10 Signs It’s Time To Take Your Mental Health More Seriously

Most people can pick up on when their body doesn’t feel good, but symptoms of mental health problems are often harder to detect. If any of these things apply to you, it’s time to stop pretending that everything is fine and start looking for ways to help your mind feel better:

  1. You’re self-medicating. Prescribed medication can help alleviate symptoms of mental illness, but trying to fix them yourself with alcohol, recreational drugs, or even food can do way more harm than good. If you regularly drink or overeat to help yourself cope with your emotions, it may be time to see a doctor.
  2. You can’t believe how other people live like this every day. No, it’s not normal to feel fatigued and sluggish 24/7. It’s also not normal to overthink basic social interactions until your heart rate skyrockets. People who are in good mental health don’t live like this every day, and if you feel like basic tasks and interactions require serious effort from you, you could benefit from seeking professional help.
  3. Your friendships and romantic relationships are starting to fail. Anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses can make it difficult or even impossible to maintain healthy relationships. Ask yourself if your friends have stopped inviting you out because you always say no, or if your romantic relationships fall apart because you’re too clingy or too distant. If so, you might be doing less “ok” than you tell people.
  4. Your mind immediately drifts to thoughts of self-harm when things go wrong. Everyone gets intrusive thoughts now and again, and that feeling of wanting to smack yourself in the face when you think about that embarrassing thing you did in middle school doesn’t necessarily indicate a serious problem. But if your involuntary reaction is to want to jump off a building when you get dumped or cut your wrists open when you receive negative feedback at work, you need to reach out to friends, family, or a health provider immediately.
  5. Small, everyday tasks feel like massive chores. There’s a difference between not wanting to do the dishes and feeling like you physically can’t do the dishes. Depression in particular has a way of making menial tasks seem impossible. Pay attention if two-minute tasks start piling up or you start falling way behind on your to-do lists.
  6. You forget to clean your home or yourself. Cleanliness and personal hygiene are two of the first things to go whenever your mental health takes a turn for the worse. Sometimes you simply forget to brush your teeth; other times, the process of getting up and wetting your toothbrush seems akin to running a marathon. Messes can also become almost invisible when your brain is clouded. If you’re not sure if your living space is too dirty to be considered normal, ask a friend for their honest opinion.
  7. You feel like you have to take advantage of the moments when you feel good. Have you ever woken up one day, felt “normal,” and then felt intense pressure to tackle all your chores and work tasks before you slipped back into feeling foggy and fatigued? Or do you feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster in which some days you can’t get out of bed and other days you feel like you could do gymnastics while skydiving? Emotional instability is a big indicator of mental illness, and you should get checked out if your moods are unpredictable.
  8. It often feels like there’s “fog” in your brain. When you have depression, trying to think can feel like trying to watch a show on an old TV with static. That mental fog can impact everything from the way you string sentences together to your ability to complete tasks at work. While this is pretty standard for people with depression, it’s not normal for people with healthy brain activity.
  9. You feel like a burden on your loved ones. If you hesitate to reach out to your friends and family members because you feel like you’d just be annoying them, that’s probably just your mental illness talking. Just as you’d be happy to help the people you care about if they were struggling, they’d certainly be happy to help you get the resources you need. Chalk this feeling up as just another symptom of something you should seek treatment for.
  10. You constantly feel like you’re on the verge of a breakdown. Being outwardly happy doesn’t mean that there’s not trouble brewing in your mind. The idea of someone “snapping” is a stereotype, but there are many cases in which it actually happens. If you feel like you’re one rude customer comment away from smacking someone across the face or just crumbling to the floor and sobbing, be kind to yourself and search for therapists in your area.