Signs You May Be Struggling
“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you go; they merely determine where you start.” – Nido Qubein
We all have ups and downs in our lives. We all have times when we feel low, anxious or stressed sometimes and this is a perfectly natural and normal part of being human. However, sometimes we don't realise how bad things are getting because we experience a gradual descent into a period of extreme stress or a period of feeling very low. It can help for us to know the signs that our mental health isn't in a good place and then what we can do and put in place to help us to feel better. When we are feeling down, stressed or anxious we are much more likely to avoid things that would actually help us to feel better. For example, when we feel down, the very last thing that we feel like doing is going to see people, however often seeing family and friends can make us feel much better. Similarly, when we are feeling stressed, we don't want to take the time out to relax or to have that therapy session, when actually that time of relaxation or that therapy session is what will help us the most.
Here are some signs that you may be struggling with poor mental health:
1. You have withdrawn from friends, family and colleagues
One of the first signs of low mood is often withdrawing from others and feeling the need to isolate yourself. Isolation and low mood can however create an helpful negative cycle as isolation actually makes us feel more low. We are social creatures and need human contact and connection. This is why so many people struggled with their mental health through the pandemic. We were forced into a period of isolation and this caused for many, a period of low mood. If you find yourself turning down invites to gatherings, dinners or even work meetings, perhaps this could be a sign that your mental health isn't in a good place.
2. You notice changes in your eating patterns such as losing your appetite or finding yourself eating a lot/ bingeing
Mood and our food choices are very closely connected. How we are feeling often drives our behaviours around food. The reason for this is that many people cope with their emotions by turning to food. Others will instead neglect eating or taking care of themselves in times when they are feeling low, stressed or anxious. If you are noticing changes in your eating patterns, this could be an indicator that you are struggling with poor mental health.
3. Everything just feels like "a lot"
We all have those days sometimes, where replying to those texts, sending those emails or even just getting up and getting ready feels like "a lot of work". If however, you have a consistent period where it feels as though everything will just take so much effort, it could be that your mental health has declined.
4. You are teary very often
It is perfectly normal, natural and healthy to cry. We all cry sometimes and this doesn't mean that anything is wrong. However, if you are teary a lot of the time and find yourself triggered to cry at the slightest or smallest of triggers, this could be a sign that you are experiencing persistent low mood.
5. You lose interest in things that usually you would love to do
When we are struggling with our mental health we tend to stop wanting to do things that would usually bring us joy. Maybe we feel unable to go to a dance class or to paint or perhaps we just don't listen to music anymore. Where you are not finding joy in things that would usually bring you joy, it may be that your mental health isn't doing well.
6. You find that your emotions are very volatile, maybe you get angry all of a sudden or suddenly feel very anxious
For each person, poor mental health can show up in a different way. For some it may mean becoming withdrawn and quiet whereas for others it will mean becoming more boisterous and angry. Any change in our usual behaviour and how we express emotions can indicate that there has been a shift in the state of our mental health.
7. You struggle to sleep or want to sleep all of the time
For many people anxiety and stress can prevent them from sleeping. Unfortunately poor sleep can then make anxiety and stress levels worse. For those struggling with low mood, often there is a need or drive to sleep more than usual. Any changes in sleeping patterns or needs could mean that your mental health isn't in a good place.
8. Taking care of yourself and personal hygiene just feels like a lot of work
When things get really bad you may also find yourself not feeling motivated to look after yourself. You may not eat properly, not prioritise rest time or maybe even find it difficult to shower and brush your hair. If you've noticed that you are struggling to take care of yourself, this may be the time to reach out for some help.
Poor mental health will show up for each person in a different way. It can help to reflect back on times when you have struggled in the past and notice what changes in your habits or behaviours showed up during this period. It can then also help to reflect on what most helped you to get back to a place where you were feeling good e.g. talking things through with others, having therapy sessions, prioritising sleep and exercise or forcing yourself to see friends and family even though you didn't feel like it.
If you have noticed any of the signs of poor mental health above please do know that many people struggle with their mental health sometimes and that you can and will feel better. Please reach out for help or support if you notice signs of poor mental health for a consistent 2-week period. You can contact us at email@example.com to book in some support or reach out to your doctor or other healthcare practitioner.
“You are not alone. You are seen. I am with you. You are not alone.” — Shonda Rhimes