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.