Emotional distress can come out in many forms, not all of which we think of as having been affected. The list below gives seven examples of signs/symptoms of emotional distress. It is important that you seek professional advice if you feel any of these apply to you or someone you know.
- Overly Emotional
It isn’t unusual that when we are emotionally fragile we become more sensitive to situations. If you find yourself crying at something you wouldn’t normally be upset over, or you become enraged at something that normally wouldn’t affect you, it could be an early warning sign of tiredness and that you are overdoing things. Take a step back and give yourself time to assess the situation(s) that have caused you emotional distress.
The evidence is clear that overworking causes stress and illness, but it may not be so clear that being under stress can cause overworking. Think about that for a moment you have a deadline on the horizon and a lot of work to complete. The working day is over, and you have yet to complete the days’ itinerary. What do you do? Remain working or worse still take your work home until you find yourself working in bed at 2 am instead of sleeping? Perhaps you work long hours to avoid family and social situations. Maybe you are blocking out your inner conflicts. Is it time you gave yourself a break? Take your days off, book a holiday you don’t even have to go anywhere but a break from the office will do you good.
- Snapping at the small things
When we are stressed our resilience levels drop. We recognise this when we are tired and become irritable and crabby. Anger is an emotion that more easily erupts compared to sorrow when we are stressed. As with any illness, the changes in a person indicate that something isn’t quite right. Detrimental changes in behaviour or character is a sure sign that you need to stop and evaluate what has changed and what needs to improve. There is a wide range of techniques that can help with this such as taking time off, creating a personal space where you can be alone for ten minutes a day, removing yourself to cool off when things become heated, talking, and keeping a journal.
- Mood swings
When you experience someone flying off the handle with little or no reasoning it is a red flag that something isn’t right. It may be that you are unaware of the cause and are just feeling overwhelmed. This can turn into a loss of perspective and feelings of despair. Thinking that you are lost and out of control can often feel like entrapment.
When internal security is lost, it is often reinstated by way of controlling the external environment including people.
The simplest way, and often the most challenging, is to share your feelings with someone who can help you regain your perspective. The danger is isolation because there will become a point where things take a dark turn or built up frustrations become anger. We all have limits; everyone’s level is different and there is no level you should adhere to. Talking about these feelings can help us gain a better perspective of ourselves and equip us with mechanisms to enable us to cope better.
- Loss of purpose
Having a strong sense of purpose bring much positivity to our lives and gives us a higher level of self-esteem and worth. Most of us enjoy that feeling of being valued and accomplished even if the task is small. Pleasure in every area can diminish if we lose our sense of purpose. Pleasure and our drive are dependent on our psychological health being in a stable place. When you feel you are losing your sense of purpose it is time to evaluate where you are in your life. This is not the time to engage in new pathways however temping the reward might be. The time is for you, you need to be the master of your own purpose.
- Feeling unappreciated
Not feeling understood or appreciated can lead to a spectrum of emotions including resentment, frustrations, loss of confidence and lowered self-esteem. Of course, we all have and will have times when we feel unappreciated, but when you feel this on more than the rare occasion and often without true reasoning, you need to talk to someone. A person that is in a good place will often look internally for approving comments but a person who is fragile will seek others’ approval for the things that they do. Fundamentally, being appreciated for what we do and who we are helping our confidence, but no amount of reassurance will help a person who is not well enough to hear what is being said. Depression is a serious illness and must be treated as such. Seeking support is vital in stopping the negativity from running out of lives.
- Becoming over-controlling
When we lose our internal security we often try to reinstate it by controlling things externally-children, partners, environment. An example is managers who face looming deadlines; they will often take the pressure and stress out on fellow workers to feel they are validated and in control of the situation. Similarly, fixing your routine can develop when you become stressed, creating a sense of familiarity and control. This is a poor way of solving the problem, instead, recognise the patterns and symptoms and deal with the insecurity to establish healthy work and life patterns that focus on your pleasure.
Each one of these difficulties can result from one or many causes thus treatment in finding the source is varied. A good place to start is stepping back and evaluating your daily life. It is also recommended that you speak to an external person such as a counsellor or therapist because these professionals are equipped with the tools, knowledge and experience required to get you back on the path to a successful and fulfilled life.
Should you wish to talk to someone The Devon Clinic has an array of talking therapies to help you discover how to gain inner peace. For a free, no-obligation discussion please contact us.