Five Signs of Emotional Suffering

by McKensie Shiner

It’s normal to feel down, but sometimes, you may not even realize you're feeling this way. Additionally, it may be unclear to tell if someone else is and if they may need help addressing their emotions. By understanding the five signs of emotional suffering, you can recognize these indicators in yourself or a loved one and help them out.

The Five Signs are: personality change, agitation, withdrawal, the decline in personal care, and hopelessness. These signs can come one at a time, multiple at once, or in waves.

Personality change

This can come in many different shapes and forms, but in short, it is mostly exhibited through people acting in ways they don’t normally act or saying things they normally wouldn’t. While the signs are different in everyone, it’s helpful to pay attention to people’s behaviors, especially if you’re worried about them.

A good way to help in this situation is to remind yourself or your loved one of things they normally enjoy.


In this sign, the person may seem angry or anxious all of the time. They may seem like every little action sets them over the edge and they can’t control their emotions. When people deal with emotional suffering, it is easy to get frustrated which leads to building up an ongoing agitation for certain things.

Patience will go a long way in this situation as well as remaining calm and trying to bring mindfulness back to the person suffering.


As most people who have experienced sadness know, it is common to withdraw from activities and relationships when you’re experiencing some kind of emotional suffering.

If you notice you’re not speaking to friends and family as much, or one of your friends isn’t, it may be a good time to see if there is something on their mind and start a conversation inviting them to reflect on the way they’re feeling.

Poor self-care

When we, as people, don’t feel good emotionally, it’s hard to continue to take care of ourselves. Poor self-care is another common sign of emotional suffering as it shows the lack of interest in taking care of yourself. It’s one of the most difficult signs to deal with as it’s hard to convince a loved one to take care of themselves when they simply don’t have a desire to.

A good way to combat poor self-care is through a care package containing their favorite or new products, or by doing something inclusive that allows you to make sure they’re taking care of themselves, such as going for brunch, doing face masks, paying bills together, making dinner, etc.


Another sign of emotional suffering is hopelessness. Hopelessness is a difficult issue to combat as it shows the lack of inspiration an individual feels that things will ever get better; and if there isn’t that hope, it’s hard to uplift them into trying.

Self-help books are a great way to bring hope back into someone’s life, as are movies and music. Anything that gives a positive outlook may be beneficial in this instance!

Check out our journaling and self-care guides as additional resources to begin shifting your mood.

Contact Counseling by the Sea today to start your journey toward a happier and healthier you.