This post is a bit of a recycled one, however it is still relevant and even more so after hearing today that 52% of young people were too embarrassed to seek help in the last year for their various mental health issues.
I never really noticed that any of these things applied to me at the time, until it was too late.
- constantly feeling like something bad was going to happen
- worrying about nothing and everything at the same time (annoying but possible)
- consistent worrying that ends with you staying home, not going to work, seeing friends and family for example
- exhausted and sleepy no matter how much you sleep
- unable to concerntrate
- unexplained muscle pain (tensing from stress)
- racing heart
- panic attacks (not needed to have anxiety)
- hot and cold flushes
- making small problems into big problems with a few small thoughts
- obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviour
- staying at home and not doing anything…….all the time
- not enjoying your time if you go out
- not getting school work or work done
- withdrawing from friends and family
- drowning your thoughts with drugs or alcohol
- crying for no reason
- feeling tired and sleeping all the time
- feeling exhausted and not being able to sleep
- feeling guilty, irritable, angry, sad, indecisive
- thinking that you are worthless, life is not worth living, everything is your fault or thinking the world would be better off without you
- having no energy to move or becoming sick all the time because you are so run down
- big changes in your weight (loss or gain)
- loss of appetite
Doctors usually say if you have a few of these feelings (or you may be different have have different feelings) for a consistent amount of time over a few months, it is possible that you may be struggling and should seek some help. You may feel different to the things I’ve listed but these are a few notable ones.
Here are a few tips to help someone if you think they are suffering a mental illness.
- Research – This is a very important step if you have never suffered and mental illness before. It is very difficult to explain these feelings to people and 4/5 people wont understand. I used to struggle with this, but then i thought “im glad they haven’t felt as bad as this before”. There are plenty of sites on google that will help, even this one hopefully!
- Let the person know that you have noticed a change in their behaviour. This may help them know that they are not alone and may even prompt them in to spilling their thoughts in the future. For example, they might tell you that they are feeling a little “off” and may not elaborate until another day. They will be feeling greatful that you are asking about them. Don’t be upset if you get a short or “snappy” answer- this person may be trying to stop the conversation because they are not ready. If they open up to you, tell them that they can trust you and that you are there to help. Please don’t say this unless you mean it. You must keep their trust and remember to refrain from being judgemental.
- If they accept your help, you can start by researching a good psychologist in the area. Even drop some brochures around when your stopping in to say hi. If you visit your GP, they can give you a mental health plan. They will book you a double appointment and sit down and ask you whats wrong and ask you how you are feeling. It is important to be honest. They cant help you if you don’t help yourself. The mental health plan can get you around 6-8 sessions with a councilor, psychiatrist and or a psychologist and is claimed though medicare. My sessions usually gave me around $84 back and about $20 out of pocket. If you are on a health care card ir a low wage, it is possible to have no out of pocket costs, but its changed since i’ve been. You can offer to go with them to the appointment or even just book the appointment for them. (Or bring them chocolate after)
- Make sure the person is getting outside, exercising and eating healthily. I’m not talking about a diet, just plenty of food with nutrients and not just hamburgers and chips.
- Sleep is very important and it is very draining if you feel like crap all the time. Sleeping too much is a bit of a problem with a lot of depressed people so its important to keep their minds busy. Even just sitting and watching tv with them can help.
- alcohol and drugs are NOT YOUR FRIEND when you are feeling this way. It is good to keep an eye out on these to make sure that they aren’t abusing them.
- Encourage people to ask them out even if you know they will not come. Just being thought of is nice and one day they might even feel well enough to say “yes”.
- Keep in touch with them and ask them how they feel regularly. You will be there to re-assure them that they are not alone and that life is worth living when you have people that care about you.
Things NOT to do!
- Tell the person “GET OVER IT” and “YOU’LL BE OK”. Don’t be that guy. To be absolutely honest, using a panic attacks as an example, the person currently feels like they are about to die or pass out, they don’t even give a crap if you tell them that they won a million dollars. I would say something like “Take a deep breath. Take as long as you need. I’m here for you” This way, you are not pressuring them.
- Don’t avoid them. I know that you might not understand and its difficult. Tell them exactly that. “I’m not too sure how you have been feeling but i am here if you need”. If you don’t want to be the one to help, refer them to someone that can help.
- Don’t tell them they need to get out more. I keep linking things back to anxiety but my problem was with going out. Agoraphobia is the fear of having a panic attack outside a familiar place. I think you should say something like “If you feel up to it, we can go for a walk up the street. We can go around the block so its quick to get home if you need to, no pressure”. Dont feel bad if they say no. Maybe offer to sit outside and get some air, that helps.
- Don’t say you know how they feel because you gained 1 kilo in a week and now your so depressed. NO. Just Don’t.
- Don’t forget to cuddle them when you leave them. (Unless they dont want to be touched. I love cuddles and encourage them 🙃
- Don’t ignore any alarming signs. Please take notice for any talks of suicide or self harming. Call 000, 911 or the emergency number that is in your country.
I hope this helps at least one person that read this. I honestly think that you also need to take care of yourself while you are caring for them. It can be difficult for you, the family member, partner or friend to see them go through such a hard time.
Thanks for reading!