Recognise the signs

Worried about how you're feeling

Feeling down - flat | no energy | nothing feels fun

It’s normal to feel sad or ‘blue’ from time to time. However, when feelings of sadness are too intense, or stick around for a such a long time it can be hard for to work, socialise, or take care of things at home.

If you’re experiencing these feelings and they’re affecting your life, you should find out more about low mood and depression, and what you can do about them.

Feeling stressed - worrying all the time | panic attacks | hiding from the world

Almost everyone feels stressed, worried, or anxious sometimes.

If your anxiety or worry is so severe that it interferes with your ability to cope with daily life, you should find out more about different kinds of anxiety problems and what you can do about them.

Troubled by memories - nightmares | flashbacks | blocking out reminders of trauma

After a distressing or traumatic experience, it’s normal to go over and over what happened and even to have dreams about it.

If it gets too much, we might deliberately try to block it out and force ourselves to think about something else. This usually settles down within the first week or two. But if it keeps going and you don’t feel like you’re able to come to terms with what has happened you might have a problem with posttraumatic stress.

Grief - mourning | sad and lonely

It can be very painful losing someone or something you care deeply about.

You might experience all kinds of difficult emotions, and sometimes it will feel like the pain will last forever and you’ll never get back to normal. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but there are ways to cope with grief that will help you to recover and move on.

Anger - short fuse | frustrated | wound up | aggro

We all get angry sometimes; it's part of being human.

If anger is expressed in ways that are harmful to you or someone else, or persists for a long time, it can become a problem. Learn more about problems with anger.

Worried about what you're doing

Alcohol - Bingeing | desperate for a drink | drink getting you into trouble

We drink to celebrate, commiserate, socialise and just to relax, but drinking too much, too often, or for too long can cause problems with your health, work and relationships.

If you're worried about your drinking, or how much someone else is drinking, find out more about the different types of alcohol problems and what you can do about them.

Drug use - drugs ruining your life | 'doctor shopping'

Many Australians use drugs (whether legal or illegal) to relax, socialise or change the way they feel.

Some people are able to use drugs without too many problems for their health, relationships or lifestyle.

On the other hand, drug use can have serious consequences if they are used to cope with mental health problems.

If you or someone else is worried about your drug use, it might be worth thinking more about whether you have a problem with drug use and what you can do about it.

Taking risks - acting without thinking first | reckless driving | getting into fights | risky sex

Risk taking is when we do things that might be harmful or dangerous, but at the same time are exciting and give us a 'buzz'. The key is to find the right balance.

If you think you might be taking too many risks, it might be time to figure out if you have a problem with risk taking.

Gambling - losing too much money | gambling out of control

Almost everyone gambles from time to time but there are clear indicators that gambling might be problem, such as having trouble setting limits on the time and money involved in gambling. This can result in financial stress and relationship difficulties.

If you’re worried about your gambling, find out more about gambling problems and how you can get them under control.

Self harm - feeling desperate | hopeless | thinking about taking your life

People hurt themselves for lots of different reasons. As a way of dealing with painful feelings, as a way to punish themselves, or perhaps as a way of asking for help. For others, life has become unbearable and suicide might seem like the only way out.

If any of this sounds like you, you might want to find out more about self-harm and suicide.

If you think you, or someone close to you is at risk from self harm, call Open Arms for free and confidential counselling 1800 011 046.

If the risk of self harm is immediate, call 000.

Violence - getting into fights | hurting the ones you love

Some people get violent when they get angry, need to feel in control, feel betrayed or feel afraid. Violence is never acceptable behaviour.

If you think you might have a problem with violence, you can learn how to control your violent behaviour.

Issues with everyday life

Poor sleep - restless nights | nightmares

Almost everyone has trouble sleeping occasionally. Not getting enough sleep for a few nights here and there is nothing to worry about.

On the other hand, sleep problems that last for weeks or even months at a time can really interfere with your health, and work and social life.

If you’re worried about your sleep, you should learn more about sleep problems and how to manage them.

Pain - constant pain dominating your life | pain getting in the way

Constant physical pain or illness can make life pretty tough. It wears us down, makes us irritable and short tempered, and can leave us feeling quite depressed. The relationship between pain, physical health and emotional wellbeing is very close. Each affects the other. The good news is that there are things you can do to improve the way you cope with pain.

Sex problems - lost interest | erection problems | pain during sex

Our most important sex organ is between our ears. If our head’s not in the right place, sex is not going to work. We may experience problems with sexual desire (“I’m not interested in sex anymore”) and performance (“things don’t work like they should”) at different stages of life for a variety of reasons. If you are experiencing sexual problems, you can do something about it.

Read more if you think you might have problems with sex.

Relationship issues - arguments | not talking | no affection | family struggling

Maybe you’ve shut yourself off from your friends or family and you’re not talking to them as much, or you’re avoiding events where you’d usually catch up. Or maybe you find yourself getting frustrated and angry with the people around you, and find yourself arguing or fighting with them.

Read on to find out more about improving the quality of your relationships.

Loneliness - Cut off | isolated | no one to turn to | pushing people away

Loneliness is not the same as being alone. We can be alone without feeling lonely; on the other hand, we can be surrounded by hundreds of people and still feel lonely.

If we feel lonely it is probably because we don’t have the kind of close personal relationships that make us feel secure, comforted, and content. If this sounds like you, why not find out more about loneliness and what you can do about it.