Hi, how’s it going? Hope you are doing well.
Have you ever tried to balance your budget only to find out that you’re $300 short? Then to fix it you try to put in more hours at work but they end up cutting your hours instead? So you try to do something productive with your new spare time but every little thing comes along to ruin it…
Have you ever just had one of those days?
Josie had. Josie was the supporter of a person who had bipolar disorder. Every time Josie turned around something new had gone wrong. She was getting exhausted. And then, to top it all off, her loved one went into a major manic episode after being stable for five years! What a week!
She went crying to her loved one’s therapist of all people because she didn’t know who else to go to. The therapist asked her what she was doing to manage all the stress. Manage it? She was doing good not to have an emotional breakdown because of it!
So the therapist gave her some homework. He gave her a notebook and told her to write in it any way she came across that might work to make her less stressed. These could be ways that actually took what she was stressing about away or improved them, or they could be ways that just made her feel better about them. These could be ways that she actually used, or ones that she just thought of. In fact, he told her to put a checkmark by any that she actually used.
They made a new appointment for a month from that time, and she went home to do her homework. When she came back the month later, she was amazed to tell him of the progress she had made!
She had started noticing all of the ways she could reduce or eliminate stress, and then she started trying all of them. A few of them didn’t work so well, but a lot of them did. She still had just as many stressors in her life, and her loved one was still not doing their best, but she could manage it all now without having a breakdown.
Maybe this is an exercise you can try. Find a small notebook you can carry around with you anywhere. Sometimes you can find them as cheap as several for a dollar, if you know where to shop, so it doesn’t have to be expensive. And any pen or pencil will do.
Then write down every time you do or think of a coping technique. The ones you think of that you’ve never tried before might be a good idea to try, but if you’re not certain then take them to someone else and discuss it first.
Even supporters have bad days. In fact, there are bad weeks, bad months, and sometimes even bad years… Sometimes your loved one will make this worse, either because of their symptoms, or just because that’s the way things work out. Try not to get angry at them for this; they’re most likely not intending to.
Instead, focus on what you can learn to do to manage your stress in ways that you were unfamiliar with before. After all, when it rains, it pours. You’re going to need an umbrella.
Well, I have to go!