Don’t Ignore the Signs
June 24, 2014
June 27, 2011
A client shared an article with me a few weeks ago that reminded readers to pay attention to little signs that could mean something is wrong with your health. I’ve read articles like this before. Mostly we know these things, and this kind of reminder keeps us sufficiently anxious and hyper-vigilant. We should watch for shortness of breath, dizziness, irritability, unusual fatigue, changes in appetite, bloating, inflammation of joints, changes in digestive processes, excessive sweating, a change in condition of your skin or hair, muscle weakness….the list went on and on. By the time I finished it I thought, “Wow! I could be a few of these things several times a week. And I really think I’m healthy. At least my doctor tells me so every year.
There is so much information available about our physical health, but not nearly as much available for the signs of emotional, psychological, or spiritual maladies. By the time a troubled relationship makes its way to the therapist’s office, research tells us it has been in trouble for five years. The relational cancer has spread and there is hard and often painful work to be done. The same is true for individual issues that have been swept under the rug, denied, ignored, or anesthetized into unconsciousness.
So what are some of the signs you shouldn’t ignore?
In a relationship you shouldn’t ignore:
- A sense of disconnection, boredom with the other person, or loneliness.
Disconnection is perhaps the most dangerous symptom in a relationship. It quickly erodes the quality of the partnership and often leaves a vacuum that gets filled with other things. (Like obsessive hobbies, too much focus on children, affairs, and technology, to name a few.)
- A constant feeling of defensiveness, anger, or rage.
Feeling and acting defensive or angry is a sure way to march a relationship toward a premature end.
*A feeling of suspicion, distrust, contempt, or disrespect, either toward the other person or being expressed by the other person.
These negative emotions are like emotional cancers. They spread and sicken
an entire system. If you feel disrespectful or disrespected, get help immediately.
- Addictive use of mind altering substances. Speaks for itself.
- Infidelity, and I include financial and emotional infidelity in this category.
If you are lying to your partner, you will eventually be in trouble.
Looking at individuals, the following list should not be ignored:
- Chronic feelings of sadness or despair.
This could be a clinical depression or unresolved/complicated grief.
- Feelings of apathy, like it wouldn’t matter if you were here or not. Nobody would care.
While we all have days when we question our existence, an ongoing feeling
of not being connected to others who care about you can spell trouble.
- Anxiety or unmitigated angst. Sometimes this looks like obsessive thinking.
Either of these emotions can be paralyzing and can keep one from being able to
fully participate in life.
- Anger or Irritability.
If you cannot control your negative moods, if others begin to stay away from you because of them, or if you’ve lost a job or relationship because of them, seek help.
- A major change in your basic personality or moods.
If people start telling you that you are not yourself anymore, or if you feel
like you don’t recognize yourself (in a negative way) there’s a good chance
something is wrong.
- A persistent sense of negativity.
Yes, some people see the cup as half empty. But a true sense of negativity
is often a sign of deeper and redeemable problems.
- Addictive use of mind altering substances. Again, this speaks for itself.
If you don’t get out and don’t want to get out, if you have little or no need for community, and if all relationships feel like more of a burden than a joy, it’s time
So, don’t avoid the signs. If you need help, get it. Your mental health effects every other part of your life!
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