In all of the chaos and fear surrounding COVID19 we’re all considering our physical health and safety. Taking action as needed. Now what about your mental health?
Have you sat down and thought about how you and those close to you are coping?
Anxiety (and especially health anxiety) is a topic that has been discussed lately which is great to see. But I haven’t seen much yet about managing depression and isolation. If you want to share a link in the comments on this topic I’d love to read it.
Part of managing the health risks of COVID19 is self isolating if needed. As someone who has lived with major depression long term I’ve learnt to recognise warning signs that I’m not ok. Isolating myself is one of the signs I look for.
My kids and I have been home for over a week (my son has a cold). His school said to keep away. I’m grateful for their clear stance and being home has reduced my anxiety for my family. But being isolated has me worried about myself.
Usually when I start to self isolate it means my depression isn’t managed well. I feel comfortable and safe being at home and retreat further and further.
So.. I was curious to ask what do other people do in this situation?
Does anyone have realistic ideas that might help?
I’m waiting for my psychiatrist appointment and no doubt he’ll review my medicines. I’ll update at the end of the month and share what advice he has.
Above all I wanted to ask how do you distinguish between isolating as a symptom of Depression and isolating because of the virus?
If you know (or are) someone who manages mental health issues there are questions important to be asking right now…
What symptoms do you experience if your mental health is declining? How do you know when you are at risk and need to take action? What might it look like to me as an outsider when you’re struggling?
I’ll share my own warning signs (I manage recurring major depression and ADHD and have a history of suicidal ideation).
Perhaps it might make you think about how you or a loved one is coping right now and more importantly decide what steps to take to keep safe.
Withdrawing further and further from everyone and need more time alone to cope.
What this can look like to others:
I might sleep to avoid having to talk. Seem lost in thought. Be unable to follow conversation or focus. Snap at you or become teary for what seems like no reason.
The worse my depression becomes the harder it is to talk or write.
What can this look like?
I never answer the phone if you call. If I have to I’m blunt and cold. I’ll make any excuse not to make a phonecall. If you ask me to make an appointment I’ll do it online or not at all.
It can take days or weeks to get a reply to a text/email (if you get a reply at all). When I do reply it can be unpredictable. Maybe you’ll get prompt replies for a few days and then nothing again.
I’ve deleted nearly every post, blog, email or text I try to write. I’ve volunteered for BeyondBlue for years writing to others. I love it and it’s important to me and yet I’ve barely posted.
Others might notice…
I’m inconsistent. Might write to you and then disappear. When I’m present I care and might seem upbeat and even fine. Then I disappear yet again.
Other times you might see incomplete sentences or the writing is all confusing. That’s me trying to keep writing no matter what.
Alternating between needing to sleep all the time and insomnia.
This sounds obvious but it is important to consider that sleep can be used as an escape. So if I’m over sleeping or excuse myself to sleep it can be a way of coping because I’m overwhelmed and need space. Other times I might pace the house at night. Ot not come to bed so I don’t keep you awake.
Do anything to avoid leaving the house.
What does this look like?
Constant excuses and apologies. I’ll even bargain (if you’ll do the shopping I’ll clean the house). I do get snappy if you pressure or push too hard.
It can also mean refusing to go outside. Again the excuses can sound reasonable.
I know this post is confusing and I’m nit sure there is a point within the waffle. Just food for thought perhaps. If you find yourself going downhill in isolation it helps if people around you know what to look for so you can get the support you need.
I’ll hit post before I delete it like every other post I’ve tried to write. Thank you to anyone who takes the time to try read this ❤.