Everyone talks about taking care of your mental wellness, but that’s challenging to do if you can’t tell when you need help. People don’t wake up one day and discover they’re in a crisis. Mental illnesses can take weeks, months or years to reach that point. Instead of waiting until things are bad, look for these 10 subtle signs of mental health struggles to better take care of yourself.
1. Struggling to Get Out of Bed
You might dread waking up in the morning because you prefer to stay up late. That’s a common problem, but it’s concerning if you literally can’t find the willpower to get out of bed. You may want to go to work or start your day until the thought of sitting up and moving makes everything feel impossible.
Feeling unmotivated and exhausted is a subtle sign that you’re battling depression or intense anxiety. It could even prevent you from taking care of yourself, like going to the bathroom or eating meals.
2. Experiencing Digestive Issues
Every time you eat a meal, you have to run to the bathroom right afterward. Gas and uncomfortable cramping disrupt your day more often than not. Intense anxiety can result in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and keep your body from digesting food properly. If the stomach problems get worse, it’s likely related to your anxiety becoming more intense.
3. Eating Too Much
Reaching for a bag of chips or a pint of ice cream anytime you have a bad day could indicate a developing eating disorder. When you satisfy your cravings, your brain releases excess amounts of dopamine that make you happy. It can lead some people into harmful binge eating cycles whenever they struggle with depression, anxiety or body image issues.
4. Avoiding Oral Hygiene
Depression makes everything harder, even your oral hygiene routine. Brushing your teeth can take more energy than you might have. Depression medication can also lead to severe oral conditions like dry mouth or hypersalivation that make routine care trickier. If you struggle to take care of your teeth and gums, it’s time to talk with a doctor about your mental wellbeing.
5. Weighing Yourself Every Day
Most people reach a point in their lives where they want to lose weight. Whether it’s because your doctor tells you to or you want to fit into the next size down, weighing yourself every day could become a problem. When the scale becomes a driving force in your life, it could mean that you’re developing an eating disorder or body dysmorphia.
6. Having Mood Swings
Mood swings are normal events, especially for teenagers with changing hormones. They might cause an argument or make you sad, but they shouldn’t disrupt your life. Bipolar disorder may look the same until you learn the subtle signs of its development.
It can initially present with rapid cycling that you might pass off as a mood swing. The highs result in extreme productivity and high energy. The lows could make you contemplate suicide even if you were happy with your life a day before.
7. Forgetting Things Frequently
Depression can cause you to forget things before you ever begin to feel sad. Women are more likely to experience short-term memory loss due to depression before getting a diagnosis. Talk with your doctor if forgetting things keeps you from your daily routine, like finishing cooking a meal or doing well in school.
8. Lacking Your Normal Energy
Mental illnesses often drain your energy. They’re constant internal battles. You may always feel like you’re one cup of coffee away from getting back on the horse. Your exhaustion could point to an underlying condition causing other ongoing problems.
9. Disengaging From Enjoyable Activities
Maybe your favorite hobbies no longer seem enjoyable. You once looked forward to knitting after work or meeting up with your chess club on the weekend. Now you do the same things, but it feels like moving through the motions.
Mental health struggles could keep you from finding joy in what would otherwise make you happy. If you try new hobbies and activities without any progress, it’s likely because there’s an undiagnosed illness in your mind.
10. Skipping Social Interactions
Friends invite you to meet them out for dinner or at an event in town, but you never want to go. It would take more energy than you have or you’re nervous about interacting with them for hours at a time. Skipping social interactions more often than not may represent a deeper problem.
Talk about this concern with your doctor or a psychologist. They may prompt you with questions about other things happening in your life that tie back to your social anxiety.
Recognize the Signs of Mental Health Struggles
Getting an accurate diagnosis begins with learning the subtle signs of mental health struggles. Think about whether you experience any of these things or know someone who does. It could start a crucial conversation that leads to getting the help you need.