Contributed by – Healthians team
Do I have a mental illness? Is that a question you’ve ever asked yourself? Chances are, you haven’t and it is completely natural not to, because, how do you know whether you have a mental illness, it’s not like you can compare your mental state to someone else; you only know how it is to be you. So then what do you do? Well, like any physical illness, mental illnesses also have signs and symptoms that can be used as indicators; all it needs is some awareness. Since mental health is a vast subject that is still being explored and there are many types of mental disorders, the following signs are not writ in stone, however, the presence of any or all of these symptoms might help you identify the presence of mental health disorder and you should consult a therapist.
Your thinking processes have changed
Things like not being able to concentrate in a meeting, forgetting where you kept your keys or not being able to recall a name are common and can happen to anyone of us. However, the problem sets in when these moments start appearing more and more frequently and start impacting your life. This confusion, forgetfulness and inability to concentrate can be a warning sign of a mental disorder. Sometimes, they can be a symptom of a few chronic illnesses but if that is not the case then you really should not take this lightly. Talking to someone or consulting a therapist might benefit you.
Frequent and extreme mood swings have become your reality
Being happy on some days and irritated on others is part and parcel of our lives. These mood swings are normal and all of us have found our own unique ways to deal with them. Yet amongst us there could be some people who deal with extreme mood swings each day. Sudden and extreme switch in your mood can indicate a problem.
You are noticing changes in your behavior, appetite and sleep cycle
Any serious deviation in how you behave, your appetite, or your sleeping pattern without any clear cut triggers could indicate some deeper issues. Like if you are usually a quiet person, but now start having angry outbursts at the slightest things or that you don’t feel like eating at all even though physically there isn’t anything wrong, then there is a possibility that you are grappling with a mental disorder.
Approaching friends and colleagues is causing you stress
Having a little chat with a colleague or going out and seeing your friends is usually a great way to release stress. But if you start feeling stressed instead of happy about seeing your friends or you overthink before approaching them then it could be a sign of mental illness. Withdrawal from any kind of social situation is a red flag. It is particularly true in the case of substance abuse because you start preferring the company of people who share your addictions instead of your usual circle of friends. Depression and anxiety could be the other causes of social withdrawal. Any unexplained change in social circles could be an indicator that you need help.
Daily chores have started to look like a burden
It’s true that daily chores can get boring but if it gets to the point where you just can’t pick yourself up to do them, then that could be a cause of worry. You may lose interest in daily activities and avoid responsibilities when you’re too excited or are in grief. But in that case, you would return to them soon. If that doesn’t happen and your inability to perform daily tasks continues for a long time, then that’s a sign of mental health issues.
Unexplained body aches have left you in pain
Backaches, stomach pain, muscular weaknesses and headaches that cannot be explained are fairly common amongst those suffering from mental illness. While you might consider calling a doctor to diagnose the exact problem, but you should not rule out the possibility of mental health issues.
You have started to find peace in alcohol and other addictive substances.
Those experiencing mental health issues tend to find comfort in addictive substances and alcohol use with the hope to diminish the disturbing feeling that they have. If you find yourself turning to alcohol or other substances with similar hope, then that could indicate the presence of mental health issues. Even if, you do not suffer from any mental illnesses staying away from any kind of addictive substance or alcohol is always advisable.
It is unfortunate that mental illness is still such a stigma in society that people are afraid to ask for help even when they know that they need it for survival. But slowly people are realizing the importance of mental health due to a lot of awareness-building by healthcare brands and with a recent incident in Bollywood, people are becoming more open to acknowledging it as an important aspect of holistic health.
So if you identify with any of the above-given symptoms and signs, there is a possibility that you might be dealing with mental health issues. But not to worry as mental illnesses are treatable if you seek necessary help at the right time.