Trigger warning: Depression, mental illness
Mental health is something so important in this day and age, and yet it’s also the thing that is not talked about or as widely accepted as it needs to be. Believe it or not, mental health is just as important as physical health!
I will admit, it is terrifying knowing that something isn’t right anymore and that you need more help than you can give yourself or you’re not going to get better. But asking for help is worth it. And it’s not only worth it, but it is something you owe yourself. You owe yourself the ability to be able to find happiness and joy. You owe yourself the ability to enjoy the rest of this beautiful life you’ve been given for as long as possible.
Here are a few things that let you know that it might be time to ask for help.
1. You’re falling behind in either school or work or just life responsibilities in general.
For me, it was falling behind in school, mainly. I stopped going to my classes, which affected my grades. I didn’t study for exams and ended up failing a class because of it. I did not put effort into the work I did actually do and it overall wasn’t a good time for me. I’d procrastinate on everything, which may be a normal thing for any college student to do, but it got to the point where I had these overwhelming moments of stress and anxiety and I’d even have mental breakdowns and anxiety attacks because I would leave all these big projects and everything until the night before.
2. You withdraw more from your family or loved ones and your friends.
You stop hanging out with people that you’ve known for years because it just all seems too much for you now. You come home from work or school and go straight to your room and without saying anything to anyone. You only ever interact with people when you have to, whether that be during meal times or when you have to work with other people in class or at your job. You shut out everyone from your life and you hope they don’t notice.
3. You shut down.
Those around you start to notice that you’re not your usually happy self and ask what’s wrong, but you lie and say, “I’m fine.” You don’t let anyone in and all of those feelings of being alone and disliked and unloved become so overwhelming that you can’t do anything else but cry. But eventually, you’ve cried every day for the past week and it’s become too much. Your body cannot even cry anymore, so you just sit there with all of those feelings building this wall around you to keep everyone out.
4. You stop taking good care of yourself.
You stop showering every night, and it becomes more of a once or twice a week occurrence. You brush your teeth once a day every couple days, if that. You don’t brush your hair. You begin to put less effort into how you look when you go out. You stop eating somewhat healthy and just binge eat junk food. Or the opposite end of the spectrum, you just stop eating except for maybe an apple, and that’s it for the whole day.
5. You become irritated at the littlest of things that never used to bug you.
You can’t stand to be around anyone because they could just ask you what’s wrong. You’d snap on them and become angry and irritated with them for caring about you.
6. You either sleep too much or rarely sleep.
For me, it was sleeping too much. I’d sleep 10 hours at night, and then after a three-hour day at school, I’d come home and take a two-hour nap, just to go to bed three hours later. You sleep too much because it’s a temporary escape from reality and all of the thoughts in your head. You rarely sleep because you have so much going on in your head — about the future and what happened eight years ago and all that you have to do tomorrow — that it keeps you up all night.
7. You just stop enjoying life overall.
Simple things like sunsets and puppies that used to bring you joy don’t do that for you anymore. You find it hard to smile and you find yourself faking laughter more often than anyone ever should. Everything around you becomes so dull and dark, like this rain cloud is just above you constantly and won’t let up.
When you feel yourself slipping and unwilling to grab anything to hold onto so you don’t fall, it’s time to ask for help. You know, even if it’s deep down, that you deserve better than this. You can get better and get your life back, but none of that is going to be possible unless you take the first step and ask for help.