Many men and women are taught that if they have a mental health problem, they should just suck it up or need to "snap out of it". Many cultures place more emphasis on physical health and productivity than they do mental health and well being. "As long as someone appears capable to function in their day," someone might think to themselves, "then why would they need to get any sort of help?" The truth is, many people can learn to function and get through the day, but if they are hurting inside, at some point it's going to catch up.
A person might not come out and share their emotional or psychological pain. Instead, their symptoms will make it difficult for them in other ways. For instance, a person who is severely depressed might start using drugs or alcohol to feel better. Someone who is highly anxious might become more paranoid and develop the desire to hurt someone else. Also, it's very possible that after a while, if a person is experiencing true mental health symptoms, they likely will have a hard time functioning in their day to day life.
Friends and family might also start to notice the following signs. The person who is having a hard time might begin to see the following signs in their own life and recognize that it's time to get help:
• loss of friendships
• loss of a relationship / divorce
• isolation and withdrawal from friends and family
• diminished interest in former hobbies and life events
• legal issues
• loss of employment
• foreclosure or the loss of one’s home
• growing debt
• medical issues
• experiencing physical pain
• legal crisis
• domestic violence or physical abuse in a relationship
• binge drinking
• use of illegal substances
• self-harming behavior such as cutting
• suicidal thoughts
• manic behavior
• experiencing hallucinations or delusions
• emotions that feel intense and overwhelming
• experiencing flashbacks of a trauma
• having repetitive disturbing thoughts
• work performance is starting to decline
• friends and family are expressing their concerns
What can make matters worse if the person themselves does not realize that there is a problem or that they're putting their life at risk. For this reason, this list might be helpful for someone who is experiencing one or more of the above signs. For instance, a person might begin to isolate due to an experience of depression and because they are alone they may give in to their cravings and thoughts of suicide.
On the other hand, a person might have a thought that they should get professional help, and yet they don't because of a variety of reasons including:
• lack of time
• lack of understanding
• fear of the unknown
• fear of being judged by others
• a desire to avoid medication and so they avoid reaching out for help
However, the experience of working with a mental health provider might actually prove to be of significant help. You can talk with your mental health provider for before any decision is made. If a medication evaluation is necessary your mental health professional may refer you to a psychiatrist for further assessment.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above signs, contact a mental health professional today.