How to Spot Declining Mental Health Early
We’ve all said it to ourselves before: “I must be losing my mind.” There’s no doubt that almost everyone has been placed in a situation where they have questioned their sanity, even for a brief moment. But how do you know when there is actually something going on in your brain? Many people don’t recognize the common signs of declining mental health, which can be a scary yet avoidable affliction if diagnosed early on. The first step is to recognize the obvious, yet commonly ignored symptoms.
Patrice Bendig chronicles her battle with the extreme anxiety and depression she experienced her sophomore year in a USA TODAY College article. Bendig says she got to a point when she didn’t want to do anything but sit in her room and shut herself away from friends, during the week and on weekends. This was an obvious warning sign for her that something was wrong, so she finally reached out and started seeing her school counselor. If you start avoiding social situations and make no effort to attend classes or get work done, it’s important to tell someone. Keeping things like anxiety and depression to yourself only builds tension in your body, which can lead to a complete mental breakdown.
Drastic changes in diet and sleeping habits are also clear signals that your mental state may be declining. Anorexia and bulimia are not only physical ailments but diagnosable mental disorders as well, which can be triggered by a sudden event, like the death of a loved one. Insomnia is another mental disorder that afflicts people under a great deal of stress because high stress levels can cause the brain to go into hyper drive, preventing the person from getting a restful night’s sleep.
If you develop any of these symptoms, whether it’s a change in your social life, work ethic, eating habits or sleeping patterns, make sure you reach out to someone as soon as possible. The first step to helping solve the problem is to identify it. Also, know that there are many people who struggled with what you’re experiencing. HUGstronger, which focuses on helping undergraduates grow stronger through many voices sharing their stories, is a great resource. Recovery is a process, and there are many people who want to help you.