Do you remember the last time you felt sad, anxious, or scared? You're not alone, even if it may feel like it. The National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI, reports sometimes a rough patch can be a sign of something much deeper. If you’re suffering from this prolonged feeling of sadness and uneasiness that affects your emotional well-being and your life in general, there are chances you have developed conditions of mental illness.
What are mental health issues?
A mental health issue is a condition that affects the way a person thinks and feels. Noticeable changes occur in the behaviour of affected people. These conditions deeply impact day-to-day living and may also affect their ability to relate to others. If you think you might have a mental illness, the first thing you must never forget is that you are not alone. Mental health conditions are far more common than you think, mainly because people don’t like to, or are often scared to talk about them.
No one else can understand you better than you yourself. If you’re having these thoughts lately or experience certain changes in your emotions and actions, you should read these signs very carefully. If you relate to any of these symptoms be sure to reach out to the ones you trust or a mental health professional.
Let's talk about the 10 mental health symptoms you should not ignore.
1. You're having feelings of sadness or depression that last longer than 2 weeks
All people experience sadness at one time or another. However, usually, feelings of sadness get better with time. Some mental health organizations reported that intense or abnormal sadness lasting over two weeks could be a sign of depression. The National Institute of Mental Health stated, "not being able to snap out of it or sadness being heavier than normal should be taken seriously."
2. You're having uncontrollable mood swings and you don't know why
Do you find that your mood seems to switch randomly? Studies on this behaviour reveal how often the average person's mood shifts on any given day. According to the National Center of Biotechnology Information, the study showed that it's totally normal for someone's emotions to change daily.
However, the NAMI warns that dramatic mood swings that have caused huge changes in your behaviour and energy observed over weeks, could be a sign of bipolar disorder. Agencies such as the American Academy of Pediatrics say the more red flag signs could possibly be: experiencing sadness, anger, or feelings of excessive euphoria for most of the day, especially if it has nothing to do with what's going on in your life.
3. You tend to get more anxious or stressed than normal
Have you ever found yourself worrying, but can't stop? According to the National Institute for Mental Health, it may be another sign of developing mental health issues. Other signs include - having problems relaxing, insomnia, gush of stressful thoughts, unexplained aches, or being easily irritated. The Anxiety and Depression Association has explained that if you've ever felt this way on most days for at least 4 to 6 months, you should consider seeking professional help.
4. You don’t like socialising anymore and prefer isolation
Spending time alone is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes taking time away from others can be positive for both your mental and physical health. But when you are constantly making excuses to not see people and avoid events that you used to enjoy, this can be a sign that you are suffering from a mental illness.
There are multiple reasons behind this feeling. Probably, you are afraid of socializing because you think people will figure out that you’re not okay. What if someone comes up and asks – “Hey, are you alright?”, “You don’t seem fine these days.”, “What’s the matter with you?”. You are just not ready to answer them when you’re struggling to first know it yourself. Hence you keep yourself away from people and start isolating.
5. Have you noticed yourself having delusions or hallucinations?
Hallucinations and delusions as the sense of perception create a lot of urgency in the person experiencing it. Despite having evidence the perception or belief isn't real. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that 3 out of every 100 people will have a psychotic episode as a symptom of a physical or a mental illness such as schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder in their lifetime.
6. You're having difficulty dealing with normal life situations
Have you ever gone through a time in your life when nothing seemed to go right and you just couldn't deal? The Australian Department of Health stated a rough patch that you just can't get past, one that hurts your ability to function for more than 2 months, maybe a sign of anxiety disorder or depression.
This major sign that you're experiencing becomes more than just a rough patch when you have a hard time functioning normally. The symptom may last for several weeks.
7. You're sleeping way too much or maybe you’re sleep-deprived
The Harvard University School of Medicine believes that 10 to 18% of the general population has problems sleeping. However, Harvard's med school stated that sleeping either too much or too little is thrice more common in people who suffer from a mental illness. They further stated that about 50% of people who live with depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder suffer from insomnia (lack of sleep) or hypersomnia, which means sleeping too much.
8. You've started abusing drugs or alcohol / You’ve developed an abnormal eating disorder
According to MentalHealth.gov, every 1 in 4 people who live with the symptoms of a mental illness uses alcohol or drugs to self-medicate and deal with anger, anxiety, or mania. Experts believe individuals who suffer from such mental issues are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Some behavioural mental issues lead people to eat more than usual as a means of comfort. This, in turn, results in rapid weight gain. On the contrary, issues such as depression may lead to a loss of appetite causing excessive weight loss. In all of these instances, a mental health assessment is highly recommended.
9. You're having extreme anger outbursts
Do you ever feel infuriated so much so that it’s almost impossible to control? If so, your anger may be warning you about your stress levels, unresolved grief, or your anxiety. Healthline reported extreme anger outbursts can also be a sign of unresolved trauma, bipolar disorder, explosive disorder, alcohol abuse, or depression. Experts recommend you first recognize the level of emotional signs of your anger and later seek help.
10. Feeling of guilt or worthlessness makes you think about self-harm
The Mental Health Foundation reported up to 10% of people under the age of 30 have thought about self-harm. There are many reasons people consider this huge step such as abuse or neglect at home, a major loss, trauma, or catastrophe that you can't control or avoid.
In general, negative thoughts can plague any of us. But persistent thoughts of “I’m no good,” “I’m a failure” or “I’m worthless” may be symptomatic of a disorder, such as depression. A consistent criticism of oneself and negative self-talk might sometimes lead to a person wanting to harm themselves. It may even lead to suicidal thoughts. This situation shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s best to seek an emergency mental health intervention as soon as possible.
If you ever have a thought about suicide or self-harm, be sure to reach out to people. You don’t need to go through this alone, there are people out there who are willing to help you get through this. You just need to take care of yourself.
If you need mental health counselling or treatment, please contact your insurance company, local colleges student counselling, mental health clinic, or directly call the crisis helpline.
- Call 1-800-273-(8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis centre
- Call 91-9820466726 to reach 24x7 expert volunteers for immediate help (AASRA - We're Here To Help)
- Text MHA to 741741 to reach help
- Call 911 go to the nearest emergency room
In Conclusion -
A mental health condition does not result due to any single event. Research suggests multiple linking causes that include - genetics, past trauma, and lifestyle influence to become the possible cause of a mental health condition. None of this means that you’re broken or that you did something “wrong.” Remember, mental illness is no one’s fault. Seeking proper help and early treatment can help you a lot in your recovery process.