In an effort to keep myself mentally healthy, I am learning to monitor my mental health. It’s like taking your pulse regularly to make sure you are still doing ‘okay’.
I’ve come to recognize of my own personal warning signs. And I suspect that, like knowing your migraine triggers, everyone is different. Here are a few things I’ve learned might be warning signs for me:
1. Constant sighing – sometimes I actually wonder why I can’t just exhale normally and why it always seems to come out as a sigh.
2. Tiredness – I say to my family things like ‘I just need to sit down for a minute,’
3. Losing things – I can be absent-minded but when it starts happening frequently as in I can’t find my keys this morning, I forgot my cell phone, I don’t know where my sweater is, all on the same day, I know I am in trouble.
4. Overly sensitive, reacting out of proportion to a comment that wouldn’t have bothered me two days ago. Like when one of my children asks how many cookies I ate yesterday.
5. Feeling over-stimulated.
6. Feeling overwhelmed
7. Over-empathasizing with someone else’s problems
8. Having repetitive negative thoughts that aren’t based on reality
9. Dropping the ball – forgetting to do something I had committed to and fully intended to do
10. Saying something or just acting out of character – I am normally a happy, positive person, so if I respond in anger or resentment, I know that is not like me.
(wow, I thought I was going to write a list of about 5 things and then it turned into 10 – that was eye-opening!)
These are like my warning or caution or amber light zone.
Flashing Red Warning Lights for me:
1. Loss of appetite (I am typically a stress eater, so if I completely lose my appetite, it’s not good.
2. Unable to find joy in the things that normally give me life – my family, quizzing
3. Unable to laugh at things I know I would normally find funny.
The first verse I ever learned to rely on regarding mental health is Philippians 4:6-7
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When we give thanks, Gods will guard our minds!!
How precious is that? That He can guard and protect our minds!
More on that thought tomorrow…
Next – Steps I Take when I finally notice the warning signs.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please seek professional help if you think you may be suffering from real depression.