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No-one likes to contemplate failure. It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO running a blue-chip corp, or a stay-at-home mom battling with lively kids, we all have an ideal version of ourselves in our heads, and when we know that we are failing to live up to that ideal, it can be very painful to accept. Life is full of ups and downs by its very nature, and seeking outside support is sometimes very necessary in order to help us on our journey.
Unfortunately, too many people still see it as a sign of weakness to ask for the help they so desperately need, and either continue to suffer in silence or let matters build up to a point where they go off the rails. The real strength and wisdom lies in recognising the warning signs that you’re struggling to cope. Early intervention can be absolutely transformative in accessing the help that you need – whether that is simply talking things through with a trusted friend, or accessing the facilities somewhere like the Lake Wellness Centre for a higher level of support. So, how do you learn to identify the warning signs that all is not well?
Not ‘feeling yourself’ is a very nebulous concept that can be hard to pin down, yet you will always know when you’re in that state. It could be a feeling of losing your zest and enthusiasm, not enjoying the things which normally give you pleasure, losing out on a job search due to lack of motivation or even struggling to get out of bed in the morning. A state of apathy which lasts longer than a few days should always be a cause for concern. Equally, if you find yourself quick to anger over minor issues or wanting to burst into tears if someone so much as looks at you the wrong way, you need to try and examine the cause of those feelings. It’s not always one specific thing which triggers a wave of negative emotion – it can easily be a build-up of much smaller matters. Tune into yourself by practising some mindfulness and becoming aware of how your mind and body affect each other.
Whatever emotions you are experiencing, although they are entirely natural,. If they’re starting to affect your quality of life they need to be addressed. This can manifest itself in a number of ways – from increased conflict with your partner due to your inability to regulate your emotional responses, through to serious substance abuse problems or issues like gambling. Addictions are often a way to distract the brain from painful emotions that we are feeling and don’t know how to process. If you’re seeing adverse consequences as a result of a behavioral pattern – overspending, undereating, getting into arguments, things like that – but you feel unable to stop the behaviour, then it becomes clear that you need to seek professional support to help you overcome the challenge.
Our homes, appearances and food intake and even the state of our skin can all be external signs of internal disorder. If your environment is extremely messy and cluttered, and you have put on or lost a significant amount of weight, or stopped with your personal care routine, they should be red flags. Not looking after yourself is a form of self-abuse – whether this be through diet, lack of exercise, living in chaos or other factors. If you’ve always been fairly moderate and you suddenly start to become extreme in any aspect of your lifestyle, stop to consider the reasons behind the change.
If you’ve been through something traumatic in life, often it can take a very long time for your true emotional response to surface. We can carry a lot of numbness and disbelief around when we have lived through a tragedy – for far longer than you may expect, it can mask your true feelings and becomes a form of self-protection. If you went through a bad experience, whether it be that you suffered a bereavement, perhaps you experienced sexual harassment, had a car accident or were ill, even if it was some years ago, it could be bothering you now. Don’t immediately dismiss it as the source of your problems simply because it happened a while ago. If you never properly dealt with the issue, now could be the time.
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