A Smile Can Hide a Thousand Words: Mental Health Awareness Month

With it being the heart of Mental Health Awareness Month, there are still so many of us in the dark about the true purpose of this month and what it is that is being talked about. Many people see this as just suicide prevention or bringing up awareness of depression, but it is so much more than that. It is easy to seek help for you or a loved one when you are aware of the situation. But how are you supposed to help someone that you don’t know is hurting? Here are some signs that can indicate that someone in your life needs a little more help than you thought, and tips on how to get them the best help there is.

Change in Sleeping and/or Eating Habits

When we reach lows in our lives, we tend to lose the motivation to take care of the daily necessities to function. If you seem to notice your best friend, who was always the one to lick their plate clean, is just staring into their plate and pushing the food around more than eating it, you may want to be concerned. If your usually productive, working sister has been taking multiple naps per day and skips her routine morning workouts to sleep in, maybe you should check in on her. Sleep is a common coping mechanism for depression because it is a true mental break from whatever troubles may be going on at that time.

Short Responses or No Response At All

In today’s world, we use texting as our primary form of communication. We are in constant contact with our boyfriends or best friends or roommates, it gets to the point where we know their tone when they talk to us. If your boyfriend normally answers right away and gives long detailed responses, you may want to check on him if he starts giving one word answers and is shying away. When your best friend normally runs up to you in the hall and smiles from ear to ear, something bigger might be going on if she walks right by you and gives you a forced grin. More often than not, we assume that our loved ones are mad at us when they shy away or avoid us. While this may be the case and does happen, we need to be aware and observant of their mannerisms and remember that there may be something deeper going on that we may not be able to see initially.

Quick Anger with No Trigger

Because of the inner battles that people with depression are facing, the smallest thing will break the last straw. This is seen a lot in small disagreements that would typically be resolved with some compromising, but instead, end with one person getting mad and “making a big deal out of nothing.” Yes, the issue at hand may not be the biggest deal, but this issue is something that they can’t handle on top of everything else going on. So keep an eye out for irrational overreactions and words such as “I can’t handle this right now.”

 

Everyone we come in contact with is fighting a battle that we don’t know about. You never truly know what someone is going through until you take a step inside of their shoes. This month, try to not be so quick to judge and to really read and listen to those around you. You never know what you may learn. A smile can hide a thousand words. Don’t ignore the signs that our loved ones are giving. We have the habit of taking them for granted. Appreciate the time you get with them and know that it can be taken away from us with the blink of an eye.