I had my annual wellness visit with my doctor last week. I guess they don’t call it a “physical” anymore because it’s not just about checking physical health. There’s a mental and emotional health component as well.

They’re all related, of course, so some of the questions on the form I had to fill out asked if – and how often – I’ve felt sad or depressed in the last four weeks, and how many days, if any, I had trouble falling asleep or getting back to sleep after waking up during the night.

I had a little trouble with some of the questions, especially the ones that started with “In the last four weeks…” I wanted to  put an asterisk by my answers, followed by a lengthy explanation. I realize the questions were meant to reflect “under normal circumstances,” but very little of my last four weeks have been under normal circumstances.

It’s been three weeks since my husband’s heart attack. That gave me a few sleepless nights, especially that first one in the ICU after his surgery. To say that I felt sad, depressed, or scared would be an understatement.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine last week also made me feel as though there’s a dark cloud hanging over the entire world. So yes, that made me feel sad, scared, and depressed, too.

But I don’t think that’s a sign of any problem with my mental or emotional health. I think it would be more a sign of a problem if I didn’t have those feelings. Still, being aware of them makes me realize and understand that I do need to pay attention to them, and should do whatever I may need to in order to make sure they don’t turn into anything harmful.

I’ve always known that writing is excellent therapy – although that’s not why I started writing in the first place. Still, as I write these words now, I am aware – even more so than I was during my wellness check at the doctor’s office – that events outside of me affect and influence what’s going on inside of me.

If you’ve found yourself feeling down and depressed – or even just a little out of sorts – over events going on in your life, whether recent or long-running, personal or global, please take the time to recognize and acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. Talk about them, write about them, or do whatever you need to in order to process them and take care of yourself.

And remember: This too shall pass. In the meantime, I wish you well.

February 28, 2022
©Betty Liedtke, 2022

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