Therapists Reveal Red Flags To Look Out For In Your Mental Health[rebelmouse-image 18356094 is_animated_gif=
Mental health is a very serious issue that many of us tend to take lightly, which is the MOST serious issue of all. Mental health is just as imperative as physical health. We must pay attention to our own feelings and to those around us. Humanity forgets that we are suppose to be looking out for one another. Sometimes all anybody needs is a hug or a smile. Just be seen or heard can make the biggest difference.
Redditor _DirtyAngelToes wanted the mental health professionals to help us all out by wondering... _Therapists/Psychologists of Reddit, what is a big red flag that many people don't look out for in regards to mental health?
PAY ATTENTION TO BEHAVIOR...
I am a crisis counselor and we receive pretty extensive training in this. A lot of people overlook two things: drastic change in appearance and wanting to give your things to people for free. These two things often preclude suicide, but people chalk it up to wanting a change and generosity.
DON'T BE TOO LATE...[rebelmouse-image 18361045 is_animated_gif=
The big red flag I see, in regards to mentally unhealthy people, is if they don't have anyone around them that's both mentally healthy AND good at active/respectful, listening.
I've worked with lots of mentally unhealthy kids - Kids with panic attacks. Kids with PTSD from being abused or raped. Kids with anxiety issues. Kids with depression. A common thread is not that they never said anything, but they often did, and were told they were being dramatic/being an attention whore/over exaggerating/making something out of nothing/being ungrateful for their good life/following the trend/just being bitter/just being jealous. They were told these things by the people who are supposed to protect them - friends, counselors, teachers, parents, relatives. Eventually they stop saying anything until they implode, and their problems are too big for anyone to ignore.
Don't wait until someone's screaming or throwing themselves off a cliff to take them seriously.
JUST TRY HARDER????[rebelmouse-image 18347645 is_animated_gif=
My mother told me I wasn't trying hard enough to feel better. I became bipolar depressive in the 9th grade and gave up at that point because I obviously wasn't good enough and that's just how life was.
ATTENDANCE IS KEY...[rebelmouse-image 18361046 is_animated_gif=
Stopping attending things like classes or functions.
Having a change in your ability to focus. Issues with sleep.
IT TAKES TIME...[rebelmouse-image 18361047 is_animated_gif=
The biggest one I've seen in my personal and professional life is the swift change in mood/personality. Someone who has been otherwise depressed or withdrawn is suddenly much brighter, laughing more, talking about how good things are. They might even make plans for the future like trips or going back to school. In my line if work, they'll often start engaging more in their treatment plan or create new goals for themselves. It's very misleading, but if you know the person like you should, you'll most likely pick up on this change as a suicide risk rather than genuine improvement. It doesn't just happen that fast, unfortunately.
ISOLATION...[rebelmouse-image 18980153 is_animated_gif=
Clinical social worker here. For most people, I think the two most common ones I see are increased isolation and changes in sleep patterns (either sleeping excessively or hardly at all).
EVERYTHING IS FINE...[rebelmouse-image 18351418 is_animated_gif=
This is one for you to watch out for in yourself, but when your daily life only includes the bare minimum of getting by. You cook, clean, go to work, but you're not really doing anything fun or exciting or engaging. Maybe all you're cooking is what's easiest, your house/apartment isn't dirty, but also isn't clean, and you just eke out your work day. Everything is fine, but nothing is good.
This is the stage that often comes before total loss in interest. Nothing is wrong yet, but there is a chance that it's coming.
CALM DOWN...[rebelmouse-image 18980154 is_animated_gif=
Often over-reactions are a sign of someone with a lot of internal built-up pressure. Usually they vent all of that emotional trouble in their reaction to something small, hugely out of proportion. People often overlook that as being symptomatic of deeper issues but instead chalk it up to an aggressive or impatient personality.
WE NEED YOU...[rebelmouse-image 18980155 is_animated_gif=
Feeling like a burden to those around you, physical and/or mental pain, hopeless that things will change.
TRY TO STAY POSITIVE...[rebelmouse-image 18980156 is_animated_gif=
If someone goes through a period of depression and comes out of it feeling elated watch out because they could be feeling suicidal. Where there sense of elation is do to the fact that they are elated that they finally found a way out of their misery.
EVERYTHING IS OK![rebelmouse-image 18980157 is_animated_gif=
A lot of people put on a persona of _"everything's ok" or _"I have my stuff together" when underneath they are struggling. There might be inconsistencies in what people say and their body language/what they do. It's pretty common e.g. in postnatal depression. Being interested and asking how people really are is a great start to the conversation about what's really going on.
