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Recognizing Signs From Both Points of View: Caregiver and Self

There are always warning signs; but, we may not be attuned to them amidst the struggles. Those around us oftentimes don’t know what to look for, either. These signs may not always be the most obvious. It’s important to make yourself aware of changes going on within you. The earlier you’re able to recognize signs, the sooner you will be able to reach out for the help you deserve.  As caregivers, we must also be familiar with fluctuations in those around us. Here are five warning signs we should be paying attention to.

1. Changes in mood

For yourself: Are their times you find your moods fluctuating? Don’t just write these signs off as being moody. This can be one of the first signs that something may be wrong.

For caregivers: Maybe you have noticed changes in your loved one’s mood. They may be extremely sad or have unpredictable moods. This is a sign that something may be wrong.

2. Isolation and/or avoidance

For yourself: Are you detaching people that usually lift your spirits? Do you find yourself avoiding from things you usually like to do? Separating yourself from people and losing interest in the things you usually enjoy can be a sign that you may want to seek help.

For caregivers: Are you seeing less and less of your loved ones? Are they skipping plans or not answering your calls and texts? Take note of this and keep it in mind. Something may be going on.

3. Sleeping a lot or very little

For yourself: Do you find yourself sleeping until noon? Maybe you aren’t sleeping well at all. This can be a telling sign of mental health problems that may be worsening. Take note in changes in your sleeping patterns.

For caregivers: Take note of big changes in your loved one’s sleeping patterns. Both sleeping too much or too little may be a sign that they need extra care.

4. Substance use

For yourself: Do you notice that you are depending on alcohol or drugs to make up for your mood changes, isolation and avoidance, or distorted sleeping patterns? This self-medicating is a huge sign that something could be wrong.

For caregivers: Is your loved one self-medicating with drugs or alcohol? This is a huge warning sign that a dependence may be starting and you should get them help.

5. Suicidal thoughts

For yourself: If you are having suicidal thoughts, are making plans, or are acting upon these thoughts and plans, seek help immediately.

For caregivers: If a loved one has told you about thoughts of hurting themselves or plans to, get them help immediately. Do not wait until it is too late.

Caregivers should be on the look-out for mental health warning signs, but you must also take note of changes that are occurring in your life. You may feel alone or like you are not worth getting help, but this voice in your head is false. Help and recovery are attainable. Reach out today.