Mental illness is more difficult to discern than a physical ailment or chronic condition, since we all felt at least one mental health symptom at least once in our lives. Perhaps it was the sadness you felt after the death of a loved one, the despair you felt after not getting a coveted job, or the sadness when your significant other broke up with you. Bouts of negative feelings are normal and happen to all of us.
However, persistent emotional and mental periods of instability are not normal, and they likely signal that your brain’s chemical makeup is altered. This causes one to behave, think, or feel in ways that are often considered to be odd, hostile or scary. Below are the six warning signs of mental health issues that could be developing.
1. Changes in Sleep and Hygiene Routines
Two alarming signs of mental health issues are a change in sleep patterns, coupled with a drastic decline in self-care. The change in sleep can involve sleeping more or sleeping less. It can also involve sleep disturbances such as frequent waking throughout the night, talking during sleep, or even sleepwalking. In terms of personal care, a key sign of mental health issues is the lack of personal hygiene. This could entail a lack of personal grooming such as brushing teeth or showering. It could also be a general lack of cleanliness in one’s home.
However, from time to time, we all go through phases where we suffer from sleeplessness or we are less motivated to take care of our appearances. However, if a change in sleep patterns or hygiene is linked to mental illness, then it must be occurring for an extensive length of time.
2. Social Withdrawal
Another key sign of mental health issues is the withdrawal from social activities that one previously participated in. Again, this does not refer to the occasional lack of motivation which we all suffer from time to time. Instead, this refers to a drastic lack of participation in one’s usual routine. This signs of mental health issues may involve spending less time than usual with one’s friends, no longer participating in hobbies, as well as a lack of communication with friends and loved ones.
3. Difficulty Concentrating
A lack of concentration and focus for an extensive stretch of time is a telltale sign of a mental illness. This consists of difficulty with paying attention due to frequent “tuning out,” inability to properly express one’s thoughts, difficulty recalling information, as well as struggles with logical thought. If you or your loved one is experiencing any of the above issues for an extended period of time, consider speaking with your physician.
4. Feeling Nervous
Nervousness and anxiety are a common trait of a mental illness. Often times, this anxiety is also coupled with depressive feelings. Anxiety refers to feelings of uncertainty and unease, particularly within new situations or when one is unsure of the impending outcome.
Anxiety often tends to emerge within social situations or when one is making a change in their lives. If you are experiencing pervasive feelings of nervousness that overtake your day-to-day life, it is strongly recommended that you see a health care practitioner immediately.
5. Feeling Disconnected
From all of the signs of mental health, the feeling of disconnectedness is likely the most alarming. Feeling disconnected feels like you are completely severed from reality. Many individuals describe it as “watching yourself” from afar, or being “in a dream.” Many also describe the inability to get back into their lives and are worried that they will be stuck in this floating state. If you are experiencing similar sensations, then seek help.
6. Increased Sensitivity to Stimuli
Those suffering from mental illness will often experience increased discomfort to sound, touch, light, noise, and different temperatures. Those experiencing these signs of mental health issues may feel overwhelmed by all of the sensations and often need to “disconnect” from those environments in order to feel better. Every once in a while, we all feel like we are overwhelmed. This can happen in a crowded lineup, a loud concert, or a squished subway train. However, those suffering from mental illness feel like all forms of stimuli are impacting them, and this tends to be debilitating.
Mental illness can feel extremely isolating to those who are experiencing its symptoms. However, you are not alone. There are many mental health treatment resources available to those who are suffering from mental illness. The first step to accessing the help you need is to speak to someone that you trust. Following that, it is important to seek the help of a psychotherapist. A psychotherapist will arm you with strategies around how to cope with the symptoms you are experience. No matter what, it is vital that you know that you are not alone!