When we’re physically sick or wounded, our wounds are usually visible on the outside. We let others know about it, others are happy to offer help, and we are happy to accept it. But when our wounds are in our souls, it’s not uncommon for us to shut down and hide our emotional scars. This way we isolate ourselves from a helping hand.
Because of this, it can be difficult to recognize the signs of emotional distress in others. What do you look for, how do you see it if they’re not open to talking about it?
If you look closely, you may see the deep wounds and recognize a person’s emotional issues. Here are 6 of the signs.
1. They avoid talking about certain topics
Did you notice how they’re trying to change the topic when the conversations head in a certain direction? Maybe it’s talking about family, dating or one specific person. No matter what the topic is, they get defensive when it’s brought up or they completely shut down.
This behavior probably means they find it too painful to talk about it. They might have some trauma that they’re reliving and don’t want to go back to it. If you do notice they avoid talking about something, the best thing would be to just let them be. Try not bringing it up often, so they have time to heal their wounds.
2. They bring themselves down
Do you feel like they have 0 self confidence? They refuse to accept or acknowledge a compliment, they blame themselves for anything that goes wrong, or just plainly bring themselves down any chance they get?
It’s not uncommon for people with emotional problems or trauma to suffer from low self-esteem. Maybe they were invalidated while growing up (or still are as an adult) and those opinions got ingrained into their own. Maybe they were bullied or abused, and now they can’t seem to love themselves or think of themselves as worthy of love.
3. They always seem tired
Do you feel like their energy levels are always running low? They always look tired or half asleep, even with all those empty coffee cups scattered around them. They also might move slowly or talk slowly.
Low energy levels or fatigue are another very common sign of emotional problems and mental illness. Past trauma or psychological disorders such as depression could make a person tired and groggy because of the insomnia they experience or low levels of some important hormones like dopamine. This fatigue could make them seem uninterested in doing stuff or hanging around, but remember – it’s not their fault!
4. They abuse alcohol or drugs
A person with emotional problems often seeks a way to escape their mind. Sometimes they manage to, at least seemingly, find that escape in alcohol. Did you notice they often seem to have one too many? Maybe they overindulge during parties or even have a few glasses during daytime.
If their drinking is noticeable to everyone around them, they are probably overstepping their own boundaries. But what makes them go down that spiral are probably deep emotional wounds that they’re hiding inside.
5. They often go through mood swings
Is everyday with them an emotional rollercoaster? You don’t know which emotion they’ll show next: will it be the euphoria or the blues?
More often than not, mental health problems can result in mood swings and inconsistent emotions. Those emotions can range from extreme highs to extreme lows. This can also lead to strange and unpredictable behavior – one minute they might be overly friendly and the other they may get irritated if you simply say hello.
6. They neglect their appearance
Is their hair often messy and uncombed? Are their clothes wrinkled and dirty? Do you think they don’t shower regularly?
Poor hygiene and difficulty keeping up with appearance is a common sign of mental problems which is easily visible to others. A person who is suffering may find it too difficult to find the energy to keep up with their looks. They might neglect showering, brushing their teeth, using deodorant and so on. If someone you know fits this description, don’t think they’re just lazy right off the bat. It is possible they’re dealing with some serious emotional distress.
Do you think these signs describe someone you know? Do you think they might be hiding some emotional pain?
If that’s the case, be careful how you approach. If they’re not ready to talk, you should try not to push them. For starters, it would be enough to tell them you’ve noticed they’re feeling a bit down. Tell them you’re always here for them if they ever need a friend.
Maybe some nice words will make their day!
- Fuller, K. (2019, December 17). 10 Warnings Signs Your Employee Has a Mental Health Issue. Discovery Mood & Anxiety Program. https://discoverymood.com/blog/warnings-signs-your-employee-has-a-mental-health-issue/
- House, T. G. (2018, January 1). Signs Someone Has Experienced Trauma. The Guest House. https://www.theguesthouseocala.com/signs-someone-has-experienced-trauma/
- Kandola, A. (2020, November 27). What are the causes and symptoms of emotional distress? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/emotional-distress#causes
- Mental illness – Symptoms and causes. (2019, June 8). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/symptoms-causes/syc-20374968
- Robinson, L. (2022, February 8). Emotional and Psychological Trauma. HelpGuide.Org. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/coping-with-emotional-and-psychological-trauma.htm
- Trauma Symptoms, Causes and Effects. (n.d.). PsychGuides.Com. https://www.psychguides.com/trauma/