Mental Unhealth: What Does it Look Like?

Let’s first get to the facts by National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI):

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
  • 9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
  • 1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.
  • Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.
  • Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44.

Could it be you?

Stats also show that people with physical problems are three times more likely to seek counseling or therapy than the ones without physical symptoms. Since we tend to be more responsive when our bodies react, I want to share the physical and emotional manifestations of anxiety/depression. The symptoms include sleep disturbances, headaches, fatigue, low energy, neck pain, back pain, a weak immune system—you can complete the list. Moreover, unnoticed and unaddressed stress and anxiety can also lead to alcohol or drug use, binge eating, work issues, family disturbances, etc. Listed below are some of the warning signs of someone living with mental distress or disorder:

Warning signs:

  • Low or no energy
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Less or no interest in usual activities
  • Pulling away from people, friends, and family
  • Carelessness attitude
  • Feeling irritable, unusually confused, absentminded, angry
  • Not to be bothered or being short with people
  • Complaining unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Severe mood swings
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

Again these are just preliminary symptoms and more sever mental illness symptoms may also be present. Each person reacts differently to stress; therefore any combination of these signs can be there.

Transition to mental health: On the other hand, there are both physical and psychological benefits to taking care of one’s mental health…

Benefits of a positive mental health:

  • Reaching your highest potential and work productivity
  • Authentic relationships
  • Enjoying life moments to the fullest
  • Sharing your gifts and talents with the world
  • Enjoy world-class physical health
  • Feeling fulfilled and purposeful
  • Having spiritual connection

If the later picture is more appealing, then don’t wait to get the help you need. You owe it to yourself. Keeping up with your mental health is not just important; it is essential to your wellbeing, success, achievements, family/relationships, work performance, finances, and most importantly to feel happy J

Next week I will share some general coping skills to maintain your mental health. Stay tuned!