Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A time of Crisis


I wanted to take a moment today and validate for many who may be struggling today. While there are many out there that are not fighting for sanity, I wanted to honestly reflect - that during the holidays can be quite difficult for some people. 

There may be a lot of family time with large crowds to tend to, or lack of family may be the injury inside. Simply grocery shopping can be a daunting task with so many people out and about. All of it can be overwhelming and quite frankly there are too many people out there that do not understand why you hurt so badly inside with all the "cheer" swirling around us. 

I am sure many of you have heard that suicide rates go up during the holidays, I did want to point out that the CDC did a study of that concept and found it to be a myth (please see link below.) Not to say that the holidays don't bring more stress and that there is a trend of people struggling with their mental illness more during this time. That part is very real. I have included some links to the Mayo Clinic and NAMI on some tips to help you through it. 

Something paramount in getting through any time of crisis is validation, honesty with yourself about your limitations and not shaming yourself when you need to say enough is enough. This can go any direction.

Knowing your limits may mean you do not have holiday meals with three families over the course of two days, saying "no" to someone and not feeling guilty about it, knowing that you are taking care of yourself and that anyone who loves you enough to want to spend the holidays with you, will love you and respect you enough to know that you know when you need to draw a line and they will respect your "no thank-you"

Or, the other direction. If you do not have family around and you know that your limitation is by the third day of being alone that you call up that family friend of yours and ask to be with them and do not feel ashamed for asking or feel as though you are an extra to a family unit, rather that you can be a part of the world with them, despite how difficult it is to ask for help. 

Know and respect your limitations...
 Validate, Limitation, and ... a third point is:

Do something nice for yourself!

What does it mean to do something nice for yourself? 

Well, that can take on so many meanings for sure. But this particular time I am referring only to something nice for yourself that will enhance the other two (validation and limitation.)

For example: Let's say you enjoy arts and crafts. Sitting down and doing a project all day long may be nice to yourself, but if it puts you behind in other things, then the long term consequence for that act of kindness to yourself will hurt your cause rather than help your cause.

So a variation may be, set an alarm and only work on the project for a certain amount of time. Or perhaps doing something nice for yourself in this regard may not feel all that great in the short term, because what we are aiming for is long term benefits, getting you through a period of time that is somewhat prolonged compared to trying to pass a moment of discomfort. 

Example:
Taking a walk. Exercising. Painting your nails. Curling your hair. Cleaning a room in your house. Organizing a desk or file or closet. Going through your closets. 

Some of those tasks are not all that fun in the moment, but the feeling of mastery after it is complete is what will propel you forward through this difficult time. It will fuel you for each morning to wake up and validate your pain:

I am suffering and I am going to make it.

This reality hurts, I struggle with XYZ emotion and I am capable.  

When our rope is about to break and the last vestiges of sanity are barely clinging to reality, it is not the time to do this:

It is the time to:

Validate yourself.
Know your Limitations and act on them,
and be Active in some activity that is Kind to yourself. 



~MJ