By Hope Bolinger, Crosswalk.com
But what happens when the unhappy mood stems from something deeper? Do I just feel off today because I need a Snickers or do have something more spiritual happening? Do I have anxiety or depression?
This, of course, doesn’t just apply to women. We all experience days where our anger bubbles over more than it does on others. And, the issue complicates when we experience several “off days” in a row, perhaps for even months at a time.
How do we tell the difference between plain ol’ bad days and bad symptoms that show an underlying spiritual need? The difference between PMS, mental health, and sin. Also, in terms of mental health, how many bad days do we need in a row to determine if we need to take a deeper look at our mental health and perhaps consult a professional?Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Moose Photos
PMS: Signs it’s probably just a bad day
Of course, if we lash out at others because of hunger, body aches, or situational circumstances in a 24-hour period, we need to apologize for that poor behavior (Ephesians 4:26). Even when our hormones rage, we have to keep ourselves in check, warn our friends and family members ahead of time about the PMS, and weigh our words carefully.
Apologies aside, these signs may indicate you’ve just experienced PMS in terms of a bad day:
- You can placate much of your anger by fulfilling a biological need. For instance, perhaps you are dehydrated or haven’t eating since 7 a.m.
- You seem more irritated with immediate items than anything long term. A coworker may be talking too loud by your cubicle today, so you can’t concentrate on your tasks at hand, for instance.
- You don’t have many days like this, or you’re not really one to get in a negative mood.
- In terms of women and PMS, you may be showing signs of it via bodily symptoms (aches, headaches, nausea). Most women keep a consistent calendar and can track when this will come. Often I’ll get irritated and feel like I need to vomit right around this time. I always seem to forget until I check my calendar, and this assures me my body is just falling into routine.
- It just might be one of those days where the circumstances aren’t in your favor. Maybe it poured rain on your way to work or you got caught in traffic and came in late.
Granted, sometimes these signs can accompany you when you fall into one of the below categories. For instance, maybe you’ve let something fester, so your anger releases on something seemingly petty like a coworker microwaving fish, leaving a terrible smell to linger in the office kitchen. One of the best ways to check to see if it’s just for today and not deeper is to analyze your history with bad days. If you often don’t have many, you probably fall into this above category.
But if you have a history of bad days, you might want to take a look at the other two categories to see where you fit.
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Anxiety: Signs you’ve had many bad days in a row, and need to get it checked out
I’ve personally dealt with depression for eight years, and it can often come in waves. Some months are fantastic, and I show minimal symptoms. Sometimes it lingers for months, years, even.
Maybe you’ve had a week of bad days straight, and this worries you because you might be dealing with something biological that needs to get checked out by a healthcare professional.
Although no clear-cut deadline of bad days can draw a line between a rough week and mental illness, the following signs may indicate you need to talk with a doctor:
- Hopelessness vs. frustration: Those who have mental illness may feel a sense of being trapped or as though their situation will not improve. Opposed to those who experience a bad day may harbor some irritation for the events of the day, but those disappear after a brief period or after some need is met.
- Dread: Whether you deal with anxiety, depression, or another mental illness, dread can often characterize the thought process of someone who struggles with mental health. An overall dread about the events of the day to the future consumes one’s thoughts.
- Long periods of time with these symptoms: Although it differs on how long the symptoms can last from one person to the next, if you have a month of bad days, that’s a pretty good sign you need to consult a doctor. PMS symptoms tend to wear off after a week or two, but if they seem to stick around long after that designated time, this could point to a deeper issue.
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Sin: Signs your bad day means you need to analyze a deeper spiritual issue
People often link mental health with sin, but the church has recently made strides against this misconception.
Still, we should know whether our spiritual or mental health gets compromised when we have bad days. Check out these signs which may indicate you need address something deeper in your life with God:
- You seem to lash out about something you’d consider petty most days: Most arguments tend to stem from something deeper. Maybe you screamed at your husband for not doing the dishes, when really, the anger bubbled up because of something else.
- Prayer time and Scripture readings seem tedious. Whenever I engage in sin, I tend to avoid Scripture and talking with God, because deep down I know I have done something that doesn’t match up with His standard for how I should live. Granted, sometimes PMS and bad days make us wearyand we don’t have the energy to talk or read.
- You’ve had multiple bad days in a row. As mentioned above, if you have consistent, bad days full of pessimism, anger, and irritation, and they don’t fall around the time you usually have PMS, this could indicate a deeper spiritual issue.
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Why does this matter?
Often, as women, we lead busy lives and often don’t want to confront the very things that compromise our outlooks and attitudes. If readers are anything like me, I like to shove down the negative emotions until they boil and burn the closest person in proximity.
It matters we check our hearts and minds often because we need to remain vigilant against attacks from the enemy (1 Peter 5:8). We also need to remember everywhere we go is a witness. If we lash out on someone who does not believe in Jesus, we taint their view of Christianity. Even if we get angry with a fellow brother or sister, that can jade them and their opinion of the church.
Granted, our emotions can fluctuate all over the place. I am angry when I haven’t had a good meal to eat and appear far happier once I’ve had a grilled cheese sandwich. We don’t have to go looking for sin where it doesn’t exist, but don’t ignore the symptoms if they seem to come back consistently and with a ferocity.
Hope Bolingeris a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a recent graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 350 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 5,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. Her modern-day Daniel, “Blaze,” (Illuminate YA) just released, and they contracted the sequel for 2020. Find out more about her here.
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