The Early Signs of Mental Ill Health
Have you been feeling overly anxious lately, perhaps you’ve been eating less or have been feeling down. Sometimes you might read all about mental illnesses online and how it affects people but then you find yourself at a loss for the signs and what to look out for in those who may be experiencing symptoms of mental illness. Or maybe you are concerned about yourself.
When I turned 40, I felt amazing, comfortable in my own skin and happy with my life. I loved my job, both girls were in school, and my husband and I split our European travel and working from home. But things started to unravel, nothing major to begin with, just trying to fit everything into the day, being late for appointments or missing stuff completely. Then when I was away, the guilt crept in, and I had a general feeling of not doing anything well. The nail in the coffin came when I was made redundant. It floored me, but I carried on oblivious to what was happening. Then one day it all got too much, and all I can remember is standing by the door in the kitchen screaming and crying. I saw a doctor and he diagnosed depression.
Some people keep filling up their rubbish bin with stuff and when that bin overflows, it hits people in different ways. Some people get angry, some get sad, I got depressed. I have pulled myself out of depression and started to exist again, but that was better than where I had been. The quote that resonated with me was “you are not a tree; you don’t have roots, if you are not happy move.” This is when I quit my job as I realised that if I didn’t, I would be quickly back to where I was before.
When I discovered NLP, this was the icing on my cake. I came back from my course a different person, a happy, positive, motivated person who couldn’t wait to share what I had learned, I believed then, and I still believe that everyone should feel the way I do, light, shiny and fabulous!
I recently became a Mental Health First Aider and, I thought I would share with you some signs of mental health issues to look out for. Here are seven early warning signs:
- Excessive fear or anxiety
Do you tremble at the thought of doing a presentation?
Whether it’s the fear of going out, a phobia of heights, or anxiety talking to people, extreme mood swings or persistent anxiety can be a warning sign of a mental illness such as depression or bipolar disorder. This kind of fear may be persistent and at times it may not even have a particular trigger. You may experience physiological symptoms such as fatigue, feeling tense, shaking, or trembling, or gastrointestinal irritation. Speaking with someone is one way that may help you manage your anxiety and fears.
- Social withdrawal
Have you been cancelling all your plans recently?
Perhaps you’ve been feeling exhausted lately or have no interest to socialise and meet other people. Living with a mental illness is difficult as it can often rob your desire to be around or interact with others. This may lead to a habit of withdrawing and isolating yourself from your friends or family which may worsen your mental well-being. If you experience social avoidance as a cause of a mental health, you may find it helpful to work with a therapist on techniques to help you cope with anxiety such as through NLP Therapy, mindfulness, and deep breathing exercises
- Changes in sleeping or eating habits
Are you having sleeping problems?
According to a 2004 study subjects who experienced sleep insufficiency reported mental distress, depressive symptoms and physical pain. Although we have much to learn about the exact neurological connection between sleep and mental health, scientists, physicians, and therapists have come to understand that it is vital to your health. Sleep is the regenerative for your body as it enables you to think learn and process emotions better. Similarly, appetite of response can change due to a mental health issue. During a mental health episode emotional turmoil can cause people to overeat or avoid eating altogether
- Increasing inability to cope with daily problems
A certain amount of stress is a normal part of daily life. Small doses of stress help people meet deadlines, be prepared for presentations, be productive and arrive on time for important events. However, long-term stress can become harmful. When stress becomes overwhelming and prolonged, the risks for mental health problems and medical problems increase. For tips and suggestions on how to manage stress, visit www.mentalhealth.org.uk
- A drop in overall performance
As a result of stress and poor sleep, another sign of mental illnesses is a drop in overall performance. This can look like an inability to complete work, but it can also look like choosing to neglect your personal wellbeing such as personal hygiene. Performance is not always work-related. Mental illness can lead you to perform poorly in your own life or you may procrastinate more often, have difficulty getting up in the mornings or become withdrawn.
- Unexplained physical symptoms
Do you bounce or skip when you’re excited? Or perhaps you tense up when you’re afraid. Similar to how you physically manifest your emotions, many mental illnesses also have physiological symptoms. These may include headaches or migraines, fatigue, digestive issues, and muscle soreness.
- Unhealthy coping mechanisms
Some frequent examples of unhealthy coping mechanisms are substance abuse, impulsive shopping, alcoholism, or self-harm. Many engage in these behaviours in an attempt to manage symptoms, however, there are healthier alternatives such as meditating journaling and exercise that may prove to be a better way to help cope.
Not all mental illnesses are the same they all have varying criteria and present their own set of challenges. If you, or someone you know, suffer from any of the symptoms mentioned, please seek professional help.
NLP Therapy can help you to understand the root cause of how you are feeling and learn methods to manage these. If you would like to explore this option, click here to book a free 45-minute introductory session