Your child trips and falls down on the sidewalk. What’s the first thing you do? You ask him if he’s okay as you help him up and check his knees for scrapes.
Your partner walks through the door after a long day at work, looking worried. You notice the tension ask if everything’s okay.
You wake up in the morning feeling like you can’t get out of bed and face another day. Do you force yourself to get up and get on with your responsibilities, suppressing your feelings?
Maybe you might take a moment and ask yourself if you’re okay. It could make all the difference to how you parent, work and love.
We are supermoms. We are fixers, teachers, worriers and multitaskers – in other words, we make things run smoothly so others will be okay. But what if we feel like something’s off, we have a dark cloud hanging over our head, a problem so insurmountable that we just can’t deal with?
Asking a simple question like “Am I okay?” can open a can of worms. What if you’re not? Are you afraid of looking weak, or letting your family down if you admit you’re having trouble coping? There’s nothing wrong with hitting the pause button on your life.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help assess if you’re experiencing normal stressors in your life, or if it’s something more.
Are my drives and interests changing?
Feeling tired, disinterested or detached from your daily life, especially when you were once very involved in every aspect of it, can be a tip-off that something isn’t right. Even having difficulty making up your mind about simple things like which route to take home or what colour tulips to buy when you were able to make clear choices before can be a red flag.
Am I having trouble staying focused?
Does your mind wander when you’re talking to a friend? Is it difficult for you to concentrate on the task at hand or do you find you leave things unfinished? Multitasking is a skill moms excel at. When we lose the ability to do it, there’s usually a reason.
Are my thought patterns changing?
Maybe you pride yourself on being a logical thinker and friends come to you for advice because they know you can help them find solutions. If you’ve noticed that you’re forgetting things often, you find yourself daydreaming, or you feel that others are directly responsible for the bad things that are happening in your life, it could be an indication that your thought patterns are off.
Is your opinion of yourself changing?
Are you engaging in a lot of negative self-talk? Do you silently put yourself down, are more sensitive than usual or experience extreme mood swings? While postpartum hormones can be responsible for constant tears or feeling irritable, they can’t be blamed when your kids are toddlers or preteens.
Are you withdrawing socially?
If you find you’re not returning phone calls, cancelling coffee dates with friends and your boss has been requesting more meetings to discuss your work than usual, there may be a reason for it. If friends and family comment that you’ve changed in recent months, there’s cause for concern.
What to do?
1. The first step in getting help is to have an open and honest talk with your doctor or your healthcare provider. Visiting with close friends may also present an opportunity for healthy conversation about how to cope with feeling withdrawn or overwhelmed.
2. Make some notes about how you’ve been feeling and how you’ve changed. Journalling can be a great way to reflect on your emotions and thoughts if you are not ready to speak openly about them. It can also be a great way to explore why you might be feeling or thinking a certain way.
3. There’s no harm in asking yourself if you’re okay. If you are, great! If not, help is available and with your family’s love and support, you will get through it. Looking online or within your community for support groups outside your home may be beneficial as well. Remember that you are loved!
4. Take time to do things that you enjoy and that benefit your mental, physical or emotional wellbeing. Start with just five minutes a day and dedicate that time to taking care of yourself.
The information in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health professional regarding any questions about your medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or wait to seek advice or treatment because of something you have read here.