You probably aren’t surprised to learn that there is a range of mental and physical wellness. All kinds of struggles can manifest in ways that aren’t as commonly spoken or detectable. Even while mental health is rarely that simple, assessments of mental health can sometimes seem extremely binary—you’re either depressed or you’re not, according to the majority of internet tests and surveys.
How can you recognize a minor change in your daily baseline mood that suggests you’re heading in the wrong direction and could need some help? You can recognize a potential issue with mental health early so you can take immediate action before your health takes a more serious turn by being aware of these uncommon mental health red flags.
If you keep a regular journal and review it once every few weeks to check for dramatic changes or trends in your mood, it might be simpler to identify a decline (like those listed below). Ayana Jordan, MD, PhD, a psychiatrist at Yale University, advises asking a loved one how you’re doing because you appreciate their opinion as another smart way to assess your mental health. And be on the lookout for these warning indicators of impending mental health issues. Never forget that asking for help can be done for any purpose.
You feel like you have a broken record in your head.
If you’re unable to complete your task because you keep returning to your argument with your mother three weeks ago or your most recent talk with your ex, you may be ruminating and forming negative thought patterns. This could manifest as constant self-criticism as well, such as thinking, “I have the worst luck in the world,” “Nothing nice ever happens to me,” and “I am such a screw-up and failure,” on repeat.
In these situations, it’s helpful to discuss with a professional why you’re fixated on one unfavorable experience or thought and discover healthy ways to process it so you can let it go and move on. According to Daksha Arora, PhD, a therapist at the Serene Therapy Center in Maryland, “once-in-a while or sporadic ideas don’t suggest a need for therapy.” But persistent or frequent ideas, stressful ones, or ones that affect how you function call for counseling.
You’re stuck in the past or constantly worried about the future.
It may be a sign of a developing mental health issue if you regularly reflect on the past and try to recreate or revise it in the present. This could also mean that you are dissatisfied with your present circumstances and lack confidence in a better, more promising future. Dr. Arora advises making a plan to accept your current situation and achieve your future goals in order to be more content with where you are and where you are going rather than trying to relive a specific moment if you feel like something is missing from your life right now.
You feel guilt about things you can’t control.
Can’t get rid of the notion that you benefitted from or appreciated the pandemic? Dr. Jordan advises having a therapist look at that. You can release this feeling and realize you’re not alone, flawed, or wrong for feeling this way by talking about it in a group therapy setting, writing about it, or sharing it with a counselor.
You never feel good enough.
Although it’s typical to doubt one’s value, this is not a sign of mental wellness, and most people lack the skills to combat these beliefs. Talking to someone about why you feel you need to be perfect and making an effort to unlearn that belief can help prevent anxiety and depression if you are constantly trying to be perfect. You can get rid of that vibe by using positive, compassionate self-talk, such as reminding yourself that no one is perfect and emphasizing and valuing progress over outcomes.
Women’s Health is covering Mental Illness Awareness Week, which runs from October 3 through October 9, with this article. Do not be reluctant to ask for assistance if you believe that your mental health is suffering. Call the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at 1-800-950-NAMI for assistance and information. From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, volunteers are available to talk with you. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support that is available 24/7 if you or someone you know needs it.