Saturday, July 11, 2009

I constantly study what's going on my head & body. I have a very strong family history of mental illness, mainly depression. Every woman on my mom's side of the family as far back as we can recall has dealt with depression, so I've been on guard against it since I was first married (ya know, because marriage and mental illness are so interrelated, lol).

As I continue to watch my reactions to life, it's becoming obvious to me that we don't pay enough attention to emotional stress, specifically the stress that comes from bad news in others' lives.

I'm not one to be overly emotional; I don't usually cry in front of people for example, so it surprised me when a friend had a baby almost two years ago and I was physically charged by it. I wasn't even there, you see, I was busy at home and she was being induced thirty miles away. I wore out the carpet; I couldn't be still with all the nervous energy in me. I was emotionally exhausted by the evening and it took me by surprise.

Other than my sleeping schedule being a little off since staying up too late on the 4th of July, I've had a fine week. I was elated with the doula plans, which also led to a loss of sleep when my brain was too busy to shut down. By midweek, though, I'd discovered a dear was struggling and received a phone call yesterday from my mom that my sister-in-law's cancer has probably returned. I spent some time yesterday with friends but by the end of the day was simply drained. Wondering if I was about to get sick, it had not dawned on me the emotions I'd been dealing with all week.

Yeah, I'm often a little slow...but aren't we all slow to realize what stress we're under, especially when it's not directed right at us? After all, starting a new business that's right in line with my passions is a good thing, yet it's still takes a toll on my emotions.

So, what are we to do?

Recognizing it has to be the first step, but can be the hardest!

I'm not going to add to my stress by filling up the rest of my weekend with busyness. I'm going back to the basics-grocery shopping, straightening the house & getting all of us ready for church tomorrow (when there are 7 of you to get out the door by 9am, you have to start the day before!). Maybe a movie this evening. Exercise would help, if it's not still 110 degrees this evening, maybe I can walk.

So-what says you? Do you have trouble recognizing emotional stress? What do you do about it? How can we see it coming before it strikes?

3 comments:

Vicki said...

Yes I would say I have trouble recognizing it. No advice..

Tonya said...

As you know, I struggle with depression and have to be very awaare to recognize it in myself. And like you, I have trouble recognizing as well. And here is one thing I've learned - many times the people closest to me (i.e. my husband) recognize it before I do. Of course I never want to hear it when Mitch says to me, "That sounds a little like depression talking there." But very, very often, he is right. And in a couple of days, I realize that, yes, I am depressed about something. So I guess my advice is that sometimes the signals might come from outside sources.

Luke said...

I think I have trouble recognizing it as well.

Another thing that I may do--not sure yet--is be overly empathetic to a bad point: Where I start to internalize others' pain/fear/what-have-you and take it on myself. This is unhealthy and unhelpful but I sometimes feel like I'm going there. [shrug] Or maybe I'm just crazy [smile].

~Luke