Our mentors and page authors are not necessarily psychologists or therapists. Even when they are, this page is not medical or psychological advice and they are not creating a doctor/therapist-client relationship. You should consult a professional if possible and they can tell you whether this advice applies to your situation. If this is an emergency, you should call your national emergency number, like 911, or a mental health hotline, like 1-800-950-6264.
If you suffer from mental health issues, you may have trouble figuring out what you have. Is your sleepiness depression or stress? Do you have anxiety? OCD? Are your mood swings bipolar disorder or schizophrenia? Are you autistic?
NONE OF THESE ISSUES ARE YOUR FAULT. Mental health issues are often the result of stressors, abuse, family background, and genetics that are out of your control.
Knowing what problems you face will make it much easier for you to find the resources to help you solve them.
Three Steps of Diagnosis
Make a diary of how you feel. For the next week, put an alarm clock for at least every 2-3 hours. On the hour, record how you feel. How much energy do you have? What is your primary emotion and how strong is it on a scale from 1 to 100? For example, at 10:00 AM, I was feeling happy 70, and energetic at 80. Also record when you have strong feelings of sadness, excitement, stress, happiness, anger, etc. even if it’s not every 2-3 hours.
At the end of the week, you should have a diary of how you feel and how you respond to certain triggers. This will give you information on what you should fix. Try to create a “PROBLEM LIST” of social, physical, and emotional stressors and behaviors, such as lack of sleep, stress, anger, a bad relationship, or financial stress.
Record your thoughts surrounding triggering events. We believe that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and meditation are the two best cures for mental health issues, over medication and other forms of therapy. CBT explores the links between behavior, thoughts, and emotions. If you notice that you often shy away from people, you may notice an underlying emotion is anxiety and the underlying thought is that people won’t like you. Recording your automatic thoughts will help you correct them.
In addition, try to record some underlying conditions and assumptions you hold, such as: “If I work hard, I deserve to succeed.” Or “If I’m not famous or rich or married, I can’t be happy.” Or “If someone hurts me, I have to make the score even.” These are also things you can work on and change.
Use online diagnostic tools to figure out what your problems are, so that you can navigate this website better.
If you are sad often, check for depression (including major depressive disorder) and suicidal tendencies.
If you are stressed, check for anxiety, including severe anxiety disorders.
If you are angry often, check for bipolar and other personality disorders.
It’s always a good idea to check for autism, OCD, ADHD, and adult dyslexia if you have learning or work issues, which we see often.
Some other common issues include eating and psychotic disorders.
Here are some resources for you to diagnose yourself:
Depression vs. anxiety: https://depression.org.nz/is-it-depression-anxiety/
Depression and bipolar disorder: https://www.familyaware.org/help-someone/take-the-depression-and-bipolar-test/
Adult ADHD: https://add.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/adhd-questionnaire-ASRS111.pdf
Mood disorders: https://www.integration.samhsa.gov/images/res/MDQ.pdf