A stigmatized topic in the past, people are now finding it easier to talk about mental health. These days, not only is it less of a taboo to seek help from mental health professionals, but people are also more willing to open up about struggles that would’ve previously been deemed shameful to talk about.
However, having an informed discussion about your own mental health—whether that’s with a professional or just with yourself—means that you need to be self-aware.
And that means subjecting yourself to the scary task of asking yourself a few questions regarding how you really are.
Here are eight mental health questions you might be afraid to answer, even though you really should:
1. Am I Really Happy?
This question is probably the most basic question you should ask yourself. With today’s fast-paced lifestyle, you may not have had the chance to sit down and really ask yourself if you’re actually satisfied with how things are.
Are you happy with:
- your job
- your health
- your relationships with friends and family
- your living situation
- your love life?
Take a moment to think about whether you find these aspects of life genuinely fulfilling. If something is lacking, consider what has been keeping you from implementing a change so that you can make things better.
2. Why Do I Always Feel Down?
While it’s healthy to have negative emotions and to express them, always feeling down might be a sign of depression. Often called “the common cold of mental illness” because of how prevalent it is, don’t be fooled by depression’s nickname. It’s still a serious concern for as much as 4% of the world’s population, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
However, one aspect of depression that is similar to the common cold is how it can sneak up on you and start influencing how you’re living day-to-day. Because of this, it’s important to delve into how you’ve been feeling. Check to see if deep down you’ve been carrying feelings of dejection without even knowing it.
3. Do I Like Myself?
In our current self-obsessed culture, loving oneself seems almost like a prerequisite. Driven by social media and also the self-esteem craze that took over American culture during the 1980s and 90s, there is a general expectation that you should love every part of yourself.
All this societal conditioning may make it difficult for a person to truly understand how they feel about themselves. What is needed is to take some time and self-reflect.
- Are you proud of who you’ve become?
- Is there still plenty of growing to do?
Ruminate on your qualities and decide if you actually like yourself as a person, or if there is some hidden issue within that you still need to resolve.
4. Does My Life Have a Purpose?
The inquiry that humanity has tried to answer since the beginning of time, life’s purpose is the existential question that can be terrifying to ask yourself. If you’re one of the lucky ones, answering this question is a breeze because you’ve already discovered your passions and life direction.
However, if you’re not one of these lucky people, asking yourself about life’s purpose can be a good litmus test for whether you’re wandering aimlessly through life. Contemplate what’s been holding you back from achieving your goals and start working towards a way to overcome these mental barriers.
5. Do I Have a Support Network?
When you’re struggling, do you have someone you can go to? That’s where your support network comes in.
Generally speaking, your support network is made up of family, close friends, and trusted confidantes, such as teachers or counselors.
While it may seem like everyone should have a strong support network, it’s often surprising how difficult it is to maintain one once people reach adulthood.
Perhaps you have a strained relationship with your family. Or maybe you’re living abroad far away from your close friends and are desperately trying to establish your own social circle in a new environment.
Whatever the case, asking yourself if you have a support network will either remind you that you have people you can go to when things get tough or that you should devote some time and energy to building a safety net for yourself.
Both are worthy things to think about.
6. Do I Have a Mental Health Issue?
Self-diagnosis can be dangerous, and mental health isn’t all that cut and dry. However, prior to seeking professional help, it’s useful to sit down and ask yourself if you have a mental health issue and if it’s been affecting your daily life.
While this may be a sobering question, asking yourself if you have a mental health issue is valuable because it requires you to be very truthful to yourself and examine your possible shortcomings.
If you’re looking for a resource to help you research mental illness, the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 will give you the tools to understand what your situation may be. Just be sure to read up on its own imperfections and see if any of those will affect your self-diagnosis.
7. Do I Need to Seek Professional Help?
You should seek professional help if your mental health is interfering with your ability to live life in a functional, productive way. While this description seems vague, that’s because you don’t need to be suffering from schizophrenia or another major mental illness to seek help.
However, if you want a more concrete way to check if you need to seek professional help, you can also keep an eye out for common symptoms of mental illness. Depending on your age, the symptoms may differ. So, make sure you study up beforehand and do some self-reflecting when considering this question.
8. Will I Be Able to Bounce Back After This?
This is a scary question because when you’re in the middle of your mental health struggle, the chances of bouncing back may seem unthinkable. Not to mention, some mental health issues don’t have a magical cure, making these conditions something that sticks with you for the rest of your life.
Instead, when reflecting on this question, think about how you’ve been learning to cope with your mental health symptoms. Appreciate how much you’ve grown and how you’re gradually getting stronger. By then, the answer to this question may be less disheartening and more encouraging.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask the Tough Questions
Taking an in-depth assessment of your mental health and wellness can be a frightening task. You’ll need to be upfront and personal with yourself in ways that you’ve previously been avoiding.
However, if you’re honest and ask yourself these mental health questions, you’ll be having a healthy conversation with yourself about who and how you are in no time.