Taking Care of Your Mental Health During Periods of Stress
I think I talk about stress and the impact it can have on our mental health often in this blog. Hopefully, it's not exceedingly boring. This blog is a bit different in topic. Yes, it focuses of taking care of ourselves during periods of stress, but also on how we can take care of those we love if they become ill---while knowing when to pull back.
Often, particularly when we are first diagnosed with a mental illness, we cannot help but to focus on ourselves. Only ourselves. And this is normal--to a degree. When we are working to become stable it's all we can do to breathe, to stay alive, and make sure we take care of ourselves. Sometimes, once we become well, we can forget that other people struggle too. We can forget that we need to reach out to those who have helped us recover.
An example: A close friend of mine has recently been diagnosed with a mental illness. Bipolar disorder. She's part of 'the club' now and it's a club I would not wish on, well, I don't have any enemies, but you get my drift...
It was shocking. She's always been so level headed! So stable and lovely and here to hold my hand when times get rough. And they do. It's like clockwork. But she's sick now and she needs me. I go to her home and I cook and I clean and I hug her when she cries and asks me, me, when she will get better. Soon, I tell her, hang on. And I pray to a God that I am not sure exists that I can stay stable during this time. She needs me. Surely my illness will understand and back off until she is well again? Ah, if only we could control our brain chemistry...
How Do We Know When We Have to Pull Back...
How do we know when stress is becoming too much--even if it is focused on helping someone else? I have had to figure this one out and it's been hard. She needs me but I need me to stay well. I had to pull back when I noticed my own mood changing. When nights were sleepless and I wasn't eating enough. When things started blurring together and life not making much sense.
Point in case: We need to put our recovery first. Figure out how to draw the line during periods of stress. Figure out what you can do without risking your stability. She needs me and I am giving her all I can but, in the end, I am useless to her or anyone else if I become ill myself.
Take care of yourself first.
Champagne, N. (2012, November 29). Taking Care of Your Mental Health During Periods of Stress, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2012/11/taking-care-of-your-mental-health-during-periods-of-stress
Author: Natalie Jeanne Champagne
Good luck to all of us and may we have a good day today.