By Guest Blogger Antony Simpson
Spotting the signs that someone is struggling with mental illness is really important, especially because they might not realise that they are struggling themselves.
Here are some of the signs, looking back on my own experiences, that I was struggling. These can be applied to anyone:
- Changes in social contact. Usual they are less social than normal, withdrawn and opting to isolate themselves from others. This may include: making excuses for not going to social events and arriving late and leaving early at social events. For some mental health illnesses, such as mania in bipolar they may be more social.
- Changes in their environment. There’s usually more mess, a build up of used plates & cutlery, over flowing bins, basically chaos.
- Changes to their appearance. They make less effort with their appearance, hair might be dishevelled, clothes might not be ironed, the same clothes worn for days, weight loss or gain and potentially body odour.
- Changes in expression of emotion. They may be emotionally closed, displaying none of their feelings. Or expression of emotions might be overt. Sadness and crying or easily frustrated and quick to anger.
- Over thinking and over analysing things.
- Smoking more. Increased alcohol and/or drug use.
- Loss of ambitions and dreams.
- Be having difficulties in work or off work due to sickness.
- Having no future plans.
- Changes to sleeping pattern. They may sleep more or less, suffer with insomnia or wake up every day exhausted. They will usually report having less energy.
- Saying bizarre things.
- Talking about suicide or ending life. They may express a strong desire for everything to be over.
- Being overly self-critical.
- Seemingly to lack care about anyone or anything.
- Not actively listening to others or being able to retain information given.
If you see these signs in friends or family members, it might be worth having an honest, yet sensitive, conversation with them about what you’ve noticed. It might be worth encouraging them to go and speak to their GP.
Bio: Antony Simpson is a registered Nurse with over 13 years experience in the fields of mental health and alcohol & substance misuse. He is diagnosed with Cyclothymic disorder (a form of bipolar) and author of Mental Health Wisdom. The blend of professional and personal experience makes Mental Health Wisdom truly unique.