WHERE AM I?[rebelmouse-image 18980158 is_animated_gif=
Constant time displacement/ confusion. Don't remembering very well or forgetting the general notion of time, forgets birthdays, don't know what day is it... something like that.
NOT BEING THERE...[rebelmouse-image 18980160 is_animated_gif=
The only thing I haven't really seen on here yet is substance abuse. While the really clear signals are easy to see, sometimes it can be more subtle. Non-typical missing appointments with ever shifting excuses, sudden changes in behavior, sleeplessness, "not being there" can all be concern for concern. One of them being substance use.
GENERALIZATIONS...[rebelmouse-image 18980161 is_animated_gif=
Watch out for the generalizations or exaggerations you tell yourself:
"The whole day is ruined!"
"I'm a shitty person."
"Every day is exactly the same."
"I'm the ugliest person ever."
"If I don't [x] then I'll never be truly happy."
These are usually cognitive distortions. They're normal, but irrational and harmful. Notice when you're doing them. It's usually when they start coming up multiple times in a day that you need some therapy to help challenge them.
CHANGE ISN'T ALWAYS GOOD...[rebelmouse-image 18977574 is_animated_gif=
When they stop to do things they like. For example going to the gym, to concerts or generally listen to the music they liked before. Heading straight to depression-island my friend.
TAKE NOTES...[rebelmouse-image 18360564 is_animated_gif=
I'm a little late, but hopefully someone will find this useful. Here are some bullet points, but they are not by any means exhaustive and instead of a mixture of theories in the field and my own experience. I recently lost an old friend to suicide and I work in mental health where I assess risk routinely. It's incredibly hard to spot when it is out of context, but my advice based on my career and my experience would be to notice the following;
- Cutting off contact for no apparent reason.
- Attempting contact after a period of no contact.
- Upheaval in their life (calamity with job, relationship, health or finance)
What to do?
- Listen (if you feel able, this isn't always easy if you are close to the person)
- Gently suggest a visit or call to, GP, suicide support services.
- Let them know your positive feelings about them.
- Involve friends / family who are sympathetic to the situation.
- Encourage them to engage with therapy if that is an option.
- Help them put together a hope box, a shoe box or similar filled with items that are mementos of happier times, photographs of trips, something their child made, affirmations from work, etc. They can then use this to look at when the thoughts get most intense, which is going to be usually when they are alone.
I'm basing some of this information on Clinical Risk Assessment and Interpersonal Theory of Suicide. As they say an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. To that end at the wake of my departed friend, I instigated a pact with the (many) friends of that group. If we ever felt like we would hurt ourselves, we would contact another (or all) members of the group to let them know how we felt before we did anything. The one thing that stuck with us is that our friend who took their own life at no point asked for help and if they had, things may have been different.
KEEP GOING...[rebelmouse-image 18977483 is_animated_gif=
Crisis therapist here... stopping medication because you're _"feeling better." _Mental health is not a virus.
Some people typically don't like being told what to do because they think they already know what they're doing.
That is until they stumble and land on their face.
It turns out what they were resistant to accepting in the first place was accurate all along.
If only they listened.
Curious to hear of other people's growing pains, Redditor TinyUnderstanding948 asked:
"What lesson did you have to learn the hard way?"
You can protect yourself with these reminders.
Leave A Paper Trail
"Any monetary or business agreement needs to be in writing!"
Observing The Fine Print
"Read the contract."
Generally speaking, business relationships and friendships are mutually exclusive.
"Not everyone you work with is your friend."
What Venting Led To
"My grandmother learned that the hard way a few years ago. Had been in the same industry since the 90s, was being paid less than she was worth honestly. On a break at work, she was venting to a coworker she thought she was friends with, about someone who worked in the same place as them."
"Word got back to the boss pretty fast and they used it as an excuse to stop giving her work and forced her out; they preferred a younger workforce that they could pay less. She had to retire without much savings, had to sell her house and move in with my aunt, and now has to live off of social security benefits. She probably would have never retired if she hadn't been forced to; because of her age, she wasn't able to get hired anywhere else."
"I work with someone who will laugh with you and pretend to be your buddy but as soon as you turn your back, she's already b*tched about you to 20 people and whined about you asking for her help with some small tasks (even though she offered her support)."
"The worst part is she is part of the HR team and she has a documented history of exploding at people, harassment and bullying, and not doing her job (because she spends most of her time crying and complaining). She is the stereotypical HR representative."
Consumers who were previously taken advantage of have the following advice to pass along.
Splurge On Good Quality
"Buy it nice or buy it twice."
"This is 100% accurate but needs a disclaimer: expensive does not always equate to nice."
The relationships we have with people are complex, but you may want to keep these in mind.
Extending A Lifeline
"You can’t always help people. You can show them you care and point them toward help, but it’s up to them to get better. And if you fail, it’s not your fault."
