When To Reach Out
Sometimes it’s easy to recognize the signs that you need to talk to someone about how you’re doing. But as you continue to care for patients, fill extra shifts and manage all the usual stressors day after day, it can become routine to ignore the effects of stress and trauma. You can miss the signs that you need support, so it’s essential to check in with yourself frequently. Reach out for support if you are experiencing any of these warning signs.
Feeling irritable or angry. You may have a lack of patience for things that never used to bother you. You may feel irritated or even angry a lot more than usual.
Feeling anxious, depressed, lonely or constantly sad. You may feel happy much less frequently. The bad days seem to far outweigh the good days.
Reliving traumatic events. You may want nothing more than to forget the distressing things you’ve experienced, or the losses and suffering you’ve seen, but those memories keep reappearing, often unexpectedly.
Isolating yourself and lack of trust in others. You may feel alone, yet you also prefer to be alone. You don’t want to talk or socialize, and have lost interest in usual activities. You may question whether anyone cares, including your leadership at work, and maybe even people who are normally close to you.
Experiencing compassion fatigue, burnout or moral injury. You may find it difficult to empathize with others and are bothered by decisions and situations that feel wrong. The cost of caring may have stretched you thin, and you struggle to get through each shift.
Struggling to sleep or oversleeping. You may be negatively impacted by shiftwork and have little recovery time. You never seem to feel rested — if you can sleep at all. Or you may want to sleep far more than usual.
New or increased substance use. You, and perhaps others, have noticed an increase in how much you are drinking or using other substances.
Experiencing physical issues that impact you in unexpected ways: This could include:
- Digestive and/or appetite problems
- Increased aches and pain
- Sexual and/or reproductive issues
- Executive function and memory problems
The COVID-19 pandemic has created some unusual circumstances and as a result, you may find that you’ve taken on additional roles that create a range of emotions. These feelings and experiences are normal, but they can take a significant toll on your well-being.
It doesn’t mean that you are destined to have a long-term mental health condition because you’re experiencing this, but addressing signs and symptoms is vital to ensuring lifelong mental health and wellness.
Taking care of yourself is essential — and NAMI can help.