We live in a society that goes by the national motto, “If you see something, say something.” Sometimes, though, it is not always obvious that what we are observing is a potential issue. When a loved one is dealing with a mental health crisis internally, it isn’t always so easy to “say something”, if you did not know that something was wrong to begin with.
Many times when we hear someone had committed suicide, you hear the people that were around them saying that they wish they could’ve done more to help. It simply could have been that this person was dealing with their issues so internally no one really noticed the small changes that the individual was making. Unfortunately, sometimes the warning signs are pushed aside. We attribute these signs to that person just “going through something” and hope they will just “get over it”.
The warning signs that your loved one is struggling with a mental illness are not as clear cut as we would hope them to be. Not all the time will an individual come out and say to you that they have a mental illness because they might not even understand what is going on with themselves.
Some warning signs put out by the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) are:
- “Excessive worrying or fear
- Feeling excessively sad or low
- Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
- Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
- Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
- Avoiding friends and social activities
- Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
- Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
- Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
- Changes in sex drive
- Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in objective reality)
- Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight” or anosognosia)
- Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
- Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
- Thinking about suicide
- Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
- An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance”
If you are fortunate to notice any of these warning signs in a family member or friend, do not be afraid to bring it to their attention. The earlier you can help them, the better.
For more information please visit: https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Know-the-Warning-Signs
Photo Credits: http://www.imaginefm.net/a-support-group-for-local-carers-of-loved-ones-with-mental-health-problems-is-launched/