"You can't have a relationship with someone's potential."
Achieve Mutual Adoration
"Loving someone doesn't mean they will keep loving you."
And when it comes to your health, listen up.
"Drink plenty of water."
"It's hard to know when you're dehydrated sometimes. Felt terrible and didn't know why. Never felt thirsty. Had skin issues, lack of sleep, irritability, lack of concentration, dizzy spells, could not function at work, among other things."
"Ended up at the ICU with an IV drip for severe dehydration."
"DRINK YOUR WATER!"
While advice from the people we care about comes from a good place, they are not always appreciated.
Sometimes, we have to make our own mistakes in order to fully comprehend why we should apply certain standards to the way we go about our lives.
At least for me, I've found that picking myself up and dusting myself off was most effective.
As patients, we rely on the expertise of medical professionals to be able to identify whatever ailments we're suffering through.
We brace ourselves if we fear the worst, but oftentimes, we end up being comforted by a minor diagnosis.
But all the medical degrees and years of education can't teach doctors to practice empathetic, yet professional, doctor-to-patient interaction on a basic human level.
That has to come naturally.
Curious to hear from patients who have had disappointing or distressing interactions with their physicians, Redditor TheSpasticSheep asked:
"What’s the most out of line thing a doctor has every said to you?"
It's horrifying when even doctors don't have a clue about your condition and, even worse, they gaslight you.
"A gentleman I worked with showed up to work one day looking extremely sick. He was incredibly feverish, had muscle and joint aches, very lethargic and was looking very jaundiced."
"we insisted that he go to the doctor, as he looks like he is on deaths door. He told us that he had been to 2 separate doctors and the ER, letting them know that he has Malaria, and can they please give him some anti malarials. Both doctors and the ER insisted that it 'was impossible to have malaria, as Australia doesn't have malaria,' and that he probably just had the flu, or some other viral infection. And they are correct. We don't have malaria here. But, what they failed to grasp was that this gentleman was an expat who worked in Africa for a number of years, and has had malaria 5 times already. So not only is he an expert in what malaria 'feels' like, but he is also at risk of developing malaria again, even if he hasn't been to Africa in a few years."
"He ended up having to go back to the ER, and basically force them to run a test for Malaria, after which they were like 'oh wow, you do have malaria.' And he was like 'no sh*t, i told you that 2 days ago.'"
Not Going Mental
"I had smashed my face on my steering wheel during a bad car accident and was experiencing intense pain. I teared up when he put the scope in my nose and was told I obviously have psychological problems and if I went on medication it might not help my pain, but I wouldn't care as much."
"Finally found a good doctor and surgery removed the chunk of nose bone that was stabbing into a nerve in my face."
The wrong treatment after a misdiagnosis can be a doctor's serious mistake.
"I had a growth on my scalp a few years ago and went to see a skin cancer specialist. Who said it was a malenoma and I was going to need most of my scalp removed. Without even having a biopsy. He starts telling me to prepare myself for this surgery that will disfigure me. I was about 19 at the time with long hair. He started saying ill need to wear a wig and my hair may not grow back and the skin above my eyes will need to be removed."
"I was petrified. Went home in tears and absolutely petrified."
"Then my dad took me to his doctor, who took a biopsy."
"It was just a random skin growth and she cut it off then and there."
"Years ago, one of the sexual health nurses at my work told me she just saw a woman who very clearly had a scabies infestation around her genitals. She said the treatment was simple and that a cream was applied with almost instant relief. She said what upset her about that patient was that almost a year earlier she’d been to a doctor about the infestation, the doctor didn’t even inspect her and just prescribed her antidepressants. I was horrified and still am over 7 years later. So much medical gaslighting."
"Too Young" For Cancer
"Not one, but two doctors to my dad- 'you’re too young to have prostate cancer, no need for a biopsy, it’s just a bladder problem.'”
"He died 15 months later from an aggressive prostate cancer that spread to create tumors all over his body."
The "Sad" Pill
""While teaching abroad in Vietnam I was struggling with depression. The doc diagnosed me with homesickness and prescribed a box of 160 hydrocodone to take 'when I feel sad.'"
"I was 21 and this was 2007, way before pill use was talked about mainstream. Subsequent boxes were $12 each at a walk up pharmacy, no script needed. I became addicted for 6 years."
"Edit, as I have many people stating that pill use has been discussed forever: I’m talking about the point we got to where most people knew about the dangers of opioids, what the main ones were, the fact that they were being overprescribed etc. Had I heard the word hydrocodone and been exposed to the world and media like I have over the last decade with the spotlight on the opioid crisis, I would never have taken them. That’s the main point I was attempting to make."
