Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz!
I can’t believe how fast this month went. I mean, June passed, July dragged, I blinked and now here I am, just a couple of days away from September. I hope everyone has a smooth transition from summer break to back-to-school this week!
But speaking of the end of the month approaching, I must ask: how is your healing journey going?
Are you checking-in with yourself? Are you giving yourself the time and space needed to do these mental check-in’s? Even more important: are you aware of the behavior and emotions that you are going through?
I know how difficult it may be to not give yourself some time for these check-ins, but it’s important to be aware where you’re at in your healing journey, and it’s important to acknowledge that yeah, you’re busy, but your mental health is also a priority.
For me, I’ve been aware of some of the behaviors I’ve had, which usually means that I’m currently going through an episode. It’s common when you have depression. Some days are just going to be bad, and that’s okay – but a good check-in for an issue like this would see how many days of the week do I feel this way. Were there any good days I had, and if so – why was it a better day than the rest? Just simply documenting why I felt a certain way and how I dealt with it is beneficial to the process.
I say this because a lot of us dealing with clinical levels of anxiety or depression tend to simply just overthink or allow our bodies to take control when really, it stems from our cognitive thinking.
What I mean by that is that usually, the negative thought begins, which then makes you feel that emotion and then behave according to that emotion. For example, you failed your driver’s test that you’ve worked so hard on for the past couple of months. You’re upset because you failed it. You think about all the things you had planned for when you passed this test. Now you feel like a failure, and now you’re negatively thinking you’re a failure and not good enough. So you lay in bed all week with little to no interest to do anything because you’re really just torn about the test’s outcome. It’s simple: when you allow negative thoughts to continuously go through your mind, it’s only a certain amount of time when you start acting accordingly to those negative thoughts. To change that cycle, checking-in with yourself is one way to actively be aware of what’s going on and try to prevent your behavior from getting out of hand.
So, how do we truly stop this cycle from happening over and over again? Well, in some cases, it requires some professional assistance like therapy. In some cases, it requires another person asking these questions back at you: what thought created that feeling? When you starting to feel that feeling, how did you react to it? How has your behavior changed since first thinking that negative thought? Again, it’s all about being aware of what’s happening and to actually be open and honest with yourself.
Don’t just sit there and pretend that just because you’re feeling numb, doesn’t mean you’re not feeling sadness. Numbness is a major symptom of depression, and in some cases – I believe feeling numb is a lot worse than feeling sad. I should know.
I’m not saying that there will be an answer for everything; maybe you don’t know when or how the behavior started, but know that it started for a reason. As I’m learning to stop minimalize my feelings, I’m also being more aware of the fact that while depression is an on-again-off-again mood disorder, it surfaces from something that you may be feeling.
So, how are you feeling?
Even a simple check-up on how are you feeling can be so helpful to your mental health. Don’t overanalyze everything and make something out of nothing, but if you’re not feeling 100% on this particular day, sit yourself down and ask yourself what’s going on.
In a sense, you’re becoming your own supporter when you ask yourself what’s wrong instead of seeking it out from others.
So, starting this week, ask yourself how are you contributing to your healing journey.