Do you remember the hall monitor in school? They were the person responsible for helping to keep order in the school. They caught the kids sneaking around without hall passes. They made sure anyone who tried to skip out were caught. We used to dread them every time we tried to stay out late at recess. They were often the vigilant little helpers of the teacher that could make life miserable for the rest of us.
But you should try and become more like your hall monitor, at least when it comes to identifying your own depression warning signs.
I know what you're thinking. You're probably thinking "why on earth would I want to become more like a glorified snitch?" Let me first try and remind you that the hall monitors weren't all bad. Because in fact, if they hadn't caught my friend Jenny trying her first cigarette, her Mom might never have found out. Then Jenny may have taken up a really bad habit at the age of 14. But instead, her Mom disciplined her and made sure Jenny understood why she couldn't smoke, EVER.
So a vigilant hall monitor saved Jenny from undertaking a habit that would be hazardous to her health. But the good news is, you don't have to "tattle" on anyone to identify your own depression warning signs.
All you have to do is carefully monitor your own thoughts.
That's how you become a hall monitor for yourself. See, how easy that was? You just have to walk up and down the corridors of your mind and make sure the thoughts that are there aren't the signs of depression. Continual negative thoughts are the hallmarks of depression.
Here are some examples of thoughts that are depression warning signs:
1. I'm worthless.
2. The world would be better off without me.
3. I just don't enjoy life anymore.
4. I find it hard to concentrate and remember what I read.
5. I don't have anything to look forward to anymore.
One caveat: random negative thoughts vs. thoughts that are depression warning signs.
Random negative thoughts pop up into our head from time to time. Thoughts ranging from "I don't like this soda" to "I don't think she likes me" pop into our head from time to time. It's a part of life. But notice, there's a difference between "I don't think she likes me" versus "I'm worthless." You may not think someone likes you because of an interaction you had with them, but it doesn't mean you think negatively of yourself because of it.
You'll notice the depression warning signs listed above point to a low level of self-esteem and a general feeling that you just don't have the inclination to deal with life anymore. That's the key to distinguishing between a random negative thought and thoughts indicating you might be depressed. Random negative thoughts don't require the kind of intervention serious depression does.
The good news is, there are many options available to you once you identify that you are experiencing depression.
1. Try talking things out with a friend or a mental health professional who has experience in treating depression.
2. Try one of the natural remedies for depression, like exercise.
3. You can get anti-depressant medication if a mental health professional (like a psychiatrist) determines your condition requires such treatment.
That's why it pays to become a hall monitor of your thoughts. They can be good indicators if you're having an episode of depression. Then tattle on yourself by getting help. You'll find that becoming more like a hall monitor in this case will help make you happier in the long run.