It’s hard for anyone to sit and wait for the opportune outcome during times of crisis.
For me, suffering with Bipolar Disorder, I have heightened and amplified feelings of anxiety, fear, paranoia, depression, hyomania and mania. When there is uncertainty, these feelings kick into overdrive.
My personal BP experience is largely affected by anxiety. Recently, something happened concerning someone in my immediate family. We were, and still are, awaiting news about a serious, possibly life-altering, decision that could change the course of our lives. We have a fair idea at this point that things are going to be okay. Difficult, but okay. Not as earth-shattering as it could have been. My sincere hope is an important lesson was learned.
So, how do I wade through the oppressive tide of worry and fear while awaiting happy endings?
First, I have to rely on God. He really is the bottom line. However, with my mind firing an array of bad ideas, possibilities and potential unwanted outcomes, my feelings tell me that I have to fix this. I must fix it!!
It is exceptionally hard, I’d argue impossible at times, to quiet the random and racing thoughts, or break away from the obsessive thinking.
So, next thing, I must try to follow logical steps that I set for myself when I am feeling well and at peace. Basically, the sane and rational Jen has left a letter for the chaotic, frightened, fracture-minded Jen. It’s a letter I must follow when things aren’t making sense, when I’m hyperventilating and when all I see is absolute worst case scenarios unfolding.
The letter mentions grounding techniques. Move to a different environment, such as a new room, or the back porch. Then, the idea is to engage all senses. Smell the air – fragrant like a candle, or freshly cut grass? See the ceiling fan whirl or various shades of green in the trees. You get the idea. Feel. Hear. Taste, but only if it’s okay to taste it. Let’s not test out the freshly painted walls or bite into a shrub recently fertilized. You get the point, though. Be present in the moment. Focus on something other than the big problem.
Distraction can be a good thing, as long as you are not flying a plane, or something important like that. I shake up my routine and instead of catching a tv show I usually watch Tuesday night at 8:00, I listen to a book and color.
Art therapy. Possibly sounds like it might require too much effort or talent? I’m not saying I paint a piece ready to instantly grace the walls of a museum. You can journal with finger paints. There are Bibles now that have images to color with favorite scripture and columns of free space so that you might draw or doodle what you feel reading a particular scripture. Paint by number with watercolors, like we did in Kindergarten. Working out feelings with sidewalk chalk.
Music. Definitely art. Music is art. Definitely distraction. Definitely release. Definitely a huge help. Listening to music. Singing. Dancing. Music can light you up, or help calm.
Light exercise and stretches. It serves as a healthy distraction, and endorphins are released, which cause a feeling of well-being, and you can begin to concentrate more on your breathing.
Guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation help as well.
These are only a few things I use, a few suggestions. Another thing you might wonder, yep, sometimes PRN (as needed) anti-anxiety meds do help.
What I mentioned earlier that might be most key is this. Will frazzled, frightened Jen listen to the wisdom of non-present, rational Jen?
I’d like to say that because I’ve fought this for…well forever, that I’ve found a good medication combo (with my doctor’s help) and have been in therapy, again, forever, and therefore I have it licked. Or at least well under control. Or hey, at least half the time, no doubt. Surely?
Turmoil and bedlam are, more often than not, nearly impossible to overcome. There is such an energy-zapping effort to work my way through a frenzied mind with numerous demanding voices because I’m not doing something fast enough to hasten the desired outcome.
I’m going to be generous and say 15% of the time, I nail it. I beat it. I remember the letter from the experienced and wise Jen. Cue the song of angels and light of Heaven.
That said, 85% of the time, I can almost smell skin burning, scorched from the flames of what can only be described as hell.
Heaven or hell…
Bipolar Disorder battle.