Mental health spans a vast spectrum. Even while conversations around mental well-being are actively encouraged, there continues to be poor awareness amongst most people. This also means that people are not aware of the symptoms of many kinds of disorders associated with mental well-being, be they depression, anxiety, or panic disorder, bipolar, eating disorders or personality disorders.
For many of us, our busy lives, that are often filled with stress, keep us away from recognizing early warning signs of mental health concerns. As a result, many people struggle without realizing that they are living with a mental disorder. Even a milder mental illness can still seriously impact your quality of life — and potentially turn into something more serious if not caught and treated early.
Here are some early signs that indicate you need to pause and take charge of your mental well-being. The help and treatment options available are fortunately wider and more accessible today. But the first step is really, self-awareness.
Some of the subtle signs that you should take care of your mental well-being are as follows.
- Not enjoying the things, you enjoyed before
If you suddenly notice that the things you loved or enjoyed doing, are now becoming more of irritation or perhaps you find you are in no mood to go out with your friends or family - these could be signs of shifts in your mental well-being. For example, if you are an avid runner, and suddenly the idea of going for a run doesn’t sound appealing, you’ll want to pay attention to whether this feeling is persistent.
It's been said by experts in the field that having down days is a perfectly normal part of human nature, and these are feelings that will pass without any major impact on your life. But if this feeling is persistent and becomes more consistent, and you experience some inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable, it could be a sign that you're experiencing depression.
- The trouble with concentration
If you are someone who is disciplined and follows a routine, but yet your mind is finding it difficult to concentrate or even remember things, you might be suffering from a mental health issue. Another sign is found with which depression is linked with “reduced working memory capacity” and slowed processing speed, a trait witnessed while at school or work. Though this may be scary and frustrating, it could be a signal of mental distress setting in.
- Sleep and its troubles
One of the important signs of depression is when people either find it hard to sleep or difficult to wake up in the morning. This often means that there is exhaustion and carrying out their usual routine and tasks seems more difficult than usual. This is one of the biggest signs, if your sleep schedule is different than usual, take notice.
- The Physical side and its troubles
The most common myth about mental health is that since this illness is psychological it does not manifest physically. This is not true, there are a lot of people with anxiety who experience various levels of physical symptoms like nausea, sweating, headaches and panic attacks.
Apart from these signs lower energy levels are also common and that results in difficulty in planning meals or even taking care of personal hygiene.
- Friends and family notice a change
It is always said that friends and family play the best observers and we are not always the most accurate observers of ourselves. While we can identify our own thoughts, it may be difficult to identify our behaviors. If family and friends notice a change in your behaviour it is best to listen to what they have said before getting defensive and insisting they’re wrong. Those who are you the closest to you often see what you can’t see yourself.
Mental well-being can be affected by a number of reasons. It could affect anyone, and if you or someone you know are facing any of the issues mentioned above, you or they might be experiencing a mental health issue. The first critical step to deal with it, is to speak to someone you know, trust, and believe in. It is also recommended to approach a reputed, well-regarded specialist in the field, who can help diagnose your condition correctly and then guide you through the treatment options. Ensure you have someone - a close friend or family member who is aware of what you are going through and is available to support you. Remember not all mental illness shows up in a dramatic way but if you feel the quality of your life is changing, only you