We can all have a bad day, a bad week or a couple of bad weeks. It is a part of life, and when everything is in balance, the bad times can help us appreciate the good ones. When we manage to overcome some of the challenges that life throws at us, it can actually give us a good feeling and motivate us to do more.
There’s often no better feeling than having completed something we were dreading doing, something that we had been putting off, or were anxious about.
However, when things get on top of us, which can creep up on us gradually, we may suddenly find ourselves feeling overwhelmed, unable to distinguish the good from the bad. In some cases, a person can start to feel helpless and perhaps begin to see no hope in the future, everything begins to look bleak. Things which used to excite or enthuse them, no longer interest them.
They might lose interest in sex, start to avoid going out, even ignoring invitations to join their friends or attend events.
It is very easy to then slide further down as they retreat into themselves. They may start to make excuses for not doing things they normally do. They can even reach the point of just ignoring text messages and emails from friends who are concerned about them, as things begin to overwhelm them even more.
Worse still they may even start to self-medicate with excess use of alcohol or other stuff! Sure, it may provide some short-term relief, but in the long term, it will just make the situation worse, and cloud their judgement and ability to seek help even more.
Before they know it, they are in some kind of crisis.
There are a few warning signs we can look for in others which may indicate they are struggling with their mental health. Some of them may of course also be indicators of other health issues. If you think someone who is close to you may be struggling with their mental health the first port of call should always be their GP.
Given the way that many people who identify under the rainbow flag were historically treated, there is still a big reluctance to seek help in this way amongst many members of our community. Thankfully things are changing, and we have the right to be treated equally, without judgement. The facts speak for themselves, those of us who identify under the rainbow flag are statistically far more likely to be affected by mental health issues, than those who don’t identify this way. Thankfully, the health services are beginning to realise this and offering services and treatments which suit our needs.
Here’s a simple summary of some of the main things to be aware of that someone you know, or love, might just be struggling with their mental health:
– Changes in mood or behaviour: If someone you know has been acting out of character, seems more withdrawn or irritable than usual, or is experiencing extreme mood swings, it could be a sign that they are struggling with their mental health.
– Withdrawing from social activities: If someone who used to be very social is suddenly avoiding gatherings, events or social activities, it could be a sign that they are struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.
– Changes in appetite or sleep patterns: If someone is experiencing significant changes in their appetite or sleep patterns, such as sleeping more or less than usual, or eating more or less than usual, it could be a sign that they are struggling with their mental health.
– Difficulty functioning or completing tasks: If someone is having difficulty with daily tasks or seems to be struggling to complete work assignments, it could be a sign that they are struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.
– Substance abuse: If someone is using drugs or alcohol to cope with their problems, it could be a sign that they are struggling with their mental health. This could include using drugs or alcohol to numb emotional pain or to help them sleep.
One of the best things you can do if you are concerned about someone, is ask them! It is always worth trying to gently open up a conversation to see if you can do anything to help. Take the time to listen and let them know you care and that you will not judge them. All too often when people are struggling, they are reluctant or even embarrassed to talk. There is still so much stigma attached to talking about mental health issues and sadly, all too often things are left too late. That’s why I would really encourage you to talk with someone you care about if you are concerned.
Next time I am going to take a look at addiction, how it happens and what help is out there.
If you would like me to cover any other subjects to do with mental health and well-being please get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.
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