One of my goals of writing “The Bipolar Writer” blog is to inform my followers. I also want to reach those who might read my blog on topics in mental illness awareness. Those that are seeking to understand in their own mental health. Or those who are trying to better understand someone they love with a mental illness. The best way to inform is to use my own experiences.
Most experts will agree with the following statement. Mental illnesses rarely emerge out of this air.
It is imperative that we look out for our loved ones as mental illnesses are becoming commonplace in our society. What I want to talk about on today’s blog are the early signs of mental illness. If we can catch a mental illness through education, it can mean our loved ones will get treatment sooner. That’s the goal. To make the upward trend of more mental illnesses that get treated each year to go down.
I will share some of the early signs according to experts and some that I have read over the years.
- One of the first signs of mental illness is with your mind. Problems with concentration is an early sign. I know in my own experience in middle school I had problems with concentration at times. It would lose my place while reading or studying. My mind would start racing at a million miles a minute. It became overwhelming.
- Other signs include problems with memory, logical thought, or even changes in speech.
- Experts say that a heightened sensitivity is an early sign. Things like sensitivity to sights, sounds, or even smells can be an early warning sign.
- A sign that was common in my life was a feeling that I had to avoid situations (a feeling of avoidance.) In my sophomore year in high school, I often felt the need to avoid school. I was “sick” all the time, but I didn’t like being in the social setting that is high school. I always wanted to be alone and I faked most social interactions. It was my earliest signs of my social anxiety.
- Another early sign according to experts is avoidance of over-stimulating situations. This could be another sign of anxiety. It could mean avoiding social situations like dances or football games. Or life in general.
- In my own experience, the lack of “wanting to get out of bed” for days at a time was a big early sign of my mental illness. I often felt “not interested” in anything that in a single day could provide a teenager. It was a sign of depression.
- A very common sign is when a person stops doing things that are good for personal hygiene. Not showering for days at a time. Not eating regular meals. Or a disinterest in daily activities of life is an early sign of depression.
If you see one of these signs in someone you love, don’t panic. For the most part, everyone deals with these things in life. Everyone gets depressed or anxious at some point in their life. When it doesn’t go away then it’s a sign of a bigger thing. If you start to see more than one of these signs in someone and over a period time. Then it might be time to look closely at the one you love.
Mental illnesses are a real thing. I have written so many different stories of other people’s journey and one thing is common. There were always signs that things were becoming a real issue and they chose to let it go. It’s a fear of the “mental illness” label.
The fact is the stigma surrounding mental illnesses keeps people from looking at the signs for fear of what it means.
People have told me so many times on this blog that they didn’t seek help because they were afraid of the label. Mental illness is not a bad label. In my mind, it’s not a label at all. It’s what some of us in society live with every day, and it’s not a bad thing. We are a strong community. If more voices talk about the stigma surrounding labels like Bipolar, then we can make a better world.
A world where every person suffering from a mental illness can talk about it, and not be afraid.
I will be the first to admit that I gave into the stigma for years. In the first three years after my diagnosis, I denied that there was something wrong with me. After three suicides I finally made the realization that I was Bipolar. I was part of the problem and these posts are my way of taking away the stigma.
It is why I continue to write my blog and why it is so important to share my experiences in my memoir. It means that my life is out there for the world to see, well then I am okay with it. The truth is the more we talk about mental illnesses the better the world will understand us.
And maybe. There won’t be an “us” anymore. I hope for a future where we don’t hide who we are with society.
It will never be easy. I understand that there are those in the mental illness community that are not as comfortable talking about the issues. It took me years to get here. That’s okay. It takes time and a lot of healing to get to a good place. I will keep writing and share the stories of others. If you want me to share your story I will do that for you.
My last point is this. If you think that you are suffering from a mental illness then seek help immediately. It could mean getting the help you need, and fewer problems down the road.
My list seems incomplete to me. So I offer this challenge to my fellow mental health bloggers. Write a post about some early signs of your mental illness in your own journey. We all had them that got us to this point.
Always Keep Fighting.