It's even more unsettling when someone you entrust your life to crosses a line.
Assessment Or Pick-Up Line?
"Mental health doctor told my daughter, 'You're too pretty to be depressed.'"
A NSFW Observation
"Not a doctor, but a dentist. When I was like 13 or 14 he commented on my lack of gag reflex, telling me that I’m going to be 'very popular with the boys.' It took me a few years to realize what he meant by that."
Mom To The Rescue
"I was the opposite. My dentist said, 'If you always gag like that, you're never going to find a good husband!'"
"I didn't understand why my mom yanked me out of the dentist's chair, but I'm proud of her for that. I think I was 6 or 7 years old."
The Gynocologist's Love Advice
"Mentioned that my sex drive was abnormally low to my gyno, and she said my husband just needed to be more forceful when initiating and I’d get into it. Immediately switched doctors and never looked back!"
The Gyno Who Jumped To Conclusions
"Mine was the opposite. Moved and went to a new gyno that several women raved about. I expressed concern over my low sex drive (especially since I was only 25). The next thing I know she is giving speeches and pamphlets and trying to give me info on women’s shelters. I was so confused."
"She just jumped to the conclusion I must be a battered woman. No matter what I said, she was convinced I was being abused. I tried to reassure her no, my husband was definitely NOT the problem and he was actually quite good in bed and extremely attentive to my needs. It was clearly a physical problem."
"Never went back. She even called several times to 'check' on me. I get that some women may need this, but I mean there was literally no red flags, quite the opposite. It was weird."
Going to the doctor's office for any reason can cause a lot of anxiety.
Patients should never have their stresses exacerbated by an unqualified doctor giving them a false analysis or downplaying their concerns.
Hopefully, you're in good hands with a physician who is professional, as well as compassionate.
Growing up, I had zero idea that the food I ate daily was "cultural."
She had to explain it because we were about to eat at a white friend's house for the first time.
"What do you mean there's no rice with the beans? Did they run out? Should we bring some?"
"No, they just don't eat rice and beans."
"So what do they eat with their chicharron de pollo?"
Y'all should have seen my face.
Reddit user remyleboi00 asked:
"Non-Americans, what is the best 'American' food?"
Even as someone born in America, it took a while before I got familiar with American food.
So if it's just not your comfort zone - let Reddit guide you to the can't miss dishes.
"Cajun food. Definitely the most unique American food"
"As an American I 100% agree with you. Cajun food is heaven sent"
They Are Fundesperate housewives eating GIFGiphy
"Curly fries 👌"
"It’s especially good with some pulled pork and caramelized onions mixed in. And some insulin."
"Solid choice. We Americans LOVE cheese."
"No need to apologize. One of our favorites too."
Thankful For Thanksgiving.I Love You Cooking GIF by Bob's BurgersGiphy
"We also get spoiled with your traditional cuisine."
"I usually get a food coma on Thanksgiving"
"Same with the ham or prime rib dinner at Christmas. And all the pies. God I love pumpkin pie."
"I smoke meatloaf, can't go back to oven baked ever again."
"This tread has me wanting to smoke a brisket sooner rather than later."
"Now, pork and chicken, whatever else... Go nuts... Just leave beef alone."
"I had smoked mac and cheese once, it was heavenly."
Risk It Allhungry bart simpson GIFGiphy
The Holy Pudding
"I can’t find someone who’s listed it so"
"That shit is LIFE CHANGING"
"Gotta have the Nilla wafers or it isn't right."
Cornbread!cornbread cooking GIF by emibobGiphy
"A nice warm cornbread muffin with some butter and a little drizzle of honey is amazing."
"Cornbread with a nice bowl of chili is such a nice comfort food."
"And the spicier the chili the nicer the sweet, buttery cornbread is with it."
"Farmer’s market jam is the way."
"It's easily top 3 greatest sandwich ever."
As American As It Getspulp fiction breakfast GIF by MIRAMAXGiphy
"Took them to my favorite little spot, they loved the waitress filling up their cups unprompted."
Now that youve heard Reddit, it's my turn.
I was 22 before I had meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
FAM. Fam. Faaaaaaaaaaam.
Keep your greasy pizza, amateurs. It's potato time over here.
"How does someone politely end a conversation with a person who won't stop talking?"
Extricate Yourself Immediately
"When they draw a breath, politely say:"
""On that note, I must be on my way.""
Then, simply leave."
Couldn't Get Him To Shut Up
"But some people just need to talk for whatever reason. I need my freaking silence."
Put It In Writing
Put Them (Back) To Work
Taking Care Of Each Other
Talk To The Door
Take Your Turn
Create A Deadline
"My entire dad's side of the family are the type that never stop talking."
No Need To Feel Bad