Your Mental Health: Is It Worsening?

Sometimes, you just put yourself on autopilot and tell yourself you'll get through. However, that might not be the case. In fact, your mental health could be worsening because your emotions, anxiety, and stress are all taking their toll.
Your Mental Health: Is It Worsening?
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 28 July, 2022

How do you know if your mental health is worsening? People tend not to notice when something’s wrong with them. After all, we live in a society that normalizes anxiety and stress. A society that tells us that, if we’re depressed, we simply don’t know how to cope with life.

Many people have a distorted view of mental health. In fact, they think of mental well-being in terms of either madness or sanity and weakness or strength. But this is a big mistake because absolutely anyone can suffer from psychological problems at some point in their life. A fact which doesn’t make you any less capable, it just makes you human. For example, here’s the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of mental health:

“A state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

Admit it, you don’t always manage to achieve these goals. You don’t even always feel emotionally balanced enough to cope with your daily challenges. Remember that psychological well-being isn’t ready-made. Sometimes, it can be quite weak. While other times when, you might not have much of it at all. That’s when it hurts.

A man looking worried.

Has your mental health worsened?

It’s easy to forget that mental health is one of the pillars that underpin a country’s social, human, and economic progress. Without it, everything goes wrong and nothing makes sense. In turn, psychological well-being depends on multiple factors: emotional support, job opportunities, health care, and an environment free of conflict, discrimination, and violence. You could say that there’s a system of continuous feedback between you and everything that surrounds you. In fact, all the things that surround you have an effect on you. You then sift through every single one, depending on your psychological state at the time. You need to understand this fact in order to be able to normalize the entire subject of mental health.

If you don’t have a problem saying you have diabetes or a heart problem, you shouldn’t have a problem saying that you suffer from post-partum depression, bipolar disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder.

Normalizing mental illnesses and disorders means that you accept and assimilate them. Above all, it means you must respect those who suffer from them. Furthermore, it’s of the utmost importance that you know how to detect these illnesses early, as well as when to seek expert help. Read on to learn how to recognize the signs of worsening mental health.

Signs that your mental health may be worsening

You feel nervous, anxious, and irritable

Mood swings are often the first sign that you might have a problem. Feeling more irritable and angry and knowing that you’re lacking patience and that things are bothering you are good indicators. However, they should only concern you if they’ve affected you for more than three weeks.

Forgetfulness and trouble concentrating

There are times when you might find it hard to focus, make decisions, and even follow the thread of a conversation. During these times, it’s quite common to forget things. You might forget you were meant to meet someone or had to do something. However, often, some kind of anxiety disorder is behind these types of occurrences.

Changes in sleep and eating habits

One way of finding out if your mental health has worsened is by analyzing how you’re sleeping and eating. Some people might suddenly develop insomnia, whilst others sleep too much, always feel exhausted, and think of little else but closing their eyes.

It’s also important to think about your eating habits. Binge eating or losing your appetite are two important indicators of a possible disorder.

No longer enjoying life and isolation

If you’ve gradually been withdrawing from the world around you, feeling apathetic, and giving up all your hobbies, something may be wrong. After all, psychological well-being is determined by your ability to enjoy your leisure time and delight in the company of friends and family.

Therefore, if you’ve lost interest in these things, you should think about asking for help.

Becoming obsessed

Sometimes, you can start obsessing over something to the extent that you can’t think of anything else. This doesn’t just mean thinking irrationally or negatively, like everything’s going to go wrong or that you’re worthless, for example. It’s more like finding yourself in very difficult circumstances. For instance, you might keep looking up certain things online. Or you imagine that you’re being watched all the time.

Wanting to cry nearly all the time

It really doesn’t matter whether something bad has happened or you feel like your world’s falling apart, sometimes you just feel sad and simply want to have a good cry. In fact. you often feel like this for a little while and then just go back to normal.

However, in order to know if your mental health has actually worsened, you need to delve a bit deeper into your state of mind. If you just can’t escape the feeling of gloom and constantly want to cry, you need to talk to someone who can help you.

A man with his head in his hands.

Suicidal thoughts can indicate that your mental health has worsened

There’s nothing more worrying than a person who thinks what the world would be like without them in it. They just want to stop hurting and believe that “ceasing to exist” is a good solution. Suicidal ideas should always be taken seriously. If you’ve felt like this recently, you mustn’t hesitate to ask for specialized help.

Finally, you can always ask the people around you if they think your mental health has worsened. Indeed, sometimes those who are close to you notice much more than you do yourself. Address your mental health in the same way you address your physical health. Because both aspects are equally important for your quality of life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • H. Herman, Saxena. S, Moodlie M.  (2018) Determinantes de la salud mental actual. Organización Mundial de la Salud.
  • O’Reilly, M., Svirydzenka, N., Adams, S., & Dogra, N. (2018, July 1). Review of mental health promotion interventions in schools. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. Dr. Dietrich Steinkopff Verlag GmbH and Co. KG.
  • Parker, L., Bero, L., Gillies, D., Raven, M., Mintzes, B., Jureidini, J., & Grundy, Q. (2018). Mental health messages in prominent mental health apps. Annals of Family Medicine16(4), 338–342.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.