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ERADICATING SILENCE, STIGMA & SHAME ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH AND DRIVING #COMPASSIONINSOCIETY
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Poor emotional health can be as a result of many things such as relationship difficulties, trauma, financial hardships or social and medical challenges. Our mental health can suffer because of a combination of factors, or just one particular problem. Always contact your GP so you can talk through how you are feeling. This can help you get the right support. If you feel you cannot speak to your GP, then you could explore websites, try a helpline, online chat or talking to a family member or a friend. The links are just examples. There is lots of help available, so if you can, do a little research to find what suits you best.
It can be very frightening when you know there is something wrong but you don’t know what it is or why it has happened.
‘What’s wrong with me?’
‘I don’t understand why I’m feeling like this?’
‘I feel detached’
‘I don’t think I am normal’
‘Am I going mad?’
Whether you’ve been diagnosed, or you simply want to find out more, it can be useful to read about mental health conditions that you may have symptoms of. But always speak to a GP or other mental health professional so that they can give you an accurate diagnosis
There are many mental health illness and we’ve listed below some of the most common ones, with symptoms that you may identify with:
ANXIETY, KNOWN AS GENERAL ANXIETY DISORDER (GAD)
Most people have times when they are anxious. For example when you start a new job or you have to do something outside your comfort zone. But if anxiety starts to take over your life, it can be a huge problem and very upsetting. Here’s some of the symptoms. Not everyone will have every symptom *Constant worrying *Unable to rest and sleep properly *Sweating *Trembling *Hearing your heart pounding so hard it could jump out of your chest *Avoiding social situations Not being able to concentrate *Being unable to control your worry. *You feel on edge and irritable
Symptoms of depression vary from person to person. Depression can last for shorter as well as long periods of time. Not everyone will have every symptom *Feelings of guilt *Low esteem and loss of confidence *You don’t want to get up in the morning or go to bed at night. *Being irritable and unable to motivate yourself. *Feeling low, or sad *Having thoughts of self harm and/or suicide *You could also suffer weight loss or gain *Not being interested in anything, including things that you used to enjoy.
Symptoms can take years to develop, or they can develop approximately a month after your trauma. *Remembering or re-living a trauma through ‘flashbacks’ can nightmares, sweating and trembling. *Guilt that you didn’t do enough to stop the event happening. *Feeling on edge, upset and angry *Irritability and not being able to concentrate *Anger *Some PTSD sufferers also have other problems such as depression & anxiety. *Sufferers may engage in self destructive behaviour, for example, taking illegal drugs, drinking too much, getting themselves in trouble with the law. The NHS has put together a useful help sheet for those with PTSD and how it might be treated.
If someone is bi-polar, they can experience unpredictable mood swings, from manic ‘highs’ to very depressive ‘lows’ . It is difficult for the sufferer and those around them to live with due to its ever changing nature. Bi-polar attacks can last for a few months. *Being dillusional *Expressing negative views about everything and feeling negative about everything *Losing interest in things, such as activities that used to be enjoyable. *Feeling irritable or sad *Not wishing to engage with others *Being snappy, giving short answers, or not responding at all when people talk to you *Your logical thinking becomes distorted *Loss of self confidence *Feeings of suicide *Extreme tiredness, especially after a manic episode *Getting easily irritated *Having great ideas but not following them through *Being delusional & having heightened sense of self importance
SAD, commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, usually causes depression during the winter months, when the days are shorter and we have less exposure to daylight and sunlight. SAD occurs with the changing of the seasons and you will be affected by it at roughly the same time every year.
You may have less interest in things you usually enjoy, may sleep more and have a generally lower mood. A drop in Serotonin caused by lack of sunlight, is thought to be a contributory factor in SAD.
Serotonin is a naturally produced mood stabiliser and if levels drop, this can create feelings of depression, anxiety and irritability. You may also eat more and gain weight.
If you think you may be suffering from SAD, then speak to your GP to find the best treatment for you and to get a correct diagnosis.
Feeling stressed, or overwhelmed, can make it very difficult to focus on anything. Even the smallest task can be deemed ‘too much’ if you’re suffering from stress. You should always speak to your GP.
You may experience some of the following (this list is not exhaustive)
- Feel that everything is coming on top of you at the same time from all directions
- Feel like nothing positive is happening, that everything is negative
- Be pre-occupied and unable to focus
- Worry all the time and being unable to switch off
- Get physical symptoms, such as feeling nauseous, get headaches or muscle aches
- Become irritable and have mood swings that are unpredictable
- Feel like being alone more and avoid socialising
- Experience faster, shorter, breathing
- Sleep more, or less or keep waking up in the night