Let’s face it. Life comes in hard and fast at times. It leaves you scurrying from task to task and just hoping when you lay down to sleep that you’ve done enough and been enough to keep your head above water and your relationships intact. Time escapes from grasp and the feeling of being caught between demands becomes overwhelming and exhausting.
Getting trapped in this survival routine sucks the joy out of being with ourselves and being with others. When this happens it’s important to take a moment for self reflection and evaluation. Figure out if this measures up to how you desire to create meaning in life. As you’re taking stock of the impact on your wellbeing, pay attention to these five signs as clues that you may need to prioritize your mental health.
- Loneliness – Human beings are social creatures, wired for connection and companionship. When lonely, you feel cut off from others and begin to doubt your own relationship worthiness. You may experience loneliness even when you’re married or living with family and friends. This is not dependent on the size of your social circle. Loneliness is a persistent internal feeling that you’re distant from or unattached to others yet you desire to be known and cared for. Research tells us that loneliness leads to a host of mental conditions such as depression, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse.
- Constant Worry – The mental chatter plagues the recesses of your mind with shoulds, negative thoughts, and pessimistic and fatalistic fears. Perceptions funnel down a narrow storyline consumed with all or nothing thinking. The what ifs keep you up at night and immobile when facing new terrain. Assumptions cloud sound judgment. Constant worry messes with your ability to think with clarity and distracts you from the present moment. It can also cause misreading of other’s behaviors and intentions, leading to relationship conflict.
- Emotional Dysregulation – Tears spill at spelling mistakes when sending a text message. Your friend is going through a hard time and you feel so distance from your emotions that empathy seems an impossible feat. The stress management threshold plummets and anger leaps out from behind the shadows at a moment’s notice. Emotional dysregulation intensifies or removes you from the body’s natural alert system that tells you to check in with yourself. This disconnection creates haywire in the central nervous system, leading to greater emotional suffering and overwhelm.
- Hopelessness – Hopelessness signifies a loss of belief in self, others, and life. It’s giving up and diminishing care for what you normally value. It often coincides with doubts in faith and reckless behavior. Hopelessness combined with loneliness may lead to suicidal thoughts. If you’re feeling hopeless and lonely, don’t hesitate to reach out for help now. Allow a friend, doctor, counselor, or crisis support person to hold hope for you as you work through it. Hopelessness is a sign of crisis and must be taken seriously.
- Functional Changes – Routines that came easy now feel difficult and time-consuming. Performance tanks at work, school, and in the gym. Your appetite and sleep patterns are out of whack. You’re ready to crawl back in bed before you’ve finished getting ready for the day. You forget to eat or want to eat everything in sight. It’s hard to concentrate on tasks and pay attention to what your partner is asking of you. Deadlines and chores keep getting pushed to a later day and time. People in your life point out problems in your level of functioning at home, work, school, etc. These functional changes create barriers to peaceful living and in turn disrupt your relationship with yourself and others.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time to invest in your mental wellbeing. You go to the doctor for regular physical health check-ups, so why not check in on your mental health, too? Reach out to One:12 Counseling to schedule a mental health check-up today! You deserve a meaningful, joyous life and we want to help you find your way back to it.