Life. It’s a roller coaster, isn’t it?
We all face our fair share of ups and downs, but sometimes, it’s not as easy to spot when someone is going through the rough patches.
They might be putting on a brave face, pretending everything’s fine. But deep down inside? They’re secretly struggling.
And the worst part? They may not even realize it themselves.
We’re often so busy fighting our own battles, that we don’t notice the silent battles others are fighting around us.
The signs aren’t always obvious, but they’re there.
Today, let’s talk about seven such behaviors that hint someone might be silently struggling in life.
Now, my intention isn’t to make you paranoid or overly analytical about every little action of your friends or colleagues. Far from it.
Instead, the aim is to create awareness, so you can lend a helping hand if needed, or at least provide some understanding.
Because remember – everyone’s fighting their own battle in this chaotic world.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
1. They’re constantly tired.
We all have those days where we’re just dragging, right?
But have you noticed someone who’s always tired – no matter how much sleep they seem to get? It’s like their energy is constantly being drained.
I had a friend who was like this.
She was always exhausted, even after getting a solid eight hours of sleep.
Took us a while to realize she was silently struggling with anxiety. It was draining her mentally, causing her to feel physically tired all the time.
The second sign is a little less obvious…
2. Their performance drops.
I remember an old colleague of mine. He was a star performer – always on time, always delivering great work.
Then suddenly, his performance started to dip.
He started missing deadlines, making errors – things that were totally unlike him.
We brushed it off as a bad phase initially.
But when it continued for months, we realized something was off. It turned out Tom was going through a difficult divorce and it was affecting his work.
These signs may not scream “I’m struggling!” but they’re whispers from people who need help. So let’s keep our eyes and ears open and our hearts understanding, shall we?
3. A change in appetite.
Now, this can swing two ways. Some people start to eat less when they’re struggling, losing interest in food or even forgetting to eat. Others turn to food for comfort and start eating much more than usual.
There’s definitely a significant link between mood and food. Stress can trigger an increase in the hormone cortisol, which can lead to cravings for sugar and fat.
So, if you notice a sudden change in someone’s eating habits, it might be more than just a new diet or a lack of self-control. It could be a silent cry for help.
The fourth sign may not be as visible as the rest, but it’s just as important…
4. They start withdrawing from people and activities they love.
You know that friend who always loved playing football on the weekends? The one who wouldn’t miss a match for the world?
Suddenly, he’s nowhere to be seen. He’s stopped coming to games, stopped returning calls. He’s withdrawing from the things and the people he loves.
This isn’t about someone needing some alone time. That’s normal. This is about someone who’s lost their zest for life. Someone who’s silently struggling with something so heavy that it’s affecting their love for the things they once enjoyed.
It’s not always the loudest cries for help that need our attention. Sometimes, it’s the quietest ones.
5. They seem unusually distracted or absent-minded.
I remember when my sister went through a rough patch in her life. She was usually sharp, alert, always on top of things. But during that period, she became unusually forgetful and easily distracted. At first, we teased her about it, calling it her “senior moments”.
But one day, I found her staring blankly at a pot of water on the stove, totally oblivious to the fact that it had been boiling over for a while. That was when I realized that her mind was somewhere else, burdened by thoughts she wasn’t sharing.
It’s easy to overlook this sign or brush it off as a quirk. But if someone you know is consistently absent-minded or distracted, they might be silently wrestling with bigger issues.
6. They’ve become unusually irritable or emotional.
We all have our moments of moodiness, right? But have you noticed someone who’s usually calm suddenly snapping over minor things? Or maybe someone who’s normally composed has started crying at the drop of a hat?
This was my college roommate. One day, he was his usual jovial self and the next, he was a walking emotional roller coaster. It was disconcerting to see him react so intensely to small issues. And it wasn’t just a one-off thing, it became a pattern. It turned out he was dealing with severe financial stress, something he was too embarrassed to share.
Mood swings can be a classic sign that someone is dealing with more than they’re letting on. So, let’s be patient and understanding.
7. They’re neglecting their personal care.
Think about that neighbor who always took pride in her appearance. Her hair was always styled, her clothes neat and trendy. Now, she barely combs her hair and lives in sweatpants. It may seem like she’s just letting herself go or being lazy. But in reality, neglecting personal care is often a sign of mental health struggles.
People dealing with depression often find daily tasks like bathing or dressing to be overwhelming. So if you notice this change in someone, it might be a sign that they’re silently struggling.
Remember, these signs are not definitive proof that someone is going through a hard time, but they can serve as alarm bells that prompt us to reach out or offer support. Let’s remember to be kind and empathetic because we never truly know what battles people are fighting behind closed doors.