Faith vs Fear

Faith vs Fear

Friday, July 2, 2010

More on Managing Emotion

David has been doing better by degrees for the last two weeks. He went to his dr. last week for some blood tests and we are waiting to hear the results. In the meantime, he is working hard at controlling his emotions. I appreciate that about him. Every time he goes through a bad cycle, when he comes out of it he becomes introspective and redoubles his effort to control his illness. He's learning to use his character trait of being strong-willed and stubborn to fight this illness. David commented the other day that just as he thinks he has it under control, it escapes him again. It's a never-ending battle that sometimes wears him out, but he keeps fighting it.

Even though things have calmed down, I've been thinking more about how to manage my emotional reaction to his moods. Most of the time I can stay calm and fairly detached emotionally because I know it's the illness talking and not him. But every once in a while it gets to me, and I react.

Fortunately for us, after he's had a fit of bipolar rage, he becomes quiet and that allows me the time I need to gather my thoughts and feelings and get back to my emotional center. Only then are we able to talk over what happened.

One of the challenges of mental illness is that it affects people in so many different ways. Because of that, there is no one-size-fits-all method of treatment or coping for mental illness. I have been looking at different sources for advice about handling the emotional roller coaster, and have found some helpful hints. I hope to fully explore the subject in another post.

One piece of advice that I've read in several places is that it is important to acknowledge my feelings so that I can work through them and move on. I appreciate that, because I find it too easy to bury my feelings. That doesn't do either of us any good because my resentments build up and it eventually boils over and poisons my desire to work with him.

Several sources mention the need to take time for myself to de-stress. I have learned the importance of taking several mental health days a year. I know I need one when I start to feel resentful, overly tired, and pre-occupied. I'm planning on taking another one soon.

One of the best ways for me to cope is to turn to prayer for help. When his moods get to be too much for me to handle I rely heavily on prayer to get me through the tough times, and for David to get the help he needs. And without fail, that help comes.

Learning what triggers his mood is also important. Holidays are stressful for him because of expectations that come with them. We decided to stay home and relax this year. We are hoping that this Fourth of July will be a lot better than last year.

I read this essay on the Declaration of Independence and wanted to share. Wishing everyone a happy and safe July 4th.


  1. SOOO important the point you make here about attending to our own emotions while we are all caught up in the swirl of managing all the other emotions in the house. I so often forget this part.
    Thank you Sally.

  2. Hi Journey! I'm so glad it helped. I hope things are going well with you.

  3. My daughter has BPD. I know that it is not always easy to deal with the moods of someone with a mental illness. I actually suffer from one myself. You will learn how to deal though.

  4. Too often the stress of holding our emotions in check while our loved one is symptomatic wrecks havoc on our health. I hear about back problems, stomach problems and cancer far too many times in posts written by people coping with a struggling loved one.
    I actually had to step away from being the primary caretaker of my daughter for almost six months because I was completely on empty. Frighteningly so. My husband took on the day-to-day communications with our daughter. I knew it wouldn't last and it was VERY hard to do. But, when I was called into action again, I was so much more capable of dealing with the roller coaster of emotions than before my break.
    I will never let myself get to that hollow point again. I have become much more in tune with how I feel as a result of the break.
    So, if you can't have a break like the one I took, I think it is doubly important to de-stress every day for a little while. Take the dogs on a long walk or read in a quiet place. I usually end up staring into space, but feel rejuvenated by clearing my head of worrying.
    xx kris

  5. Welcome, Rose. I think it's the excess emotion that I struggle with the most. It's a work in progress.
    So true, Kris. I am looking forward to a break next week when I visit my family. I'm a little stressed about leaving him alone right now, since the part-time job we had has ended. At the same time, neither of us think that I should cancel, and I'm not going to be held hostage to this illness.


Welcome! I'm so glad you dropped by. I'm always happy to hear what you have to say.