Signs You or a Loved One May Be Struggling

By Charmaine Beasley PrimeCARE Medical Clinic & Agenta Counseling

Life is hard and can be overwhelming (in fact, it really sucks sometimes). When we take on multiple roles each with its own demands, they can leave us feeling emotionally out of whack.  At times, we may recognize these feelings and know how things are affecting us. Other times, we miss the signs. It’s beneficial to recognize signs of struggle in ourselves and in others, so we can take steps toward betterment for ourselves or a loved one who is struggling. In this post, we’ll review some of the common signs of emotional distress that may indicate a need for professional care. If you or a loved one needs to find therapy resources in Arkansas, is here to help. You can utilize our simple clinician search or call 1-888-Therapy to find a qualified mental and behavioral healthcare professional near you.

Common Indicators of Emotional Distress

Everyone goes through times of feeling stress, sadness, anger, and conflict. We have to learn how to identify and correct self-destructive behaviors before they take hold of us. What are some of the signs that you may notice about yourself or someone close to you when something is not right? Let’s check in and identify some indicators of emotional distress that may mean it’s time to ask for help. Below, we’ve outlined some of the common signs that you or a loved one may need to consider working with a professional to develop the skills to experience and process your feelings in a safe and healthy manner.

Intensified emotions – We all get angry and sad, but these feelings can be excessive and intensified. When suddenly even the coworker in the corner eating crackers is making you really angry, maybe it’s time to take a step back. Feeling overwhelmed with anger, sadness, or other extreme emotions on a regular basis can be an indicator of something deeper.

Withdrawal or numbness – Being withdrawn or numb may include shutting down and separating from normal life. You may feel yourself or notice a loved one pulling away, moods have changed, and it’s like the person you love is no longer really there. This may be what is known as disassociation, where the mind is on auto pilot and just there, but not engaged.

Negative behaviors increase – Negative behaviors can include meaningless or reckless sex, excessive drinking, drug usage, or binge eating, but there may be a reason why these habits are changing.  Increase in these negative behaviors may be a sign that you or someone else is looking for an outside source to cope with and numb feelings.

Hyperarousal – The symptoms of hyperarousal include constant feelings of being nervous, jumpy, easy to startle, a sense of being in constant danger, and difficulty concentrating. These intensified responses may be great if you are in actual combat and need to be on high alert, but when that feeling follows you home or to work, it’s different. In this state, your body is alerting you to something in your past or present that needs to be addressed.

Sleep Changes – Both lack of sleep or too much sleep can be concerning. With lack of sleep, your anxiety may be bad at night – thoughts are racing or you’re having a hard time relaxing because you are re-experiencing intrusive images, dreams, and negative memories. Then, there is that feeling of not wanting to get out of bed. Just wanting to sleep all day everyday due to lack of energy, lack of motivation, or fear of facing the things that are outside of the bed.

Relationships Decrease – This can mean different things. One is that the close people to us usually know us and being around them means it’s harder for us to lie about what is going on and how we feel. It can become easier to avoid them. It can be just not wanting to be around people and engaged anymore. Honestly, it may also be that our attitude and lashing out has become so bad that these individuals don’t want to be around us.

What do You do if a Loved One is Showing these Signs?

We have to be aware, be accountable, and take care of our behaviors. If you or someone you love exhibits any of these behaviors, there may be resistance to discussing them. It can be scary but do not be ashamed to ask for assistance if you are struggling. If you or a loved one are struggling with emotional concerns, gives you access to behavioral healthcare providers throughout Arkansas. The sooner you reach out to find a skilled practitioner the better, so don’t put it off for even one day more.

If a loved one is struggling, it can be a little more difficult. If your loved one is struggling, be supportive, be sensitive, and offer to help. Begin by providing encouragement. If your loved one is struggling, you can and should talk to them. It may not be easy, but there are some things you can do to make the conversation easier for you and your loved one, including:

Ask questions – don’t make accusations.

Listen. You may be broaching the subject, but your loved one should do much of the talking.

Speak positively about therapy and encourage them to get help if they need it.

Make sure they understand that recommending therapy does not mean that you don’t care. It simply means that you do care, and you don’t have the knowledge and resources to help them.

Don’t hesitate to get help from other friends and family members, but don’t “gang up” on your loved one.

If your loved one becomes very angry or violent, remove yourself from the situation. Your safety is important too.

How Can You Handle Push Back from a Loved One Who May Need Help?

Those experiencing emotional distress may not feel much like talking about it, and when they realize others have noticed how they’ve changed, it may be upsetting for them. Whatever emotional response your loved one has to the discussion of their changing behaviors, make sure they understand that you are trying to help them because you want them to be safe and at peace. Some ways you can help friends and family members feel better when discussing the potential need for professional help include the following:

Offer to attend a therapy session with them. Many people are concerned about the unknown and knowing they will not be alone can help.

Bring the names and numbers of local professionals with you, so they don’t feel overwhelmed by the prospect of finding a clinician. Better yet, pull up and help them to find a practitioner.

Don’t get angry if they refuse your help. Be patient, and don’t let it go. Continue to check in, so your loved one knows you truly care about how they’re feeling.

If you believe your friend or family member is at risk to injure themselves or someone else, it’s time to ask for help. If the situation is an emergency, call 911. If the need is less pressing, consider reaching out to the team at 1-888-Therapy. We can connect you with local emergency resources. You can also explore the national resources outlined below.

What Resources are Available to Help?

At, we bring together a number of local professionals and resources all in one place to help you and your loved ones who need mental health care throughout the state of Arkansas. In addition to contacting 1-888-Therapy or emergency services, there are also a number of national resources, including:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s treatment referral helpline, 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727)

The Crisis Text Line, a free, 24/7 support service for those in crisis, text CONNECT to 741741 to contact



Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC