Thinking about the things that tell us a storm might be coming and we need to look after ourselves a bit more. The may be red flags, alarm bells or brightly shining warning signs. But they may also be minor changes in our thought patterns or behaviour; little signs unrecognisable to any one but ourselves.
My co-blogger initiated this particular post by sending me some reflections on patterns she has noticed. I was fascinated with details and her reflections and it made me think more deeply about my own alarm bells.
For me it is not so much about preventing so-called relapse – though at times that is preferable, especially if I have plans that I don’t want to have to cancel because of my funny mind-states. It is more about feeling prepared and having choice; knowing that my state of mind is changing so that I can put things in place to deal with it; for example to let my partner know, make plans that will support me, invest in some self-care, communicate with friends about feelings and worries.
Apart from red flags it is also good to know what presses your buttons or overstimulates you. Sometimes we can handle to be triggered in more than one way but if you are already feeling on the verge of overwhelm you may be triggered by things you can normally handle. Maybe some thoughts on what can “get on our nerves” or “get to us” is worth writing in another post.
Each of us will experience our red flags differently but it can be helpful to share with others what yours are. Maybe you realise you have some red flags you had not thought about. Reading my co-bloggers list I found several I could relate to and I also realised that I have red flags that come earlier than the ones I usually recognise.
Here are some of the things that happens when I begin to enter puddledom:
Early red flags, changes in behaviour and thinking:
Avoiding responsibilities, postponing chores
Needing predictability, structure and making a lot of to-do lists
Comparing myself to others (and concluding that I am not good enough)
Judgemental thinking and impatience
My head gets cottonwoolly – like somebody’s muffling my thoughts. Not like my head gets silent but more like I can’t hear my own thinking and I can’t concentrate long enough to put any sentences together
Alarm bells when I am close to entering the difficult states of mind:
A lot of critical thoughts directed at myself
Short temper/irritable – especially with people close to me
No appetite, nausea
Feeling very raw and sensitive
Struggling to concentrate when reading, listening to others or watching tv
Feeling very sad when I wake in the morning