Anxiety and depression are the most common mental healthproblems in the UK and yet we are still known for holding a ‘still upper lip’.
Prince William has spoken out about the impact of holding our emotions back and the way this can affect our mental wellbeing, calling for an end to 'stiff upper lip culture'. But it can he hard to know at what point to seek help. Here, David Brudö, CEO and co-founder of personal development and mental wellbeing app Remente, points out the warning signs that shouldn't be ignored.
1. You lack motivation
On occasion, we might all lose motivation, whether it is during the 3pm slump at work, or because a particular project isn’t going to plan. However, a lack of motivation is a common cause of depression (even though most people will think of depression as feelings of sadness). Depressed people will struggle to motivate themselves to do basic things, from showering to cooking or going to work. You know you should drop the stiff upper lip if you are struggling with previously simple tasks, preventing you from living your everyday life. If you, or those around you spot this symptom, speak to a medical professional.
This can be a difficult sign to spot and is usually brought to our attention by our loved ones. They might notice that you are picking fights with friends or partners, thus sabotaging the relationships. You might also start to act out at work, missing deadlines, coming in late or being argumentative with your seniors, which can be destructive for your career. The self-sabotage can also be more internalised, such as self-harm, or substance abuse. Once you notice this behaviour, don’t blame it on circumstances or your character, but seek help.
Prince William and Lady Gaga talk mental health
3. You go to extremes
Interestingly, worrying signs for our mental health don’t only appear as negative emotions. If sometimes you find that you are experiencing prolonged ‘highs’, or moments of extremely high energy, lack of sleep, extreme belief in your own luck and ideas, this could also be a sign of concern. Especially if you find that once these ‘highs’ wear off, you have to start apologising for your actions or fixing newly arisen problems. Talk to a specialist to make sure that you know how to control these moments and how to make your moods more level.
Prince Harry has spoken out about his struggles with mental health (PA)
4. You quit your hobbies
All of us are prone to a change of interests or scheduling difficulties when it comes to our interests and hobbies. However, if you are finding that you are giving up things that have previously brought you joy, for no apparent reason, it might be time to seek health. A loss of interest, or anhedonia, is a common sign of depression and might not just be a slump in activity. If you can’t find a reason for why you stopped doing something you enjoy, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
We all have an inner voice, which can often caution us from some things and encourage us to do others. While it is normal for this voice to be critical on occasion, it is a sign of concern when the voice starts to repeat sentiments like ‘I shouldn’t do this because I won’t get it anyway’ or ‘I am stupid, I don’t deserve this’ or ‘I shouldn’t try as I’m not good enough’. If your thinking turns towards the negative whenever you attempt to do anything, it could be a sign of anxiety or mood disorder. You shouldn’t have to just ‘live’ with these thoughts, so seek professional help to break free of the cycle.
6. Your emotions are too intense
We can all feel sad, angry or afraid on occasion, but if these feelings occur too often and are more intense than normal, it could be time to seek help. If your emotions are beginning to change the way that you function and you find that you are catastrophising – always imagining the worst case scenario and even avoiding whole events because of fear, it is time to acknowledge that your emotions are outside of your control.
7. Your body aches for no reason
A more physical and easy to spot symptom than the above, but if you find that you experience unexplainable pains and aches in your body, it could be a sign of mental illness. For example, a number of chronic anxiety sufferers will experience accompanying stomach aches, headaches and even a weakened immunity. If you find that you are feeling unwell for no apparent reason, speak to a professional to see if the aches are caused by a mental illness.
Remente is a free-to-use personal development platform for individuals and businesses. The app combines psychology with brain and mental training to help users reach their full potential, complete personal goals, and lead a healthier lifestyle. Available to download on iOS and Android.