Mental health is becoming a growing challenge. The numbers simply don’t look promising. To quote the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), one in five people suffer through some form of the disorder in any given year in the country. And by 40, almost half the people would have had some experience with it.
No amount of awareness, therefore, is enough. Hence, from 3rd to 9th May, CMHA celebrates Mental Health Week. And to honour the campaign, we bring you a list of five signs of deteriorating mental health and how can one cope with such a challenge.
Signs of Deteriorating Mental Health
We have all had bad days and, on such days, you or your loved one may find themselves suffering through any one or a number of conditions listed below. That, however, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time for psychiatric evaluation. If, however, any of these signs persist, you must, at least, start a conversation about it.
1. Behavioural Changes
One of the early signs that someone’s mind is just not being itself is the change in their behaviour. However, behaviour is a broad term, and the changes may range from really subtle to drastic. From someone who likes being clean and tidy at all times to go weeks without a shower. Or, not bothering about how messy their room is, may all allude towards something serious. The opposite of such a personality shift is also true.
Similarly, a sufferer may feel a lot more irritated in life in general, with their anxiety and stress levels keeping them on edge much more than ever. In essence, anything that wasn’t part of their personality, but seems to be becoming just that, albeit unintentionally, may just be a sign.
2. Disturbed Sleep Patterns
Psychiatric disorders are cruel and usually hit you in more ways than one. The sleep cycle and quality are some of the early casualties. Depending on the illness, sleep may come way too easily or become a struggle (insomnia). For instance, schizophrenics often can’t get deep sleep, whereas, for people suffering from depression, their sleep needs get overwhelmingly extensive.
Therefore, if you suspect declining sleep quality or don’t see yourself or your loved ones fresh anymore, it is best to seek professional advice.
3. Undisciplined Thoughts
Thoughts are how our minds speak to us. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that when there is a cerebral disorder, this ability of the brain takes the most enormous toll. Self-harm thoughts, pessimism, worries about remote possibilities seeing the light of the day, and even forced whispers of the mind can all be manifestations of greater damage.
4. Loss of Touch with Reality
When your mind stops collecting and collating information as it usually would, your worldview definitely takes a hit. If that’s the case, the patient may often feel their knowledge getting dated or challenged.
As discussed earlier, the thoughts would increasingly become irrational. Even the daily realities, such as the grocery prices, may get hard to get straight.
5. Feeling Threatened
An inflated sense of threat is a pretty common symptom of a mind that feels challenged from all sides. When you undergo behavioural changes and have never felt more uncomfortable in your body, and have hardly felt fresh in weeks and months, irrational thoughts about non-existent dangers looming over your head are natural.
You may find yourself repeatedly checking whether the main door is locked, or getting safety grills installed in your house in a safe neighbourhood. The worse state is when one starts feeling threatened by someone who genuinely cares about them. When it comes to that, help is not merely required; it becomes a necessity.
The list is, of course, not complete for mental health is a vast subject. It is, however, a list of signs prevalent in most psychiatric disorders, at least in the early stages. The sooner you recognize in your loved one their signs of a declining mental state, the better.
Coping with Deteriorating Mental Health
Your journey to returning to normalcy starts with accepting your problem. If you are a well-wisher of a person going through such a state, gently talk to them. Initiating a conversation about a mental health disorder can be an empowering experience for the patient. You hit the fear of the stigma attached to the problem, something that is often the biggest hurdle for the patient to seek treatment.
Speaking of treatment, that is, of course, necessary when the signs mentioned above are indicating towards an evident problem. Talking to a therapist or mental health counsellor can help significantly in clinically diagnosing the problem and starting the much-needed medications.
Alongside clinical help, though, one needs to develop a personal will to pull through. Those close by can help significantly in this regard. Patience and love are essential here as you can’t force anything upon such an individual. Help them get their mojo back by letting them realize how the world is full of endless possibilities. A word of someone trusted can go a long way in achieving that.
It is, of course, easier said than done. Mental health is a tricky aspect. However, with persistence and patience, you can help yourself or your loved one out. Give Annie’s Place a call if you require professional assistance on the matter.