Our mental health matters. Monitoring our own mental and emotional health is something we need to be actively doing all the time – even when we are feeling ok. There are many misconceptions about therapy but perhaps one of the biggest is that there needs to be something seriously wrong in order for therapy to be necessary. Whilst therapy can be helpful in a crisis, the more we suppress or avoid painful emotions the more difficult they can be to untangle. The earlier you seek help, the easier it will be to work through your issues.
Here are some things to consider when thinking about your own mental health:
Are you feeling overwhelmed?
Many of us tend to ignore or supress our emotions. Whilst this might work in the short term, over time our emotions usually resurface elsewhere (and often in a more damaging way). If you feel like you can’t stop crying or you have regular angry outbursts this might be a sign that there are some underlying issues you need to address.
Do you keep getting ill?
Our mental, emotional and physical health are all deeply interconnected. If you are suffering from physical symptoms with no apparent cause, then therapy is a good next avenue to explore. Excess stress can lead to lowered immunity, bodily aches and pains, digestive difficulties, and difficulties sleeping etc. These can be your body’s warning sign that something is amiss.
Are you being less productive or finding it difficult to concentrate?
Do you find yourself losing your train of thought, struggling to finish a book or taking time over decisions that had previously been straight-forward. These too can be warning signs. Anxiety and depression can cause changes in the brain that make it harder to focus.
Do you lack enthusiasm for anything or anyone?
Do you feel you can’t get excited about things in the way you used to? Do you feel there is no hope and nothing to look forward to? This can be a common symptom of depression which strips the sufferer from the motivation to do anything. Do you find yourself avoiding your friends or not returning their calls? Are you finding that you have become less sociable? Isolation can be a common symptom of anxiety and depression and may be a sign that you’re struggling with your mental health.
Have your sleeping patterns changed?
Most people think of insomnia as the inability to fall asleep at night, but it can also mean waking up very early and not being able to fall asleep again or waking up multiple times throughout the night. Sometimes you might find that all you want to do is sleep and you struggle to get out of bed in the morning. Sleep should be seen as a barometer for your mental and emotional wellbeing. Sleeping difficulties often point to something going on at a deeper emotional and mental level.
Are you drinking more than you used to (or using other coping methods)?
If you find yourself reaching for the wine bottle every evening and letting impulses rule your life, this might suggest you’re struggling to cope. Turning to things outside of yourself in order to make you feel better is a dangerous sign.
Do you struggle with relationships?
Do your love relationships always end badly? Are you consistently arguing with your partner? How we interact in relationships today is closely connected to the experiences of our past. To break these repeating patterns, it’s usually necessary to revisit and heal the pains of our past.
Do you keep repeating the same mistakes in your life?
Making the same mistakes time and time again could signal that there are some deeply ingrained patterns at play. Speaking to a therapist can help you identify where they stem from so you can build a life that’s no longer dictated by your old life story.
Are your friends worried about you?
Have your loved ones mentioned their concerns and suggested that it’s time to seek help? It is easy to ignore the things we don’t want to hear but try to trust that they have your best interests at heart.
If you are worried about any of the above or any other concerns that is impacting on your life….