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Recently, my husband severely injured his right hand, requiring emergency surgery and a stay in the hospital. This was stressful on many different levels: emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially. I had to find friends to watch our kids, arrange follow-ups with doctors, and learn how to care for my husband who would have difficulty caring for himself for a while. It was overwhelming, to say the least.
Coping with the trauma of the event itself was something completely different. I’d observed my husband’s mutilated hand, and witnessed his agony, which was very troubling. Once I realized how bad the injury was, I had to go completely into crisis mode. That expends a lot of my extra energy and I ended up sobbing uncontrollably several times that difficult day.
With my recent Type I Bipolar diagnosis, I know that I have to stay away from stress as much as possible. But what happens when the stress comes to me? What happens when the unthinkable occurs? How does one with Bipolar Disorder cope with those events?
I’m certainly no expert in this area, but I found a few things that really helped me stabilize myself when I felt like the ominous string of sudden responsibilities would envelop me. I hope you find them helpful, as well:
1. Setting healthy boundaries. I started with backing off of all unimportant projects that were unrelated to the event, making sure I wrote them down to get to at a later date.
2. Rearranging priorities. This is when I really had to divide the necessary from the unnecessary. I started from the source of the trauma and worked my way out, noting the most important people that needed my care first.
3. Taking personal time. It’s important for me to continue to listen to what my body needs in order to stay balanced. I had to do my best to keep from continuously ignoring my own needs for those of someone else.
4. Staying organized. If you need to manage an unprecedented schedule, you’ll want to be as organized as possible. It’s harder to do when you’re in the middle of a crisis, so I like to stick to easy ways of keeping a schedule, like using a planner or my phone’s calendar app.
5. Getting enough rest. I can’t emphasize this one enough. Sleep can be paramount to coping well within difficult situations, and each day is going to bring something different. I planned for chaos, and stuck to my sleep schedule as best I could, and it made such a difference.
6. Asking for help. Reaching out only improved my situation. I had to call on my close friends and family members to help me cope and manage added responsibilities. It was a huge relief.
7. Talking to a therapist. My therapist helped me stay on track and reminded me that I needed to cut myself slack during that challenging situation. It also was really nice to have someone outside the situation to talk to about my struggles with the event.
It can be difficult to balance, and extra stress can cause all kinds of problems with your mind and body, poor judgment, to depression and irritability.
But don’t worry! You will get through this. With mindful planning, it’s possible to survive traumatic events without losing your entire ability to cope.
This article appeared on www.bhope.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MELANIE MCKINNON
Melanie McKinnon is a freelance writer based in Mesa, Arizona. She’s a blogger for The Huffington Post and has written for several notable websites, such as Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, and The Mighty. Diagnosed with Type I Bipolar Disorder in July of 2015, she spends her time balancing her moods and responsibilities at work, as a writer and barre fitness instructor, and at home, with her spouse and three children. Her favorite things include meditation, Diet Pepsi, Arizona, and football. Through her writing, she hopes to encourage and inspire anyone fighting a daily battle. Read more from Melanie on her blog: MelanieMeditates.com.