It’s easier to tackle a mental health crisis when you know what to do ahead of time. Use these tips to develop your own crisis plan.
Life is difficult and it can be extremely stressful for everyone, not only for people who live with bipolar disorder. However, when life causes triggers to occur that spark worry, emotional turmoil and stress, it can be extremely difficult to cope for those of us battling our bipolar moods. It is always beneficial to have a list of tips of what to do in a crisis.
I am a fairly resilient person, but I often worry and become anxious about my life spiraling into a crisis during moments and events that feel too overwhelming to manage. I consider the worst at times and imagine what it would be like if a loved one passes away, or if someone close to me were to become terminally ill. People often tell me not to ponder such things, as they have not even happened, but it is the human condition to worry. I aim to focus on the positive, live full in the unknowing and embrace the moment. That is all that really matters in the end. I know it is not fruitful to worry about things “possibly” to come, so I felt compelled to share this blog with you that highlights steps we can all take if we ever find ourselves in a mental crisis.
All too often, I have been known to hide away for days in my apartment by myself in times of crisis. I know it is not good for me, but it can feel overwhelming to deal with the situation at hand or even talk to others. While taking some time for ourselves to recharge is necessary, and positive at times, try not to do so for more than a couple of days at a time—because this behavior can quickly become avoidance.
Remember what is good in your life
I am an individual who is fond of making lists. Jotting down the good things helps paint a clearer picture of my life. Life is not so dismal when I think of things like my pets, lovely home, enjoyable career, and my faith in God.
Pay attention to your physical health
When someone is going through emotional and mental turmoil, they often neglect to take care of their physical needs. It is imperative to bathe every day, eat and drink water appropriately, and rest on a routine schedule whenever possible.
Reach out to your loved ones
When we feel the worst, quite often we falsely conclude that nobody loves us. I tend to feel sorry for myself and actually believe these lies. I attempted to take my life 16 years ago when I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The one thing I learned from that incident is that I am never alone. There is always someone to reach out to.
Talk to a trusted medical professional
Visit your own general practitioner, psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse, or counselor. Medical professionals often provide an insightful perspective, a type of objective third-party lens. They won’t get all caught up in your intense emotional storm. Rather, they’ll help guide you through it.
Reach out to crisis lines
It is always wise to have a website to visit or a list posted on the fridge that has the both the national crisis number and numbers for local crisis lines in your community. Peer support groups are often a very beneficial service that people with bipolar can access to get the support that they need. Your peers understand your mental health struggle, and may be one of the best sources of advice.
Go to the emergency room
If you feel like you are going to harm yourself, go to the emergency room. This is why they exist at hospitals. A mental health emergency is just as important and relevant as someone dealing with a physical ailment.
Life can feel unbearable at times and it is always trying
when you are battling your own brain and emotions. I get it. However, I
strongly feel that we can manage and get through whatever life brings our way,
even when things are not always as we had hoped for. In times of crisis, it is
vital to simply try your absolute best and know the truth that there is always
help and there is always hope.
Andrea Paquette is founder and Executive Director of the Stigma-Free Society, formerly the Bipolar Disorder Society of BC, and she is also known as the Bipolar Babe. She is a mental health speaker, published author, advocate and above all a Stigma Stomper. She created the Bipolar Babe Project in May 2009. Andrea has reached over thousands with her message of hope and resiliency in schools, workplaces, and throughout various community organizations and events. Her Bipolar Babe persona has reached great heights locally and internationally as she is a 2016 Bell Let's Talk Face for the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH). Andrea is the B.C. Provincial 2015 Courage To Come Back Recipient in the Mental Health category, the winner of Victoria’s 2013 CFAX Mel Cooper Citizen of the Year Award and the 2013 Winner for Mental Health Mentorship given by the National Council for Behavioral Health, Washington, D.C. Andrea has also received the prestigious Top 20 Under 40 Award for Vancouver Island's Business and Community Awards.
She is grateful for having the opportunity to share her personal message that “No matter what our challenges, we can all live extraordinary lives.”
Feel free to visit her website:
Bipolar Babe. Connect with Andrea on Twitter @Bipolar__Babe and Instagram @bipolarbabe
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