Coping With Tragedy

Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.

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We all face tragedy at some point or another. Whether it be an emotional or physical devastation, they do happen and we have to acknowledge the role they play in our lives. When you’re battling with mental health issues, tragedy can set you back and cause you to relapse. There are ways of dealing with unexpected stresses in our lives and to prevent them from setting us back, but we need to be prepared to recognise them so we can take action.

First of all, recognising a new stress in our lives is the first step towards getting support for it. Has someone recently passed away for instance? Or has a long term (or even short term) relationship just come to an end? Maybe you’ve had to unexpectedly move house or maybe a disaster has happened somewhere in the world and that has been a trigger for you? Whatever the tragedy may be, and remember that tragedy is a very personal thing and different people experience this emotion in different ways and because of different triggers, you need to acknowledged that it’s happened/is happening.

Once you’ve recognised what has triggered your mental health/stress levels, it’s time to take action. Are you taking your medication as you should? Are you attending all mental health (and even physical health) related appointments? Are you taking care of your health and hygiene on a day to day basis? These are the first steps towards coping throughout a relapse, trying to maintain your routine.

Next you may wish to speak to someone about the tragedy you’re experiencing. Whether that be a therapist or a close friend/family member, opening up can help relieve some of that stress you’re facing and you may feel much more relaxed afterwards. I know from experience that talking to people I’m close to allows me to get other people’s perspectives and that allows me to adjust my own. When we’re in the middle of a set back and a relapse, it’s often hard to look at things rationally and thus we need the assistance of others in order to get some of that rationality back.

A tragedy may make you feel as though you lack control of your life, and that personally scares the hell out of me when I feel like that. It’s therefore important that we take control of everything that we can in order to feel a sense of control over our lives. Maintain your routine. Keep up your personal hygiene. Go to your appointments. Meet with your friends and family. Go to the gym or for a run. Whatever you can take control of, make sure you do it. Put yourself in situations where you’re wholly in control and regain some of that sense that you’ve lost due to the tragedy – it personally helps me a lot.

To round things off, we all experience road bumps from time to time but it’s important that we acknowledge them for what they are – a small bump in a very big and long road. It’s also important that we take care of our mental health when we hit these bumps if we’re to prevent a relapse. But never forget, don’t be ashamed if you do relapse! When it comes to mental health, relapsing is a very normal and almost inevitable thing so don’t be ashamed to reach out for help and don’t feel bad for relapsing back to your bad place – it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you and it doesn’t mean you’ve done something bad that you should be guilty about.

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