Five signs you are struggling without realising

No matter how well we might think we know ourselves, sometimes an internal struggle might be happening without you even realising it. There are little signs that often go unnoticed, that indicate something is wrong and help is needed. If we know how to identify these signs in ourselves and in our loved ones it is easier to take the next step and find help.

You need noise when you are alone

Seeking comfort in the sound of the radio or having the TV on in the background is nothing unusual, but if you find you cannot cope with silence when you are alone, it could be a sign that something is wrong. Often people will watch the TV or stream programmes constantly when they are alone as this stops them from overthinking and dealing with something they need to confront. They might seem perfectly fine when others are around, but as soon as they are left alone they feel the need to put on the TV or other device and distract themselves from their own thoughts. This is often not a conscious decision and they might be completely unaware that there is anything wrong themselves. However, if faced with complete silence and forced to confront their own thoughts, whatever is upsetting them would swiftly come to the surface. It is a form of self-soothing and although it has its place, ultimately the root problem will need to be addressed.

You are avoiding social contact

We all need moments of peace and quiet, away from social obligations, to give us the chance to recharge our batteries. However, if you find you cannot face social contact and are using any excuse possible to get out of events and meetings, there might be more going on than the simple need to recharge. Social events, no matter how big or small, are often accompanied by feelings of judgement and can therefore be highly stressful experiences. Even if it is with family or a loved one, if you are struggling with something and not feeling your best, these social interactions can feel overwhelming and force you to face the problem when you are not ready to. We often feel like we have to explain our lifestyles or personal choices when we meet up with other people and if you are finding any aspect of your life particularly challenging at that time or you are unhappy, it can feel like you are trying to justify it unnecessarily. Usually, those feelings of judgement are not felt by your loved ones but that panic at the prospect of any social contact is a clear sign that all is not well.

Hobbies you once loved don’t interest you

A well-known sign of depression is losing interest in people and things you once loved. While likes and dislikes often do change over time, if you are finding that you can’t find any hobby that you actually enjoy and are instead choosing to do things that are a distraction, solitary and unproductive, this could be a sign that you are depressed. This is also a good way to see if someone you love is struggling, as quite often people can hide their feelings very well, but their actions are harder to hide. If you wait for someone to display self-destructive behaviour you may have waited too long. There are usually subtle signs that something is wrong, before it gets that bad.

You can’t concentrate

There can be many reasons why someone struggles with concentration, from underlying health problems to vitamin deficiency, but no matter what the reason behind it, it is always cause for concern. If you are having trouble concentrating and feel like your mind is foggy regularly, this can have a severe effect on your work life and personal life. Sometimes all that is needed is a break or holiday and some self-care. However, if you cannot get rid of this feeling, or it regularly comes back, it is important to seek help from a GP. If you notice someone at work or close to you who is often having trouble working and delivery sub-par work, don’t assume that they are lazy or stupid; there could be something much more serious going on that even they are not aware of yet.  

Other people’s happiness irritates you

You might find yourself avoiding seeing certain people in your life because their happiness irritates you. Sometimes there is a clear and understandable reason for this, such as them accomplishing something you want but haven’t accomplished yourself. This might not be a healthy response in life, but it is something we all experience at some point in life. However, if these feelings go beyond jealousy and result in you avoiding contact with anyone who expresses happiness, this is much more of a problem. The feeling is often intense irritation or even anger at anyone smiling or laughing and the desperate urge to move away from them or the situation. Sometimes it is just a flash of anger that passes, or it could be a more prolonged experience that leaves you feeling stressed and agitated. This is usually a sign that something is bothering you and causing you to react irrationally.

There are, of course, many other signs that something might be wrong, but if you or someone you love is showing any of these signs, it is cause for concern and you might consider therapy to address the underlying issues.

If you are looking for other ways to help, or are interested in counselling as a career, Chrysalis might be the ideal solution for you, offering part-time and fully accredited Counselling training courses.