Many people go through life carrying trauma from the past. The people who may seem the happiest carry a burden that they don’t talk about, keeping it locked in their heads. Sounds awful, right?
But mental illness incidences are more common than you think. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one out of five Americans suffers from a diagnosable mental health condition. With such a concerning percentage, you’re bound to meet someone who is secretly hurting inside.
Here’s how to find them.
They changed personalities suddenly
Have you ever had a friend who seemed to become a lot less receptive over things they once enjoyed?
A sudden change in personality doesn’t just come out of the blue. Usually, there’s an underlying cause for it, such as an emotional trigger. Once they feel a trigger response, they can feel a sense of dread that affects their outlook as well as their interactions with other people. According to Healthline, common triggers include grief, bad news, and disappointment.
They have mood swings and become easily irritable
Does the person you’re worried about have sudden emotional outbursts that aren’t usually characteristic of them?
Under stress, these people can be anxious and annoyed by the accompaniment of others. Oftentimes, they may project their anger in irrational and potentially harmful ways. Anger is not the only emotion that a person can show to signify they’re hurting. They may show their pain in other forms like insomnia or destructive behaviors. These destructive behaviors are loud cries for help. Gently advising them to seek medical evaluation would be a good course of action to take.
They withdraw from people they used to love
Are you worried that your friend isn’t talking in the group chat anymore and has isolated themselves completely?
A sign that someone is secretly hurting is when they disappear for long periods to avoid meeting anyone. They could go for weeks to months without catching up with their friends, which can be concerning for everyone involved. Interacting with people can even scare them, which infests them with negative thoughts that are not even true.
They don’t practice self-care
Do your friends look thinner than they used to? Do their eyebags seem a lot shallower and darker?
An extreme change of personality can also change how a person takes care of themselves. These people may not take care of their physical and mental well-being like they used to. One way to spot this is by observing the natural environment, like their bedroom. Is it clean? Is it dirty? How these people take care of themselves can oftentimes reflect how they take care of their minds too.
They feel hopeless and a sense of despair
Do you sometimes notice your friend joking about things that are worrying?
Someone who is secretly hurting can feel a sense of hopelessness and lack of control over a situation. Past trauma resurfacing is a trigger that can cause this suffering. They might even lightly joke or make passing comments about worrisome things. If this happens, don’t take those comments lightly and try to help them help themselves. Some methods to alleviate hopelessness are by giving them a safe space to grieve, anchoring them to the present, and foster meaningful relationships. (Healthline)
They don’t love the things they used to enjoy
Does your friend suddenly the drive to do things they used to enjoy?
Losing interest in past sources of enjoyment is indicative of many mental illnesses. Also known as anhedonia, this feeling of disinterest can be caused by anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance abuse, and stress. Ways to support the healing process is by practicing self-care routines. This includes taking plenty of rest, eating a healthy diet, making plans, and finding proper support. (Very Well Mind)
We hope you’ve learned more about the signs that someone is secretly hurting. Hopefully, you can help a friend or a person in need with this article. Some ways to help are by asking them if they want help, affirm their feelings, and give them a nudge towards seeking professional help. And sometimes, just being at their side will keep their hurt at bay.
That’s all for now, Psych2Goers!
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2013. National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings. Retrieved at https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUHresultsPDFWHTML2013/Web/NSDUHresults2013.pdf
- Khan, A. December 4, 2019. Everything You Want to Know About Personality Change Healthline. Retrieved at https://www.healthline.com/health/behavior-unusual-or-strange#causes
- Raypole, C. Oct 27, 2020. ‘Unprecedented’ Times Have You Feeling Hopeless? 7 Ways to Support Yourself. https://www.healthline.com/health/feeling-hopeless#prioritize-social-bonds
- Na, nd. Power of Positivity. Retrieved on Apr 2, 2021. Retrieved at https://www.powerofpositivity.com/5-signs-emotional-suffering/
- Cherry, K. Jan 18, 2021. 5 Things to Do If You Feel a Loss of Interest https://www.verywellmind.com/things-to-do-if-you-feel-a-loss-of-interest-5093337