post*