Often our mental health can be neglected and actually it can take a long time for us to realise that something isn't quite right. Unlike our physical health where we will pick up on symptoms much sooner and take action. Where as with our mental health we will carry on as usual, trying to keep up with this fast paced world we live in. Telling ourselves it's nothing. That we need to buck up or get a grip. We haven't got time to contemplate being depressed. Likewise we don't want to be stigmatised or considered weak and incapable. Or those awful labels nut job, crazy, fruit loop. Only the more you try and brush it under the table the bigger the problem is going to get. There is a reason people say "don't bottle things up" . And it's because it's true. Or we may not start to realise something is wrong until we get physical symptoms that we might not attribute to being a consequence of our mental health. And it's usually these physical symptoms that will lead us to our doctors.
Sometimes other people, those that are closest to us, may even start to notice before us. And consequently become concerned. However the biggest step is in noticing for yourself and in actually admitting that something is not quite right. Sometimes you'll only start realising when symptoms start affecting your day to day life or again when you experience more physical symptoms.
To help you know what the signs and symptoms are the following list I refer to MIND's symptoms page, which you can see here as it's very comprehensive and they are one of the best places to go for help and advice regarding mental health.
* I am low-spirited for much of the time, every day
* I feel restless and agitated
* I get tearful easily
* I feel numb, empty and full of despair
* I feel isolated and unable to relate to other people
* I am unusually irritable or impatient
* I find no pleasure in life or things I usually enjoy
* I feel helpless
* I have lost interest in sex
* I am experiencing a sense of unreality
* I’m not doing activities I usually enjoy
* I am avoiding social events I usually enjoy
* I have cut myself off from others and can’t ask for help
* I am self-harming
* I find it difficult to speak
* I am having difficulty remembering things
* I find it hard to concentrate or make decisions
* I blame myself a lot and feel guilty about things
* I have no self-confidence or self-esteem
* I am having a lot of negative thoughts
* The future seems bleak
* What’s the point?
* I have been thinking about suicide
* I have difficulty sleeping
* I am sleeping much more than usual
* I feel tired and have no energy
* I have lost my appetite, and am losing weight
* I am eating a lot more than usual and putting on weight
* I have physical aches and pains with no obvious physical cause
* I am moving very slowly
* I am using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
People suffering from depression may also suffer from anxiety. They are both different conditions but can
Anxiety and Panic attacks
* feeling like your mind is full or busy
* having repetitive thoughts
* difficulty concentrating or remaining focused
* not wanting to go out as much
* losing interest in things you used to enjoy
* feeling self conscious
* the thought of going out or being in a crowd makes brings on physical symptoms for example sweating or feeling like you're struggling to breathe.
You can see more of the physical symptoms associated with anxiety on the image below:
* difficulty relaxing or getting to sleep
* aching muscles
* sweating dizziness
* feeling as though you can't breath
* tightness in your chest
* gastric problems
* feeling generally unwell
If you are severely depressed: (again this information is from MIND)
* You may start to have experiences or thoughts that others around you do not share. For example, you may hear voices, see visions, believe that you are evil, or are influencing events in a way that is harmful to others.
* You may believe that you are a bad person and you deserve to feel as you do. These are false beliefs and may be part of the depression.
* You may feel that life is not worth living and start thinking about ways of killing yourself.
If you would like more information you can find it on the following websites linked below. I will be doing a post on where to get help soon if you are worried about your mental health or that of a friend or relative. But if you are worried in the mean time or feeling desperate be sure to visit.
Time to Change
Or contact your local gp.
Until next time. Take care.