Congratulations! You’ve made it to the final segment of our series on Unshakable You: 5 Choices of Emotionally Healthy People.


Hopefully, by this point you feel well-equipped to take on the task of keeping yourself in a good mental and emotional place. It’s not always easy, but the tools we’ve outlined in the two months of posts can help lighten your load. And remember: Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional if the burden becomes too much to bear.


In our last installment, we’ll talk about the final choice the emotionally health person makes: Stay alert. Once you’ve recovered from burnout, or anxiety, or depression (or all three), great temptation awaits you. The temptation to return to old, unhealthy habits is often present. More on that in a moment.


So here are a few ways to keep yourself alert:


Be aware of the warning signs of depression


The National Institute of Mental Health lists the following ten symptoms of depression and urges anyone experiencing some of these for two weeks or longer to seek professional help. Here are some depression dashboard lights that can help you monitor your well-being:

  1. Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping.
  2. Overeating or appetite loss.
  3. Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that once proved pleasurable.
  4. Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.
  5. Fatigue and decreased energy.
  6. Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness.
  7. Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism.
  8. Irritability or restlessness.
  9. Persistent sad, anxious, or empty feelings.
  10. Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts (we urge you to seek help immediately when it comes to this warning sign).


Be aware of traps that lurk: Here are a few other traps to be aware of:


Depression becomes your identity long-term

The trap of depression becoming your long-term identity is usually sprung after you are well on your way to getting better. In the short term, depression is your identity to a large degree, because it has the uncanny ability to envelop you. Recovery can take a long time even when taking the necessary steps to heal. But continuing to see yourself as a victim will hinder your healing process.


Expecting extra attention and support past the point you become reasonably whole

When you are in the middle of the long dark tunnel, the extra care and support of trusted friends and family are absolutely necessary. Recovery usually happens like this: you make forward progress, then you regress a bit. More progress occurs, and then you go backwards a little. Recovery from depression is not a straight line upward. You need propping up during this season to help you balance out these ups and downs. But once you are patched up emotionally, it’s possible to subconsciously fall into the trap of expecting the same level of care and reinforcement indefinitely.


Not genuinely wanting to get well

I have discovered to my surprise that some people grow comfortable with being unhealthy. It bothers me to say this, but it is possible to get used to being depressed, and not really want to get well. It is a subtle snare which leaves people in a continual state of unhealthy dependency.


Once you are well, falling back into old habits

The choice to stay alert is crucial to your long-term emotional health. There is life after depression. Joy and peace do return. You get to a place where you are able to string together weeks and months of feeling good. This may be the most dangerous part of your recovery. You are feeling better. Emotional stability has re-emerged, and you mistakenly let your guard down. This trap fools you into believing you can return to poor habits and remain healthy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Once you get to a more stable condition, dedicate yourself to learning and living the skills you will need to thrive again.


So there you have it. Become your own best friend. Tell anger where to go. Protect yourself from abuse. And learn how to run on a full tank. You’ll lead better, longer, and enjoy it more!


We’re rooting and praying for you!

John & Jaime