Signs you might have a mental illness

After my last blog about what kind of help you might need, I heard from a few people I should do one explaining at the different types of providers and licenses. I’ll get there, I promise. But first, I think I might have put the carriage before the horse. What if you aren’t even sure if you need help? How do you know?

We are all going to feel bad or uncomfortable sometimes in our lives – sadness, stress, worry, thinking we hear our name being called occasionally, some impulsive decisions here and there – these are all things that everyone experiences at some point and are part of being human. And I am NOT in the business of turning every little thing into a diagnosis. Even for the “small” things that are less intense or don’t require an evaluation, counseling can be helpful.

But these and other things can become problems when they are interfering with our lives. They might even mean you have a mental health diagnosis and you could benefit from testing. This is probably the biggest sign that you might need to get some help – whatever the problem, it has gotten strong, intense, and just does not go away – it feels like it is running your life. It is getting in the way of relationships, school, work, or all those things.

So, here are some signs you should look for help. These are not the only signs, but it is a good place to start. Keep in mind anytime is says “odd” or “unusual” you want to compare it to what is “normal” for your culture.

Behavior problems

1.      Impulsive risky behaviors (spending, sexual behavior, substance abuse, gambling)

2.      Frequent and dangerous sexual acting out

3.      Frequent or intense physical aggression to others

4.      Frequent or intense destruction of property

5.      Frequent or intense verbal aggression to others

6.      Sexual aggression to others

7.      Frequent and intense tantrums in children

Mood problems

1.      Excessive worry or fear that you can’t control

2.      Extreme sadness or loss of interest

3.      Thoughts of self-harm or thoughts of suicide

4.      Intense and frequent mood changes

5.      Increasingly easily agitated

6.      Frequently feeling empty or numb

7.      Feeling very on-edge and easily frightened

Relationship problems

1.      Trouble understanding or relating to other people

2.      Difficulty getting along with others

3.      Lack of empathy for others

4.      Changes in sex drive (in either direction)

5.      Strong feelings of fear or suspicion of others

6.      Trouble making and keeping friends

7.      Difficulty maintaining relationships

8.      Intense fear of rejection

Thinking problems

1.      Problems with memory or confusion

2.      Trouble speaking so that others understand you because your thoughts are jumbled

3.      Significant problems paying attention

4.      Unusual beliefs about having personal powers of understanding or influencing that others find odd

5.      Decrease in your functioning at work or school

6.      Often thinking about bad experiences from the past

Physical problems

1.      Flashbacks or nightmares related to past bad experiences

2.      Headaches, aches, and pains that your doctor cannot explain

3.      Intense preoccupation with weight or appearance

4.      Severely restrictive eating

5.      Making extreme efforts to lose weight when not medically necessary

6.      Changes in weight and appetite

7.      Changes in sleep and need for sleep

8.      Fatigue and tiredness even with enough sleep

Other problems

1.      Feeling disconnected or like things aren’t real

2.      Unusual behavior

3.      Seeing or hearing things that others do not see or hear

4.      Substance abuse

5.      Inability to carry out daily activities

The more of these problems you have, the more likely it is there is something. What we know about mental health is generally the earlier you get help, the better. Early help can prevent things from getting worse and help you feel better sooner.

How might getting help improve your life?

If you are ready to get some questions answered, schedule a call with me so we can see if I can help. If not, I’m happy to direct you to someone who is a better fit.

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