Approximately one-third of us are likely to suffer from a mental disorder at some point in our lives. Major life events often can lead to the deterioration of an individual’s mental health. Studies have proven how good mental health results in a healthier mind and healthier body. This significantly improves the overall quality of one’s life. But unfortunately, it is often overlooked by most of us.
It’s not only adults that are in danger of developing a mental illness or showing a decline in mental health. Reports suggest that 25% of adolescents are suffering from depression and 8% more are suffering from anxiety disorders. Life events such as loss of someone close, bullying, or even comments from peers and family members can negatively affect your mental health. Recognizing the significance of maintaining good mental health is just as important as making sure you’re physically healthy.
It is critical to know the early signs of declining mental health to help in early prevention and reduce the severity of illness.
Changes in Sleep Pattern.
When we speak about changing sleeping patterns, most people believe it is losing sleep that acts as an indicator of going through emotional distress. A drastic change in your sleeping pattern, or having repeated incomplete sleep cycles and finding it unable to fall back asleep, or sleeping more than you usually do, are also telling signs of deteriorating emotional health.
Change In Appetite.
One common sign of declining mental health is the change in one’s appetite. When your mental health is on the decline, you might notice an increase or a decrease in your appetite.
Avoiding Social Gatherings or Social Withdrawal.
Another troubling sign of declining mental health is social withdrawal. If your mental health in on the decline you might often find yourself avoiding social gatherings and interactions with other people. This might further affect your relationship with other family members and friends.
Losing Interest in Hobbies and Social Activities.
Have you stopped playing your favorite sport on weekends, or stopped going for those long drives you so dearly loved? If your answer to those questions is yes, I implore you to not ignore it further, as losing interest in hobbies and social activities have often led to a detachment from people around you, inability to feel emotions, and react to positive situations around you.
Difficulty Managing Temper.
One of the biggest telling signs of declining mental health is one’s inability to manage his/her temper. Getting provoked and snapping at little incidents around you, can often be due to excess stress which further harms your mental wellbeing.
Difficulty Remembering Recent Events.
There is a link between mental illness and memory loss. People with weakening mental health might often experience short-term memory loss; however, long-term memory and procedural memory are not affected. Mental illness may also cause one to become more forgetful and feel confused.
Detachment or Feeling Numb
People with deteriorating mental health often cite a feeling of numbness. This detachment from their emotions can make them feel empty, isolated, or emotionally disconnected from friends, family, and loved ones.
Frequent Headaches or Migraine
Studies suggest that people with mental illness are prone to frequent headaches or migraines. Given that many people grow sensitive to pain with mental illness experiencing frequent headaches could be an even more painful experience. If you or someone you know are complaining too frequently of headaches coupled with other signs mentioned here, it might be time to seek help.
Feeling Tired or Chronic Fatigue.
If you often feel tired, fatigued, or constantly drained off of energy, it might be a sign that your mental health is at risk. When your mind is in distress, it begins to shut down the normal functioning of your body. Thus making you feel tired.
Frequent Minor Illnesses.
Studies also suggest that people with mental illness are more likely to develop musculoskeletal, skin, and respiratory disorders compared to their counterparts.
There is no order in which these symptoms might arise or, any particular sign that can predict a mental illness. But, if the signs persist for more than a few weeks, it is necessary to seek help. Ignoring these signs can lead to a serious problem in one’s ability to work, study, and carry out everyday activities. Here are a few ways to cope and work towards improving your mental health:
Acceptance And Breaking The Stigma.
Several people who show a decline in their mental health often refuse or ignore the signs of declining mental health, worrying what their peers, family members, and even close friends might think because of the stigma. It is essential to recognize that such feelings or phases are completely normal, and accepting your declining health is the first step to recovery.
Establishing an Emotional Support Network.
As I had mentioned right at the start, one out of three is bound to suffer from mental illness at some point in time. Establishing an emotional support network to fall back on can work wonders to help you manage and better your emotional health. An emotional support network can help you navigate testing times, help you in making better decisions, and even improve your self-esteem. Your emotional support should consist of close friends, colleagues, family members, and other peers who you can trust to listen to you without prejudice, judgment, or criticism.
Seek Professional Help
If the signs persist for too long and affect your day-to-day activities, it would be advisable to seek professional help. There is no right professional or one professional that fits all. Talk to multiple professionals to understand who might be best suited to help you through it.
Most important of all, it is essential to know that good mental health isn’t a one-off trade. It is a lifelong commitment. Being aware of your behavior, emotions, and feelings is important. It helps you ensure you’re prepared to cope with everyday challenges and maintaining good mental health.
Disclaimer: The author isn’t a licensed mental health professional. Views expressed in the article are purely an opinion and perception of the author. The views expressed above shouldn’t be taken as medical and/or professional advice.