There are now so many prompts to talk about mental health from Time to Talk Day to Mental health Awareness Week where opportunities are given to learn about mental health or talk about mental health from a first-person perspective. Things that get talked about, often, during these periods are the causes of mental health problems, symptoms, medications that can help, looking after our mental health, spotting signs in friends and family and how to help others. The stigma attached to mental health is often talked about in great depth but one thing I have found that gets overlooked is the hidden effects of mental health.
So, what are the hidden effects of mental health?
People who have had mental health problems experience the hidden effects, which often go unnoticed. Some of these things can be
Social circle shrinks
When you have mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression, it can be hard to stay in contact with friends, from calling, texting or attending evenings out, and before you know it, friends have drifted away.
When my mental health starts to disintegrate, I stop doing things like cleaning my house or doing the washing up or laundry and as I get better, I can feel overwhelmed by all of the tasks that need to be done. I also experience a sense of overwhelm when I go outside – to the shops, after a period of locking myself away in the house.
People treat you differently
Without wanting to, I have found that people’s attitude can change and they start treating you as if you are fragile and will break. I have experienced this in work, where, even now, I still get concerned looks from my colleagues or do not seem to get to do the same types of work as others in case I cannot cope.
Lack of trust
I think that this lack of trust can be linked to people treating you differently, shrinking of social circles and the stigma that is still attached to mental health. It can be hard to open yourself up to people and to talk about feelings, especially people you may not know very well.
Feeling trapped in a cycle
I often wonder if I will ever be well enough to be medication free or if I will have to rely on my tablets to keep me functioning at a level forever. Sometimes it feels like I am stuck in a cycle of requesting my prescription, collecting tablets, taking tablets and doctor’s appointments to monitor my medications.
If people have to take medication for mental health there are side effects, which can affect memory and the speed at which we process things or our ability to understand things as easily. This can be frustrating as we know we should be able to understand, remember or process things easily.
I can only write from my own experiences, though I do know, from conversations that I have had, that there are other effects that having mental health problems which all have a different impact on us.
Have you had any effects caused by having mental health problems? I’d love to chat about your experiences in the comments.