If you are having a hard time with your mental health, you are not alone. When you are struggling, it is easy to forget about external resources that are meant to help. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I needed help but finally seeking it was the most beneficial thing I could have done for my anxiety and depression. Here are 10 signs that you should seek professional help for your mental illness:
If you are having trouble completing your school work.
If you find it difficult to attend class or work.
If your relationships with your friends, family, or significant other are changing for the worse and/or you find it difficult to attend social events.
If you find it hard to complete day-to-day activities like doing the dishes or showering.
If you notice a change in your appetite or eating habits.
If people close to you express concern.
If you no longer enjoy your hobbies.
If you constantly feel sad although good things are happening.
If you are turning to drugs or alcohol to feel better.
If you have thoughts of dying or want to commit suicide.
There are many outlets of professional help. If you are a current college student, try reaching out to the Mental Health Center on your campus. A great resource that I have used to find therapists and psychiatrists off-campus is Psychology Today. If reaching out to get help seems like an insurmountable task (like it seemed to me), ask a friend or family member to help you do research or come wait in the lobby with you for your appointment. If you are in an emergency situation, dial 911.
Remember, you are not your mental illness. You are strong, and you can get through whatever life is handing you right now because it will not last forever.
On the way home from the therapy appointment that sparked my recovery
I originally planned on making two separate posts — “What Anxiety Feels Like” & “What Depression Feels Like” — however, I realized that the symptoms of the two illnesses are so intertwined. It is very hard to differentiate which disorder my symptoms are coming from. Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Clinical Depression are two disorders that feed off of each other. It is extremely common to have one and then develop the other. In my case, I was diagnosed with GAD in the seventh grade and just diagnosed with depression this year. I decided to write this post to give some insight to those who do not suffer from mental illnesses, as well as to reassure those who do that they are not alone.
The frequency and intensity of my symptoms change almost every day. There are some days where I feel perfectly fine and other days where I feel like curling up in a ball. No two people with these illnesses are the same, and therefore do not experience the same exact things. This is how anxiety and depression feel from my own perspective, and I hope that this will give some insight into my head.
Crying for no reason
Not having the motivation to do anything
Having trouble falling asleep and/or waking up
Believing life is pointless
No longer enjoying your hobbies or other things that used to make you happy
Having a pounding feeling in your chest
Feeling dissociated from the world around you
Believing that you are worthless or not good enough
Making rash decisions
Having trouble focusing on large chunks of text
Feeling empty inside
Undereating or overeating
Wanting to be with friends when alone but wanting to be alone when with friends
Getting irritated over small things and not understanding why
Only being able to focus on what you are worrying about
Feeling exhausted 24/7 no matter how much you slept the night before
Wanting to share how you feel with friends but being too scared of driving them away
Having thoughts of dying
Feeling alone even when you’re with other people
Not being able to keep your room clean
Ignoring your accomplishments and focusing on your failures
Avoiding your problems and/or dealing with them in unhealthy ways
Not wanting anyone to know you exist
Having bursts of feeling motivated, but then realizing, “what’s the point?”
Physical symptoms such as nausea, headaches, acid reflux, or dizziness
Feeling guilty when you start to feel happy again
Being overly self-conscious
Replaying situations over and over again in your mind
Doubting all of your decisions
Not believing that things will get better
Being terrified of the future
My symptoms were the most severe from October up until early January. I still experience some of these, but not nearly to the extent and frequency that I had before. I attribute my progress to medication, journaling, and the help of my friends and family.
To all of you suffering: it gets better. We’re all in this together. Things may be tough now, but you have a bright future ahead of you.
“Everything will be okay in the end. And if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end,” – Ed Sheeran