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10 Signs of Depression’s Early Warning

Posted Jul 01 2008 4:11pm

weather map

On the road to a class in Topeka about 24 miles to the west. I was just getting ready to turn onto K-10 and make my way to the turnpike when the radio buzzed annoyingly with a weather alert. There was a tornado warning for Topeka. A twister had been sighted just southwest of town and was moving northeast. So much for class.

I love watching big storms move in. Can’t say I like having to hunker down in the basement when they’re on top of me and the sirens are blowing but they are beautiful. Definitely makes you feel small and puts things in perspective. In the big picture our problems are very small and while they may make us run and take shelter on occasion, they will pass.

storm clouds

One thing I’ve learned is to pay attention to the warning signs of depression. We may not have early warning radar, satellite imagery and a news crawl across our t.v. telling us it’s coming. With a little mindfulness and a willingness to face what’s going on (rather than try to avoid or ignore it and hope it’ll go away) we can take the necessary steps to head off the black dog storm. At the very least we can minimize its effects.

  1. more easily irritated
  2. changing your bedtime ritual (e.g. going to bed later/earlier, watching too much t.v., etc.)
  3. withdrawal from family, friend & co-workers
  4. dwelling on negative experiences, catastrophizing
  5. feeling like you’re stumbling through your day, just making the motions
  6. you stop exercising
  7. little things (taking the trash out, making a bed) start to seem like they take too much effort
  8. spending more time doing mindless activities - t.v., video games, internet (except to read this blog!)
  9. more aches and pains - worrying about your physical health
  10. feeling stuck - unable to make decisions

If you notice that you seem to be living more in your head, obsessed by your thoughts/feelings, then you may be slipping a leash back on to your black dog. You need to take the necessary steps to head it off. Get back into counseling, practice TLC, get on meds if necessary, etc. Force yourself to do what you know is good for you. Above all do not ignore the signs. It may seem that it’s easier to ignore them and hope they’ll go away but they won’t.

Take charge of your life, your health. No one else can do it for you.

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