Those who have been following my blog for the past 6 months are familiar with my story. Seemingly out of the blue I found myself in the middle of a mental health crisis with my son. I remember vividly thinking “Now What?” and having no idea what the answer would be. It forced me to look at all aspects of my life, redefine “normal” and learn to advocate for myself, my son and others.
Perhaps you’ve just received a diagnosis or are in the midst of a health related crisis and you feel like your head could spin clear around in a circle. It is likely you are getting what feels like hundreds of forms from your doctor, hospital or other practitioners. At times you may be filling out the same information over and over, much of it requiring some research or at least a deep dive into your memory bank. All of it overwhelming.
Meanwhile, you are dealing with the very emotional side of the crisis, wondering how on earth you got there and questioning your role in the situation. You may also be asking some questions that are harder to admit to like “How will this affect me, my work, my marriage, my life”. Often this set of questioning is really difficult because we may feel guilty or even berate ourselves for even asking them.
The reality is that a major crisis has you questioning all aspects of your life, your role in the crisis and the fear and uncertainty that a crisis can bring up for you.
It’s all OK. Think it. Process it. Analyze the blaming, the fear, and the guilt. No matter what the current crisis, whether or not you truly had anything to do with it, find the areas of blame or shame and forgive yourself.
Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself.
Carrying around the burden of what you feel that you have done “wrong” will not help the situation. It just won’t. In fact it will only compound the fear and the feeling of being overwhelmed, especially when you are being bombarded with information, direction, advice and decisions that need to be made.
Even if you are not able to immediately forgive yourself. Start by being kind and gentle with yourself. You will need your energy to manage the care of the person in crisis. There is so much to track, manage and do in the weeks following a crisis and/or diagnosis. Being in the best, most healthy emotional place you can be in given the situation, will help things move forward more smoothly.
Thank you all for your support, your stories and your feedback! Stay tuned, part 2, is focused on creating a support network and recommended tools for keeping all of the important information, forms, and conversations organized and readily available.
Please feel free to email me your thoughts and recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can always send me an email with any questions regarding this information or any other mental health system question/inquiry.
I’m also on Twitter @farfrmparadise
Thankyou for your words. I needed them. I can really relate to your story. Hang in there. Things will get better.
Thank you, it is getting better. The desire to share my lessons continues to drive this blog. I hope others can find peace, comfort, and support as well as advocacy help and coaching through my work! Through yours as well. Sounds as though we have much in common.
Excellent Amy! You know, when my husband became ill and continued to deteriorate, and I was going through the medical nightmare of repetitive forms, new doctors at every turn, monitoring what the hospital was doing and be there for him, I didn’t see where I was blaming myself for not doing enough, but I was, and the guilt of what I perceived I could have or should have done was overwhelming.
This blog is absolutely the best advice. I didn’t have the tools then to cope nor did I even realize how critical self-forgiveness was. But the truth is, looking back, I actually did do everything in my power to keep him healthy and handle the nightmare we were in. I will just add that when we are struggling and our defenses are down, our perceptions become distorted and we go to self-blame. What we perceived we might have done or not done is only an illusion of our fears of not having control to help our loved ones.
Keep writing! Your shares are not only inspirational those who are in the midst of a crisis, but they are so helpful to anyone who has gone through a family crisis and needs to understand what just happened so they can become resolved within themselves. Thank you for your beauty and wisdom!
Thank you Nikki! I appreciate your input and feedback! It’s often tough to keep perspective in the midst of a crisis. Doing what we can do and feeling that it is enough helps to free us from the guilt and blame, even if it’s a small relief, it’s something! I’m so grateful for your support! xo